Outside money turns Hartford Democratic Town Committee into a Luke Bronin slush fund

Thanks to the behind-the-scenes involvement of Governor Dannel Malloy and some of Connecticut’s power elite, on Monday, July 27, 2015 the Hartford Democratic Town Committee endorsed Luke Bronin to be the Democratic Party’s nominee for Mayor rather than sticking with Democratic incumbent Mayor, Pedro Segarra.

That same day, Dorothy Bronin of Stamford and Andrew and Rita Bronin of Greenwich each wrote $2,000 checks made out to the Hartford Democratic Town Committee.

Over the following weeks, donors from Greenwich, Connecticut dropped another $15,500 into the Hartford Democratic Town Committee’s coffers.  An additional $13,000 arrived from New Yorkers, $8,000 from California donors and large donations from individuals in Nevada, Pennsylvania and Florida added at least $8,000 more.  Most of the checks were written for the maximum allowable contribution of $2,000 per person and many had already given the maximum legal amount to Luke Bronin’s campaign committee.

Although the Hartford Democratic Party reported no itemized contributions from January 1, 2015 through July 24, 2015, according to the Committee’s most recent campaign finance report that was filed earlier this week with the Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission, the Hartford Democrats have raised more than $84,000 raised since Party establishment refused to support the city’s incumbent Puerto Rican Mayor and replaced him on the Democratic Party line with a wealthy, privileged candidate from Greenwich who has never run for office or been involved in municipal government.

The massive influx of campaign cash is particularly telling since over the past five election cycles, the Hartford Democratic Town Committee has never spent more than about $16,000 in a local campaign year.

Campaign Contributions flowing through the HARTFORD DEMOCRATIC TOWN COMMITTEE

Campaign Year Campaign War Chest
   
2015 $84,000+
2013 $16,500
2011 $11,605
2009 $2,430
2007 $5,151

 

In addition to the massive level of donations from out-of-state contributors, the Hartford Democratic Town Committee has also received more than $10,500 from wealthy donors who live in West Hartford and thousands more from campaign contributors in other wealthy suburban communities.  State contractors and state lobbyists also wrote out large checks to the Hartford Democrats following their endorsement of Bronin.

Of the money spent by the Hartford Democratic Town Committee so far this fall, most of it appears to have gone toward Bronin’s “Get-Out-The-Vote” effort on primary day including $10,725.50 to an organization called Voices of Women of Color and $5,150 to Angel Morales who has faced a myriad of arrests, convictions and legal problems while serving as the Hartford Democratic Town Committee’s Secretary, an aide for the Connecticut Senate Democrats, a candidate for the legislature and a campaign worker in Hartford.

Considering a number of the largest donors to the Hartford Democratic Town Committee also gave the largest allowable contributions to Bronin’s own campaign committee, Bronin’s political operation was able to use a campaign finance loop hole to collect as much as $3,500 per person rather than the $1,500 per person that is allowed under Connecticut State Law.

With nearly $1 million raised as of two weeks ago and the majority of those funds coming from state contractors, lobbyists, out-of-state donors and contributors from his home town of Greenwich, Luke Bronin’s campaign for Mayor of Hartford had already become the most expensive mayoral campaign in state history.

Like Governor Dannel Malloy, Luke Bronin is making a mockery of Connecticut’s campaign finance laws.

Not surprisingly, Luke Bronin and Dannel Malloy have the same set of campaign advisers and many of the same campaign donors, contributors who appear perfectly willing to do as directed to provide the two candidates with campaign donations that far exceed what state law intended to be legally appropriate.

Check back for more about on the state contractors, lobbyists and big money donors who have been pouring money into Malloy and Bronin’s campaign operations.

Mission Accomplished – Dem Party’s Colonialism takes down country’s only big city Puerto Rican Mayor

Democrat Governor Dannel Malloy, Malloy’s entourage of neoliberals and Connecticut’s Democratic Establishment are doing the Happy Dance today with the news that their plan to install Greenwich native and political newbie, Luke Bronin, as the next Mayor of Hartford, Connecticut has taken a giant step forward with the news that Mayor Pedro Segarra has given up his re-election bid and endorsed the Bronin.

If independent candidate Joel Cruz fails to win the November general election, the outcome of the 2015 Democratic Primary will mean that the nation has lost the only Puerto Rican mayor of a major city in any of the fifty states.

An especially serious situation for the national Democratic Party considering the vital role Latino and Hispanic voters will play in the 2016 election.

While Luke Bronin eagerly plans for his installation as Hartford’s next chief elected official, much of the credit for the defeat of Hartford’s Latino Mayor rests with Governor Malloy and his political operatives.

Although Malloy, and to an even greater extent, Malloy’s Lt Governor, Nancy Wyman, appeared alongside Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra dozens and dozens of times over the past five years, always applauding Segarra, Malloy turned on his political ally earlier this year when Malloy’s protégée and lead legal counsel officially announced that having moved to Hartford, he was now ready to seek the Democratic nomination to become Hartford’s mayor.

While every major Democratic leader in Connecticut looked away, Malloy and his political operation kicked into high gear on Luke Bronin’s behalf.

As the most recent campaign finance report reveals, in the day leading up to last week’s Democratic Primary for Mayor, Bronin raised an additional $236,226 for his campaign, bringing his total cash haul to a record-breaking $835,000 and counting.

Bronin’s tsunami of campaign cash came from people who benefit from state government including contractors, lobbyists, Malloy appointees, Malloy donors, the charter school industry, and a significant number of large donors form Bronin’s hometown of Greenwich and his friends from around the country.

