Britton speaks out

Friday, August 04, 2023
Time: 8:00 PM

Today, 4th ward City Councilman Joe Britton spoke with Newstimes reporter about his actions at City Hall on April 15th that has gotten the freshman lawmaker into hot water with city officials.

"Britton said that what transpired during the evening in question was a “pretty simple story.” He said that he and a friend were on their way to dinner that April evening and had some free time to spare beforehand.

“We went down to City Hall. I wanted to show her around,” Britton said. Like other City Council members, he has a city-issued ID badge and a key fob, both provided through the city’s human resources department, that allows entry into the building.

“Obviously, I’m aware there are cameras everywhere,” he said.

The tour included a walk through the council’s caucus room, where, Britton said, he has a mailbox. He said he took his friend through a City Hall entrance that leads into the Council Chambers on the third floor, which they walked through.

The third floor also includes several other rooms, including Esposito’s office, Yamin’s office and a conference room. Britton said he “wasn’t paying attention” as he and his friend walked through the area, and he “tried to key fob” into a door that he said “ended up being the mayor’s office.”

“It obviously didn’t work. I think we were in there for 15 minutes or so. So it was pretty quick. That’s pretty much the story,” Britton said.

He said he accidentally wandered into an area of City Hall he was not authorized to access, for which he took responsibility. Britton said while he understands “the optics are not great,” his actions have “not been out of the ordinary.”

“I heard that councilmen do this with their family and friends — show them around City Hall,” he said."


City hall announce investigation into councilman alleged attempts to enter offices without authorization


Time: 7:51 AM

UPDATE 8: Statement from Danbury Democratic Town Committee chairman Larry Reifberg.

Councilman Joe Britton is a well-respected attorney, a man of integrity and deep commitment to our city and honorably serves our Danbury residents. The Councilman has City-issued identification and a City-issued key badge allowing him to lawfully enter City Hall. We fully expect and support a transparent discussion of this matter including the resolution of questions concerning the regularity of the city's quarterly reviews, established building entry protocol, monitoring the whereabouts of persons in City Hall and for the complete set of facts to be known before we will comment further.

UPDATE 7: Danbury Voice picks up on the story.

City officials claim that Danbury Councilman Joe Britton’s attempted to access secured areas of city hall that he does not have authorization to enter during the evening hours of Saturday, April 15, said John Kleinhans, Government Affairs and Communications Advisor.

As part of the City of Danbury’s quarterly security review, concerns were raised that Britton and an unidentified woman entered the office of the Corporation Counsel which council members and the public do not have access to due to the highly confidential, privileged information and records contained within the department, Kleinhans said.

UPDATE 6: Danbury Patch picks up on the story.

City officials have announced an investigation of a city council member who allegedly tried to gain unauthorized access to areas of City Hall in April.

In a news release from the Mayor's Office Thursday evening, officials said 4th Ward Councilman Joe Britton, accompanied by an unknown woman, tried to access secured areas of Danbury City Hall during the evening hours of Saturday, April 15.

The allegations came following the City of Danbury's quarterly security review, which indicated that Britton and the woman entered the Office of Corporation Counsel.

UPDATE 5: Danbury Republican Town Committee Chairman Mike Safranek issued the following statement regarding the alleged actions of 4th Ward City Councilman Joe Britton.

As chairman of the Republican party, I will refrain from making a full statement regarding Councilman Britain's alleged malfeasance, until the investigation is complete.

But what I will say is that I am disappointed in his actions, as they have been presented.

For a councilman and an attorney to wander into restricted areas of City Hall, (allegedly after hours, in an empty building) one of them being the legal department, is poor judgment.

As a Prominent member of the Danbury Democrat Party to try and gain access to the Mayor's secured office area is extremely poor judgment.

I believe many questions should be asked; what was his intent and the purpose of him trying to get into the Mayor's restricted office.

I remember reading about Watergate in school. On the surface, it was an innocuous event. I truly hope this isn't the start of Danburygate.

