Mayors Beware Of Dan Tepfer–Just Ask Fabs And Ganim

When it comes to city mayors, Connecticut Post scribe Dan Tepfer knows how to be in the right place at the right time. There was that sleepy day in the spring of 2007 when Mayor John Fabrizi slipped quietly into Superior Court to seek leniency on behalf of a pedophile who happened to a friend of his son. A father wants to help his son. Fabs, who had not notified his political advisers, did not count on Tepfer being in the courtroom that day. The entire community, upon hearing the news, freaked. It cost Fabs his mayoralty.

Then last week, former Mayor Joe Ganim entered a quiet courtroom with few in attendance asking a panel of the State Grievance Committee to recommend reinstatement of the law license he lost as a result of his conviction on federal corruption charges in 2003. Chris Rogers, Ganim’s probation officer, represented oddly that Ganim’s sentencing judge Janet Bond Arterton was in favor of Joe regaining his law license. Probation officers report to judges. Ganim, nor probably Rogers, counted on Tepfer being in the courtroom that day. In fact, the Connecticut Post Editorial Board the very next day advocated for Joe to regain his law license on the very word of Judge Arterton.

When word reached Judge Arterton in New Haven she didn’t waste any time clarifying her position with regard to Joe regaining his license. She had not taken a position. In fact, she was quick to issue a decision on a request Ganim had made months earlier (just in case there was any question) rejecting early termination of supervised release, a form of probation. In a footnote to her decision Judge Arterton also wrote:

Defendant was released by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) one year early because he successfully completed the BOP’s Residential Drug Abuse Treatment Program. The existence of any substance abuse problem remains a puzzlement since he made no claim of a substance abuse problem at sentencing, and as a result the Court waived the mandatory drug testing condition of supervised release.

Translation: Joe had scammed the system. Joe’s good at that. Judge Arterton is an intimidating figure to those who work for her, she doesn’t like surprises, and Chris Rogers works for her. Had Joe managed to scam Rogers into representing something counter to the judge’s wishes?

Now let’s get back to Tepfer whose working life is the state court system. Dan has been around longer than most judges and lawyers. What if Tepfer weren’t in the courtroom the day Fabs asked for leniency? Fabs could very well be mayor today and Bill Finch could very well still be in the State Senate. What if Tepfer weren’t in the courtroom last week when Joe’s probation officer represented that it was okay for Joe to regain his law license? Joe may very well regain his law license someday, but now it appears it might be a lot longer … had Tepfer not been there.

Some will blame Dan Tepfer. I dare say many will applaud him.



  1. I had read Dan Tepfer for years but only met him in person about seven years ago when I saw his coverage of the clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Diocese of Bridgeport, something that had moved me to action on behalf of victim survivors. It turned out he had covered many stories of this type over the years where individual priests who were alleged predators as well as the oft-times secret activity by lawyers to grind out civil settlements as the statute of limitations was often too short to assist adult victims who could come to terms with their victimization. Sordid and sorry business that has cost the Catholic Church locally well over $40 Million in legal representation and settlements of one kind or another. And these stories are by no means yet over.

    Two years ago I was picketing in front of the State Courthouse on Main Street with representatives of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests and also from and making statements to Channel 12 TV. I held the photo blowup of a sexual abuser clergyman, then deceased, in my hands and one man shuffling down the street stopped and looked at me. I asked him if he knew what we were about. He said NO but he knew the priest whose picture I held because that priest had abused him when he went to CYO activities as a teenager. Sexual and power abuse, alcohol, drug use, criminal behavior and at least one 16-year sentence in State correctional system were part of his story. I saw Dan out of the corner of my eye, asked the story teller whether he would like to tell his story to someone else and he said Sure. Dan listened to the man for 15 minutes alone and then came over and told me. “Very credible!!!” But the man did not seek dollars from the Church, went on his way after lunch together and despite one or two contacts has lived a private life in a halfway program since then.

    How many stories like that are out there that Dan has heard? How many can he connect with current lives??? How much damage is done when institutions fail to be OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE and TRANSPARENT in their processes, practices, and governance??? Churches, governments, not-for-profits, businesses and educational systems are vulnerable as we have seen. For the common good, people need media outlets that investigate and report, now more than ever, it seems. Dan Tepfer is a gift to our community. Time will tell.


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