What makes Bronin’s campaign unique is not only the fact that it will go down in the record books as the most expensive mayoral campaign in state history, it will also be the only campaign in which the challenger benefited from huge amounts of money from state contractors, lobbyists and political appointees.

And for that, Bronin has Dannel Malloy to thank.

Not only did Malloy grease the money spout, but Malloy’s former mouthpiece served as Bronin’s spokesperson and Malloy’s chief adviser collected more than $58,000 in campaign consulting funds from Bonin.

Bronin’s political connection to Governor Malloy and Malloy’s role in helping to defeat one of the nation’s leading Puerto Rican leaders had already received coverage here at Wait, What?  See, for example, Malloy playing key role in the effort to unseat Pedro Segarra and install Luke Bronin as Hartford’s Mayor.

But as Bronin’s latest campaign finance report makes clear, even more state contractors, lobbyists, Malloy appointees, former Malloy donors and the biggest actors in the corporate education reform industry all wrote checks to Bronin’s campaign in the closing weeks of his primary.

The list of people giving Bronin the maximum allowable contributions of $1,000 per person included the President of Anthem, the State of Connecticut’s primary contractor for state employee and retiree health care.

Other major state contractors showing up on Bronin’s list of donors included executives with many of the companies that have received the largest state contracts during Malloy’s time in office, including executives from Newfield Construction, Suffolk Construction, Tomasso Brothers Construction, Manafort Construction, the Konover Company and from many others such as Figure 8, DATTCO, LAZ Parking and the list goes on and on.

Even Viking Construction, a Stamford company that was one of Malloy’s largest campaign contributors in his 2014 re-election effort gave even more money to Bronin.

In addition to the money flowing in from state contractors, almost twenty more state lobbyists or their spouses ponied up contributions worth thousands of dollars in recent weeks. The new donations bring the total number of state lobbyists who donated to Bronin’s campaign to approximately fifty, a total that is unprecedented when it comes to contributions to a municipal candidate from state lobbyists, especially to a candidate who is “challenging” an incumbent.

Bronin’s take from state lobbyists included at least five maximum one thousand dollar contributions from the lobbying firm that Hartford hired to represent the city in its dealings with Governor Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly.  The checks to Bonin are certainly ironic since one of Bronin’s false claims in his attack on Segarra was that the mayor had not done enough to lobby Malloy and the General Assembly for state funds.

Bronin’s latest campaign finance report also clears up some of the mystery about why Bronin was unwilling to forgo political donations from the charter school industry, a move that cost him the endorsement of the Hartford Federation of Teachers. See: Luke Bronin’s failure to stand with Hartford’s teachers, students and parents cost him key HFT union endorsement

According to the report, Bronin collected $2,000 from charter school champion Jonathan Sackler and his wife.  Sackler, a Greenwich resident whose company, Purdue Pharma, makes OxyContin, is Connecticut’s leading pro-charter school advocate, having founded and funded Connecticut’s major Corporate Education Reform Industry advocacy groups including ConnCAN, ConnAD and A Better Connecticut.  Sackler also created 50 CAN, a national charter school advocacy group and Sackler was a major financial backer and advocate for Achievement First, Inc. the large charter school management company formed by Stefan Pryor, Malloy’s former commissioner of and his associate, Dacia Toll, who now serves as the CEO of Achievement First, Inc.

Another new Bronin donor, Jeff Klaus,  Toll‘s husband and serves as a Regional President at Webster Bank.  Interestingly, Bronin’s most recent campaign finance report also records that Bronin collected a $1,000 contribution from Webster Bank’s political action committee.

Not satisfied with outspending his opponent by at least a 5-1 margin, Bronin also collected more than $17,000 from residents of his hometown of Greenwich in recent weeks and another $42,000 or more from out-of-state donors.  The total amount Bronin raised from out-of-state and Greenwich donors is now close to $300,000.

But Hartford citizens need not worry since Bronin has promised to cut taxes, increase spending, expand programs and successfully plow all of Hartford’s city streets when winter comes.

Bronin Wins Hartford Democratic Primary for Mayor declaring – “We Did It.”

Promising to plow all the snow off Hartford’s streets, cut taxes, expand city services, create jobs, properly fund the public schools and provide corporate welfare to any company that is thinking of leaving or coming to Hartford, Greenwich native and Golden Boy Luke Bronin has defeated Harford Mayor Pedro Segarra in Hartford’s Democratic Primary.

Thanks to Democrat Governor Dannel and the financial advantage that comes with the most expensive mayoral campaign in Connecticut history, Bronin and Malloy can now brag that they successfully took down the only Puerto Rican mayor of a major city in the fifty states.

A look back on Bronin’s path to victory reveals;

Bronin violated Connecticut campaign finance law by accepting illegal corporate contributions, a violation that should result in a fine from the Connecticut State Elections Commission.

Bronin’s wife Sarah Bronin not only violated Connecticut’s campaign finance law, but Connecticut’s State Ethics Laws, an action that should lead to her being suspended without pay from her job as a professor at the UConn School of Law.

Bronin lied to Hartford voters and the media about how long he had lived in the city, claiming that he was in Hartford from 2006-2009 when, in fact, he was living in India and Washington DC for almost half of that time.

Bronin claimed he would be Hartford’s “Education Mayor” and was ready to take control of the Hartford Board of Education, while deciding to send his two school-aged children to a private school in West Hartford.

