‘Disgusted’ Herbst Weighs In On Meeting Denial, Blasts Republican Leader For Ignoring Racially Motivated Actions

Romano, Torres
Republican State Chair J.R. Romano. CT Post photo Brian Pounds.

Asserting instances of racially motivated actions taken by officers of the Bridgeport Republican Town Committee have gone ignored by State Party Chairman J.R. Romano, former Republican candidate for governor Tim Herbst is blasting state party leadership following Republican mayoral candidate Dishon Francis’ rejection to observe a local party meeting. Francis is black.

Tim Herbst
Tim Herbst when he served as Trumbull First Selectman.

Herbst, the ex four-term first selectman of Trumbull, is calling on party official John Slater, a former Bridgeport Republican Town Chairman, to be removed as a member of the Republican State Central Committee whose members select party officers. Once allies, Herbst has had a falling-out with Romano who managed his 2014 race for state treasurer.

Romano is up for reelection as party leader.

Herbst on Saturday sent this email to Slater:

As one of two Republicans that represents us on the Republican State Central Committee, I am writing to you today to express my complete disgust with the Bridgeport Republican Town Committee, its leadership and your complicity in allowing the BRTC to engage in conduct that violates state party bylaws.

Dishon Francis is seeking to become the Republican nominee for Mayor of the City of Bridgeport, Connecticut.  Dishon is a young, African American who is proud to be a Republican and who is eager to serve the City of Bridgeport. The Bridgeport RTC has done a horrible job of recruiting candidates in recent years. All the more reason to welcome with open arms a young man that wants to take on one of the toughest assignments in Connecticut politics.

I read on social media what was done to Dishon at the recent Bridgeport RTC meeting. Based upon what I read, I called Dishon personally to find out what happened. Dishon advised me that he went to the Bridgeport RTC meeting held at Port 5 to merely observe the proceedings. He further advised me that Mike Garrett, the Chairman, aggressively approached him and told him that he had to seek his permission to attend a meeting. As you know, or should know, this is in complete violation of the Connecticut Republican State Central Committee bylaws, specifically Article II, Section 9, which state that meetings are open to the public unless an RTC for valid reasons elects to go into Executive Session. No executive session was held as the meeting was not even called to order.

Dishon further indicated to me that not only did Mr. Garrett not let him into the meeting, but used the Port 5 officer on duty and called the police to remove Dishon and others from the Bridgeport RTC meeting. We wonder why Republicans have a problem in the big cities? For Mr. Garrett to violate the State party bylaws in denying a young, African American male access to an open meeting does not pass the smell test by any measure.

I have also reviewed correspondence previously sent to Chairman Romano by other Bridgeport Republicans alleging other incidents and instances of racially motivated actions taken by officers of the BRTC. These complaints have gone ignored by our State Party Chairman. Dishon filed a complaint yesterday with Chairman Romano. As of this morning, this complaint has also gone ignored.

It is readily discernible to me that the reason why Chairman Romano has not taken any action regarding the numerous complaints filed is because he depends upon your vote and Mr. Garrett’s vote in the upcoming election for Chairman. You and Mr. Garrett, in turn, intend to vote for him because he ignores and suppresses complaints from Bridgeport Republicans about racially charged conduct that is violative of the State Party’s own bylaws. It’s a quid pro quo of the worst form.

As a State Central Representative, it is your responsibility to ensure every one of your member Towns follow the state party bylaws. It is also your responsibility to listen to your constituents. You have heard overwhelmingly from your constituents in Trumbull and Monroe that they are not happy with the current leadership of the State Party. We suffered historic losses in what was the best environment for Republican gains.

The actions enumerated above, between you, Mr. Garrett and Mr. Romano underscore the good old boy network that exists on State Central–you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. Your complicity in the actions of your local RTC is not what the Republican Party is about. We are the party of President Lincoln and President Lincoln would not condone this conduct.

By copy of this email, in accordance with Article 1, Section 11 (b) of the Connecticut Republican Party Bylaws, I am asking that Chairman Pifko and Chairman O’Rourke call a duly noticed meeting for the purpose of removing you from the State Central Committee.

You do not represent the will of your constituents and you do not hold accountable those that engage in conduct that reflects poorly on our party.



