Campaign Finance, Democratic Party, Ethics, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy Campaign Finance, Democratic Party, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy
Last April, Governor Malloy attended the “the star-studded White House Correspondent’s Dinner.”
His ticket and travel expenses were picked up by People Magazine.
The trip sparked a lot controversy including blog posts here at Wait, What? (Dannel’s Spring Break 2013 – The White House Correspondent’s Dinner April, 27 2013 and Wait, What? Malloy Reimburses People Magazine…)
At the time of the trip, Malloy’s office released a statement saying, “Instead of shifting the cost to the taxpayers, the Governor is personally paying the cost.”
Actually Malloy told Channel 8 news, “I could do it with state dollars, or I could do it with someone else’s dollars. I thought doing it with somebody else’s dollars made a lot of sense,”
But six months later, the Governor’s Office finally responded to a Freedom of Information request about the trip.
The documents that were released to NBC news revealed that while Malloy did “pay his own way” to the White House Gala, taxpayers picked up the $4,808.58 bill for his security detail.
When confronted about the conflict with the earlier statement, Malloy’s spokesperson explained that the Governor never said he was paying for all the costs associated with the trip to the Correspondent’s Dinner.
Instead the spokesman explained, “What we said was the Governor, rather than saddling taxpayers with the cost for his travel expenses, he paid for it himself.”
It campaign speak it is called “political spin.” In the real world it’s called never quite telling the whole truth.
Now questions are raging about Malloy’ recent California fundraising trip.
Both the governor’s office and the Connecticut Democratic State Party have refused to reveal details about the trip that Malloy took last Friday and Saturday.
According to the media reports, the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee paid for Malloy’s trip…but that excludes the costs incurred by the state troopers who went with the governor.
So despite what the Governor and his operation said about the Democratic Party picking up the tab, the cost to Connecticut taxpayers for Malloy’s trip ran into the tens of thousands of dollars.
Furthermore, as the Hartford Courant reported, the governor’s fundraising trip apparently including a stop to raise money from a California Democrat whose company has had “lucrative state contracts.”
But Malloy’s office and the state Democratic Party also refused to provide answers about the possible solicitation of a state contractor.
The Courant explained, “According to press reports, while on his fundraising trip, the governor was a guest of Lenny Mendonca, a prominent Northern California Democrat who co-founded the public sector practice at McKinsey & Company,” which has had contracts with UConn totaling $4 million over the past two years.
The Courant quoted Republican State Senator John McKinney as saying, “The revelation that the governor met with a state contractor while on a fundraising trip for the Democratic Party raises a number of questions. If the governor was soliciting a state contractor, or his employees for political contributions, then he clearly violated the spirit of Connecticut’s campaign finance laws, if not the laws themselves.”
The Courant added,
“There was no response from the governor’s office. Malloy’s director of communications, Andrew Doba, referred questions to the state Democratic Party. The party’s spokesman, James Hallinan, had this to say: ‘The governor always follows all rules and regulations.’
But did Malloy meet with Mendonca, as Peterson’s tweet suggested?
Hallinan would not answer that question. Instead, he said: ‘Again, we don’t comment about [Democratic Party] finance issues. That’s just our protocol. The governor always follows all rules and regulations.’”
At a press conference yesterday, reporters asked Malloy, once again, about the California trip and whether he met with the state contractor.
About the trip, Malloy said “talk to the party.”
About raising money from Mendonca, Malloy said, “I think I did have contact with such a person but not in connection with raising — to the best of my knowledge — money for Democratic causes.”
Such a person?
To the best of my knowledge?
Whether you call it political spin or not telling the whole truth it is a sad commentary about Governor Malloy’s “commitment” to transparency, open government and telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Corporate Welfare, Economic Development, Ethics, Malloy, Prosperity for Connecticut PAC Corporate Welfare, Economic Development, Ethics, Malloy, Prosperity for Connecticut PAC
Thanks to Governor Malloy’s corporate welfare program, Connecticut’s taxpayers provided a Connecticut company with a $100,000 loan and another $26,320 grant to pay for their move from Bloomfield to Hartford.
Malloy said the grant would help Connecticut’s jobless problem by retaining 11 jobs.
In a press release as the time, Governor Malloy explained, “Hybrid Insurance Agency LLC is a full-service, underwriting management and wholesale insurance brokerage firm. This is a fast-growing insurance group, beginning operations in March of 2010 in Windsor, a year later opening a satellite office in Columbus, Ohio, and a service operation in Kathmandu, Nepal. They currently have 11 employees in their headquarters and approximately 650 retail agents and brokers. A $100,000 loan and a $26,320 matching grant will go toward the relocation of the headquarters to Hartford. The project will retain 11 employees.”
