You don’t see this often. In acquitting Douglas Wirth of all charges of physical and sexual abuse in a Monday verdict, Judge Julia Dewey, according to The Hartford Courant, rendered this striking indictment of the Department of Children and Families:
“Indeed, DCF was aware of many of the allegations, yet did not sustain any of the complainants’ earlier complaints,” Dewey said. “Given the brigade of social workers, educators, [DCF] personnel and medical providers who provided intense services to the complainant and his siblings, it is inconceivable that not one of these disinterested persons saw any signs of physical abuse.”
Dewey also criticized DCF and others for their failure to comply with court orders to release all documents related to the case. Prosecutors, she added, were under the impression that they had already received all documents.
“The litigants prepared under the misapprehension that they were in possession of all relevant government and medical records,” Dewey said. Instead, on the eve of the trial, DCF delivered 10,000 to 12,000 pages of documents to Dewey for review. She turned over about 2,000 pages of those documents to the lawyers.
But that wasn’t the end of the trickle of documents related to the case, the judge said.
“Most incredibly, the pre-adoption history of the complainant and his siblings had never been made available to either counsel,” Dewey said. “The state never should have proceeded to trial without this material. This comment bears repeating. Before this trial began, none of the counsel has seen the pre-adoption records. These records contained extraordinarily exculpatory information.”
Prosecutors also did not see “all of the critical narrative summaries prepared by DCF workers who testified as prosecution witnesses,” the judge said. “The state had an obligation to secure and review all relevant material before it began the criminal process. The glaring absence of these records should have alerted the prosecution that something was amiss.”
Katz, no longer thought of as a protector of fundamental rights, has offered no credible explanation for her department’s failure to comply with court orders in a timely matter. Katz took a direct interest in the case.
September 30, 2014 2:55 pm No Comments
State employee union leaders are using cheese and pepperoni pizzas to jolly their members into supporting Democratic Governor Dannel P, Malloy’s struggling re-election bid. The rank and file are fed a heaping side of nonsense by union representatives claiming that Republican Tom Foley will refuse to negotiate as employee contracts expire. Daily Ructions understands that this odd line of attack against Foley is meeting with some skepticism from the employees in their small group meetings. Many have been through a range of governors, all have negotiated.
Many state employees are still smarting from the 2011 deal their leaders struck with Malloy. Some recall the heavy handed methods leaders used to ratify the package when some bargaining units resisted. Plenty of members have reason to think they would do better under Foley that they would in another round with Malloy.
To grab members’ attention, union leaders are telling the rank and file that the race between Malloy and Foley is a dead heat. This will come as a surprise to the brain trust each candidate has created for the November showdown. A close race may serve as a spur for more members than in 2010 to support Foley in this year’s rematch.
September 26, 2014 11:28 am No Comments
The Connecticut Education Association conducted a straw poll of the nearly 400 teachers who attended a September 13th forum of three candidates for governor. The results remain a mystery to the participants. Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s 2012 assault on public teachers is a fresh wound among the rank and file. That may have reflected in the straw poll in the organization that remains an important Democratic interest group.
The CEA endorsement is not made by the general membership. It’s determined by a small group of union leaders thought to be more sympathetic to Malloy than the 43,000 front line teachers who, according to Malloy, only had to show up for work to obtain job tenure. A Malloy endorsement will risk creating a wide breach between union leaders and the wider membership who know that a second Malloy term would present the famously vengeful governor another opportunity to punish and insult public school teachers.
September 24, 2014 9:31 am No Comments
NY Times Slams Schriro’s “Outrageous Behavior” as City Corrections Commissioner. Watch for Friday Night Dump.
The New York Times issues an editorial page indictment of state police head Dora Schriro over her record of concealing violence against juveniles held at Rikers Island prison when she served as New York’s city corrections commissioner. There’s nothing ambiguous in the editorial. Of Schriro’s role in scrubbing information about violence at the prison, the paper writes,
As The Times reported on Monday, all this was expunged at the order of the corrections commissioner at the time, Dora Schriro, who not only ordered the scrubbing of information damaging to the two officials but promoted Mr. Clemons to assistant chief of administration, despite an internal investigation raising questions about his conduct. This outrageous behavior lends credence to the charge that the department historically protected and empowered people who were comfortable with misconduct and a deep-seated culture of violence.
