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Milford's Reputation at Stake

When a state like Connecticut has seen a governor and multiple mayors wind up in jail, elected officials should be extra careful to avoid corruption or the appearance of corruption.

When a state like Connecticut has seen a governor and multiple mayors wind up in jail, elected officials should be extra careful to avoid corruption or the appearance of corruption.

Unfortunately, thanks to Mayor Blake’s action or inaction, it’s become easy to imagine a ‘Mayor for Sale” sign in front of the .

In the last election, lawyers from the Bridgeport law firm Pullman Comley made some political contribution far in excess of any other firm that handles bonding. They made huge contributions to Mayor Blake and 2 other Democratic mayoral candidates. All 3 Democrats won and all 3 switched their city’s bonding business to Pullman.

Blake’s defense has been that he was informed about what was going on but was uninvolved. As mayor, I think the people of Milford would hope he would take a little more interest in what’s going on.

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CuriousOrange March 07, 2012 at 01:46 PM
So ... what law was broken?
Tom Jagodzinski March 07, 2012 at 02:44 PM
I think most people want Milford’s public officials to conduct themselves in an ethical and moral way and to be seen acting that way. Barely legal is a pretty low bar for city officials who most people would expect to not just avoid corruption but also the appearance of corruption.
CuriousOrange March 07, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Got to be kidding.
Alice March 07, 2012 at 03:09 PM
This is the pot calling the kettle black. Those of us who pay attention to this kind of thing noticed several questionable contracts during the former administration. Out of respect for the then-Mayor and the professionals involved, nothing was said. We assumed the best, not the worst, of our elected officials. Mr. Jagodzinski should do the same.
Rich Smith March 07, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Lisa Bull and Tom Jagodzinski insist on Rush Limbaugh style politics to attack one of the most dedicated and honest public servants I have had the pleasure to know. Tom is not from Milford so forgive him but for Lisa Bull, there’s no excuse. Shame on both of you for engaging in your politics of personal destruction, I assure you it has no place here in Milford. We have a young, intelligent and committed Mayor. You should be asking how to support him and help make him successful. Instead, you level uninformed and scurrilous attacks. Shame on both of you. Lisa, of all people, is in no position to question anyone’s ethics. (Enough said on that.) Pullman and Comley made no contributions to the campaign. None. Several attorneys from that firm did, as did attorneys from many other firms. Mr. Blake is an attorney and has many friends and supporters who just happen to be lawyers. In his attack Tom seems to have neglected to mention that Pullman has extensive experience in Milford under the prior two Republican administrations. He also, conveniently neglected to mention that the Blake administration brought Pullman in because they were $55.00 an hour less than Robinson, our previous bond counsel. Pullman was hired for cost and competence. They have already helped to reduce our interest on bonds, saving taxpayers of Milford over $900,000 in interest. Tom and Lisa seem to have little interest in those facts. As a taxpayer I thank the administration for reducing costs.
Angus March 07, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Good Lord, the sour grapes on display here are mind-boggling. Please get over it.
Tom Jagodzinski March 07, 2012 at 06:34 PM
The appearance of corruption in Milford is an issue that was raised by the Hartford Courant not by me or anyone else from Milford. When a situation like this occurs, people expect more from their mayor than a statement that he didn’t get involved. This is a serious issue and needs to be dealt with seriously. The public has a right to know exactly what happened. The idea that Pullman has saved the city $900,000 is ridiculous. They just did what any other bond counsel would have done.
Rich Smith March 07, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Tom - I hate to ask a stupid question but I can't help myself, if any other bond counsel would have done it, why didn't our former counsel do it? I imagine you'll say any other bond counsel would have come in $55 an hour less than we were paying too, right? You're beautiful man!
Tom Jagodzinski March 07, 2012 at 07:46 PM
At a savings of $55/hour the Pullman lawyers would have to work 16,364 hours to save the city $900,000 ($900,000 divided by $55). The savings is from the reduced interest rate and that rate would be the same no matter who the lawyers were.
JE March 07, 2012 at 08:18 PM
To Mr. Jagodzinski's comment "The public has a right to know exactly what happened" I am John Q Public and I know excatly what happened. I have heard the explanation now several times and I think you have to. Personally I think the explanation makes sense. You just can't seem to let it go. Enough already. I hear you are retiring from the RTC. When does that happen?
Martin Casey March 08, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Be very careful how we decorate for holidays as well... Tom & Lisa's 'Brilliant' minds are back to work again...
Gary Jeanfaivre (Editor) March 08, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Part II of II from Smith's press release -- In defending his selection, Mayor Blake was quoted in the Hartford Courant crediting Pullman & Comley for the $1 million in savings on the refinancing of the city’s previously issued bonds. “Let’s be honest and give credit where credit is due,” said Smith. “The real story is that the City of Milford and its taxpayers have worked hard over the past 10+ years to maintain a stellar credit rating. Our AA+ credit rating and our long-term prudent fiscal management are the drivers behind the $1 million savings touted by Mayor Blake – not the new bond counsel. This refinancing plan was in place long before Pullman & Comley was involved.” Smith continued, “If there are real savings on our legal fees, then let’s see the analysis.” Mayor Blake has said that he was informed about the selection process but did not have anything to do with the choice. Smith said: “Given the questions that have been raised, it’s time for the Mayor to get more involved.”
Gary Jeanfaivre (Editor) March 08, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Part I of II -- Board of Aldermen member Paula Smith (R-3) just issued the following statement: At the March meeting of the Milford Board of Aldermen, Alderman Paula Smith (R-3) called for full disclosure on the controversial selection of the new city bond counsel. Hartford Courant investigative reporter Dave Altimari named Milford and the Blake administration in a recent article linking unusually large political contributions from Pullman & Comley attorneys to the campaigns of Mayor Ben Blake and two other Democratic mayoral candidates and the subsequent awarding of lucrative bond counsel services to the Bridgeport law firm by all three mayors. “We are talking about Milford’s reputation here. No one is saying there were any illegal campaign contributions but unfortunately there is now a perception of ‘pay to play’ in the selection of our bond counsel. Full disclosure of the selection process, how the decision was made and an analysis of the legal fees and services should clear up any questions,” stated Smith.
CuriousOrange March 08, 2012 at 09:42 PM
When Smith writes, "now there is a perception," whatever could she mean? Local politics in Milford and everywhere is (and has long been) enriched by the participation of developers, builders, architects, and attorneys otherwise connected with local government business, serving in various capacities, paid and unpaid. Who else is interested and technically knowledgeable?

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