Bronin attacked Mayor Pedro Segarra for raising taxes, going so far as to blame Segarra for the fact that city tax assessments “keep going up,” as if it was Segarra’s fault that property values were finally improving after the Great Recession.   This attack from a candidate who purchased a Hartford Brownstone for $400,000 in 2012, added hundreds of thousands of dollars in renovations and yet is still paying taxes in 2015-2016 on a house that is assessed at a value of $110,000

As for Bronin’s claim that Segarra raised taxes, Bronin failed to admit that the 2.5 Mill rate increase that did take place was approved by the Hartford City Council and was well below the tax increases that have taken place in neighboring towns.

In his misleading direct mail pieces to voters, Bronin falsely claimed that Segarra “has failed to maintain adequate police staffing levels” and “he cut the number of cops.”  But that statement is a lie.  The truth is that the total position count (sworn officers plus civilian non-sworn personnel) in the police department was 464 in FY 2014, 466 in FY2015 and is now at 521 in the FY2016 city budget.  In addition, as Bronin is aware, 27 more police positions are funded by the federal COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) program.

Bronin also campaigned claiming that Segarra had cut “more (than $1.6 million) from our classrooms” and that “he cut school funding.”  Neither statement was true.  Hartford’s school budget for FY2014 was $283,008,188, for FY 2015 was $284,008,188 and in FY2016 is $284,008,188.  What did occur was a series of new mandates and requirements that came down from the State Department of Education that related to “turnaround” schools without sufficient state resources to adequately fund them.

And in perhaps the most idiotic claim of all, having served for two years as Governor Dannel Malloy’s Chief Counsel, Bronin was quick to try and take credit for Malloy’s “2nd Chance Initiative” while ducking any responsibility for the fact that Malloy and the Democrats who control the Connecticut General Assembly have failed to properly fund Connecticut’s school funding formula or the state’s PILOT grant, a move that has directly hurt Hartford.

Bronin went so far as to criticize Segarra saying, “The mayor should be fighting at the State Capitol for how PILOT is funded,” when Hartford did exactly that while Bronin was utterly silent while sitting at Malloy’s right arm.

But as the dust settles on Hartford’s 2015 Democratic Primary, the reality becomes ever clearer; the truth plays but a minor role in modern American politics.

Democrat Governor Dannel Malloy was intent on installing Luke Bronin as mayor of Hartford, even it meant undermining and alienating Connecticut’s Latino voters … and that is exactly what has happened.

In the Malloy/Bronin world, to the victor go the spoils.

If you really want to know who will benefit should Luke Bronin become Hartford’s mayor, the answer can be found in the long list of state contractors, lobbyists and political elite whose names appear on Bronin’s campaign finance forms.

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others

The truth becomes ever more apparent;

“No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?”

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”   –  George Orwell, Animal Farm

In Hartford, as in Washington…

Going once, going twice,

Sold to the highest bidder.

The People be damned!

Et tu, Brute? – Democrats line up to betray Connecticut’s Latinos

Despite the herculean efforts of the political spinmeisters surrounding Governor Dannel Malloy and Connecticut’s Democratic Party leaders, the truth about what is taking place in Hartford, Connecticut is becoming increasingly apparent.

While the outcome of Hartford’s Democratic Primary for Mayor won’t be known until the last votes are counted on Wednesday, September 16, 2015, Greenwich Native and Hartford newcomer Luke Bronin appears to be on the verge of defeating the only Puerto Rican mayor of any major city across the 50 States.

If the political take-down occurs, the vast majority of the “credit” goes to the “Divine Invisible” hand of Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy, Malloy’s political operatives and Luke Bronin’s record breaking expensive campaign.

The harsh and disturbing reality is that if successful, Luke Bronin’s defeat of Mayor Pedro Segarra may very well be the most audacious political attack on the Latino community by a sitting Democratic Governor.

Novice Luke Bronin’s quest to become the next Mayor of Hartford, Connecticut is a case study on Dannel Malloy’s effort to deliver the money and political support necessary to install an affluent, white, protégée as mayor of Connecticut’s Capital, a community in which so-called “minority” residents make up well over 70 percent of Hartford’s 125,000 population and where at least 48 percent of Hartford residents speak a language other than English at home.

In Hartford’s public schools, less than 10 percent of the students are White and just over 50 percent are Latino or Hispanic.  Approximately one in five Hartford students is not fluent in English and 85% of all students qualify for free or reduced lunch.

But in an extremely unreported, but extraordinarily dramatic set of circumstances, an individual who has never run for office, never worked in municipal government and never attended a public school is poised to defeat Hartford’s Latino Mayor, Pedro Segarra.

While Mayor Segarra has had his problems, challenges and difficulties, the race isn’t so much about the incumbent as it is about the challenger’s unprecedented campaign, a challenger who belongs among the 1% but claims his golden pedigree has prepared him to save Hartford.

And with that, the spotlight shifts to Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy.