Now the owner of Hybrid Insurance Agency reportedly works from home, most of the employees are apparently no longer employed and the company has defaulted on the loan that it received from Malloy’s economic development operation.
Hybrid Insurance is also is under investigation for allegedly failing to pass along $670,000 in premiums to two of the City of Hartford’s insurance carriers.
According to a story written by Hartford Courant columnist and blogger, Kevin Rennie, the Hartford Internal Audit Commission has been asked to investigate Adam Cloud, Hartford’s City Treasurer, “for what they called a possible conflict of interest involving Hybrid, which is at 30 Lewis St. — a building owned by Cloud, his brother Christopher and their father, Sanford “Sandy” Cloud Jr.”
Rennie reports that “Paula Altieri, the city school system’s chief financial officer, stated in a memorandum that Cloud’s office “moved” an insurance policy from one broker to Hybrid around February 2012 “without the need to compete.”
Meanwhile, Hybrid Insurance made an appearance earlier this year in a Wait, What? post when it was noted that the lobbyists for Hybrid Insurance were among those that attended the Prosperity for Connecticut Political Action Committee fundraiser in Hartford.
Prosperity for Connecticut is the PAC affiliated with Governor Malloy and that raised over $235,000 thanks to 15 fundraisers held over an 18 month period. Governor Malloy apparently attended all 15 fundraisers, with three held in Washington D.C., three in New York City and the rest in Connecticut.
Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman joined Malloy at the Hartford event which was targeted to raise donations from Connecticut lobbyists.
Hybrid Insurance has worked with the lobby firm of Camilliere, Cloud and Kennedy for the past two years, paying the lobbyists a total of $26,900. Christopher Cloud, Adam Cloud’s twin brother, is one of the partners and the lobby firm’s offices are located in the same building that “houses” Hybrid Insurance and is owned by the Cloud brothers and their father.
Today Hartford City Treasurer Adam Cloud had a letter to the editor in the Hartford Courant clarifying his role in the whole affair. Adam Cloud wrote;
“I would like to clarify some points made in recent articles about the Hartford treasurer’s office and Hybrid Insurance Group [Oct. 11, news, “Officials Call For Audit Of Treasurer”; Oct. 10, Kevin Rennie column, courantopinion.com, “Who's Got Hartford's Missing $669,997?”].
There are two insurance policies being discussed. First, the smaller pension fund policy was recommended by an insurance agency that had solicited a reduced-cost proposal from Hybrid. The bid was approved by the office of the corporation counsel and the pension commission, not our office.
As for the insurance coverage for the city and the schools, the selection of the insurance was made by an independent committee that neither I nor anyone in my staff was a member of. My office did not approve any business relationship between the city and Hybrid.
It is the finance department, which does not report to the treasurer’s office, that processes payments to vendors. When our office was notified that the carrier had not been paid by Hybrid, and the city could be in danger of an insurance coverage lapse, I engaged the finance department. In consultation with former city Finance Director Julio Molleda, we transferred the funds.
This is not an uncommon occurrence in managing the finances of a large city. It was my intent to protect the city from any potential financial dangers with no insurance.
The fact that Hybrid has an office in a building in which my family and I have an ownership interest had no bearing on this decision. Upon becoming treasurer, I relinquished any management responsibilities of this building.
Finally, it is important to note that in accordance with state law, at no time was the city uninsured. The city does not have to recoup the payment or make any additional payments; this is the carrier’s responsibility.
I strongly support the state Department of Insurance investigation of Hybrid and the city’s internal audit department’s review.
Adam Cloud, Hartford City Treasurer.
And lest it falls through the cracks, the only person who raised concerns about Malloy’s gift to Hybrid Insurance in the first place was Bloomfield’s State Representative who asked why state funds were being used to persuade a company to move from his district into Hartford.
At the time Baram said, “The loan program should primarily focus on growing small businesses in the local community where they are located… ”I will be conveying my disappointment to the governor’s office, urging the Department of Economic and Community Development to award future loans and grants that will allow companies to remain local.”
Al Barbarotta, Ethics, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy Al Barbarotta, Ethics, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy
Wait, Can you run that by me again…?
Over the weekend, three Connecticut Hearst Media Group reporters, Kate King, Neil Vigdor and Ken Dixon published a front-page story in the Stamford Advocate.
Considering it was the last “real” weekend of the summer and the newspaper’s primary readership is in Stamford, most Connecticut residents might have missed it.
