Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Name That Party, Hartford Edition: Former Community Organizer Turned Mayor To Be Arraigned Today

Well, the party affiliation is a dead giveaway since they note he's a former community organizer, and while they do note the word Democrat in a photo caption, it's nowhere to be found in the lengthy story.
Mayor Eddie A. Perez will be arrested on bribery charges at a state police barracks this morning, the result of a 15-month grand jury investigation into possible corruption at Hartford City Hall.

Perez and his attorney, Hubert J. Santos, said Monday that they believe the charges are related to $20,000 in kitchen and bathroom renovations done on the Hartford mayor's home by contractor Carlos Costa.

Costa, who has done millions in work for the city, was arrested by state police Monday, said his lawyer, William Gerace. He was charged with two counts of bribery, and one count each of fabricating evidence and the conspiracy to fabricate evidence, Gerace said.

Perez was to be charged with bribery, fabricating evidence, and conspiring to fabricate evidence, Santos said.

In an interview Monday at Santos' office, a subdued Perez apologized to the voters who elected him in 2001 and twice re-elected him under a strong-mayor charter that he championed.

Perez, 51, a former community organizer who is the city's first Latino mayor, called hiring Costa a "lapse in judgment," reiterating comments he made more than a year ago about the episode.

"There is no excuse for it. I apologize for putting my family and my city under this situation," Perez said. But he added, "At the end of the day, a lapse in judgment is not a crime."
A lapse in judgment?

Hmm. That sounds familiar.
Politics, of course, involves compromise—and by sticking with Timothy Geithner as treasury secretary, Obama has signaled his willingness to overlook an earlier lapse in judgment by his nominee in order to get the most competent person for the job.
Anyway, back to Perez. A local television affiliate fails to note his party affiliation. You figure perhaps USA Today would let their national audience know since they're probably not familiar with Hartford politics.

There it is, they do, although they wait until the 15th paragraph.
Perez, a Democrat, has said that he was wrong to hire Costa, and he repeated it again Monday.

"The perception in today's environment has the potential to undermine public confidence in government," Perez said. "That being said, I firmly believe that I did not commit a criminal act."

City Councilor Matt Ritter, also a Democrat, said he expects to the council to take "some immediate steps" in response to Perez's arrest.

"This is a very sad day for the city of Hartford," Ritter told the Courant
Gateway Pundit links. Thanks!

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