Schriro’s department failed to provide complete disclosure of information to the United States attorney’s office in New York in the course of its investigation of violence at Rikers. Schriro’s dusting of critical information came to light in a Times story this week. It is hard to see how Schriro will last the week as head of Connecticut’s chief law enforcement agency. Watch for the Malloy administration to do a classic Friday “take out the trash” maneuver by dumping the disgraced Schriro on an evening when the public is otherwise engaged.
September 23, 2014 2:38 pm No Comments
The cupboard is bare for dynamic innovators in Connecticut. Connecticut Innovations, the 25 year old quasi-pubic agency, is out of money for applicants, Daily Ructions can report. CI, which describes itself as “the leading source of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut innovative, growing companies” has become a model of Malloy administration mismanagement. The agency has run through its most recent bond appropriation and does not expect to see the public spigot re-opened until after the November election.
CI can no longer claim that it “proudly serves great Connecticut companies, no matter what stage of growth they’re in.” Applicants have been told not to expect funding until 2015, as CI abandons its mission. There was $100 million on offer to build a heliport for a thriving Fairfield County hedge fund but nothing for budding innovators.
The fiasco at CI will prove an embarrassment for CI board member and State Treasurer Denise Nappier as she struggles to make a coherent argument for re-election to a fifth term. Malloy’s commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, Catherine Smith, is also on the CI board. Smith’s agency oversaw the shoveling of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, now lost, to former Hartford and Katmandu insurance agent Earl O’Garro.
Sources tell Daily Ructions that CI is a somber place where office morale is low. No need to worry about short-term employee prospects. There’s enough money to pay everyone. That includes political hire Leslie Larson, wife of the Democratic congressman. Larson was hired over 199 other applicants in 2012 because, as one gushing reference noted, Claire Leonardi, head of CI, “loves Leslie.”
Connecticut lost 3,600 jobs in August.
September 22, 2014 6:11 pm No Comments
Connecticut state police head Dora Schriro was drawn deeper into a growing scandal over violence at New York’s Rikers Island during her tenure as the city corrections commissioner by a New York Times report in the paper’s Sunday edition. The riveting account of a determined cover-up by Schriro and others in the face of an internal corrections investigations and a probe by Federal law enforcement authorities will raise further questions on Schriro’s ability to lead Connecticut’s chief law enforcement agency.
Schriro’s response to questions from The Times do not instill confidence that candor and transparency are her hallmarks. Schriro used her authority as corrections commissioner to remove damaging revelations from her department’s investigations division’s report. The damaging edits were not provided to the United States attorney’s office during its investigation of the city corrections department.
Dan Lavallo has more.
September 22, 2014 11:17 am No Comments
A “thought leader” of Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s transition team was sentenced Friday to 14 years in prison for sexually assaulting patients. Dr. Tory Westbrook served as the co-chair of Healthcare Working Group with Hartford Democrat and former state Representative Juan Figueroa.
Assistant State’s Attorney Peter McShane told Judge David P. Gold that more than 50 women had been victimized by Westbrook, The Courant reported of the sentencing a Middletown courtroom.
When Malloy appointed Westbrook and other “thought leaders” to his transition team on December 6, 2010, the Stamford Democrat declared,
“I have been gratified by the number and caliber of people who have agreed to join my Transition Team’s efforts to plan for an administration which is forward-thinking and represents the direction in which I believe this state should go,” said Governor-Elect Malloy. “The members of these working groups are thought leaders in their specific area of expertise and I know the suggestions and proposals they come up with will help us attract new jobs, keep the ones we have, while getting our fiscal house in order.”
The transition team presented its ideas to Malloy shortly after he became governor in January 2011. A CTMirror.org report of the meeting included this summary of Westbrook’s presentation:
The health care recommendations, presented by Dr. Tory Westbrook, focused on federal and state-level reform efforts, redesigning the health care system to pay more for primary care and less for specialty care, emphasizing prevention and wellness, and creating health care jobs.