  • Andrew Doba, who serves as Luke Bronin’s spokesman and cheerleader, spent the last two years as Governor Dannel Malloy’s Communications Director and official mouthpiece. While Bronin’s campaign broke Connecticut Campaign Finance Law this summer by accepting an illegal campaign donation form Doba’s New York based public relations company, following Wait, What? coverage of the issue, it now appears that Bronin is finally paying Malloy’s former aide for his services.  Considering Malloy’s pro-charter school, pro-education reform, anti-teacher agenda, it is not surprising that Doba is also Connecticut point person for the New York City based charter school industry front group known as Families for Excellent Schools. The lobbying group has devoted more than $1 million to help pass Malloy’s “education” initiative that has diverted millions in scarce public funds to privately owned charter schools rather than to inadequately funded public schools in Hartford and the state’s other poor school system.
  • In recent weeks, Roy Occhiogrosso, Malloy’s chief advisor and alter ego has also collected more than $58,000 from Bronin’s campaign for “polling and advertising services.”
  • Bronin’s major donors includes many individuals with direct ties to Malloy, including Malloy’s former chief of staff, his former campaign manager, his former campaign treasurer, and a number of Malloy’s gubernatorial and campaign aides.
  • More than 50 of Malloy political appointees, including many who are collecting six figure incomes after getting appointed to state jobs by Malloy over the past few years are also on Bronin’s contributor list including present and former state commissioners and deputy commissioners, executive assistants and appointees to various boards and commissions including the Parole Board, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority and the Board of Regents.
  • In addition, an unprecedented number of Bronin’s campaign donations have come from State lobbyists.

As of Bronin’s July campaign finance report, at least 33 state lobbyists, along with a number of their spouses had given to Luke Bronin’s campaign.  The list includes many of the most influential names in the lobbying business.

  • Bronin has been cashing in with Dannell Malloy’s previous gubernatorial donors, especially with those who have large state contracts.

For example, The Konover Company, a real estate management firm that profits from state contracts poured at least $71,000 into Malloy’s 2014 campaign effort via the Democratic Party’s “Federal Account.”  Those same individuals are among Luke Bronin’s largest campaign contributors.

Another prime example of the Malloy/Bronin reach is the fact that Bronin has collected $4,000 from Anthony Gaglio, Anthony Gaglio Jr. and their spouses.

The Gaglios own Viking Construction Inc. a company that donated $63,500 to Malloy via what the Harford Courant called, “a controversial state Democratic Party federal account that supported Malloy’s re-election.”

Reporting on Viking Construction’s donations to Luke Bronin, the Hartford Courant explained,

“Calls to Viking were not returned Thursday or Friday. Viking, a major player in residential construction, was general contractor for an affordable housing development recently built in Darien in cooperation with Malloy and state economic development officials.

Bronin, responding to a question about the Gaglios’ contributions, said in an email Friday, “I was introduced to them by a supporter, and after sharing my vision for a vibrant Hartford, I was pleased to get their support.”

  • Connecticut’s largest law firms, most of which also have lucrative state contracts, have also served as a major source of campaign funds for Bronin’s effort to defeat Pedro Segarra.

Among the large law firms that have provided Bronin with campaign donations are Pullman & Comely; Updike, Kelly & Spellacy; Shipman & Goodwin; Murtha, Cullina; Day, Pitney and Robinson & Cole.

These same firms were instrumental in funding Malloy’s Democratic Party campaign slush fund with about $45,000 coming from Pullman & Comely, $30,000 from Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, $11,000 from Shipman & Goodwin, along with sizable donations from Day Pitney; Robinson & Cole and others.

  • And other key Democratic Party officials also appear involved in the effort to defeat Pedro Segarra.  Attorney General George Jepsen’s two top aides, the AG’s Deputy Attorney General and his Chief Adviser, have donated to Segarra’s opponent.  Luke Bronin’s contributor list also includes top aides to State Treasurer Denise Nappier.
  • Equally telling is the fact Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, once considered a leading voice for Latino causes and a strong supporter of Pedro Segarra, has been utterly silent as the Malloy and the Democratic Party has targeted Segarra for defeat…as has many of Connecticut’s other key Democratic elected officials.

In the end, Governor Dannel Malloy’s decision to help remove one of the nation’s highest ranking Puerto Rican elected officials is not only noteworthy because Malloy is a Democrat and relied heavily on support from Latino and Hispanic voters to get elected to a first and second term, but also because Malloy will be take the helm of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) in just a few months.

In that role Malloy’s duty will be to raise money for the various Democratic candidates running for governor in 2016, while helping to get out the vote on behalf of the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate. Malloy has already been to New Hampshire to campaign for Hilary Clinton.

Considering the Democratic Party needs strong support from Hispanic and Latino voters in order to win a the national and state level in 2016, Dannel Malloy’s involvement in helping to take down a major Latino leader is nothing short of stunning.

Perhaps the only thing more stunning has been the complete lack of national media coverage about the developing situation in Connecticut.

Malloy playing key role in the effort to unseat Pedro Segarra and install Luke Bronin as Hartford’s Mayor

With “challenger” Luke Bronin’s campaign on track to become the most expensive mayoral campaign in Connecticut history, the Hartford Democratic primary has become much more than simply a battle between the two opposing candidates – Mayor Pedro Segarra and political newcomer Luke Bronin.

Of the many interesting factors impacting next week’s Democratic Primary for Mayor in Hartford is the role Governor Dannel Malloy is playing on behalf of his former aide, Luke Bronin.

In addition to anti-Segarra comments Governor Malloy’s spokesperson has made about Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, a review of Luke Bronin’s campaign finance reports reveal that while Bronin has raised considerable amounts of money from out-of-state and from his hometown of Greenwich, Bronin’s massive financial advantage is due, in no small part, from the money Bronin has raised from Malloy’s gubernatorial staff, former members of Malloy’s campaign staff, Malloy’s political appointees and Malloy’s campaign contributors.

From a national perspective, the connection between Malloy and Bronin’s successful campaign fundraising is particularly noteworthy since Pedro Segarra is the only Puerto Rican mayor of a large city in the continental United States.

