John $taf$trom’s UConn Coup

John Stafstrom
John Stafstrom

Former Democratic Town Chair John Stafstrom is a happy man today. Who could blame him? The attorney for Bridgeport-based Pullman & Comley structured the agreement that eventually led to the approval Monday by the State Bond Commission of $291 million for Maine-based Jackson Laboratory to construct a new building and get new lab equipment here to create upwards of 300 bioscience jobs. Governor Dannel Malloy has made this the economic development priority early in his first term. Stafstrom, a Bridgeport resident, was an early supporter of Malloy for governor.

According to the Pullman & Comley website Stafstrom led the “Representation of Connecticut Innovations, Inc. and the University of Connecticut on the Jackson Laboratory Project in the structuring of $191 million in forgivable loans and $99 million in grants and as liaison with the State Treasurer and State Office of Policy and Management on the $290 million in State bond financing needed to create the Connecticut BioScience Collaboration and to site the Jackson Laboratory in Connecticut as an economic generator.”

Stafstrom served four terms on the Bridgeport City Council before leaving as a result of Pullman & Comley becoming bond counsel for the city in the mid 1990s. Stafstrom has emerged as not only one of the most influential pols in the city, but is also a go-to guy for political players from around the state for political advice and positioning.

Patience is one of Stafstrom’s strengths. The 1981 alumnus of the University of Connecticut School of Law was an early supporter of Dan Malloy for governor in 2006. Malloy, then mayor of Stamford, lost the Democratic primary for governor to New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, but he never stopped running. While Mayor Bill Finch and Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa rolled the dice on Ned Lamont’s money carrying him to the governor’s office in 2010, Stafstrom stitched together a coalition of Bridgeport State House members that allowed Malloy to run virtually even with Lamont in the city on his way to a double-digit statewide primary win.

Malloy appointed Stafstrom’s spouse Dennis Murphy deputy commissioner of the state Department of Labor. Murphy, also an attorney, served as Bridgeport’s labor relations chief and then chief administrative officer before working for Mayor Malloy.

More on Stafstrom’s background here.



  1. And just remember.
    When I urged Mayor Finch to reject the proposed Bond Counsel Contract for the city of Bridgeport so it could be rebid to require/encourage the bidders to add minority co-counsel and when I urged Attorney Stafstrom to voluntarily add a minority law firm to serve as co-counsel on the contract, they both ignored the spirit of minority and flat-out refused to do so.
    I won’t even bother asking Mr. Stafstrom if he voluntarily engaged a minority law firm as co-counsel on this deal. Why spread the wealth, knowledge and opportunity if you are not forced to do so by law?

  2. Be what he may be or perceived to be, he gets things done for his clients. Forgivable loans? Who wouldn’t like that? We need this for small start-up companies; especially, minority-/Hispanic-owned ones.


Leave a Reply