The Political Vetting Process, Plus: Guber Job Rhetoric

Tom Foley
Tom Foley

Remember the 1994 governor’s race?

John Rowland was the Republican nominee. Bill Curry (with Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim his runningmate) the Democratic standard bearer. Lieutenant Governor Eunice Groark represented the A Connecticut Party, the party of Lowell Weicker who decided not to seek reelection after fixing the state’s budget mess and making time to save Bridgeport from melting into Long Island Sound.

Rowland was on the ropes. Did he have loose hands with his former wife Deborah? Did Middlebury cops fail to fully investigate a dispute between Rowland and his wife? Why did police bury the report that could have buried Rowland? Or maybe it was much ado about nothing? The only thing for sure, Deborah called the cops in the spring of 1994. It was not enough to cost Rowland the general election.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley, former ambassador to Ireland, is taking heat from Hartford Courant articles about his relationship with his first wife and a few scrapes from decades ago. I don’t know Tom Foley. I know members of his campaign team. I know the vetting process to be named to a federal post is not a layup. I also know politics is not a saintly business. If you look deep within the past you’ll find something on everyone. Foley issued this statement on Thursday:

Tom Foley’s statement in Response to Today’s Hartford Courant Article

“For the last week, I have had to answer questions following the leaking of a broadly accusatory letter sent by my former wife to Governor Rowland in 2002. I have been peppered with questions about arrests 17 and 29 years ago as if they happened yesterday. My opponents have said I was “imprisoned” and asked me to “come clean” about these events as if I had not. But until this morning, I racked this up to “politics as usual” and the kind of “vetting” and “dusting up” a new entrant to the arena can expect.

This morning was different. An article in this morning’s Hartford Courant referenced the letter to discuss my relationship with my former wife. I have not seen the letter my former wife sent to Governor Rowland, but I have seen others she wrote which I assume are similar. While the article cited a letter from her in 2006 acknowledging that I had never threatened her and that no physical abuse occurred between us, it noted that in the letter to the Governor in 2002 she said I was abusive. While I am grateful that any suggestion of physical abuse and threatening behavior is off the table, the mere appearance of the article raises the specter that I behaved improperly in our relationship. I categorically deny that abusive behavior of any kind by me toward my former wife ever occurred and am making this statement today to remove once and for all any doubt about these accusations.

The 2006 letter confirming that there was no physical abuse or threatening behavior was provided to me at my request in response to a concern during my Ambassadorial nomination that a 1993 incident including me and my former wife might have involved domestic violence. My former wife provided this letter out of common decency. She has never claimed that there was physical abuse or threatening behavior between us, and neither was ever raised during a lengthy and contentious divorce that was litigated and included hundreds of motions over 15 years and a thorough custody evaluation.

My former wife was very upset that our marriage ended and that I was insisting on joint physical custody of our son. At times, she lashed out at me by engaging others in our dispute. The letter to Governor Rowland in 2002 was one of those times. She was angry and these letters were meant to be harmful. She has said so herself.

Our son is a happy, thriving college sophomore. We both take considerable pride as parents in our contributions to his very healthy development. With our son over 18 and out of our homes there is little left for my former wife and me to disagree over. Our relationship has improved, but it is still not as good as I would like.

I grew up as one of six children in a happy, sometimes chaotic, but well-functioning home. Four of my siblings were sisters, two older and two younger. My parents were fully engaged in a loving, cooperative, and always respectful marriage. Treating all people with respect and, for the two boys, being a gentleman, were values firmly instilled in me. My respect for people and my demeanor are essential parts of my character. Having either called into question would be inconceivable to those who know me well.

The Courant article also mentioned that my former wife claimed I hadn’t paid taxes on a domestic employee. I don’t know who my former wife was referring to, but I told Jon Lender, author of the article, that I will sit down with him and go over the records I have showing that I have paid all required taxes on domestic help I have employed.