However the piece should definitely be marked “MUST READ” since we’re likely to be hearing a lot more about this growing controversy.
The piece explores the relationship between Governor Dannel Malloy and contractor Al Barbarotta.
Malloy is renting his Stamford house for $8,000 a month. Barbarotta, a Stamford contractor who made tens of millions thanks to city contracts when Malloy was Stamford’s Mayor is “managing the house” for Malloy while he lives in the Governor’s Mansion.
Some of the newspaper’s findings are more than a bit breathtaking.
The Stamford Advocate piece starts with a description of a moment during a recent Stamford Board of Finance meeting in which a Hearst reporter asks Al Barbarotta, “if he’s aware of the unauthorized use of a city truck by a city employee whom Barbarotta hired to do landscaping at Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s Stamford home, where Barbarotta is caretaker.”
“’No, I haven’t heard,’ he says sarcastically, smirking as he pulls the cell-phone from the pocket of his khaki pants…He brashly invites the reporter to look at the screen, which shows two missed calls from “GovernorMalloy.” Barbarotta likes to describe himself as the governor’s “best friend.” Cell- phone titles aside, he routinely calls the governor “Danny.” But the relationship between the two men extends far beyond the realm of friendship to the world of politics, power — and money.”
As the paper explains,
“Barbarotta’s construction company, AFB Management, has earned millions of dollars in outsourcing work in the city where Malloy was mayor from 1995 to 2009 and references that money can’t buy. In addition to Stamford, the firm’s reach extends from New Haven to Waterbury and Barbarotta’s hometown of Trumbull, with AFB managing 11 million square feet of public school facilities throughout the state and hundreds of acres of parks and beaches.
But controversy inevitably seems to follow the 62-year-old Barbarotta, a major bundler of campaign cash for Malloy, whose close ties to the governor have previously raised questions of impropriety and cronyism.”
As some will recall, Malloy and AFB Management were investigated by Connecticut’s Chief State’s Attorney just before Malloy ran for Governor in 2006. The corruption investigation was base don’t he allegation that “Malloy used his influence to award city jobs to contractors who worked on his home.” Malloy and AFB were eventually cleared of any wrongdoing.
Now Malloy and Barbarotta are back in the news, but Malloy is not bound by municipal ethics laws and apparently the relationship is outside of the jurisdiction of State Ethics laws.
In response to the Stamford Advocate, Malloy’s spokesperson acknowledges the close friendship between the two, but brushes aside any suggestion of an improper alliance between the first-term incumbent and the construction manager…’It should be noted that Mr. Barbarotta is not a lobbyist, is not a pre-qualified state contractor and does not do business with the state of Connecticut whatsoever,’”
But what is the relationship?
The weekend Stamford Advocate reports on Barbarotta’s role with the Newtown School following the December 2013 Sandy Hook Massacre.
“In the days after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, the governor needed help with the sensitive task of relocating students from Sandy Hook to a moth-balled Monroe school. Malloy turned to his friend Barbarotta, much to the confusion of other contractors at the site.
A series of emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act questioned Barbarotta’s role in the move, including an exchange between Trumbull First Selectman Timothy Herbst and Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra on whether contractors should send their invoices to AFB. Barbarotta’s company manages school facilities in Trumbull, where he has traded barbs with Herbst.
‘I do not know what legal authority Mr. Barbarotta would have to tell subcontractors working on behalf of the town of Newtown to send invoices to his office,’ Herbst wrote.
Herbst provided the newspaper a copy of AFB’s directive to the contractors who were assigned to the Sandy Hook Elementary School relocation, as well as correspondence from Newtown counterpart Llodra.
‘I am remembering a conversation I overheard when Newtown first met with the team from Monroe at Chalk Hill School,’ Llodra wrote. ‘Al Barbarotta indicated to the group gathered that he was assigned by the governor to handle the entire project, including all the invoicing and the information about costs and donations would be turned over to the governor’s office.’”
Meanwhile, as noted, Barbarotta is taking care of Malloy’s Stamford house. The Stamford Advocate reports,
“In the Stamford landscaping work on Malloy’s property, city officials are now conducting their own internal investigation into whether Ron Markey, who is the city deputy tree warden and was working as a subcontractor on the governor’s property, violated the municipal code of ethics.
‘Ronnie Markey works for the city,’ Barbarotta said Tuesday. ‘AFB manages the city’s parks department. I’m an independent contractor so I do work all over the state. The governor asked me to help oversee his house. I called (Markey) up – the governor had no clue I called him.’ On Thursday, Malloy’s office released a copy of a bill for $1,596 for the tree work that Doba said the governor plans to pay and includes the customary 5 percent management markup fee assessed by Barbarotta.”