In addition to his duties here in Connecticut, Governor Dannel Malloy will become the Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) in just a few months.   In that role Malloy’s duty will be to raise money for the various Democratic candidates running for governor in 2016, while helping to get out the vote on behalf of the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate. Malloy has already been to New Hampshire to campaign for Hilary Clinton.

Considering the incredible importance of Hispanic and Latino voters across the nation, Malloy’s involvement in helping to take down a major Latino leader will certainly not go unnoticed.

While Malloy claims to be neutral in the Hartford mayor’s race, the list of Bronin’s donors speaks volumes about the connection Malloy and his campaign operatives have been playing in the Hartford race thus far.

The latest campaign finance reports from Hartford’s mayoral candidates are due today, but as of the July 1, 2015 report, Luke Bronin had raised $611,000.

Bronin’s donors list includes many individuals who presently work in Governor Malloy’s Office or worked on Malloy’s campaign, including Malloy’s former chief of staff, his former campaign manager, his former campaign treasurer, and other who presently work for Malloy or were paid employees during the 2010 and 2014 gubernatorial campaigns.

Bronin’s campaign donor list is also flush with more than 50 of Malloy political appointees, including many who are collecting six figure incomes after getting appointed to state jobs by Malloy over the past few years.  The list includes present and former state commissioners and deputy commissioners, executive assistants and appointees to various boards and commissions including the Parole Board, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority and the Board of Regents.

Perhaps most telling of all is the extraordinary and unprecedented amount of donations that Luke Bronin has received from state lobbyists.

As of the last campaign report, at least 33 state lobbyists, along with a number of their spouses had given to Luke Bronin’s campaign.  The list includes many of the most influential names in the lobbying business.

While a handful of lobbyist donations to incumbent mayors and first selectman are not uncommon, the outpouring of campaign donations to Bronin, a mayoral challenger is unprecedented.

As the Hartford Courant reported in a story about the money influencing the Hartford Mayoral race last weekend,

“Nine of the lobbyist donors belong to the prominent lobbying firm Gaffney, Bennett & Associates, which held a fundraising cocktail reception at its New Britain offices in March. Employees there have contributed $2,575 to Bronin, according to campaign filings.”  Bronin’s donors from the firm include John Rowland’s former campaign manager and Chris Dodd’s closest advisor.

When asked by the Hartford Courant whose idea it was to hold the fundraiser for Bronin, Gaffney Bennett’s managing partner, Jay Malcynsky, responded, “I can’t remember, to be honest, what the circumstances were.”

Luke Bronin has also cashed in with those many of Malloy’s previous donors, especially those who have state contracts.

For example, The Konover Company, a real estate management firm that profits from state contracts poured at least $71,000 into Malloy’s 2014 campaign effort via the Democratic Party’s “Federal Account.”  Those same individuals are among Luke Bronin’s largest campaign contributors.

Another prime example of the Malloy/Bronin reach is the fact that Bronin has collected $4,000 from Anthony Gaglio, Anthony Gaglio Jr. and their spouses.

The Gaglios own Viking Construction Inc. a company that donated $63,500 to Malloy via what the Harford Courant called, “a controversial state Democratic Party federal account that supported Malloy’s re-election.”

Reporting on Viking Construction’s donations to Luke Bronin, the Hartford Courant explained,

“Calls to Viking were not returned Thursday or Friday. Viking, a major player in residential construction, was general contractor for an affordable housing development recently built in Darien in cooperation with Malloy and state economic development officials.

Bronin, responding to a question about the Gaglios’ contributions, said in an email Friday, “I was introduced to them by a supporter, and after sharing my vision for a vibrant Hartford, I was pleased to get their support.”

As previously reported here at Wait, What? another significant pool of money for Bronin’s effort to defeat Hartford’s incumbent mayor comes from Connecticut’s largest law firms, most of which also have lucrative state contracts.

Among the large law firms that have provided Bronin with campaign donations are Pullman & Comely; Updike, Kelly & Spellacy; Shipman & Goodwin; Murtha, Cullina; Day, Pitney and Robinson & Cole.

These same firms were instrumental in funding Malloy’s Democratic Party campaign slush fund with about $45,000 coming from Pullman & Comely, $30,000 from Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, $11,000 from Shipman & Goodwin, along with sizable donations from Day Pitney; Robinson & Cole and others.

Interestingly, Bronin’s campaign finance reports also show that he has also been able to cash in with the Democratic Party’s elite West Hartford donors, including $2,000 from West Hartford Deputy Mayor Shari Cantor and her husband and thousands more from other long-time West Hartford Democratic donors.

Of course, in addition to the campaign finance connection with Governor Dannel Malloy is Luke Bronin’s decision to hire Malloy’s former spokesperson, Andrew Doba, as his own Communications Director and his use of a number of campaign consultants that worked for Malloy’s campaign.

It is far too early to determine the political fallout from the Hartford mayor’s race, but as Latino and Hispanic leaders at the national level, and across the country, prepare for the 2016 campaign cycle, Governor Malloy’s efforts here in Connecticut to help unseat a major Latino leader will undoubtedly remain an issue of concern for the Democratic Party.

You can read more about Luke Bronin’s campaign donations and these issues at:

Connecticut State Contractors pouring money into Luke Bronin campaign

Charter School and Corporate Education Reform Industry lining up for Luke Bronin

Luke Bronin breaking the law with illegal corporate in-kind contributions

More and More and More out-of-state campaign money pours into Hartford for Bronin

Ridiculing Latino Leaders says volumes about Luke Bronin’s Campaign for Mayor of Hartford

Bronin spokesperson behind Charter School Mailing thanking legislators for Education funding sent to Bridgeport and Stamford!