On the issue of the two events raised last week, I want to provide further detail here. The arrest in 1981 involved a fender bender where the people in the other car claimed I ran into their car on purpose. I considered it a minor accident complicated by a misunderstanding. Afterward, the people in the other car complained to the police.

It was not until the next day that I heard of their complaint in a call from the police. I went to the police station and fully cooperated with them. It was a Sunday, so they retained me until the next day when I appeared before a judge and was released. The people in the other car dropped their complaint. The police never investigated the incident and the case was dismissed. There was no claim that alcohol was a factor in the accident and it was not. In the end, the legal system worked as it should and nothing came of the case. It faded into distant memory as an unpleasant, but unimportant event in my life.

The 1993 incident occurred when my former wife came to pick-up our son at my home. It involved my trying to obtain information from her about where she and my son would be staying and a contact number for them. I used my car to try and block her car from leaving my driveway and tried twice to obtain the information at intersections. I was unsuccessful at getting the information. At no time did I “drive her off the road” and there was no contact between our cars. I had reason to be anxious, but was not angry, and no harm occurred or was meant to either her or my son. The incident did not warrant involvement of the police.

The media and my opponents have asked for the release of the records covering the 1981 incident. I have reservations about doing so. Court records are sealed for a reason – usually to protect the privacy of individuals and to protect the innocent. I am also concerned about setting a precedent both for me and for others going into public service after me that will make any inquiry into someone’s private life, no matter how long ago, fair game. Despite these reservations, I understand that as a candidate for Governor the public has a right to know that nothing occurred in this incident 29 years ago that would call into question my fitness to be Governor, so I will not object to an unsealing of these court records. The 1993 incident is not a sealed record and I have no objection to the media obtaining it.

The media have asked how I answered questions related to my arrests on the forms I filled out for my security clearance and Senate confirmation. I will provide these answers when I can obtain copies of my submissions. That will take a few days.

I have also been asked if I noted these arrests on forms I filled out to be on the Governor’s Commission on Children, Divorce, and Custody. I don’t believe I was asked to fill out a form related to my service on the Commission. I will ask the Governor’s office if I filled out a form to be on the Commission. If I did, I will make it public.

This has not been an easy week for me or my family. In my worst dreams, I never imagined I would have to publicly deny that I was abusive to anyone, particularly a wife. No one is well-served by dragging up provocative and harmful letters sent in anger during a contentious custody battle – least of all my son and his mother. This morning’s Courant article and responses I have provided put this matter to rest. For the sake of my son, former wife, and current family, I call on the media and my opponents to leave this private matter alone and return to the substantive issues about our candidacies and Connecticut’s future.”

Job Creators?

Connecticut Post scribe Ken Dixon has an interesting piece about job creation (or lack of) from guber candidates. Check it out:



  1. Jesus a whole column on Foley’s answer to newspaper charges. This should kill the weekend blogging.
    We have a bunch of millionaires running for governor. Politics has turn into millionaires’ playground. These rich bastards have nothing else to do with their time.
    Do any of them relate to the ordinary Connecticut citizens. NO.
    Do any of them have to worry about how they are going to pay next month’s rent or mortgage? NO.
    Do any of them have to worry about how they are going to pay next month’s utility bills? NO.
    Do any of them have to worry if they will ever find a job again? NO.
    Sure they will tell you what a tough upbringing they had and that’s just bullshit. They are so removed from those hard times they say they remember you just know it’s a distant memory.
    I will tell you this there is not one of them who deserves to be the governor or senator from Connecticut. They are where they are now politically because the are rich, pure and simple.
    Whose fault is it politics has turned into a millionaires’ playground? It’s our fault.

  2. TC you’re right it’s not a weekend blog. Although you are wrong upbringings are never a distant memory. My grandparents and parents were changed for the rest of their life because of growing up in the depression. If you grow up in a poorer working-class family it is what shapes you for the rest of your life. Dan Malloy doesn’t forget where he comes from no more than you do. On a personal note he is a very caring and compassionate person.

