Carmen Lopez is not only a former superior court judge, but she is a truth teller. Below is a commentary piece she wrote earlier in the month, a version of which was published in the CT Post.
It provides a view into the political world of Connecticut, in which having friends in high places trumps good public policy time and time again.
What our state needs is more truth tellers….
Friends in High Places (By Carmen Lopez)
The July 2, 2014 edition of the CTPOST reported that two Bridgeport area chiropractors, who participated in a $1.7 million fraud scheme, were recently sentenced in Federal Court.
The scheme involved lawyers, a medical doctor, chiropractors and others, and resulted in a suspended sentence for the two chiropractors, plus an order of restitution totaling approximately $160,000. The online version of the story, posted by reporter Mike Mayko on July 1, 2014, reported that Paul S. Timpanelli, CEO of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council and current Barnum Festival Ringmaster, and Mary Jane Foster, a former and perhaps future candidate for Mayor, spoke on behalf of one of the chiropractors who was before Federal Judge Stephan Underhill for sentencing.
Both urged leniency based upon volunteer work performed by one of the chiropractors, Jennifer Lynne, in downtown Bridgeport activities. Apparently, their pleas were heard by Judge Underhill.
Upon reading the story, I couldn’t help wondering if this was the same Mary Jane Foster who self-righteously criticized former mayor John Fabrizi after he attended a birthday party hosted by the owner of local ‘strip club.’ Also, I wondered if this was the same Paul Timpanelli, whose organization, the Bridgeport Regional Business Council counts the strip club owner among its members.
We all recall that Mayor Fabrizi, foolishly, and using very poor judgment, testified on behalf of a friend of his son, in a criminal proceeding. This act was regarded as a disqualification for the office of Mayor and was widely reported in the CTPOST. Fabrizi was called to account, and rightly so. He should not have used his status as Mayor of the largest city in the state, in support of a violent criminal act.
I think he would recognize that with the benefit of hindsight.
No such accountability will be demanded of Paul Timpanelli and Mary Jane Foster. Although their participation in the sentencing hearing was reported online, it was edited out of the print edition of the CTPOST. Oh, to have friends in high places!
Apparently, if the crime merely involves, stealing with a pen, it is ok to stand up for the criminal in a Connecticut court room. The order of restitution by Judge Underhill against Jennifer Lynne, whose volunteer work was vouched for by Timpanelli and Foster, was $117,000. Does anybody remember how much Ernie Newton was accused of stealing, before he was sent to prison for 5 years?
Stories like this, inevitably lead many to conclude, that a pervasive and entrenched double standard exists, in law, in politics, and in print journalism.