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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Bernstein, a member of the Connecticut Humanities Council whose nomination to the Freedom of Information Commission was withdrawn by Rell last year, got “627”.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.


1 G { 02.06.11 at 6:00 pm }

Jealous because you didn’t get one?

With all the garbage going on in the state, from the budget problems to the same old stupidity oozing out from the city hall of Hartford as it applies to the lack of snow plowing and lack of police officers directing traffic in order to loosen up the traffic jams, the best that the fourth estate can come up with is….GASP!…a story about politicially connected members getting low number license plates.

Oh. My. God.

Kevin, you’re such a great guy to focus all your time and energies on something that no one really cares about.

Keep up the good work, because after all, you’ll never know if your talents will be needed to break open a serious story like why all the politicians time are wasted on inanities like this.

2 Goose Bag { 02.06.11 at 6:03 pm }

Hey Rennie, since it’s ok for you to share other people’s private license information, why don’t you share yours? Yeah, there’s a reason privacy is protected by LAW!

3 Tom { 02.06.11 at 6:15 pm }

“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.” She is also member of the Board of Directors at Connecticut Lottery Corporation.

4 Ralphie { 02.06.11 at 9:11 pm }

@Goose: you’re excited because the number displayed on someone’s license plate for all to see is ‘private information’? Seriously? Malloy’s already offered free replacements for anyone Rennie mentioned who wishes to protect their ‘privacy’ by trading in their plate. How many takers do you think there will be?

5 Jennifer Smith { 02.06.11 at 11:07 pm }

Hey Goose, If these people were so into privacy, why are they trying to make such a statement with low-numbered plates? They want to ‘look’ important while they’re driving…so I don’t think they really care all that much about privacy.

6 Jennifer Smith { 02.06.11 at 11:09 pm }

If these people are so into privacy, why are they trying to “look” so important with low-numbered plates?

7 Fuzzy Dunlop { 02.07.11 at 7:05 am }

Goose Bag: The privacy argument is idiotic. You don’t get a low digit license plate to go unnoticed (except, perhaps, when you go unnoticed by a state trooper after he pulls you over and realizes your status). In fact, the entire flipping point, as Kevin points out, is to identify yourself as a political insider.

What are you so upset about? Kevin has only educated many people to a practice of state government that they were not aware of before.

8 Wally Chang { 02.07.11 at 7:19 am }

@ Jennifer – Recognition is one thing. Just because you recognize a plate, doesn’t mean you know the driver. That’s called privacy, and it’s protected by Connecticut state statute, one that’s been violated care of Rennie, Lender, DMV, and members of the Malloy administration. If it’s ok with you, they’ll publish what’s on your license plate.

9 DrHunterSThompson { 02.07.11 at 7:25 am }


this was all good stuff when it broke. but now with the concerns about privacy, you need to give it a rest.


10 andi { 02.07.11 at 9:44 am }

Kevin- I personally want to thank you for exposing this for what it is- abuse of authority and political patronage – An NU lobbyist received one of these plates and I look at my CL&P Bill and now get it! I say keep digging and keep reporting! They want you to keep their names private when they have accepted a very public gift- what is the real value and should anyone be accepting it? My son once received a 6 pack of wine (not an entire case cause that would have been more than the $100.00 the person giving it to him was allowed to)- we have very strict ethics laws here in this state (at least that is how it is supposed to be) and ethically there is something very wrong with this hoarding of plates and then gifting them out- seems like political patronage to me! I only wish you would go into some other issues in the state- such as jobs being re-classified in order to allow a friend of management to become a supervisor. Other than that I say good for you! Personally- I would love to be able to get a low digit plate- not for political patronage but to have the date of my youngest child’s birth on it (since he passed away that is the date I wish to keep in my mind)- but I would be willing to take a number and wait for it.

11 BR5 { 02.07.11 at 10:07 am }

These “connected” people should be ashamed of themselves but they probably have little shame. Really, crying foul over privacy, way to change the subject! Those folks got shamed and they deserve it, given the fiscal crisis and cuts to government programs that will occur.

12 Bob { 02.07.11 at 10:10 am }

It’s time to undo the harm brought about by this so called privacy law and once again allow public access to motor vehicle records for a fee. Lets put a stop to this selling of prestige and at least try to keep our leaders on the straight and narrow.

Charles F. Chiusano should resign post haste or be fired.
Oh, and – Good work Rennie!

13 Gary Doyens { 02.07.11 at 10:53 am }

This is a gnat on the ass of an elephant. I could care less who got special low digit plates as long as it didn’t cost me anything. We all know that in a small state like CT, you are only 2 degrees away from some power broker with real or perceived connections. What I care about are all the legislative failures populating the Dan “Danell” Malloy’s cabinet and how the record of failure somehow is a badge of honor that allows people to run or think about running for higher office without so much as a whimper from bloggers, alleged news sites and main street media. You serve us baby pablum while the house is burning. If we are going up in flames, at least give us some meat and potatoes as a last meal.

14 Bob Hebee { 02.07.11 at 1:23 pm }

Rell was Roland’s 2nd because she turned a blind eye and was a little clueless. Then, she became Governor; a job that she wasn’t qualified to perform. Rell is probably a very nice lady but a big part of the reason this State is in such fiscal trouble is because she didn’t have the fight in her to slap down the spend crazy Legislature. She is Grandma giving the grand kids a treat (a low numbered plate). Really, who cares? This DMV thing has been done since there were cars. No big deal; let’s worry about something important. Besides, I got # 737.

15 Vernon Voss { 02.07.11 at 4:25 pm }


I love this stuff! All of the persons who commented on it must love it too , despite their naysaying! They protest too much!! If possible, could you post a list of #1-1000. We ALL would love to see it. Keep up the great reporting!

16 gerry { 02.08.11 at 1:35 pm }

None of these people deserve privacy. The hypocrisy of the right goes on unabated. Glenn Beck would devote a whole day and 10 chalkboards if these were democrats!