United Illuminating (UI): One of biggest donors to Mayor Finch’s effort to undermine democracy in Bridgeport

True the $10,000 donation from United Illuminating to Residents for a Better Bridgeport occurred before Hurricane Sandy hit.

And true an extra $10,000 wouldn’t allow a substantively different response by UI to this natural disaster.

But with 41,794 UI customers still out of power as of 11:00 a.m. today – November 3rd, 2012, – a week after the storm hit, the symbolism is – let’s just say – shocking!

UI is a Connecticut public utility company; it provides a public benefit so it is regulated by the State of Connecticut.  It exists because we, the people, allow it to exist.

Here we are, a state in which 10 percent of the people are unemployed and nearly 1 in 5 are unemployed, underemployed or have given up looking for work. And UI, a company with some of the highest electric rates in the nation is siphoning off money to play politics in Bridgeport.

Next week we’ll investigate and learn whether the money they donated to undermine democracy in Bridgeport was “shareholder funds or “rate-payer funds, but quite frankly, the point is irrelevant.

The fact is we have a Connecticut Public utility company – taking Connecticut resident’s hard-earned money – to fund an effort to take away one of the most important American rights we have – the right of self-governance.

It’s time that our elected officials tell us what they are going to do about this outrage!

Click here to see the latest UI Outage map

On Oct. 29, 2012, UIL Holdings Corporation (NYSE: UIL), the company that owns UI,  announced that its Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.432 per share on its Common Stock at today’s Board meeting. This dividend is payable January 2, 2013 to shareowners of record at the close of business on December 19, 2012.

Oh, and on a related note, on October 29, 2012, as the storm closed in, Thelma Albright and William Murdy, both UI Directors, cashed in stock for $51,571 and $27,697 respectfully,

Finally, UI’s Board of Directors includes the following people.  If you happen to see one, ask them…. So, what about that $10,000 donation to Residents for a Better Bridgeport?  Is undermining democracy a position supported by the entire board?

UI Board of Directors  

Thelma R. Albright

Former President, Carter Products Division, Carter Wallace, Inc.

Arnold L. Chase

Member of the Board of Directors and President, Gemini Networks, Inc.; Executive Vice President, Chase Enterprises

Betsy Henley-Cohn

Chairperson of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer, Joseph Cohn & Son, Inc.

Suedeen G. Kelly

Partner, Patton Boggs L.L.P.

John L. Lahey

Non-Executive Chair, UIL Holdings Corporation; President, Quinnipiac University

Daniel J. Miglio

Former Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of SNET Corporation and Southern New England Telecommunications

William F. Murdy

Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer, Comfort Systems USA

Donald R. Shassian

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Frontier Communications Corporation

James P. Torgerson

President and Chief Executive Officer, UIL Holdings Corporation; Chief Executive Officer, The United Illuminating Company

Mayor Finch and “Education Reformers” spend record amount to take away Bridgeport voter’s rights!

Welcome to 21st Century America

Lennie Grimaldi, Bridgeport’s leading political pundit, and author of the blog, Only in Bridgeport, broke the news today that Mayor Mike Bloomberg gave $20,000 to Residents For A Better Bridgeport, the political action committee behind the campaign to support Mayor Bill Finch’s power grab to eliminate a democratically elected school board and replace it with one appointed by him.

But the $20,000 donation from Bloomberg is only the tip of a much bigger iceberg and Residents for a Better Bridgeport is only one of a series of corporate funded political groups spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to make sure Bridgeport’s parents and other voters don’t get a direct role in selecting who sets education policy in Bridgeport.

Here are just a few of the companies and organizations that are funding the anti-democracy campaign.  More names to come…  By the way, the campaign finance violations are so numerous that it will take a few days to develop the appropriate legal complaint – but we’ll put it together and file it on Monday or Tuesday – if for no other reason than for our American principles.

Even more importantly, what is UI, the publicly funded hospitals and the publicly subsidized Harbor Yard doing using people’s hard-earned payments and money to undermine democracy.  It is inappropriate and disgusting.

Let’s hope the Legislature will demand a full investigation into these corporations and their behavior.

With tens of thousands without healthcare and electricity, these people are spending money to take away the democratic rights of Connecticut residents.  It is perhaps the best example of immorality that I have ever seen.

Company/Organization Amount
Aquarium Water Company: $14,000
AT&T Connecticut Employee PAC $2,000
Benchmark Trademark Ltd $5,000
Bradford Evans (Senior Advisor Morgan Stanley) $25,000
Bismark Construction Company $3,500
Bridgeport and Port Jefferson Company $14,000
Bridgeport Hospital $14,442.90
CT Coalition for Advancement Now (ConnAD) $14,000
Hal Rosnick (Attorney) $500
Harbor Yard Sports and Entertainment LLC $14,442.90
Jarvis Group LLC, NY (in-kind video) $14,376.40
Juda Epstein (Attorney) $1,000.00
Mark Tillenger $2,500
Merit Insurance $2,500
Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of  New York City $20,000
Michael Halperin $2,500
Poko Core Builders, Farmington, CT $2,500
Pullman & Comley (law firm with significant state business) $7,000
St. Vincent’s Hospital $14,400
United Illuminating 10,000
Zachary Zeitlin (Silver Point Capital, Westport) $2,000


Considering the Democrats will always control 6 of the 9 Board of Education seats, the question remains – why is Finch and the reformers working so hard to “control” the 3 seats that would normally go for “minority representation” – in this case – to members of the Connecticut Working Families Party.  This is not about controlling policy, this is about making sure that no opposition, whatsoever is allowed.

Also just in, Michelle Rhee’s national organization, StudentsFirst, dropped $97,000 on October 19th to pay for door to door canvassing expenditures to persuade voters to give up their democratic rights.  Recently, Rhee’s husband, a former NBA star and Mayor of Sacramento, California showed up to campaign in favor of the charter change.  He appeared at a forum with Mayor Finch and Paul Vallas, Bridgeport’s part-time, $229,000 a year, Superintendent of Schools.

And they call themselves Americans!