Peacock Plate Story Roils Insiders. State Ethics Board Member Among Those Receiving Insider Auto Swag.
Jon Lender writes about reaction today to the Daily Ructions story of former Governor M. Jodi Rell’s administration’s distribution of low digit license plates to relatives, friends, loyalists and others in its final months. Some are not happy that the long list of favorites who received an outward sign of insiderdom is seeing sunlight. They want to strut like peacocks while enjoying the underground cover of burrowing critters. There is a difference between privacy and secrecy. The recipients want to show off the plates every day but prefer the public not know how they obtained the showy plates.
Charles F. Chiusano, a member of the state’s Citizen Advisory Ethic’s Board, registered “872” on December 21st. This will strike many as the sort of favor a member of the state’s ethics agency should not accept from the governor. The agency will continue to exercise jurisdiction over Rell, chief of staff Lisa Moody, and members of their administration for several years. Chiusano, of Fairfield, was appointed to the beleaguered board by Republican Senate leader John McKinney, who received “460” from the stash of low digit plates the governor’s office had been hoarding for several years. The granting of special access to Chiusano will raise questions about the judgment and motives of the ethics governor and her majordomo in releasing a flood of the public status symbols in the waning days of her administration while also raising money for the establishment of the Rell Center for Public Service at the University of Hartford late last year.
Timothy J. Devanney, head of the Highland Park Market grocery stores, was rewarded for providing Moody vittles every Thanksgiving morn on his front yard on the route of the Manchester Road Race. He started sporting “790” on December 17th.
Board members of the Connecticut Women’s Council reaped a harvest of low digits. Moody, as reported earlier, took “83”. Past President Shelia Moses got “464”. Caren Kittredge picked up “613”. She’s also the chair of the Bradley airport board of directors. Jaclyn Bernstein, a member of the Connecticut Humanities Council whose nomination to the Freedom of Information Commission was withdrawn by Rell last year, got “627”.
Spouses got some feathers in their tails, too. Rowland-Rell loyal Brenda Sisco already has “228” on her car. Her husband picked up “825” in his wife’s final days as head of the state’s budget office. Moody golfing friend and Superior Court judge Leslie Olear’s husband Jonathan took tag “453”. Richard Grondin, married to Connecticut Development Authority Chair Laura Grondin, received “794”.
Busy Republicans Raenna Curtis and Al Turco were anointed with “215” and “894” respectively.
Northeast Utilities lobbyist Margaret Morton satisfied her taste for the peculiar recognition that baffles many when she screwed “276” onto her car on January 5th.
Some long suffering staffers were rewarded, too. Francis Evon garnished his 2008 Governor’s Service Award with “462”. Matthew Fritz, now at the Department of Environmental Protection, sports “892”. Jamie Mowat Young has “511”.
A Moody favorite often seen in her 2nd floor bunker, Peter Terenzi, had “631” bestowed on him. General Thaddeus Martin, well-like by the ethics governor, received “928”.
The plates are available to insiders who enjoy special political access and cost $90 to register.