    Lastly, the state needs to put out a budget 5 months after the Governor is elected. There is no time for a learning curve. You must hit the ground running.

    If you want TC, we can disagree all weekend on lots of subjects, just to keep it interesting.

  3. TC, you and I are going to disagree on Malloy but please remember he is one of 8 Irish kids (one sister); all live and work in Stamford; all firmly grounded in family and faith. Dan grew up with a serious learning disability with a Mom who never gave up on him. In order to pass the bar, he needed to take the exam orally. He is the only one of the group running for the governor’s office who has the experience to tackle the legislative and union challenges to run an effective administration. Nobody is perfect but he is the very best of the bunch. In my opinion Malloy is the only candidate who could walk into that office and hit the deck running immediately, no transition period. Of course, I think anyone who wants to take control of the State government in 2011 and face a $4 billion structural deficit needs a complete psychiatric exam to determine their level of masochistic tendencies. Look we need experience, honesty and integrity. We don’t need rhetoric and empty promises. In my opinion, Dan and Nancy are the best hope for Bridgeport and the State.

    By the way, I am shocked and stunned the Commissioner of the Department of Transportation Joe Marie resigned suddenly on Wednesday afternoon and the Governor locked him out of the building. The last time that happened was when Weicker fired Lou Goldberg as DMV Commissioner. The State Police escorted him out of the DMV Christmas Party. I was ordered to take over DMV the next Monday. I showed up in Wethersfield on a snowy Monday morning and the doors were locked because DMV was closed to the public on Mondays. Blumenthal subpoenaed all of the records in the Commissioner’s office due to the emission testing contract controversy. I remember banging on the windows to gain entry. The shock that happens when a Commissioner is suddenly removed deeply affects the psyche of the employees. A lockout of a Commissioner is rare in government circles. My heart goes out to the CDOT employees and with Deputy Transportation Commissioner Parker well in his new responsibilities. I know the state is closed today since they are all on furlough. I hope they have a good holiday weekend.

    1. Fireworks on Fourth of July at Jennings Beach in Fairfield starting at 9:00 pm. Suggested best viewing is at St. Mary’s or West Beach at Seaside.

      Ronzoni is coming out with a new pasta called Yankee Noodle Dandy with an endorsement from New York Yankee clubhouse chef and former Mario Macaroni man, Al Dente. Coming soon to your Home Plate.

      Kingsmen Pub (formerly The Seawall) was a good joint where their slogan was “Once A Knight is not Enough!”

  4. MCAT & Nancy I am glad to see you have the Malloy campaign literature memorized. Nancy the DMV guy left he resigned for whatever reason. He should not have had unfettered access to the office or to the computers. There may be a plausible reason for the governor to do what she did. I don’t know. Do you?
    I stand by my original post. I don’t like any of them and so far I don’t think much about their platforms. Who is going to stop the runaway state employee contracts?

  5. The contracts ran away? Did they take the dish and the spoon? Sorry, it is Friday and I am being silly.

    This is a complete non sequitur but I watched an HBO documentary last night on drilling for natural gas and the process they used called “fracking,” or “hydraulic fracturing.” In 2005, driven by Cheney and Haliburton drilling for oil and gas was exempted from the clean water act. The process of fracking includes drilling down and horizontally and pumping water and a chemical cocktail of at least 206 highly toxic chemicals into shale and rock to release natural gas. Thousands of wells are spreading across the nation and ground water contamination follows. Hundreds of reports of flames coming from people’s water faucets and bubbling up ground water are documented and filmed. It is scary to be able to light the water from your kitchen faucet on fire. Additionally, wells are being put on private lands where the homeowners don’t have their mineral rights and on public trust lands. Each well requires over a thousand truck trips, polluting the air from set up, drilling to hauling away toxic water. (At least that is left after they spray water into the air causing ozone pollution and acid rain.) I know there is a anti-fracking bill in Congress. Based on his record I am sure Dan Debicella would be sitting with the oil and gas companies trying to defeat reincluding oil and gas drilling in the Clean Water Act to prevent this type of process and developing a more environmentally safe way to get to natural gas.

