You want to go to court? It takes moolah. Just ask Mayor Bill Finch who set up a legal defense fund to cover his costs associated with Chris Caruso’s court challenge of the 2007 Democratic mayoral primary. Finch’s 2011 challenger Mary-Jane Foster charged that Democratic Registrar Santa Ayala unlawfully denied her a ballot spot. Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis sided with Foster. Lawyers Alan Neigher, Michele Mount and John Kadaras have provided legal assistance associated with Foster’s court challenges. Foster has several heavy hitters associated with this effort including ex Governor Lowell Weicker and retired CEO of People’s Bank David Carson (full disclosure: I’m Carson’s biographer.) From Foster:
Democratic candidate for mayor of Bridgeport Mary-Jane Foster has filed the paperwork to create the “Foster Democracy Works Fund,” which will serve as a legal defense fund. Additionally, Foster will return to Superior Court on Friday morning to argue for the Democratic Registrar of Voters Santa Ayala to hold a lottery for appointing moderators at the city’s 23 polling places for the September 27 primary.
Spearheading the fundraising efforts for the “Foster Democracy Works Fund” legal defense fund are:
• Honorary Chairman: Governor Lowell P. Weicker, Jr., who recently endorsed Foster for mayor;
• Chairman: David E. A. Carson, former President and CEO of People’s Bank;
• Co-Chairs: Wiley Mullins, Founder and President, Wiley’s Wellness Solutions and Uncle Wiley’s; Attorney Maximino Medina, Jr., Managing Partner at Zeldes, Needle & Cooper and former President, Bridgeport Board of Education; and Marilyn Ford, Professor of Law, Quinnipiac University School of Law;
• Treasurer: Peter Hurst, President and CEO, The Community’s Bank, and
• Deputy Treasurer: Nancy Hadley, President, The Hadley Group.
“My campaign is fighting for the democratic rights of the residents of Bridgeport on two fronts,” explained Foster. “First the mayor and superintendent orchestrated a behind the scenes takeover of our elected Board of Education. We challenged the constitutionality of the takeover and that case has worked its way to the State Supreme Court. Next the mayor and the Democratic party machine worked to keep me off the primary ballot. I sued for the right to be on the ballot and won that case on all counts.
For too long, the mayor and his political allies have steamrolled the voters to get their way. It is time to say enough is enough. I’m the person in this race who has the determination and guts to challenge them every step of the way. Bridgeport deserves better and I am honored that these individuals are joining their voices with mine to help me fight and win these battles,” Foster said.
There is no minimum or maximum contribution that may be accepted by a legal defense fund. Contributions may be made by any individual who is eligible to donate to Foster’s candidate committee. Donations may be made out to “Foster for Democracy Works Fund” and mailed to P.O. Box 1172, Bridgeport, CT 06601-1172