While some Hartford voters turn their attention to tonight’s Achieve Hartford! “education” debate between Mayor Pedro Segarra and Luke Bronin, the truth is finally coming out about Bronin and his ties to the charter school industry and their pro-Common Core testing, pro-charter school, anti- teacher and anti-public school agenda.

As anyone who has been watching the mayoral campaign in Hartford knows, Luke Bronin has been attacking Mayor Pedro Segarra for not getting more education funding from Governor Malloy for Hartford’s public schools.

However, what has remained relatively secret is that Bronin’s PR person is a well-paid adviser for Families for Excellent Schools, the New York based charter school industry group that spent more than $1 million lobbying Connecticut legislators on behalf of Governor Malloy’s proposal to divert millions of dollars in scarce state funds so that Bridgeport and Stamford could get new, privately owned, but publicly funded charter schools —- one of which will make former Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry very rich.

Now, with days to go until Hartford’s Democratic Primary, the truth is finally coming out.

Bronin’s Communications Director, Andrew Doba, who served as Governor Dannel Malloy’s mouthpiece  until this past January, is behind an expensive, glossy mass mailing that is being sent to voters across Connecticut to “thank” Connecticut legislators for successfully funding the new charter schools while utterly failing to adequately fund Connecticut public schools, including those in Hartford.

Doba, who is both Bronin’s PR person and the hired gun for the charter school industry has been on Twitter regularly attacking Segarra on Bronin’s behalf.

In one Tweet, Andrew Doba ‏@AndrewDoba  wrote;

Will the layoffs of teachers and other staff that’s going to happen because of your budget help Hartford Public Schools? #AskSegarra

In another, Doba, who works for a New York based public relations company said;

With strong push from @GovMalloyOffice, Leg. made the right call in meeting its financial commitment to charter schools

And Doba also retweeted his client’s tweet which cheered;

Thank you to our state leaders who showed a strong commitment to ensuring access to great school #ForEveryChild.

Now, in a mailing that looks surprisingly similar to the glossy campaign pieces Luke Bronin has been sending out to Hartford voters comes a expensive lobbyist-funded brochure telling state legislators that they did a great job when they decided to fund privately owned charter schools… rather than doing what they should have done and provided Hartford and Connecticut’s other cities and towns with the money needed to adequately fund local schools.

The Charter School Industry mailing is going to voters all over Connecticut, including voters in Hartford.

As CT Newsjunkie explains in today’s article entitled, Special Interest Group Sends Mailing To Thank Lawmaker For Charter Funding

State Rep. Brandon McGee, D-Hartford, is being thanked with a glossy mailer from a special interest group that has spent more than $1.1 million this year lobbying lawmakers and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to make sure two new charter schools were included in the state budget.

The mailer was sent to constituents in McGee’s district, which includes the northend of Hartford and parts of Windsor, by Families for Excellent Schools.

“More kids now have access to a quality education, which means more opportunity and a brighter future,” the mailer reads.

It asks constituents to call McGee and thank him for his commitment to Connecticut kids.

It’s unclear still how much money was spent on the mailers because the filings are not due to the Office of State Ethics until the next quarter. It’s also unclear exactly how many other lawmakers may have benefited from the mailers by the pro-charter school group.

“The mailer thanked a number of legislators for their support for great schools for every child,” Kara Neidhardt, a spokeswoman for Families for Excellent Schools, said in an email. “The cost of the entire campaign will be disclosed in the next filing.”

McGee, who works in the Capitol Region Education Council’s school choice office, said Wednesday that he’s not offended by the mailing. He said he supports choice programs and participated in the school choice program when he was a child.

[…]

This isn’t the first time a pro-charter school group has expended funds on McGee’s behalf. In 2012, when he first ran for his seat, a school reform group with ties to StudentsFirst, the organization founded by the controversial former chancellor of the Washington school system, poured nearly $32,000 into his race.

The budget approved by the legislature in June included $4.6 million to open two new charter schools in Stamford and Bridgeport. Malloy insisted the two schools remain in the budget despite complaints from some of McGee’s colleagues in Hartford and Bridgeport.

Families for Excellent Schools has lobbied hard this year for increased funding for charter schools. The group spent $1.1 million between January through June. It also hired public relations and political strategy firms that employ former Malloy staffers Andrew Doba and Roy Occhiogrosso.

Families for Excellent Schools held a rally on the New Haven green in December last year and one in May outside the state Capitol in Hartford. At the rally in Hartford, they spent $87,700 on transportation and $14,000 on food for the students and parents who attended.

You can see the complete MUST READ CT Newsjunkie article at:  Special Interest Group Sends Mailing To Thank Lawmaker For Charter Funding

And meanwhile, let’s get things straight when it comes to Luke Bronin and his campaign for mayor of Hartford;

Democrat Luke Bronin says it is Democrat Mayor Pedro Segarra’s fault that Democrat Dannel Malloy and the Democrats in the Connecticut General Assembly didn’t give Hartford more education funding.  Bronin even blames Segarra for any tax increases that were necessary as a result of the state’s failure to give Hartford the funding it needed. Bronin says he will cut taxes and provide more money for education…

At the same time Luke Bronin says that HE deserves a good chunk of the credit for Malloy’s 2nd chance initiative because has Malloy’s lawyer he was involved in the policy process in the Governor’s Office, but none of the blame for Malloy’s failure to properly fund public schools.

