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Hartford Mayor Steps Down – Guess Party

From the always discreet Associated Press:

Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez, left, in Hartford Superior Court on Friday, June 18, 2010.

Hartford mayor convicted of corruption steps down

By Everton Bailey Jr., Associated Press Writer Fri Jun 18, 2010

HARTFORD, Conn. – A one-time gang leader who escaped an impoverished childhood to become Hartford’s first Latino mayor announced Friday that he would step down after being convicted of five corruption charges, including taking a bribe and attempted extortion.

"I have decided that it is not in the best interests of the city and my family for me to continue my duties as mayor during the appeal of my case," Eddie Perez said in a written statement.

Perez, who had insisted on his innocence and vowed to clear his name, faces up to 60 years in prison, with each of the five counts carrying a minimum of one year in jail. The six-person Hartford Superior Court jury acquitted him of one count of tampering with evidence. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 10.

Calls for Perez’s resignation came shortly after he was convicted of receiving a bribe, attempted first-degree larceny by extortion, accessory to evidence tampering and two conspiracy counts — all felonies. The jury delivered the verdicts after a six-week trial.

The mayor looked at his lawyer with no visible emotion after the verdicts were announced, and his wife, Maria, collapsed into his arms and cried inconsolably. Paramedics gave her oxygen, but she didn’t need to go to the hospital.

"I’m extremely disappointed," Perez said as he walked away from the courthouse. "I’m maintaining my innocence and I plan to appeal."

The trial focused on allegations that Perez accepted home improvements from a city contractor in return for keeping him on a lucrative $2.4 million construction project, and tried to extort a developer into paying $100,000 to a political ally.

State prosecutor Michael Gailor said he was thankful that the jury convicted the mayor.

"We never thought we had this case in the bag," Gailor said.

Perez’s convictions were the latest in a series of corruption cases over the past decade involving Connecticut politicians, most notably Gov. John G. Rowland, who resigned in 2004 and served 10 months in federal prison after admitting he traded political access for vacations and repairs to his lakeside cottage.

It was not immediately clear if the mayor planned to resign from office or take a leave of absence. His spokeswoman, Sarah Barr, said those details were still being worked out.

His decision to step down came after city councilors, and other officials called for his resignation

Perez was arrested in January 2009 on charges he received the bribe from a contractor and friend, Carlos Costa, by paying only $20,000 for $40,000 worth of renovations, and only after he was questioned by a grand jury about the home improvements…

Perez was arrested again in September, when state authorities charged him and former state Rep. Abraham Giles of Hartford with trying to extort a $100,000 payment to Giles from a developer who wanted to buy city-owned property.

Giles had been leasing a parking lot on the property from the city and subleasing for profit, according to an affidavit. The mayor arranged for Citino to pay Giles $100,000 as part of the sale, but the deal never went through, prosecutors said.

Perez, a native of Puerto Rico who moved to Hartford at age 12, captured the mayor’s seat with more than 70 percent of the vote in his first two elections. But he won with only 48 percent of the vote in a six-way race in 2007 after details about the investigation began to emerge…

Undoubtedly it was an oversight that the Associated Press failed to mention Mr. Perez’s party affiliation.

Or maybe, by this point, they just assume that their readers will realize they are talking about a Democrat when they talk about a corrupt politician.

Though, that he is stepping down might have thrown some. But, of course, it might only be temporary.

(Thanks to Confucius for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, June 19th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “Hartford Mayor Steps Down – Guess Party”

  1. confucius says:

    From AP:

    Hartford mayor convicted of corruption steps down

    By Everton Bailey Jr.
    June 18, 2010; 6:07 pm ET

    HARTFORD, Conn. – A one-time gang leader who escaped an impoverished childhood to become Hartford’s first Latino mayor announced Friday that he would step down after being convicted of five corruption charges, including taking a bribe and attempted extortion.

    “I have decided that it is not in the best interests of the city and my family for me to continue my duties as mayor during the appeal of my case,” Eddie Perez said in a written statement. …

    Calls for Perez’s resignation came shortly after he was convicted of receiving a bribe, attempted first-degree larceny by extortion, accessory to evidence tampering and two conspiracy counts — all felonies. The jury delivered the verdicts after a six-week trial. …

    The trial focused on allegations that Perez accepted home improvements from a city contractor in return for keeping him on a lucrative $2.4 million construction project, and tried to extort a developer into paying $100,000 to a political ally. …

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100618/ap_on_re_us/us_hartford_corruption

    Eddie Perez was born in Puerto Rico and supported Puerto Rico’s nationalism. He was/is also a member of the Ghetto Brothers gang and Puerto Rican Socialist Party.

    He’s also a Democrat.

  2. Rusty Shackleford says:

    “Perez, who had insisted on his innocence and vowed to clear his name, faces up to 60 years in prison, with each of the five counts carrying a minimum of one year in jail. The six-person Hartford Superior Court jury acquitted him of one count of tampering with evidence. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 10. “

    This is what I call “social justice”.

    • JohnMG says:

      Pretty much…..except that he still has his knee caps intact.

      Sixty years, huh? So how does this guy differ from the Moron….except for the degree of his criminality. Compared to Obama he looks like a choir boy.

      If this guy goes up the river and Obama doesn’t, there IS no justice. None!

    • proreason says:

      “Compared to Obama he looks like a choir boy.”

      and he’s a person of color anyway.

      Perhaps he knows somebody who knows somebody who might have been stopped by a cop in Arizona for driving without a license or might in the future be stopped or looked at cross-eyed.

      So he has really done nothing unjustified.

      And besides, Bush poisoned the well for (fill in the blank here).

    • confucius says:

      JohnMG might be onto something here. From Hartford’s government website:

      Mayor Eddie A. Perez

      Welcome to the Mayor’s Office! I hope this virtual guide will help you find the important information you need about my plans to revitalize Hartford, New England’s Rising Star.

      From my days as a community organizer and activist, and now as Mayor and Chairman of the Board of Education, my dream has always been to provide a better quality of life for people of all backgrounds.

      The diversity of our people is our strength and our big dreams are our common goal. So whether you are a resident — or you are visiting us from out of town, out of state, or from out of the country — I welcome you to Hartford. Enjoy!

      Eddie A. Perez
      Mayor

      http://www.hartford.gov/government/mayor/default.asp

      Too bad for Mr. Perez. A bid for the White House is no longer in the cards. Perhaps Congress . . . .

  3. Right of the People says:

    I guess the new path to political office is being a community organizer. Apparently Perez doesn’t have a sugar daddy like Barry the Impotent.


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