But before full judgment is rendered, let's wait to hear all the facts.

UPDATE 4: City Councilman At-Large John Esposito III posted the following comment.

As a member of the current City Council I want to know what Joe Britton was doing and who knew he was doing it.
UPDATE 3: 4th Ward City Councilman Joe Britton issued the following statement.

In response to the announcement of the inquiry, my comment is as follows: I was in City Hall that Saturday afternoon withj my City-issued ID badge and City-issued City Hall access key. As requested by the City, I will meet with City officials to discuss this matter in detail. I intend to be fully transparent. I have nothing to hide.
UPDATE 2: Democratic Mayoral candidate Roberto Alves issued the following statement.

I am incredibly disappointed in the allegations that have come to light about Councilman Britton. It is important, regardless of political affiliation, that everyone is held accountable for their actions. Especially our elected leaders. I am hopeful that both parties are transparent and forthright during the investigation, and with the public, into the events of April 15th.
UPDATE 1: Fox 61 picks up on the story. (link).


Mayor Dean Esposito announced that an investigation has been launched against Democratic 4th ward City Councilman Joe Britton for allegedly attempting to access restricted offices at City Hall in April.

Statement from the City of Danbury and Mayor Dean Esposito.


The New American Dream Foundation announce honorees and reward recipients for awards gala

Monday, July 31, 2023
Time: 10:58 AM

Press release from The New American Dream Foundation.

9th Annual American Dream Awards Community Hero Award Honorees and Scholarship Recipients Revealed

The New American Dream Foundation (TNADF) will hold its 9th Annual American Dream Awards on Friday, September 15, at the Amber Room Colonnade in Danbury.

TNADF has significantly impacted the greater Danbury area in 2023, with over 1,000 individuals served. Their initiatives include the senior hot meal program, a community resource center for immigrants called the New American Dream Center in partnership with the Connecticut Institute For Communities, Inc., and various educational programs to inspire immigrant families and youth, collaborating with community organizations, public schools, and state universities with the support of the CT Health Foundation.

The event's theme is "The Power of Education – The Power of Community," presented by Union Savings Bank. It will highlight the contributions of community organizations and individuals in education and social services provided to immigrants and their descendants and bestow three American Dream Award Scholarships of $3,000 to immigrants and children of immigrants who faced many challenges along their journey to achieve their American dreams.

The New American Dream Foundation 2023 Community Hero Award honorees are:

The Lebanon-American Club of Danbury, founded in 1922, celebrated their centennial last year. The Club initially assisted members in becoming American Citizens, learning English, and served, along with the three sister parishes of St. Anthony, St. Ann, and St. George, as a social support system for Lebanese and Syrian immigrants and their descendants. The Club has awarded thousands of dollars to college-bound students of Lebanese and Syrian heritage and their descendants through its annual scholarship program for the past 50 years.

Daily Bread Food Pantry has distributed food free of charge in downtown Danbury, welcoming those in need, whatever their background or circumstances, since 1984. Most recently, Daily Bread Food Pantry has increasingly provided nutritional support to hundreds of immigrant families struggling to provide food for their families and themselves due to job loss, low wages, or personal crises, becoming a vital alternative as most do not qualify for government programs.

The 2023 American Dream Award Scholarship recipients are:

Elvia Fajardo, a Danbury High School graduate, is attending the University of Hartford as a Nursing Major this fall. "I am a proud child of immigrant parents who both migrated from Ecuador. My parent’s journey to the U.S. was indescribable. My American dream is to honor my parents." Fajardo said.

Julia Clara Ferreira, a Danbury High School graduate, is attending the University of New Haven as a Forensic Science Major this fall. "I am a very proud daughter of Brazilian immigrants. I am also the youngest child of two and will be the first person in the family to graduate high school and continue on with my education," Ferreira said.

Daniel Espin is a Computer Science Major at Western Connecticut State University and is the son of Ecuadorian immigrants. "As an immigrant, I have faced countless challenges and learned valuable lessons. The most important lesson is the language barrier I faced and how I managed to overcome it by being persistent and never giving up," Espin shared.

