Shawn Wooden hobbled out of the wreckage of his $60 million publicly-financed baseball stadium fiasco. The state senate hopeful declared he is not pleased with rival Senator Eric Coleman’s end of session mailing to constituents. The Democrats face each other in a sharply contested Democratic primary in a district that includes parts of Bloomfield, Hartford, and Windsor. Wooden’s “done deal” baseball stadium bludgeoning has left him unable to read a short, clear state statute. The Hartford lawyer says Coleman’s legislative mailing to constituents that arrived in mailboxes this week “is, at worst, illegal and violates State Election Law (sic). At best, it is an unethical, gross abuse of taxpayers’ funds.” Wooden, a lawyer, is wrong. Here’s the statute that applies to legislators’ annual mailings:
Sec. 2-15a. Annual informational mailing by General Assembly members. (a) Each member of the General Assembly shall be entitled to send an annual mailing to each household in such member’s district, for informational purposes. The mailing shall be conducted under the supervision of the Joint Committee on Legislative Management and in accordance with rules adopted by the committee.
(b) In even-numbered years, no such mailing may be sent after July fifteenth. A member shall be deemed in compliance with this subsection if the member delivers the mailing to the offices of the Joint Committee on Legislative Management no later than said July fifteenth.
Since the mailings began arriving in district mailboxes this week, and today is July 16th, it’s safe to assume that they were delivered to the Office of Legislative Management by July 15th, as the law requires. Wooden is wrong, and he must know it.
Wooden, leader of Hartford’s city council, possesses a curious sense of outrage. Last year, Wooden failed to condemn the shoddy and suspect circumstances surrounding his buddy, City Treasurer Adam Cloud, and the missing $800,000 in insurance premiums that was sent to Cloud family tenant Earl O’Garro’s insurance agency. Cloud’s office sent the money to O’Garro’s company (since shuttered) without observing the normal protocols for conducting hefty transactions like that one. The money did not find its way to the insurance companies providing coverage to Hartford. Federal criminal investigators continue to investigate.
Various Hartford officials, stewards of the public trust, failed to shine a light on the tawdry connections between Cloud and O’Garro. Wooden was one of those.