"This is about a mayor with something to hide"

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Time: 10:36 AM

A man with something to hide.

New Haven Register and Register Citizen columnist Andy Thibault has done an excellent job reporting on Danbury's dishonest mayor Mark Boughton's latest legal problems, which centers on an alleged inappropriate relationship the mayor had with a former personnel director.

Thibault latest piece centers on a recent court decision in which your truly was vindicated in the mayor's attempt to indimidate me from reporting on the lawsuit filed by his former friend of thrity years and former personal secretary Wendy DaCosta.

I'll provide my take on this outlandish attempt by Boughton to intimidate your truly...trust me, this situation (and reporting on this and many other disturbing cases involving the mayor that is being overlooked by the local media) is FAR from over.

Lawyers, a mayor and other officials walk into a room on Sept. 12, 2013.

They talk for several hours.

Two months later, a blogger reports about an alleged extra-professional relationship between the mayor and a personnel director who was terminated and put on paid administrative leave for six months.

Lawyers for the mayor try to intimidate the blogger, pretending they have the authority to order him to remove two short news items.

The blogger and the local daily newspaper had received public records from another lawyer who is suing the city in a sexual harassment case. The targeted news items contain no confidential information. Rather, they question whether the mayor was infatuated with the former personnel director and warped by power.

Lawyers for the mayor then try to get a federal magistrate judge to fine the lawyer who produced the public records. They fail.

“When you file a motion like this, you’re really not asking for someone to be punished,” Hartford attorney Michael Rose, counsel for Danbury mayor and gubernatorial candidate Mark Boughton, told The Connecticut Law Tribune. “You’re just asking for the rules to be followed.”

I spoke with Rose last week, asking him – among other things – how he developed his comic material.

During the conversation, Rose seemed to be earnest and capable. In a lawyerly admission, he acknowledged his firm goofed on the baseless threat against Hat City blogger Al Robinson: “I get how this came across; our intentions were a little more enlightened than people might have thought.”

Still, under Rose’s watch, Team Boughton was able to stifle reporting on the depositions for months.

The depositions reveal the existence of secret personnel files, wildly uneven application of disciplinary policies, the peculiar tenure of the personnel director and huge spending to fight freedom of information requests. That’s just the short list. Notably, the personnel director connected to Boughton admitted to a lack of qualifications, could not remember how she got the job and did not respond directly to the question of whether she received a payment from a city business.

The action against Robinson has the stench of a frivolous SLAPP suit, also known as Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.

Further mucking up transparency, Rose subsequently asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna Martinez to drop the hammer on plaintiff lawyer Elizabeth Maurer of Ridgefield. This motion for sanctions or fines by its very nature chilled or intimidated others — lawyers especially — from disclosing information discovered in litigation. The public has an absolute right to know about discoveries regarding the conduct of its servants. By not summarily dismissing the motion against Maurer, this judge made her sweat it out.

Martinez responded this way in an order dated March 3, 2014:

“Generally speaking, dissemination of pretrial discovery materials by the receiving party is not prohibited absent a protective order … defendants have made no showing of substantial embarrassment or harm that outweighs the public’s interest in Mayor Boughton’s performance of his governmental responsibilities … Defendants have not shown clear evidence of improper purpose in [attorney] Maurer’s dissemination of the deposition transcripts … ”

In conclusion, Martinez directed both parties to try to get along.

There remained an issue regarding whether an associate of Maurer had what was construed to be a blanket verbal agreement to keep a certain deposition secret. Martinez slapped Maurer, calling her action in this regard “troubling.” Maurer told me she sees it this way: “There was no agreement as to how the depositions would be treated. In prior cases, they [Rose Kallor] tried to mark public records such as meeting minutes ‘confidential.’ In this case I had refused to enter into an agreement.”

Danbury under Boughton does indeed have a special way of ducking, repelling and otherwise stalling requests for public records. Rose would do well to counsel Team Boughton toward sunshine regarding production of property belonging to the people.

