Wednesday, December 10, 2008

CONnecticut Politics: A Primer

The Rod Blagojevich scandal has reminded many Connecticut residents of their state's own political scandals over the past fifteen years. For those of you who are not familiar with the political doings of the Nutmeg State, here's a crash course in some of our corrupt politicians:

Joseph Ganim, Mayor of Bridgeport: When Joe Ganim first became mayor of Connecticut's largest city, he was praised by critics and citizens alike. He brought Bridgeport out of bankruptcy, got them a minor league baseball team, and was at one point under consideration to run for the Democratic nomination for governor in the 2002 election. However, in 2001, he was indicted on a 24-count federal charge that included racketeering, mail fraud, extortion, and tax evasion. He was later removed from office, and in 2003, was found guilty on 16 federal corruption charges and is currently serving a nine-year prison sentence.

John Fabrizi, Mayor of Bridgeport: Joe Ganim's successor, in 2006, Mayor Fabrizi admitted to using cocaine in office, after an FBI report alleged that a drug dealer had a videotape of him using the drug. He sought help, but did not seek re-election.

Philip Giordano, Mayor of Waterbury: Mayor Giordano was arrested in 2001 for having sex with an 8-year-old and a 10-year-old girl, in addition to having relations with an adult prostitute. In 2003, he was convicted of charges of using a cell phone to arrange sexual contact with children. He is currently serving a 37-year prison sentence.

John Rowland, Governor of Connecticut: John Rowland accomplished a lot for our fair state. He got us budget surpluses, preserved lots of open space, and helped spur the urban revival movement in Hartford, Stamford, and New London, among other cities. The Republican Party at one point looked at him as a potential vice-presidential candidate. However, as Rowland began his third term in office, rumors started circulating about him. Among them:
  • state contractors made improvements to Rowland's weekend cottage in the Litchfield hills, and Rowland did not pay for the improvements himself;
  • he took gifts from subordinates in state government;
  • he took partial ownership in some businesses that were eventually awarded state contracts

At first, Rowland denied all of the charges, but then admitted that state contractors did do work at his weekend cottage, but that he paid the contractors in full. Long story short, following this admission, an official investigation began, which resulted in the indictment of some of Rowland's aides. As the investigation continued, and things started looking really bad for Rowland, he resigned from office on June 24, 2004, as the investigation looked into bringing impeachment charges against him.

Later that year, Rowland pleaded guilty to "depriving the public of honest public service", and was sentenced to serve a year and a day in prison. He is currently working as an economic adviser for the city of Waterbury.

So that's a brief recent history on some of the corruption that's occurred here in Connecticut. I did research some other websites in order to get some of the information here; I did a Google search on Joseph Ganim and found some abstracts from the New York Time and the Hartford Courant about him. Wikipedia also had some good information on John Fabrizi, Philip Giordano, and John Rowland. I am not a font of knowledge of every single detail of what went on in the corruption trials (even though they all practically got 24/7 coverage here), but I did my best to condense the information for you. I am not a professional reporter, just a blogger who wants to help out her fellow bloggers and readers.

Connecticut, home of trees, insurance, and Joe Lieberman.

Oy, Joe Lieberman....

That's another post for another time.

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