  1. I agree with Timothy Herbst.

    How can the Republican Town Committee deny members of the public from attending their meeting?

    Why are those elected to govern so scared of the voices of others?

    1. Maria,
      It is no secret that I detest Tim Herbst. That said:
      This was not a meeting of those elected to govern, it was a meeting of a private membership organization.
      Tim claims they violated the State party rules.
      He is disingenuous in complaining on Saturday that an email sent Friday has not been answered yet.

      I am rules committee chair of the Trumbull Democratic Town Committee. Our rules and CT Democratic Partying State rules are different in that our meetings must be open to all Registered Democrats, not the General Public.
      There is good reason for this. Town Committee meetings are strategy sessions where campaigns and fundraising ideas are discussed, policy drafted and adopted, etc. None of this is the business of outsiders.
      Under the Republican rules rival Democrats could sit in on all these meetings and be privy to planning information, campaign decisions, etc. this makes no sense.
      That said Tim has a long history of ignoring rules. He assisted an American Legion officer in throwing a member out of a meeting (the member had a right to be there) because the member voiced opposition to Tim’s plan to close and sell the Veteran’s Hall in Trumbull.
      Tim let a member of the TRTC serve in the Trumbull Civil Service Commission which violated the Town Charter. I complained and he did nothing. I refused his offer for me to serve on that commission because I did not want to be forced to quit the DTC.
      He headed a ticket that had the chair of the EMS commission running for BOE, swore him in when he won and let him serve in both illegally for 9 months until I forced an FOI and threatened a lawsuit. Joe Peddle finally resigned from EMS to stop the suit. Tim knowingly allowed the Town Charter to be violated.
      Tim loves to bitch when others violate rules but think they don’t apply to him.

      It just came out in an FOI hearing that on leaving office In Trumbull Tim asked the Town IT Director to delete emails. To quote the chief Republican Lock Him Up

  2. Tim Herbst should have researched the matter more before he came out with his guns blazing. He refers to a rule of the GOP State Central as though it is mandatory and jurisdictional. It is not. It is procedural and directive meaning that it is for order and dispatch. Local Republican Town Committee Chairman Mike Garrett has kept the Committee meetings closed for over a year. I have told him that I don’t agree with that practice but he has applied the practice evenly and he has a certain limited amount of discretion to do so.

    The other issue raised by Herbst is that what was done by Garrett last Wednesday was of racial animus. It was not. I understand that Dishon Francis was invited to attend the meeting to present his candidacy and he refused to do so unless his support group was also allowed to attend. Prior to the meeting, I contacted Garrett to ask if I could attend the meeting to present my candidacy as Republican candidate for Mayor. He said that I could. I also then asked if my Treasurer could accompany me. He said No. So I went by myself and presented my candidacy to the full group. Therefore, on this there was no uneven standard.

    But this isn’t all of the anomalies of what transpired. While I was at the Port 5 Club awaiting my time to enter the meeting, I was told that there had been a ruckus of various of the Charlie Valentino alternate Republican faction who had been there attempting to get into the meeting (the group to which Dishon is affiliated). I was further told that two men of the group were wearing sheriff badges. I know of none of that group who are currently sheriffs. On a Facebook posting about the incident, I asked Valentino if he was wearing a sheriff badge. His initial response was to say that he was wearing an old sheriff shirt. To me, this looks like a foul, a potentially serious foul. Valentino is the Chairman of the alternate Committee with which Dishon is running!

    Regarding other reports to which Herbst refers of complaints to GOP State Central of racial animus of the local Republican Town Committee, he is likely referring to complaints presented by Joe McLaine. I have seen several of those complaints. Based on what I observed, there was merely a scintilla of evidence of an issue. I can’t say that there isn’t any racial animus on the Town Committee. I don’t know. But I’m rather confident that there has been a concerted attempt by the leadership be inclusive and there are results to show for that. In fact, I said to Dishon that he would do well to try to join the Town Committee.

    Further, on Facebook, Valentino said that their reason in wanting to attend the meeting was to hear my speech. On Friday, I sent him an email with the full text of my speech. I then posted the speech on Facebook.

    Therefore, there is no real issue raised by Herbst in Trumbull!