And the connection and relationship goes deeper and deeper.
According to the Stamford Advocate,
“The day before Hearst reported on the work at Malloy’s Stamford home, which the governor is renting out for $8,000 a month, Malloy showed up in shorts and a polo shirt for the grand opening of Parker’s Steaks & Scotch, a Trumbull restaurant Barbarotta is a partner in.
‘He has known the governor a long time,’ said DiNardo [Connecticut’s Democratic State Chair], who was also at the opening. ‘He is certainly supportive of the governor. In his business, he has tried to be bipartisan.’”
The paper also reveals,
“Barbarotta, his family and his employees are major supporters of Democrats, contributing $7,700 to political action committees and candidates in 2009 and 2010, including $4,250 for Malloy and now Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman.
In a process called “bundling” several AFB employees gave money that was recorded at the same time. On May 21, 2010, eight AFB employees contributed $100 each to Wyman.
When Malloy won the governorship by a mere 6,500 votes in 2010, Barbarotta co-hosted a victory party for his friend at the Old Town Hall in Stamford.”
There is a lot more to the story and the story is undoubtedly only the first of many.
Readers can find Saturday’s Stamford Advocate piece at: http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/The-man-Gov-Malloy-has-on-speed-dial-4758969.php#photo-5078635
A Better Connecticut Education Reform Lobbying Group, Achievement First/ConnCAN, Charter Schools, Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER), Ethics, Excel Bridgeport Inc., Malloy, Michelle Rhee, Stefan Pryor, StudentsFirst, Teach for America, Wendy Lecker A Better Connecticut, Achievement First, ConnCAN, Ethics, Malloy, Michelle Rhee, Stefan Pryor, StudentsFirst, Wendy Lecker
Pro-public education commentator Wendy Lecker has written another “must read” piece, this time pointing out the fact that corporate education reformers are either unwilling or unable to tell the truth as the spin their political stories to try and convince elected officials and the public to support their “education reform” agenda.
Lecker, like many of us, has heard the latest round of ads that side-step the truth in a politically self-righteous attempt to convince us that we can improve out public education system by handing it over to private corporations and charter schools.
This new $1.5 million advertising campaign by a front organization called, ironically enough, A Better Connecticut, is just one more step in the most expensive lobbying effort in Connecticut history.
Here are the latest numbers;
To date, since Governor Malloy took office, the corporate education reform industry has spent at least $4,650,721.54 on lobbying, breaking all Connecticut records for the most expensive effort in history to buy up Connecticut Public Policy.
The following chart reveals the players in this scheme.
Following the chart is a link to Wendy Lecker’s latest piece in the Stamford Advocate, Bridgeport Post and other Hearst media outlets.
|Corporate Education Reform Organization
||Amount Spent on Lobbying
|Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now, Inc. (ConnCAN)
|Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Advocacy, Inc. (ConnAD)
|A Better Connecticut
|Students First/GNEPSA (Michelle Rhee)
|Achievement First, Inc. (Dacia Toll/Stefan Pryor)
|Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER)
|Students for Education Reform (Michelle Rhee)
|Connecticut Charter School Association/N.E. Charter School Network
|Teach For America
|EDUCATON REFORM LOBBYING EXPENDITURES
Wendy Lecker: Imagining where all that money could have gone
“Proponents of corporate-driven education reforms seem to believe that the notion of telling the truth is a low priority. Take for example the false claims being made by charter school advocates about the size of waiting lists for charter schools.
In as diverse locations as Massachusetts and Chicago, charter lobbyists having been pushing charter school expansion by claiming lengthy waiting lists. In both locations, investigations by journalists at the Boston Globe and WBEZ revealed that the waiting list numbers were grossly exaggerated, often counting the same students multiple times. As a Massachusetts legislator noted, raising the charter cap based on artificial numbers “doesn’t make sense.” Unless, of course, your main goal is charter expansion rather than sound educational policy
Another common theme promoted by charter schools is the questionable claim of amazing success. Recently, Geoffrey Canada of the famed Harlem Children’s Zone gave an online seminar in which he boasted a 100 percent graduation rate at his schools. However, if one looks at HCZ’s attrition rate, the true graduation rate is 64 percent. Many have also noted that Canada kicked out two entire grades of children because of sub-par test scores.
Here in Connecticut, ConnCAN, the charter school lobby, is the prominent peddler of shaky claims and half-truths about charter schools.