Numerous proposals were tied to the state’s $4 billion Medicaid program.
One recommendation involved moving HUSKY, the state’s main health insurance program for poor families, out of a managed-care system. One option would be to expand the state’s primary care case management pilot. This program is attractive to health care advocates because doctors, not insurance companies, are paid to coordinate patients’ care.
No word on how Westbrook, who was a doctor at a Community Health Center in Clinton and was also associated with a laser hair removal business in Manchester, became a leader of Malloy’s transition team. Westbrook was arrested in 2012 while serving as director of Hartford’s Charter Oak Health Center.
September 21, 2014 7:46 pm No Comments
As Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy strains to portray himself as a mature and successful leader during his difficult re-election bid, the mask is destined to slip. His verbal incontinence will give the public odious snapshots of his abrasive personality. He provided an ugly one in Norwalk last month.
Malloy told local Democrats that this year’s election will be different than the last two because “We don’t have Linda McMahon spending $50 million to remind everyone how much we hate her.” Responsible public figures usually avoid public expressions of hatred. Not the bully Malloy. Any twisted tool will do as he seeks to overcome his dire disapproval rates among Connecticut voters. In Norwalk, Mrs. McMahon, who is not a candidate for office, became his target.
Malloy’s public display of hate for Mrs. McMahon is particularly jarring given Malloy’s effusive endorsement of her nomination to the state’s board of education. Malloy, who was mayor of Stamford at the time of the nomination, wrote, according to The Hartford Courant:
“Ms. McMahon has expressed a strong interest in improving the lives of young people in our community and as a global leader in media and entertainment, her community-mindedness and business leadership bring keen insights to public policy making and program administration,” Malloy wrote. “It is always critical for the state to tap the business insights and experiences, as well as the professional training and certifications, of our corporate citizens for public service.”
Malloy added, “By enlisting such corporate leadership, government weaves the business community into the everyday rhythm of our state, thereby ensuring long-term, public-private cooperation and success. Ms. McMahon’s background presents just such an opportunity for the state as she is considered by your committee.”
Malloy, who appears to live the unexamined life, may not have noticed that there’s a surplus of hatred in the world. Trying to gin up some more against a well-known Republican who holds no office and is not a candidate for one is a measure of his desperation as November 4th draws near.
September 15, 2014 6:55 am Comments Off
Wednesday’s Quinnipiac University poll of likely voters in the race for governor confirmed what private surveys have been finding for weeks: Republican Tom Foley enjoys a steady lead over incumbent Democrat Dannel P. Malloy. The marquee number in the Quinnipiac survey is Foley’s six point lead, 46-40.
Malloy’s problem will be finding persuadable voters between now and the November 4th election. The 40% of likely voters who say they support him matches his 40% favorable rating. The first term governor may be at or close to his ceiling. He needs to chip away at the 53% who see him unfavorably, and that may be Malloy’s impossible mission. They’ve had regular exposure to Malloy in the last four years and have reached their conclusion. They don’t like him. It’s hard to envision events or a strategy that alters the opinion of many of those 53% who will be happy to see him lose in eight weeks.
Democratic loyalists and operatives have been growing uneasy as each private poll has confirmed Foley’s stubborn lead. Today’s public poll lets the public in on their unhappy secret. Watch for the tussle over Democratic resources, including discouraged troops, to grow more intense. Outbreaks are most likely to increase in the 5th Congressional District, where Malloy’s people have been in tense competition for party workers with worried incumbent U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty. Her campaign has been receiving dark portents of a difficult race, too. The uncharitable attribute her poor showing in polls to the burden of running with Malloy.
September 10, 2014 9:56 am Comments Off
State Treasurer Denise Nappier seems to have been invited to talk about firefighters. The body language and hand gestures of Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman tell the painful tale.
To see the video, clear here: Nappier Ramble
September 8, 2014 11:21 am Comments Off