    1. I don’t believe Tim gives a sh*t about the BRTC. He is making these claims to get opponents off the State Central Committee.
      He turns on his friends now going after his buddy Romano, he just attacked his childhood friend, Trumbull IT Director who revealed under oath Tim’s request to delete emails from the Town’s records.
      He has a record of throwing fellow Republicans under the bus, as he did to OIB contributor and former Town Council member Cindy Penkoff.

    2. Are we talking about the same Tim Herbst who breaks bread with Mario Testa and supported Joe Ganim in 2015? Consider the source. He has zero credibility.

  3. Marshall, just for argument sake, even if everything you say about Tim Herbst behavior is true, how does that affect the validity of his claim against Slater? You do not agree with the rules of the Republican State Central party, that does not render the rule invalid, or does it diminish the validity of Mr. Herbst claims.

    1. @Joe McLaine
      #1 Please do not put words in my mouth. I did not say I don’t agree withe the rules of the CT Republican Party, I gave an example of how they differ from the Rules of the CT Democratic Party and why I like meetings restricted to registered members of the party. BTW>in Trumbull registered unaffiliated voters may attend if they request to do so from the TDTC chairman.

      #2 I have no way of knowing if Tim’s claim is valid or if the rule is invalid just from reading this blog. Like Herbst, I also have a law degree and passed the CT Bar (although I do not practice law). Tim has presented one piece of the rules, out of context.
      Without reading the entire Rules of State Central and the BRTC I don’t know if this is binding or suggestive language. On the D side our state rules become local rules if the local Town Committee has not adopted rules, or is in conflict with the state rules.
      Ethan Book, a candidate for mayor has stated in this forum that these are not binding rules and the Town Chair has the authority to keep the meetings closed to the public.
      #3 Tim is showboating with the racial claim, as Mr. Booker is also Black and was given a slot to speak.
      #4 In Dishon Francis’ complaint to Sate Central he states that the BRTC rules are on on their website, just a notice that they are being revised. SURPRISE there is NO requirement that local party rules be on those websites. They must be filed with the Secretary of State and the Town Clerk. They can be researched and accessed in those places if they were ever adopted.

      Tim has lost his two statewide election attempts. In 2014 he was defeated in his run for State Treasurer. In 2018 he ran in the GOP Primary for Governor and came in 4th place. Winning in only a couple of tiny towns in northeast CT and Trumbull. Republicans in our neighboring municipalities rejected him soundly. He doesn’t play nice and can’t get along with neighbors, he sued Monroe and Bridgeport.

      Tim has no interest in a strong Republican candidate for Mayor in Bridgeport. He is too busy socializing at Testo’s with buddies Mario and JG2. On the night of JG2’s primary win 4 years ago he was there at the victory party to congratulate Joe instead of voicing support for the Republican candidate. I called him out on this on social media. He LIED and said he was just at Testo’s eating dinner, not at the party. He then had me thrown off that FB group. Problem is that Mommy Dearest, Deb Herbst, answered me in another FB group that Tim was at the party as the representative of her father who was too ill to attend. So is Tim the liar, or Deb? Tim who asked the Town IT director to delete emails when Tim left office…I don’t believe anything he says. Where’s the 80K per year Tim lied and said Trumbull would save by pulling out of the Trumbull Monroe Heath District? Costs went up, not down, he did our neighbors dirty…that’s the way Herbst operates. He should be ignored. If a Bridgeport Republican has a complaint let them make it

  4. Phil smith, Let’s talk about your friend Mike Garrett. The man who breaks bread with Democrat Michelle Lyons, cross endorsed her for city council on the Republican Party line in 2015, Spoke at a Democrat fund raiser in 2015, and asked Joe Ganim for a job after doing his best as campaign manager for Rick Torres for mayor to sabotage Rick in an unsolicited effort to help Joe Ganim. Ganim did not reward Garrett for his actions. If you wonder how I know all of this, don’t forget that at that time I was a member of the BRTC inner circle. Phil does any of this affect Garrett’s credibility?