Recently, in an effort to promote the expansion of charter schools in Bridgeport, Jennifer Alexander, the CEO of ConnCAN, Inc. declared that nearly 80 percent of charters outperform their host districts. However, data from the State Department of Education reveals that about 90 percent of Connecticut’s charters serve a less needy population than their host districts: fewer poor children, fewer English Language Learners or fewer students with disabilities, with most having a combination of two or three of these categories.
Considering poverty, language barriers and special education needs are the prominent factors influencing standardized test scores, it is not much a feat to have higher test scores with a less challenging population. ConnCAN’s claim is hardly an indication of success or innovation.”
Read the rest of Lecker’s commentary piece here: http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Wendy-Lecker-Imagining-where-all-that-money-4526450.php#ixzz2TlStOU64
Corporate Viewpoint, Ethics, Malloy Corporate Influence, Ethics, Malloy
At the very moment Governor Malloy’s political operation was weighing the political fallout of his trip to the White House Correspondents Dinner and whether he should “reimburse” People Magazine for $1,000 or so (we still don’t know how much taxpayers shelled out for Malloy’s security detail), the U.S. Security Industry Association was releasing a press release that Malloy would be this year’s “Keynote Speaker” at their Security Industry Association Government Summit next month in Washington, D.C.
According to the Security Industry Association (SIA), the event is the “premier annual public policy conference in the security industry.”
The press release explained that Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy will serve as the keynote speaker and that, “Gov. Malloy’s remarks will precede a panel on school safety on day two of the Summit. Violent events in our nation’s schools have demonstrated that these “soft targets” are not sacred to those seeking to do harm. Understanding there are many factors that can contribute to secure learning environment, this panel will examine those factors as well as the contributions the industry can make to provide safe educational facilities.”
The press release goes on to note that, “The SIA Government Summit provides attendees with unique insights that help them better understand how policy drives business in the security industry. The exclusive nature of the setting allows one-on-one conversations with government decision makers.”
According to the Security Industry Association’s website, they are “the leading trade association for electronic and physical security solution providers. SIA protects and advances its members’ interests by advocating pro-industry policies and legislation at the federal and state levels; creating open industry standards that enable integration; advancing industry professionalism through education and training; opening global market opportunities; and collaboration with other like-minded organizations. As a proud sponsor of ISC Expos and Conferences, and owner of the Securing New Ground Conference, SIA ensures its members have access to top-level buyers and influencers, as well as unparalleled learning and network opportunities.”
Interestingly the press release did not reveal whether Governor Malloy’s trip to Washington D.C. would be paid for by the Security Industry Association or the taxpayers of Connecticut.
Ethics, Malloy Ethics, Malloy
“To remove a needless distraction when there are far more important public policy issues to deal with, Gov. Malloy has made the decision to personally reimburse People Magazine for the costs of his attendance at the White House Correspondents Dinner. He has written a personal check for $1,234.62,” said his spokesman, Andrew Doba.
You have got to be kidding me!
So it was an official visit to Washington, but he will reimburse People Magazine…and yet the taxpayers will still pick up the tab for the airfare, accommodations, payroll and overtime for Malloy’s security detail – - – the cost of which Malloy’s office refused to provide…
As just reported in the CT Mirror, Malloy’s spokesperson said;
- “We are confident that People Magazine’s payment would have been proper under Connecticut’s ethics laws…The governor attended the event in his official capacity and used the opportunity to advance Connecticut’s interests. The governor’s office accepted People Magazine’s gift in order to relieve taxpayers of the cost. Instead of shifting the cost to the taxpayers, the Governor is personally paying the cost.”
- “First, during the event, Gov. Malloy engaged in substantive discussions with numerous senior officials,” Doba said. “To note just a few discussions among many, he talked with Small Business Administrator Karen Mills about Connecticut’s Hurricane Sandy relief plan and small business investment programs under the JOBS Act, talked with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer about the strategy for pursuing federal gun control legislation, and talked with Congressman Steve Israel about proposals for the establishment of a regional infrastructure bank.”
- “And Gov. Malloy promoted Connecticut’s economic development agenda in discussions with numerous business and media leaders.”
See CTMirror Blog Post at http://www.ctmirror.org/blogs/malloy-reimburses-people-white-house-party
Ethics, Malloy Ethics, Malloy
True it is only May 1, 2013, but Governor Malloy has swept into the front-runner position for the Wait, What? “Quote of the Year” competition with his explanation to WTNH Channel 8 news regarding his decision to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner.
“I could do it with state dollars, or I could do it with someone else’s dollars. I thought doing it with somebody else’s dollars made a lot of sense,” Malloy told Channel 8 news.
