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Esty’s Tangled Web Trips Commissioner Again.

Energy and environmental protection commissioner Daniel Esty failed to disclose a 2009 fee he received from state utility United Illuminating when he sought confirmation to his powerful post earlier this year.  Esty, who said he would recuse himself from matters involving companies he’d worked for in the past five years, did not include UI’s $7,500 speaking fee on his list.  UI falls under the jurisdiction of the new department that boosted Esty’s authority.

Esty, a Cheshire Democrat married to congressional hopeful and one-term former legislator Elizabeth Esty, did not disclose more than $200,000 in consulting fees he received between 1997 and 2005  from Northeast Utilities because, he said, the lucrative relationship between the Yale professor and the state’s dominant energy company ended more than 5 years ago.  Esty’s 5-year rule is his own arbitrary creation for determining the bounds of his disclosure and the public’s right to scrutinize his ties to entities with business before his department.

Governor Dannel P. Malloy dismissed suggestions that Esty’s intervention in a matter involving  NU subsidiary Connecticut Light and Power constituted a conflict of interest.  Malloy’s recollection of what Esty told him about his ties to NU is vague.