For example, when I went to Danbury City Hall last year to get some public records with a colleague from The Litchfield County Times, we were greeted with intimidation tactics and stonewalling.

We were asked:

“Who are you?”

“Why do you want those records?”

“Why are you investigating that?”

We were told that even the most rudimentary requests must be presented in writing and reviewed by a lawyer. This gave me new appreciation for lawyers as creators of fiction. They love to dance around the requirement of the law that documents must be produced promptly. As a practical matter, this means documents must be produced immediately, unless the agency can prove that this would interfere with the normal course of business.

We were also told that “a public agency may have to review certain files prior to disclosure to ensure that no documents are being disclosed that could be considered exempt under the FOI statute, or that are privileged.”

Hmm. Why would privileged or exempt material be held in a public file? If that’s the case, then the small army of lawyers ensconced therein is providing ineffective assistance of counsel.

Meanwhile, the case of Boughton’s former friend of three decades and personal assistant – Wendy DaCosta – against the city, is still pending. DaCosta worked for seven years in the mayor’s office before being fired in 2011 as the result of a sexual harassment claim. DaCosta’s lawyer, Maurer, claims the city failed to follow civil service rules, its own policies, the city charter and state and federal laws by treating DaCosta differently than other employees. Maurer said DaCosta was denied family medical leave to obtain substance abuse treatment and did not receive equal application of progressive discipline policies.

Boughton has denied any wrongdoing.

In a prior case, Maurer uncovered favoritism in the hiring of Danbury firefighters, winning a $450,000 cash settlement against the city and other remedies.

By Boughton’s account, the city spent at least $100,000 defending the DaCosta case as of September 2013. That does not include city manpower. I’m looking into the total costs of the DaCosta case and others, but it likely will take some time to get answers.

Hat City blogger Robinson called the Martinez ruling “a victory for transparency.”

“This is about a mayor with something to hide,” Robinson said.

Andy Thibault is a contributing editor for 21st Century Media’s Connecticut publications and the author of Law & Justice In Everyday Life. He formerly served as a commissioner for Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Commission. Reach Thibault by email at tntcomm82@cs.com. Follow him on Twitter @cooljustice.

Help find Danbury's most wanted

Time: 10:14 AM

The Danbury police department would likde your assistance in finding these fugitives from justice!

Via Danbury Patch.

The slideshow above has information and photos for eight fugitives on Danbury police’s Most Wanted list.

Bond amounts for Danbury’s Most Wanted range from $5 million for 65-year-old Rinaldo Salvitti to $25,000 for 27-year-old Luis Lopez.

Anyone with information about any of the fugitives or their whereabouts is asked to contact the Danbury police at 203-790-8477 or 203-797-4611.

Residents are warned not to attempt to capture these persons themselves.

Remember, if you see any of these individuals, don't take the law into your own hands...call the DPD at 203-790-8477 or 203-797-4611 and let the professionals do their job.

Guinea Pigs (aka Connecticut students) – it is time to log into the Common Core Test of a test

Monday, March 24, 2014
Time: 8:57 AM

Cross post from Jon Pelto's Wait What?

Today is the day…

In nearly every public school in Connecticut students will put aside the learning process during the coming weeks in order to become guinea pigs for the Common Core Smarter Balanced Field Test of a test and the entire corporate education reform industry.

In some states only 10 percent of students were assigned the task of becoming test subjects for the billion dollar education testing industry. But in Connecticut, Governor Malloy and his Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, were more than willing to turn nearly 100 percent of the state’s public school students into guinea pigs.

Across the state the only public school superintendents will to stand up and protect their children from this inappropriate and unfair experiment were the ones running the following schools. (If you live in one of these towns you should give your school administrators a thank you shout out).