According to the Channel 8 report, People Magazine paid about $1,000 for the cost of airfare, hotel accommodations and the ticket to the White House Correspondent’s Dinner.
People Magazine explained that they invited Malloy because he would make an interesting guest as a result of the Newtown nightmare. Or as the editor of People Magazine put it, “with all eyes on the tragedy in Newtown, a story that People readers care deeply about, and that People has been covering intensively, we saw Governor Malloy as someone suddenly playing on a larger stage, someone interesting to our readers, our editors and other guests.”
Malloy defended his decision telling Channel 8, “With all due respect, it’s not a gift, there was an offer to pay to have the Governor of the State of Connecticut, in his capacity as the Governor of the State of Connecticut, attend a very important meeting, session, series of events,” said Governor Malloy.
Channel 8 went on to explain that in addition to the dinner, the Governor attended, “at least one party after the star studded annual event on Saturday night, and quickly came back to Connecticut, a visit by his estimate of about 22 hours.”
While Governor Malloy’s “official schedule” is always made public and Malloy, himself, explained that his trip to the White House Correspondents Dinner was made exclusively in his official capacity as Connecticut’s Governor, his press secretary told CTNewsjunkie and other media outlets that they did not issue a press advisory about Malloy’s trip to D.C because they only inform the media when “Malloy is speaking or has the opportunity to be interviewed. The correspondents’ dinner fit neither category.”
Considering Malloy said the trip was funded by private dollars, it must be assumed that the $1,000 for airfare, accommodations and other expenses covered the governor and his security entourage.
As usual, the controversy is not so much that he attended the dinner…who wouldn’t want to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner…but the political spin around that decision.
You can read and watch the Channel 8 news story at: http://www.wtnh.com/dpp/news/politics/magazine-paid-for-malloy-to-attend-correspondents-dinner#.UYBtqys_9B1?utm_source=Coffee+and+Politics+No.+415+May+1%2C+2013&utm_campaign=Issue+415+%7C+Morning+Coffee+%26+Politics%3A+Budget+Analysts+Predict+%24488M+Drop+In+Revenue&utm_medium=email
CL&P, DEEP Commissioner Dan Esty, Ethics, Malloy, Northeast Utilities CL&P, Dan Esty, Malloy, NU
As Connecticut residents are now learning, one of the primary speakers on a recent Northeast Utilities/UBS Wall Street conference call with more than 150 analysts, stock brokers and investors was Connecticut’s Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection.
The issue was the development of a new set of electric transmission lines that would allow Canadian company, Hydro-Quebec, to deliver its electricity to southern New England, providing Hydro-Quebec and Northeast Utilities with hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue and hopefully lowering electric rates for Connecticut consumers.
According the CTNewsjunkie, “Malloy said he read the transcript of Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Daniel C. Esty’s call with UBS investors and saw nothing wrong with what he said…’I read the entirety of the transcript,’ Malloy said. ‘Everything he said there he’s said elsewhere. Almost everything he said I’ve said publicly time and time and time again.’”
Malloy, Esty and others have been strong supporters of Northeast Utilities and the project, but Commissioner Esty’s direct involvement in a UBS investor call generated a swift response from groups ranging from the Connecticut Citizen Action Group to the Connecticut Republican Party.
Calling for a full investigation, the chairman of the Republican Party wrote, “The first question is why did the Commissioner even participate in this call in the first place? There appears to be no State or public interest served by participating in the conference call…It appears that Commissioner Esty, who received $205,000 in consulting fees from Northeast Utilities prior to being appointed as DEEP Commissioner, was trying to curry favor with an entity that formerly employed him.”
Prior to the Republican’s call for an investigation, the CTMirror reported that “Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said earlier today that it is important for him and his commissioners to be explaining public policy to the widest possible audience.”
In this case, UBS had already up-graded NU’s stock from “neutral” to a “buy.”
You can read the latest on the expanding story here: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/ctnj.php/archives/entry/malloy_defends_esty_canadian_hydro/ and http://www.ctmirror.org/blogs/ct-gop-chair-asks-ag-investigate-esty-investor-call and http://www.ctmirror.org/blogs/malloy-defends-esty-message-not-delivery-stock-analysts.
Ethics, Malloy Malloy
“Malloy’s office issued no press release” is what the Hartford Courant reported, but our governor flew off to Washington D.C on Friday to join Conan O’Brien, Barbara Streisand, Kevin Spacey and a host of movie stars and media personalities at Saturday night’s White House Correspondent’s Dinner.