  6. TC, I’m with you. But I’ve nothing against the wealthy running for public office. It is just in our age, handlers do a such a good job of packaging people you can’t tell if they are “real” or just another trust fund jerk.

    By the way, is he gone? … Really? … You know who I mean … You know …


    Oh good, now we can start talking about eeling in the Saugatuck River.

  7. Just came from vacation and heard there was a tornado in Bpt. Wtf is going on you never hear of those things here. I am still 100% behind Ned Lamont!!!

    1. You heard? Well hear this:

      I was at 752 E. Main about 2:15 p.m. with my co-worker looking at the lightning in the distance. It was about 90 degrees and very humid. Suddenly I felt the cold breeze as if I were inside with air conditioning and the wind started picking up. I commented this was the perfect condition for a tornado and went inside to give a warning and I heard the wind and everybody got quiet for a minute. It was over in 4 minutes, I lost two glass on my van. I was sad to hear the symbol of the Bridgeport Democratic Party’s failure (371-377 E. Main) had surely come down. The next day, thousands of Jamaicans arrived in Bridgeport; they had heard that in Bridgeport, ‘trees’ were down everywhere.

  8. Will this end up being a Felipe Flop?

    Bpt Acting Chief of Staff Ruben Felipe says layoff notices to be distributed next week. Only several unions offered concessions. About 2 hours ago via CoTweet.

    1. Finally something I can comment on. The city has not been meeting with the unions; ask any of them. You can’t get concessions if you don’t meet. Labor Relations and the hired guns make appointments and either cancel them or show up unprepared. The unions are asking questions and Labor Relations is refusing to provide any answers. Is this bargaining in good faith? I think not. Let them lay off. Employees will file lawsuits and many of them will get a nice paycheck at the end. That’s how it’s done in B-P-T.

  9. Brazil stunned by Netherlands, 2-1. Think I’ll need to go have dinner at Terra Brasilis tonight and make sure it hasn’t been torn apart.

  10. South End Democratic District Leader Mitch Robles helps stop the BOE from closing Roosevelt School. — OIB

    One presumes the Democratic Party wants to take a greater role in the education of children as a result. One can picture a first grade classroom …

    MITCH: “OK children. It is time to learn your A-B-C. That’s absentee ballot count.”

  11. Maybe Mitch can help Dan Malloy learn how to count.
    Dan says he created 5,000 new jobs while he was mayor.
    State of CT Labor says Stamford lost 13,000 jobs while he was mayor.
    It is this type of political rhetoric that will chase voters to Ned Lamont. Voters are tired of the same old political BS. But career politicians just don’t get it. They think if they say often enough they created 5,000 jobs the voters will eventually believe it. Obvious Dan has convinced himself no matter what the facts are.
    Poor Dan. Poor, poor Dan.

  12. The Ax Man Cometh

    City poised to ax workers after concessions fall short
    Keila Torres, Staff Writer
    BRIDGEPORT — Two days into the new fiscal year, the city is finalizing a list of workers to be laid off and will begin distributing the notices next week.

    “We absolutely have a game plan,” acting Chief of Staff Ruben Felipe said Friday morning. “It got pushed back a little bit due to the storm” on June 24.

    City officials in April gave each labor union a specific target number they expected to receive in concessions or givebacks to help close a projected $8 million gap in the $469 million budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year, which began Thursday.

    Felipe said only “some” of the city’s labor unions have agreed to concessions, but declined to identify those unions. He also would not give details on what concessions have been agreed on so far, or whether the givebacks are enough to spare workers in any particular unions layoffs altogether.

    He also admitted that because the concessions and layoffs were not in effect before the beginning of the budget year, the city’s projected $8 million budget gap will need to be “adjusted” higher because the layoffs will not be effective until 30 days after the employees are notified.