Ashford elementary

Chaplin (elementary)



Preston Elementary

Rocky Hill

Scotland Elementary




Region School District 11

Public schools students in the rest of the state will be spending much of the next few weeks taking the test of the test rather than using their time to learn.

In order to make room for lengthy and complex testing system, many school districts are giving up so-called “Specials” like art, music, PE and even social studies to make room for this massive testing taking experiment.

As we’ve all seen, in the run up to this corporate charade, Commissioner Pryor and the Malloy administration consistently worked to mislead parents into thinking they didn’t have the right to opt their children out of these tests.

Commissioner Pryor used many claims to push his “no opt out” message, some of them were no less than out-and-out lies. His primary argument was that this Common Core Test of a test was a “mastery test” as defined by Connecticut state law and therefore students were mandated to take the test.

But the entity designing the Common Core Test of a test makes it very clear on their website that this Common Core Smarter Balanced Field Test of a test is anything but a “Mastery Test” as it is defined by Connecticut state law.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium states:

“The field test will evaluate the performance of more than 20,000 assessment items and performance tasks—as well as the performance of the online testing system. For test developers, the Field Test will show which questions work well and which ones need to be improved so that they contribute to a fair and accurate assessment of student achievement.”
Sadly, Governor Malloy nor the state’s top four legislative leaders were willing to step in and protect parents and their children by requesting an official legal opinion from Attorney General George Jepsen on whether Commissioner Pryor’s claims were correct.

Another key factor proving that this Common Core Test of a test is not a Connecticut Mastery Test is the fact that in order to be a “Connecticut Mastery Test,” the state must provide students and their parents with the results of the test.

However, Commissioner Pryor and his team of education reform proponents have consistently stated that no student specific results would be provided to parents this year.

So the test doesn’t measure mastery and it doesn’t provide results and yet the Malloy administration inappropriately claimed that it was a “Mastery Test,” thus limiting the rights of parents to refuse to have their children tested.

With each statement, the actions of the Malloy administration become more suspicious.

Just the other day a distinguished former school administrator wrote to Wait, What? noting,

“The claim has been made that parents and districts will not be able to get the results of student tests. However, it is my understanding that students are entering a unique identification number, along with his or her name, when they take the test. If that’s the case, it seems to me that a student’s test can be tracked, otherwise, why would students have to enter a unique identification number. Wouldn’t they just add a generic number or enter as “guest”?
The observation is an excellent one.

Why is Commissioner Pryor saying that parents will not have access to their children’s responses when it appears that the Common Core Test of the test is designed to track individual student responses.

If individual responses do exist then parents have a fundamental and legal right to getting information about how their children did.

Finally, every parent should understand the most important issue of all.

Unlike the Connecticut Mastery Test, the Common Core Smarter Balanced Test is designed to ensure that the vast majority of students fail.

It is expected that when the Common Core test is fully implemented, the number of students deemed proficient will plummet from more than 75 percent to about 25 percent. This is because the material on the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Test and the “cut score” used to decide who is proficient and who isn’t has been designed by the corporate education reform industry to prove that students, teachers and public schools are failing.

One need only read the stories coming out of New York to see how the testing industry is gaming the system.

These corporate education reform industry advocates have developed Common Core standards that are not developmentally appropriate and are then using the Common Core Test to make it appear that the majority of students and schools are failures.

Let us not forget that the new testing is taking place despite the fact that school districts have not even had the time to develop Common Core curriculum that could prepare students for this new testing scheme.

The whole testing system is a farce.

But of course, we can’t forget that this farce it is being pushed by Governor Malloy who famously said that he didn’t mind teaching to the test as long as the test scores went up.