Meanwhile, Luke Bronin’s spokesperson’s New York based company received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the charter school industry for coordinating the lobbying campaign on behalf of the charter schools, a proposal that diverted Connecticut taxpayer money that should have been spent on public schools.

And behind all that is the reality that a number of the key players behind charter schools are among Bronin’s biggest campaign donors… money that is so important to Bronin that he refused to give back those funds and thus lost the endorsement of the Hartford Federation of Teachers.

Yup, Luke Bronin has arrived from Greenwich and is ready to save Hartford….

Luke “The Job Creator” Bronin didn’t even create jobs when he could…

Luke Bronin is violating Connecticut campaign finance law.

Luke Bronin is lying about when he lived in Hartford.

Luke Bronin isn’t even paying his fair share in Hartford property taxes.

And now Greenwich Native Luke Bronin is “going negative” in his campaign against Mayor Pedro Segarra, sending out misleading mailings to the voters of Hartford.

Claiming he’ll be  positive force for Hartford, the newcomer is spending his massive campaign war chest belittling Hartford’s mayor with attacks in mailings, in press releases and on television.  Many of his attacks have been misleading, but that hasn’t stopped Luke Bronin.

In a recent debate, Bronin attacked Segarra for not getting enough state aid from Bronin’s former boss, Governor Dannel Malloy and then claimed that Segarra wasn’t doing enough to get city residents employed at state-funded construction sites.

Bronin yelped,

“I walk by that site, I don’t see an awful lot of Hartford residents working on that job right now.”

This from a man who failed to use Hartford contractors when completely renovated his Hartford Brownstone in 2012-2013.  A renovation that took a year and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

When a whole construction project was in his sole control the man who wants to lead Hartford hired more than a dozen major contractors… AND only one lived in Hartford.

As we know, in the real world, politicians love to say one thing and do another.

Luke Bronin has made it painfully clear that he is nothing but a modern politician.

 

Charter School and Corporate Education Reform Industry lining up for Luke Bronin

Reading Luke Bronin’s “education position statement” entitled “Closing the Achievement Gap” is actually very educational.

Filled with lots of rhetoric, but not substance, Bronin makes it clear that he is either unwilling or unable to raise, let alone address, the critical actions that will be made to improve educational opportunities for Hartford’s public school children.

Bronin starts by blaming Hartford’s Mayor for the inaction of his former boss, Governor Dannel Malloy, to fix Connecticut’s illegal and unconstitutional school funding formula.

Luke Bronin ducks the most fundamental issues surrounding educational success by never once mentioning the impact poverty, language barriers or unmet special education needs have on the ability of Hartford public school students to succeed.

Bronin’s hollow statements about Magnet Schools and complete unwillingness to even mention the crisis surrounding charter schools and their lack of accountability speaks volumes about his own lack of experience and understanding when it comes to Hartford’s school system.

While you can read Bronin’s political meandering on education on his website – See CLOSING THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP, what is far more telling is the amount of money that is pouring into his campaign from the corporate education reformers, the charter school industry and the people who are pushing the Common Core and Common Core SBAC testing scheme.

At the top of the Bronin’s donor list stands Greenwich corporate executive Steven Simmons who serves as Chairman of the corporate-funded “education reform” front group that goes by the name of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform.  The organization’s Vice Chair also gave Bronin $1,000.

In defending the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core SBAC test earlier this year, the group’s Executive Director praised the disastrous test claiming they were no more than a simple blood test.  Imagine a blood test that was rigged to label the vast majority of children as sick.

CCER’s political agenda includes more taxpayer funds for charter schools and support for the incredibly unfair “teacher evaluation” system that is designed to denigrate and undermine Connecticut’s public school teachers and the teaching profession.

Other major donors to Luke Bronin’s campaign for mayor of Hartford is New Haven charter school activist Alex Johnston who, as the original head of ConnCAN, consistently pushed for diverting scarce public resources from public schools to the privately owned, but publically funded charter schools.

Hartford was particularly hurt by this corporate giveaway program. Johnston now makes his living feeding at the trough of the corporate education reform industry.

Andrea Comer, the former COO of the disgraced FUSE/Jumoke Charter School chain is yet another Bronin donor.  With the FBI investigating the alleged illegal activities of one of Governor Malloy’s favorite charter school chains, Comer resigned her position as a top executive for FUSE/Jumoke, as well as her seat on the Connecticut State Board of Education, a position she held because Malloy appointed her to that Board despite her very obvious conflict of interest.

Bronin’s donor list actually includes many of the top board members and sponsors behind the various charter school companies and education reform groups in Connecticut.

And perhaps most telling of all is that Bronin’s mouthpiece and PR person also works for Families for Excellent Schools, the corporate-funded front-group that bused charter school parents and students into Hartford from as far away as New York and Boston when the organization was lobbying on behalf of Dannel Malloy’s initiative to give even more public funds to the unaccountable and discriminatory charter schools.

As if all of that wasn’t clear enough, Bronin’s donor list even contains most of the lobbyists who represent the pro-privatization, anti-teacher and anti-public education groups in Connecticut including the lobbyists for ConnCAN, the Northeast Charter School Network and the Connecticut Council for Education Reform.

While it is not clear whether Luke Bronin simply doesn’t understand education policy or is hiding his true positions from Hartford voters, the reality is that the charter school industry and the education reformers are lining up for the golden boy from Greenwich and that, in turn, makes it very clear whose side he will be on if elected mayor of Hartford.