    1. Joe, you talk about information which you gained several years ago when you were in the BRTC inner circle, do you remember telling me about a June 2013 RTC expenditure of $1,750 which you said was to cover a deficit in a council member’s fundraiser? When that was formally investigated, it was determined that the expenditure pertained to the Lincoln Day Dinner. This is context for what you report now. Also, regarding credibility, shall we discuss the credibility of former State Marshall Charles Valentino, the Chairman of the alternate Republican Committee of which you, your wife and Dishon have allied?

    1. Thanks, I was told otherwise, I don’t pay that much attention to the players in the Bpt R party as they don’t seem to get elected.
      The main point is without reading all the Republican Sate and Town rules we don’t know if what Tim says is true, but his long record of lying and ignoring rules makes everything he says doubtful

  5. Marshall, Aside from any past action of Mr. Herbst, in this instance he is correct.
    Mike Garrett has a long history of violating the rules and Slater stands by silent. I am one of the few Bridgeport Republicans who does read and understand the rules although I would not put myself in the category of an expert. Garrett adheres to the rule that would benefit him and violates those that do not further his agenda of self interest.
    You may also find it interesting that Book filed law suits against Garrett and Grace in two separate cases for violating party rules, now that he is seeking their endorsement he interprets the rules in Garrett’s favor.

  6. Marshall, I am a Caucasian of mixed European stock who is very much linked to minority groups in Bridgeport, as has been my lifestyle for several decades. The point that I raised above is that the standard which Garret applied to me for the Wednesday meeting was no different than what he applied to Dishon; we individually could come into the meeting to speak but our supporters could not. I accepted that offer. Dishon elected not to do so. Thus, there was no racial animus in what was done !!

  7. Joe, a careful reading of what I presented above indicates that my position regarding adherence to the rules is unchanged from two years ago. For example, regarding Garrett’s practice to keep the Town Committee meetings closed, I have stated to him even in a telephone call this past week that I don’t agree with his practice although I have respected it. In addition, my current clarification that the GOP State Central rule which requires local meetings to be public is not mandatory and jurisdictional but rather is procedural and directive is unchanged from two years ago as the issues earlier did not get to that point of distinction!

    1. @Ethan
      Thanks for your clarification.
      As I have stated I haven’t read the complete R party rules. It’s enough to be up on my own party rules. I spent 3 years leading a complete revision of the TDTC rules after finding out they had not been updated in more than 30 years
      Your understanding of the state R rules as you express them is that it is enabling language, not requiring language.

      Personally, I think opening TC meetings to the general public is absurd. These are working meetings for members. In Trumbull, the DTC holds at least one public question and answer meeting open to the public each year. We rent the community room at the library and make party and elected officials available to answer questions and spotlight future plans.

      Herbst is on a slash and burn mission, anyone who doesn’t agree with him must be destroyed. If he is so interested in Bpt R politics let him move to Bridgeport. That’s where the Ganims brought his parents into the R party. Ganim got out, the Herbsts stayed R.


  8. Ethan, Should we discuss your credibility? You are an ex-convict. A few weeks ago former BRTC member Mary Filo sent you and others in your e-mail chain a request to stop bothering her. She described you as being “bat shit crazy” and a wife beater. You expressed an opinion that she was put up to making those comments by Garrett and the possibility that you should confront Garrett on this matter. So Ethan are you suggesting that you should be less respected because you are an ex-con? Personally I always thought that you were a nice guy, however I always felt that you have a few circuits that have faulty connections. I’m not a mental health professional, that is simply my opinion.

  9. Joe, as I have early raised in public forums, several years ago I was wrongfully convicted of a non-violent Class C misdemeanor, a statutory matter for which there is no issue of theft or fraud. The sole issue of intent had to do with the right to use peaceable communication for the collection of commercial debt. The judge didn’t allow me to present to the jury the state statute which pertains to communication for the collection of debt. There was also an issue of defective instructions to the jury, an issue which can be addressed by a proper amendment of state statutes. There is the appearance that actions by the prosecutor and judge were in retaliation of my earlier actions as a specialized bank officer of having exposed errors of the CT Resources Recovery Authority (CRRA). I have papers pending in Stamford Superior Court seeking the reversal of those matters. You have already been informed of everything I present here yet you harangue on it because it suits your political agenda.