As students, parents, teachers and school administrators experience the new Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Field Test, please take the time to post your observations here at Wait, What? or send them to jonpelto@gmail.com

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The Mercurial (RIP)
Danbury News Times
Danbury Patch
Danbury Hamlet Hub
Danbury Daily Voice
Tribuna Newspaper
CT News Junkie
CT Capitol Report

10.03.18 (PDF):
"Approval of Danbury Prospect Charter School"

10.30.20 (HatCityBLOG VID): Charter School discussion during 2020 interview with Julie Kushner

2018 (RADIO): WLAD
"State Board of Ed signs off on Danbury charter school proposal"

08.20 (VID): CT-LEAD
"Stand up for Education Justice" Rally

08.20.20 (OP-ED): KUSHNER: "Charter schools are not ‘magic bullet’ to improving Danbury schools"

09.13.20 (OP-ED): CHAPMAN
Candidate for state Senate supports charter school for Danbury

01.15.21 (VID): CT-LEAD
Danbury Prospect Charter School press conference

03.19.21 (OP-ED): CT MIRROR
"Danbury leaders do not want a charter school"

04.01.21 (OP-ED): CT-LEAD:
"Why did Sen. Kushner vote against us?"

05.06.21 (VID): Danbury rally to fully fund public schools

10.07.21 (VID): Danbury City-Wide PTO "Meet the Candidates" education forum

10.07.21 NEWSTIMES
Danbury candidates quarrel over charter school, education funding

01.10.22 NEWSTIMES
"New operator named for Danbury charter school: ‘I’m a huge advocate for parent choice’"

01.10.22 NEWSTIMES
"Some Danbury Democrats ‘open minded’ about charter school after new, CT operator named"

01.21.22 (OP-ED): CT MIRROR
"Lessons from Danbury: Ending the dual process for charter school approval"

02.09.22 NEWSTIMES
"Proposed Danbury charter school won’t open in 2022, governor leaves funding out of budget"

02.18.22 NEWSTIMES:
Danbury residents plead for charter school funds in 9-hour state budget hearing: ‘Just exhausted’

03.05.22 (LTE):
Time has come for Danbury charter school

03.12.22 (OP-ED): TAYLOR
"Why I am excited about the Danbury Charter School"

03.16.22 (LTE):
"Why a Danbury Charter School?"

04.02.22 CT EXAMINER:
"Crowding and a Lack of Options for Danbury Students, But No Agreement on Solutions"

04.04.22 (OP-ED): DCS
"Danbury Charter School plans debut"

04.07.22 (PODCAST): (CEA)

04.18.22 (VID): CT-LEAD
Protest press conference

04.25.22 (RADIO): WSHU
Latino group call on Connecticut lawmakers to open a Danbury charter school

06.03.22 (OP-ED): KUSHNER:
"Career Academy ‘a great deal for Danbury"

On September 26, 2007, ten plaintiffs filed suit in response to an arrest of aday laborers at a public park in Danbury, Connecticut. Plaintiffs amended their complaint on November 26, 2007.

The amended complaint states that plaintiffs sought to remedy the continued discriminatory and unauthorized enforcement of federal immigration laws against the Latino residents of the City of Danbury by Danbury's mayor and its police department.

Plaintiffs allege that the arrests violated their Fourth Amendment rights and the Connecticut Constitution because defendants conducted the arrests without valid warrants, in the absence of exigent circumstances, and without probable cause to believe that plaintiffs were engaged in unlawful activity. In addition, plaintiffs allege that defendants improperly stopped, detained, investigated, searched and arrested plaintiffs. Plaintiffs also allege that defendants violated their Fourteenth Amendment rights when they intentionally targeted plaintiffs, and arrested and detained them on the basis of their race, ethnicity and perceived national origin. Plaintiffs raise First Amendment, Due Process and tort claims.

Plaintiffs request declaratory relief, damages and attorneys fees.