    “It’s not a huge impact,” Felipe insisted.

    Fire union President Robert Whitbread said Friday that he couldn’t believe the city would move forward with layoffs after refusing to negotiate with the city’s firefighters.

    “I’m not happy with that,” Whitbread said. “We made every effort to meet with them. The last meeting we had with the city they canceled and they have not contacted us. We never really got to sit down with them and go over the figures. We’ve come up with ideas that they don’t seem to want to look at.”

    Whitbread said the city is asking firefighters for $1.5 million in concessions, or the equivalent of eliminating 21 positions.

    Valerie Sorrentino, business manager for the Laborers International Union of North America, Local 200, said the union is being asked for $381,000 in concessions, which would amount to 19.8 furloughs days for each of the union’s 103 members.

    LIUNA members expect the last employees hired by the city to receive layoff notices because members of the union employed before June 2009 were promised no layoffs before Dec. 31, 2010, in contract negotiations last year. According to Sorrentino, about eight people have been hired in LIUNA positions since then.

    Last year, Bridgeport unions agreed to $4.5 million in concessions through furloughs and wage freezes to help close a $20 million deficit in the 2009-10 budget year. Only the National Association of Government Employees refused givebacks and, as a consequence, 53 of the employees that union represented were issued layoff notices.


  13. Question to Rubin Felipe. Why haven’t the dealings with the unions been completed one way or the other? You guys continually play with people’s lives and don’t give a shit.
    You have had more than enough time to meet with the unions and find out where they stand on concessions. If you needed to follow through on your threats layoffs would have taken place Thursday.
    Now you say you need more from the unions because you have not settled with them all and we are past the July 1 date. You people doing the negotiating should have the difference taken out of your pay because you are the ones who screwed up.
    I know you assholes in the administration will have a nice holiday because you are not losing anything I am sure the union members are spending the weekend wondering if they have a job.
    You are the most unprofessional bunch of people I have ever encountered in the past 45 years of my working life. I will definitely work to get rid of the whole bunch of you bums next year.
    To the unions no matter what you choose to do start working by the contract and take no shortcuts make these people follow ALL of the contract provisions.

  14. Dems, please weigh in on this: which do you prefer, the non-politician who thinks he can run the government (Lamont) or the consummate politician who wants the government to run like a business (Malloy)? Tough call? Maybe Foley has a chance after all?

    As to the games being played by the Finch brigade toward rank and file employees, shame on you! Everyone knows you’re not playing fair with regard to negotiating. Too bad the unions are so poorly led they don’t know the power to be had in banding together behind a candidate for mayor in 2011 who can be a leader. Local dems have become local “lems” (lemmings, fyi). What a mess!!!

  15. Rumors are that CT Post reporter Torres has requested (under FOI) a list of all new hirings by the City of Bridgeport. She should join us here at OIB; she sure can pry open the juicy stuff.

  16. She’ll be lucky if she doesn’t lose her job for reporting the TRUTH.

    The power of the pen is squashed by the threats of powerful people hence Mr. Fabrizi’s spouse being laid off as a librarian at some school she works at but being rehired as something else, or Mr. Stafstrom’s partner being hired as a consultant during a bad economic time, or the Ms. Sims hiring, or unqualified people hired to marvelous positions in the BOE due to a relation, they say a custodian runs the BOE, huh? Public facilities is run by buddies of the political scene, decent paying secretarial jobs for ladies who know people, my sweet lord the list goes on and on.


  17. Let’s remember who is in Labor relations: Larry Osborne and Tom McCarthy. Both do the bidding of mayor Finch. These 2 should be ashamed of themselves. I can’t wait for McCarthy to tell us the benefits of all the layoffs and why it’s so great we continue to hire political hacks and paramours of the politically connected.
    I swear McCarthy went to the Nancy Pelosi school of spin.


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