Or as Justin Bieber puts it in his “hit song” “Party like it is 3012″;
“Show you off, tonight I wanna show you off
What you got, a billion could’ve never bought
We gonna party like it’s 3012 tonight
I want to show you all the finer things in life
So just forget about the world, we young tonight
I’m coming for ya, I’m coming for ya”
Making the evening all the more magical was the fact that for first time, the television network, E! Entertainment, announced that it would “live stream the red carpet.
In fact, you can see a slide show of some of the best dressed here: http://nymag.com/thecut/2013/04/red-carpet-white-house-correspondents-dinner.html#slideshow=/slideshows/2013/04/26/white_house_correspondentsredcarpet2013.slideshow.json.slideshow.json%7CcurrentSlide=00045
According to today’s Hartford Courant, Governor Malloy was a guest of People Magazine, although “guest” wasn’t quite defined in any detail so we don’t know if People just picked up the cost of the event ticket, food and liquor or whether they went full-out and paid for the plane rides, hotel and transportation for Malloy and his security detail.
Considering the event went late Saturday night, we don’t know, but will try to determine if it was People Magazine of the People of Connecticut might who had the privilege of picking up the tab for two nights of accommodations and food for Malloy’s weekend in the limelight.
But one thing is for certain, these White House Correspondent parties aren’t cheap…
According to a recent article in the Style section of the Washington Post, “some media organizations will drop as much as $200,000 each to entertain an elite list of guests.”
As the Washington Post noted, media outlets purchase tables and then fill them up with paid celebrity appearances, along with tickets for other famous people and movers and shakers, as they seek to fill the seats not taken by their own high ranking corporate officials.
Leading up the big event, celebrity websites were reporting that;
The CBS News table was going to include actors Kevin Spacey, Claire Danes, plus Korean Rapper sensation Psy (Side Note: Psy fans can re-live the magic of his GANGNAM STYLE video here).
USA was reporting that they would be showing off Courtney Cox, Kristin Chenoweth, Kate Walsh, Ashley Judd and Josh Gad. [It’s okay, I didn’t know who some of these people were either].
The Newsweek table was scheduled to include Nicole Kidman, Olivia Munn and movie producer Harvey Weinstein, while the Huffington Post was going with Bon Jovi, Shaquille O’Neal and Scarlett Johansson
ABC focused on their own TV show casts including Sofia Vergara, Eric Stonestreet, Ty Burrell , Julie Bowen, Connie Britton, Hayden Panettiere, Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn.
And the Neflix table was to include Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Corey Stoll, Kate Mara, Constance Zimmer and Michael Kelly.
Of course, NPR had to show off their “we’re better than the rest” approach with Jessica Alba, comedian Tracy Morgan, actress Sophia Bush and Star Wars creator George Lucas.
Jeremy Renner, comedian Fred Armisen, New York Giants Victor Cruz were all expected at the Reuters table, as were Dan Stevens, Kathleen Turner and Madeline Stowe.
Time was going with Steven Spielberg, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and gymnast Gabby Douglas and NBC was planning to show off with Michael J. Fox, Matthew Perry and Michael Douglas.
Interesting, it wasn’t exactly clear who made the People Magazine table but hopefully the Governor’s media operation can fill us in…a media request has been submitted.
As the Washington Post went on to report, while the dinner of 3,000 is prime spotlight time, it is the after-dinner parties where you know whether or not you really are a part of the “in crowd.”
The Post reported, “The two biggest after-dinner events, one hosted by Vanity Fair and Bloomberg Media and another hosted by MSNBC, will fete 400 and 750 people, respectively, in rented embassies (France and Italy, respectively). The Vanity Fair-Bloomberg party is so chichi that guests have been asked to send digital headshots of themselves in advance in order to discourage gate-crashers.
At least a dozen other media companies, including People magazine, the Hill newspaper, Yahoo, Reuters, Politico, the New Yorker and the co-owned Atlantic and National Journal will do up their own parties (The Washington Post is hosting a pre-dinner reception at the Hilton).”
Governor Malloy’s Office neither confirmed nor denied whether Connecticut’s Chief Elected Official was invited or attended any of the post-dinner events.
Board of Regents, Eastern Connecticut State University, Elsa Nunez, Ethics, Higher Education Board of Regents, Eastern Connecticut State University, Elsa Nunez
When Governor Rell nominated World Wrestling CEO Linda McMahon for a position on the State Board of Education, McMahon claimed that she had a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. Thanks to some investigative work, I learned that the degree was really in French.