Yelping about Hartford taxes, Luke Bronin doesn’t come close to paying his fair share

File this one under the wonderful world of the rich and famous.

Greenwich Native Luke Bronin, whose short-term goal is to be Hartford’s next mayor, owns a fully renovated 5,227 square-foot Brownstone off Bushnell Park in Hartford. Built in 1865, Bronin paid $400,000 to buy the building in May 2012 and then spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to completely renovate the property.

According to the City of Hartford Assessors records, Bronin’s Brownstone is now in “excellent” condition.  In fact, the renovation project even earned Bronin and his architect wife the 2014 Alice Washburn Architectural Award for best renovation and addition project in Connecticut.

While the prestigious Bronin home is potentially worth $1 million or more, for tax purposes it is assessed at $112, 779 leaving Bronin with a paltry 2015 Hartford tax bill of $8,378.36 plus a few hundred more for his BMW 328XI.

In recent days Bronin and his political operatives have been attacking Mayor Pedro Segarra for raising taxes in order to try and maintain city services.

Yet at the same time, Bronin has utterly failed to address how he would deal with Hartford’s unfair and discriminatory property tax system, except to suggest that he would give major companies more tax breaks.

Bronin has also conveniently skipped over how he is personally benefiting from Hartford’s warped property tax system.

But that appears to be the Bronin way.

Luke Bronin’s campaign is violating Connecticut campaign finance law.

Bronin is also lying about how long he was a resident of Hartford.

And now he is claiming that he’ll solve Hartford’s problems and challenges without having to raise taxes.  (A protégée of Dannel -I won’t raise taxes- Malloy for sure.)

So what is the truth about Luke Bronin and his failure to pay his fair share in taxes?

In January 2013, Luke Bronin sold his $1.9 million home in the Georgetown area of Washington D.C. and moved “back” to Hartford.

Half a year earlier, on May 21, 2012, Bronin purchased an old brownstone off Bushnell Park for $400,000 and the Bronin’s began their renovation project.

According to a story in CT Magazine, the renovation project won them the Alice Washburn Awards for best renovation and addition.

As CT Magazine explained about the award,

“….when you move through the grand residential home of Luke and Sara Bronin and their three small children, it is easy to see why.

They were able to move into the home after nearly a year of work, and now that they’re settled Bronin admits the location is as wonderful as they always imagined it would be. Bushnell Park is directly across the street from the brownstone and they are immediately adjacent to the State Capitol, which allows her husband, who serves as the governor’s legal counsel, to walk to work every day.

The dramatic 32-foot kitchen-dining room, with two working fireplaces, was created by combining four different rooms. The owners painstakingly restored the historic mahogany paneling at right, and added a complementary wine cabinet.

What emerged was a meticulously decorated, four-story home where each generation is given its own private living space—the kids on the top floor with parents below on the third. ‘We thought the kids would love having their own floor, and they do!’ said Bronin. ‘From their playroom, they can see City Hall and most of Bushnell Park…The third floor is the ‘adults’ floor.’

The second floor, which is the main floor of the house, is arranged for versatility, allowing the couple to throw small dinner parties or large family gatherings. Bronin explains that, ‘There’s a flow on that floor but with distinct spaces separated by the historic staircase.’

‘There are nice details; the new front bay was perfectly rendered,’ said the Washburn jurors. ‘Given the tone of much of the work entered, the jury appreciated the wit that was shown in the blending of aesthetics celebrated in this project. This is a good example of what this award program is hoping to achieve, bringing the traditional to the present.’

Working with Sarah Bronin’s own Architecture, Interior Design and Furnishings Company were a series of other contractors.

Interesting, for the man who says he will bring jobs to Hartford, only one of the contractors he used apparently even lives in Hartford.

According to published reports, the renovation of Bronin’s property was completed with the help of the following companies;

MEP Design: LN Consulting, LLC, Winooski, VT

Lead Carpenter:  Hartford Builders LLC, Marlborough, CT

Mason for Brownstone Restoration:  Damiata Masonry, Cromwell, CT

Mason for Interior and front courtyard: K&G Masonry, Farmington, CT

Mason for Interior:  Capital Masonry, Hartford, CT (Owner actually lives in Bloomfield)

Mechanical/HVAC:  Connecticut Heating & Cooling LLC,, East Hartford,  CT

Electric: CLG Electric LLC, Somers, CT

Plumbing:  TC Plumbing LLC, Hartford, CT

Painting:  Washbond Custom Painting LLC, West Hartford, CT

Custom Cabinetry:  Heartwood Custom Cabinetry, Marlborough, CT

Back Courtyard Landscaping & Design: Earthworks LLC, Tolland, CT

For those who want to pictures of the home, they can be found on the Connecticut Magazine website at: http://www.connecticutmag.com/Connecticut-Magazine/July-2014/2014-Alice-Washburn-Architectural-Award-Winners/

But while the property has been significantly improved, the assessment on Bronin’s property for Hartford property tax purposes has remained almost unchanged.

A  house that should be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars is actually assessed at $112,779

2012-2013 Assessment:         $95,659

2013-2014 Assessment:         $91,159

2014-2015 Assessment:         $110,023

2015-201 Assessment:           $112,779

In each of those years, the Mill Rate Bronin was charged was 74.29 mills

So the question remains – what would Luke Bronin do about a system in which his Hartford property tax payments aren’t even close to what he should fairly be paying.