The State Elections Enforcement Commission adopted a stipulated agreement today to settle a case which originated from a referral by the United States Attorney.
The settlement was reached with two attorneys from the Danbury area: Jack Garamella and Christopher Leonard. Both are partners in the law firm Collins, Hannafin, Garamella, Jaber & Tuozzolo, P.C. Each attorney paid the maximum $2,000 civil penalty under these facts for making a contribution in the name of another. Jack Garamella gave $500 to Chris Leonard and asked him to make a $500 contribution to the 2004 re-election campaign of State Senator David Cappiello, because he did not wish to be identified as giving a contribution to a Republican while he was seeking the Democratic office of Judge of Probate.
Leonard made a prohibited contribution by accepting the money, and then writing a check in his name to the Cappiello campaign. The Commission imposed the maximum civil penalty as it considers this a serious violation. Concealing the true source of a candidate contribution frustrates the purpose of disclosure laws.
UPDATE: Click here to read the stipulated agreement between Garamella, Leonard, and the State Elections Enforcement Commission.
UPDATE 2: Cappiello speaks...and his comment is predictable:
"I was stunned," Cappiello said.
Hmm, this reaction sound familiar...oh yeah, Cappiello's reaction to James Galante's contributions to his campaign. You remember, the trash hauler with ties to the mob who also gave illegal bundled campaign donations to former State Senator Lou DeLuca and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton.
"He was a philanthropist - at least I thought he was," Cappiello said.
A philanthropist...yeah, got'cha!
UPDATE 3: and just who is Jack Garamella?
Garamella, a senior partner with the Collins, Hannafin, Garamella, Jaber and Tuozzolo law firm on Deer Hill Avenue, has served as [James] Galante's corporate attorney and was president of New Fairfield Sanitation, a Galante-affiliated company.
...but wait, there's more.
Federal investigators raided Garamella's office three years ago and seized more than 50 boxes of documents and several computers, attorneys said at the time.
An indictment last summer charging Galante with racketeering, however, alleged Galante and his associates "orchestrated campaign donations through straw donors who were then reimbursed in cash."
Galante was charged last fall by officials of the Chief State's Attorney's Office with six counts of violating elections law for using straw donors to contribute money to several politicians, including Mayor Mark Boughton, former state Sen. Louis DeLuca and Cappiello. Those charges are still pending.
The only person "stunned" over this development is Cappiello.
BTW: Just who is Chris Leonard? oh nobody important...just the former Chairman of the Ridgefield Republican Town Committee.