More recently, Wait, What? readers will recall that an aide to Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch listed himself on a national website that he served as Bridgeport’s Deputy Mayor for Education despite the fact that Bridgeport didn’t have a position of Deputy Mayor and the young staff person wasn’t actually even at the director level of anything.
In this Internet age, padding one’s resume has become increasingly difficult since the truth is only a search or two away.
That said, “Resume Enhancement” remains a part of our world.
The tactic is especially condemned in the world of colleges, universities and academia, which makes the following story all the more strange.
Connecticut State Register and Manual, often called “The Connecticut Blue Book,” has been the official record of Connecticut government since 1785.
The State Register and Manual lists the President of EASTERN CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY as Elsa Nuñez, Ph.D.
Meanwhile, the Connecticut Campus Compact (CTCC) is an organization that was established in 1998 and is made up of twenty-eight Connecticut colleges and universities. Its goal is to help colleges develop more effective community partnerships. The CTCC is governed by a Board of Directors, which lists Elsa Nuñez, Ph.D., as its Vice Chair.
Elsa Nunez, Ph.D. also serves on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Association of Human Services, a one hundred-year-old organization that promotes economic security strategies for low-income families.
And Eastern Connecticut State University’s Canadian Studies Program lists Elsa Nunez, Ph.D. as the President of Eastern.
Elsa Nunez, Ph.D. is also quoted by numerous media outlets such as the Manchester Journal Inquirer newspaper and the CT Latino News.
The only problem is, Elsa Nuñez doesn’t have a Ph.D.
Elsa Nunez doesn’t have a Ph.D. but she did receive an Ed.D. (A Doctor of Education) from the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in 1979.
At the time, Rutgers’ granted an Ed.D. from the School of Education in a variety of concentrations including; “(1) Creative Arts Education, (2)Elementary/Early Childhood Education, (3) English-Language Arts Education, (4) Language Education (with emphasis in BilingualBicultural, English as a Second Language, Foreign Language and Linguistics Education), (5) Mathematics Education, (6) Science Education, (7) Social Education.
Let’s be clear. There is absolutely nothing wrong with an Ed.D. but as academics will tell you, an Ed.D. is a very different degree than a Ph.D.
The Ph.D. is an academic doctoral degree and is specifically called a “doctor of philosophy.”
An Ed.D. is traditionally a professional or vocational degree for people who work in the field of Education.
As New York University notes in their Graduate School of Education catalog, “The Ph.D. program is a research degree designed for students who aspire to conduct research throughout their careers in roles such as faculty members, researchers, government employees, policy scholars, or institutional researchers…”
NYU goes on to say, “In contrast, the Ed.D. program is designed to meet the increasing need for visionary and entrepreneurial leaders in community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, corporate-sponsored education, and governmental agencies.”
Or as Wikipedia explains, “In the United States, the Ph.D. degree is the highest academic degree awarded by universities…” Whereas, the Doctor of Education (Ed.D) is a degree that has a more “professional” focus. Wikipedia goes on to explain. “From the very beginning there was a formal division between the Ed.D. and the Ph.D. in education, and the growing popularity of the applied doctorates was met by faculty in the arts and sciences questioning their legitimacy. They argued that practical and vocational aims were inappropriate for doctoral study, which they contended should be focused on producing scholarly research and college professors…The Ed.D. and the colleges of education that granted them continued to face criticism…”
While the issue may seem rather archaic to some, rest assured that at universities around the nation, the debate remains heated. Many academics are particularly sensitive about whether the letters Ph.D. or Ed.D. are listed after their names.
In Nunez’s case, rather than explain that she has an Ed.D. from Rutgers with a concentration in “Language Education (with emphasis in BilingualBicultural, English as a Second Language, Foreign Language and Linguistics Education),” President Nunez’ simply states that she has a “Doctorate in linguistics from Rutgers.”
And that is how Nunez’ bio reads today – “A Doctorate in linguistics from Rutgers.”
It would be fair to say that such a claim is one of those statements that isn’t quite true, but then again, it isn’t quite a lie either.
What is true is that Nunez collects $299,460 a year, plus benefits, as the President of Eastern and now gets an extra $48,000 as a result of the extra administrative duties she provides for the Board of Regents. Her pay raise was caught up in last year’s illegal bonuses that the previous President of the Board of Regents doled out. Those bonuses or pay increase were then revoked but later re-instated for Nunez and one of the Community College Presidents who was also given “extra administrative duties.”
In the world of politics, there is little awareness of the difference between Ph.Ds and Ed.Ds, but that is hardly the case in the world of academics.
And it is for that reason that it is rather odd for Elsa Nunez to approach this controversial issue in the way that she has.