Danbury Area Coalition for the Rights of Immigrants v.
U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security
3:06-cv-01992-RNC ( D. Conn. )

(02.25.08) Court docket

(10.24.07) Memorandum in Opposition to Defendant's Emergency Motion for Protective Order

(09.26.07) Press Release

(12.14.06) Complaint

Barrera v. Boughton, No. 07-01436
(D. Conn. filed Sept. 26, 2007)

(02.25.08) Court Docket

Amended complaint

Defendants' Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Defendants' Motion to Dismiss State Law Claims

Plaintiffs' Opposition to Motion to Dismiss

Order on Motion to Dismiss

Defendants' Answer to Amended Complaint

NEW HAVEN REGISTER: Immigrant's 2006 arrest was flawed Danbury mayor testifies

(10.05.07 (VIDEO) Boughton mislead the public about Danbury's involvement in raid

(09.18.07) Yale Law Students expose Danbury involvement in raid

(12.14.06) VIDEO: Interview with Yale Law Students at FOI presser

(12.14.06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 FOI complaint media roundup

City Clerk Jean Natale standing next to skinhead sparks outrage

(10.03.06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 rally

(09.29.06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 case deepens

Word of raid spread across the country

(09/29/06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 protest news conference

(09/29/06) Immigrant newspaper "El Canillita" gives best account of ICE day labor raid at Kennedy Park

trans_button Santos Family Story
VIDEO: Tereza Pereira's ordeal with ICE agents

VIDEO: Danbury Peace Coalition Immigration Forum (April 2006)
featuring Mayor Boughton and Immigration attorney Philip Berns

VIDEO: 2007 Stop the Raids immigration forum at WCSU

2007: Community protest anti-immigration forum

A tribute to Hispanic Center Director and immigrant activist Maria Cinta Lowe



11.15.23 Recanvass return
(Head Moderator Return Format)

11.07.23: Election night returns
(Head Moderator Return Format)

11.07.23: Initial returns

Oct 10 2022
Jan 10 2023
Apr 10 2023
Jul 10 2023
Oct 10 2023

Apr 10 2023
Jul 10 2023
Oct 10 2023

Dem/GOP slate/ballot position

VIDEO: DRTC convention
VIDEO: DDTC conveniton


(VID) DDTC nomination convention
(PDF) DDTC campaign slate flyer

(VID) DRTC nomination convention
(PDF) DRTC campaign slate flyer

(VID) 2021 Danbury City-Wide PTO educational forum

First quarter
Alves Apr 10th SEEC filing

Second quarter
Alves Jul 10th SEEC filing
Esposito Jul 10th SEEC filing

Third quarter
Alves Oct 12th SEEC report
Esposito Oct 12th SEEC report

Alves "Jan 6th" attack mailer 10.21.21
Esposito "you can't trust Alves" attack mailer 10.20.21
Alves mailer 10.20.21
Alves mailer 09.30.21
Esposito mailer 09.28.21
Alves mailer 09.27.21
Esposito mailer 09.27.21


Danbury 2005 election results
Newstimes Dean Esposito profile (10.25.05)

Danbury 2007 election results
(VID) Helana Abrantes TV ad
(VID) BRT tax deferral presser
(VID) Helena Abrantes "Community Forum" interview

Danbury 2009 election results
(VID) 2009 Danbury City-Wide PTO educational forum
(VID) 2009 Danbury Chamber of Commerce mayoral debate
(VID) 2009 DDTC nomination convention

Danbury 2011 election results
(VID) Saadi/Nero campaign kickoff

Danbury 2013 election results
(VID) 2013 DDTC nominaiton convention

Danbury 2015 election results

Danbury 2017 election results
(VID) Al Almeida concession speech
(VID) 2017 Danbury City-Wide PTO educational forum
(VID) Al Almeida nomination acceptance speech

Danbury 2019 election results
(VID) 2019 NewsTimes Editorial Board interview with Mark Boughton and Chris Setaro
(VID) 2019 Danbury City-Wide PTO educational forum
(VID) 2019 Danbury Chamber of Commerce mayoral debate
(VID) 2019 convention endorsement speeches from Mark Boughton and Chris Setaro