    Mary Filo had been BRTC Secretary. I was not aware that she was no longer on the BRTC. That is why I recently included her on my distribution list. I do not know where you got your notions of how I thought that came about. She gave absolutely no support for her wild claims even after I challenged them. At the Wednesday BRTC meeting, after my speech, Chairman Garrett opened the floor for questions. Nothing was mentioned of any of these matters. I also particularly announced that I would be available for questions in the Club beverage area following the meeting. There was some additional discussion at that time, nothing pertaining to issues which you raise.

    I pose to the public that I should be respected for what I can do for the City as Mayor.

    You talk about loose circuits. Let’s back up a bit. You were one who encouraged me to present in 2017 the mentioned lawsuits against Chairman Garrett and the BRTC regarding compliance with Bylaws and statutes. They were solid cases. When Judge Arnold came out with his decision on one to dismiss the lawsuit for grounds which were not well applicable, I informed the BRTC that I considered presenting a Motion for Reargument. Such a Motion is provided for in court procedures and there was good legal cause to do so. Your knee-jerk response was a group email in which you said “Are you flubbing crazy”: My answer then was “No”. I’ll let the OIB readers form their opinions on that one!

    You haven’t yet addressed my previous comments. You refer to your knowledge of inside information regarding matters pertaining to Chairman Garrett yet you apparently fully failed regarding reported insider information of a supposed BRTC payment to cover the deficit of a council candidate’s fundraiser. In addition, you fail to address issues of credibility of Charles Valentino, the Chairman of the alternate Republican Committee. Mr. Valentino had been a State Marshall who in 2015 was convicted of several felony counts of government corruption; of things like impersonating a state officer, of unauthorized sale of vehicles towed, of perjury and of notarizing documents with justice of the peace authority which was not his. He only recently completed his probation and only in April re-activated his voter status. Yet, he is running to be City Sheriff. I believe generally in second chances. But there should be limitations including regarding the time elapsed from the completion of a felony sentence and one being able to be hold public office. In addition, with all of this context, Valentino had the nerve to wear a sheriff shirt during his Wednesday attempt to attend the BRTC meeting. He has not answered my question if the logical implication of him doing that.

    I have raised here credibility issues for you and Valentino. Rather than address those, you revert to lame attacks against me of matters that you either know about or should know about!

  10. FYI boys, i certainly did not need Mike Garrett to help me figure Ethan out and I certainly did not need Mikes help to tell Ethan to stop emailing me, not the first time, second, third etc… Ethan does however not respect peoples wishes to stop contacting them. I am not the first to tell Etan to go screw and I will not be the last.

    1. Mary, a key in this instance is whether you were a member of the BRTC. You had been a member, then were not a member, then you were a member and BRTC secretary. When I recently sent you a couple of group emails, I was not aware that you were no longer a member. An elected member of a political party is a public office. As such, communications of matters of party/public interest are a matter of right. Also, most notable is that you now say nothing of your outlandish, reckless comment made to to the BRTC that I am a woman-beater! What is most important here is what is best for the City of Bridgeport. I have a plan and the qualifications to do much to improve City governance for the benefit of its residents.

  11. Ethan, thank you for your detailed explanation. I am sure that all of your like minded supporters are convinced of your innocence.
    You may also want to share your story about the other innocent man that you met while in prison who was wrongly convicted of murder, how you reviewed his case, and are now working to have his conviction overturned. I understand how important this work is to someone like you. I will never again respond to you. I do not want to distract you from your quest for truth, justice and the American way.

  12. Since I began in 2003 raising the issue of the dire need for judicial reform, that with the observation that no less than 25% of the men incarcerated in Connecticut were fully innocent of what they were charged or convicted, until 2013 when Gov. Malloy began his early release program, the total number of men incarcerated in the state decreased from over 19,000 to about 13,000. That’s real progress. Back in 2017 when I shared with Joe McLaine the matter of the wrongful murder conviction of Luis A. Rivera, a matter of multiple defects by several responding Bridgeport police officers, he became aware of various of the factual discrepancies and advised me notwithstanding that for political considerations, I should do nothing. In other words, there is glaring evidence that a man was convicted and spent 22 years in jail for a murder that he didn’t commit, and Joe advised me to drop it. The key points for my candidacy for Mayor is that I have a good plan and good qualifications to improve City governance for the benefit of City residents!


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