Friday, August 05, 2011

Bridgeport... Again.

When a friend discovered some politician knee deep in a ripe scandal, he used to call him up and ask, “Does your mommy know you’re doing this?” His ratio of calls made to calls returned was abysmally low.

Apparently, Mrs. Gloria Beccaro, the 85 year-old retired nurse and mother of William Beccaro, a lawyer for the Connecticut State Senate, didn’t know what her son was doing, according to a columnist for the Connecticut Post.

"They (People for Excellence in Government) list me as chairman?" Beccaro asks. "Why am I chairman? I don't know anything about this."

“Alright then, what does she do for the PAC?

"’They reimburse you most every month for your cell phone service,’ I point out. ‘What exactly do you do for the PAC?’

“Beccaro: ‘Cell phone? I don't know. I don't even have a cell phone. What would they be doing reimbursing me?’"
Pouring over the financial report of the People for Excellence in Government (PEG), Connecticut Post Columnist MariAn Gail Brown discovered, “…reimbursements to the Finches for items purchased at T.J. Maxx, the discount clothing store. But no explanation as to how that directly benefits a political action committee. There's a $25 donation to a charity reimbursed to Sonya Finch. If the charity was worthwhile, couldn't she have sprung for it out of her own wallet. About the only positive thing to be gleaned from People for Excellence in Government's financial reports is that Finch and Wood patronized lots of Bridgeport restaurants.”

The above mentioned Finch is the mayor of Bridgeport. Mr. Finch, according to the report, plowed his sizable campaign surplus of $46,056 into the Campaign For Excellence and, upon taking office, hired Mrs. Baccaro’s son, a longtime friend of the mayor, as a campaign consultant to Bridgeport’s legal department. From 2008 to date, People for Excellence in Government, has reimbursed “Finch, his wife, one of his top aides, Adam Wood, and Wood's wife thousands of dollars for hotel stays, travel and meals… Last year,” Ms. Brown writes. “William Beccaro earned $91,000 as an independent contractor to the city of Bridgeport. This arrangement certainly has the look, the feel and the aroma of you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.”

No one involved in this latest Bridgeport stinky-poo, other than Mr. Baccaro’s mother, is answering even soft bat’em out of the park” questions. And those brave souls who do are armed to the teeth with oleaginous evasions.

The aptly named Derek Slap, for many years a reporter for NBC and now the communications director for Democratic Senate President Donald Williams and Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, handling the barbed query of another Post reporter – "What do Mr. Williams and Mr. Looney think about all this?" -- evaded the question: “The complaint was raised in the context of the Bridgeport mayoral primary. We have confidence the State Elections Enforcement Commission will take a thorough look at the facts, as they always do.”

Right. So, Mr. Williams and Mr. Looney, both of whom as legislators leapt on the ethics in government bandwagon that gave rise to the State Elections Enforcement Committee -- soon to be subsumed into a catch all agency that will include, among other watchdog groups, the Freedom of Information Commission and six other entities under an administrator to be appointed by Governor Dannel Malloy – are what... too tired, too far removed from possible Democratic corruption in Bridgeport, too slippery … to answer the least offensive of questions from a reporter?

Mr. Slap’s response, delivered on behalf of Mr. Williams and Mr. Looney, is a perfectly appropriate evasion coming from autocrats operating out of a one party legislature, in a one party state, concerning a one party town. But really – this is Connecticut!

The public who votes for Mr. McDonald and Mr. Looney might want to ask them, preferably when they are on the stump running for reelection, why such golden tongued Ciceros should need a Charlie McCarthy to answer simple media questions.

Mr. Finch’s operatives are not without resources. A pro-Finch PAC, a Connecticut political action committee called A Better Connecticut, has produced a video that puts Mr. Finch's opponent, Mary Jane Foster, in her place within the Bridgeport scheme of things. The treasurer of the PAC, Philip Benoit of Rocky Hill, unsurprisingly had contributed $750 to the Fiche campaign, a sum that should be added to a prior contribution of $250:

Lennie Grimaldi, who is to Bridgeport what Honore Balzac was to France, notes:

"Finch campaign handlers wouldn’t kick out this spot unless they felt Foster inching too close for comfort, especially in light of the latest news revelations over Finch’s relationship with a PAC. Finch says he’s done nothing wrong. Don’t be shocked if Finch handlers deny association with this attack video that was teed up and ready to go before the latest PAC revelations against the mayor played out in the news."

Wait for it.


jmarkley said...

Doesn't this guy have any friends? He can't find anyone except his mother to sign the form--and then he doesn't even tell her what's up?

Good job, Don--let us know what we can do to turn up the heat on this.

Don Pesci said...

Thanks Joe,

G.K. Chesterton, our hero, once said that Pimlico, Britain’s equivalent of Bridgeport, could only be saved by those who love Pimlico.

“Let us suppose we are confronted with a desperate thing — say Pimlico. If we think what is really best for Pimlico we shall find the thread of thought leads to the throne or the mystic and the arbitrary. It is not enough for a man to disapprove of Pimlico: in that case he will merely cut his throat or move to Chelsea. Nor, certainly, is it enough for a man to approve of Pimlico: for then it will remain Pimlico, which would be awful.

“The only way out of it seems to be for somebody to love Pimlico: to love it with a transcendental tie and without any earthly reason. If there arose a man who loved Pimlico, then Pimlico would rise into ivory towers and golden pinnacles; Pimlico would attire herself as a woman does when she is loved. For decoration is not given to hide horrible things: but to decorate things already adorable.”

"A mother does not give her child a blue bow because he is so ugly without it. A lover does not give a girl a necklace to hide her neck. If men loved Pimlico as mothers love children, arbitrarily, because it is theirs, Pimlico in a year or two might be fairer than Florence. Some readers will say that this is a mere fantasy. I answer that this is the actual history of mankind. This, as a fact, is how cities did grow great. Go back to the darkest roots of civilization and you will find them knotted round some sacred stone or encircling some sacred well. People first paid honour to a spot and afterwards gained glory for it. Men did not love Rome because she was great. She was great because they had loved her."

I just don’t think any of these guys love Bridgeport.

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