"The gala is an opportunity for all of us to come together and go beyond highlighting the cultural contributions of the immigrant community, and sincerely celebrate their determination in the pursuit of their American Dream above all else," said Celia Bacelar-Palmares, TNADF President and Founder. "We are so proud to honor these community organizations and support the next generation of immigrants to reach their American dream."

Ticket proceeds will support The New American Dream Foundation programs and Mission Health Day - a day of free health screenings and other community services for the uninsured and the income challenged, hosted by Nuvance Health and TNADF. Tickets are limited and only sold in advance. To purchase tickets, tables, and ads in the event booklet, visit www.americandreamgala.com.

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ABOUT TNADF

TNADF is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization established in 2016 by the Bacelar-Palmares Family. It serves as the philanthropic branch of the Tribuna Newspaper, a trilingual publication founded by the family in 1999. The TNADF's mission is to celebrate, support, and inspire immigrants of all generations, committed to providing opportunities that enhance access to education, health, and civic engagement.

The New American Dream Scholarship Awards - Since 2016, The New American Dream Foundation has provided scholarships to immigrant youth regardless of their legal status and honored inspiring community members through its American Dream Awards gala. To date, over $70,000 has been awarded in scholarships to students.

TNADF Senior Hot Meal Program provides 650 seniors living in tax-credit communities in Danbury with a monthly hot meal prepared by the Amber Room Colonnade and purchased by the foundation at cost. Over 30 volunteers serve the meals. Through the program, community members can volunteer and give back to the descendants of the previous immigrants, on whose shoulders every new community stands. Since 2020, over 22,000 meals have been served to seniors. TNADF Senior Hot Meal project is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $50,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS.

The New American Dream Center (TNADC) is a free in-person resource center to guide and support immigrants. In the Newcomer's Program, the Center connects immigrants with existing resources in our community through partnerships with local organizations. It streamlines their access to these resources by helping them gather all the appropriate paperwork and documents needed to access health care, education, and other services.

In the New Americans Program, the Center helps immigrants determine their eligibility for citizenship. We will support those eligible by removing the financial barriers to the application process with grants for low-income families to cover the application fees.

The Center is a partnership between The New American Dream Foundation and the Connecticut Institute for Communities, Inc. Since its opening in the spring of 2023, TNADC has served over 200 families.

For more information on The New American Dream Foundation, Inc., visit www.thenewamericandreamfoundation.org.


In memory of Brian Cotter

Sunday, July 30, 2023
Time: 12:09 AM

My deep condolences to the family of Brian Cotter.

Cornell Funeral Home

Brian E. Cotter, Esq., 77, respected attorney and professor, beloved father, brother, and grandfather, passed away on June 25, 2023. He was born in Alexandria, VA on January 24, 1946, the son of the late Atty Robert and Rita (Lang) Cotter. He was proud to grow up in Abington and Cape Cod, MA as one of seven siblings who he loved fiercely.

Brian attended Georgetown University as an undergraduate and earned his law degree from Boston University School of Law. He moved to Danbury in 1971 where he remained a resident for almost 50 years.

Throughout his distinguished career as supervisory assistant state’s attorney for the Judicial District in Danbury from 1972-1996, Brian prosecuted many high-profile cases.

He was equally proud of his work as a professor of law at Western Connecticut State University and of his private practice, focused on mortgage and later immigration law.

Brian believed in democracy and civic duty, serving on the Danbury Board of Education for two terms and actively participating in local politics in his home states. He served as treasurer of the Connecticut State’s Prosecutor’s Association, and president and vice president of the Danbury Bar Association.

He loved politics, the New England Ocean, playing and watching golf, and always enjoyed a good laugh. Brian most of all loved his role as an “over 40” father to his son Sean, and again his role as “Gramps” to his granddaughter Olivia. He often expressed his appreciation of the opportunity to be an older and wiser father, and fully treasured every moment spent with Sean. Later in life, he loved nothing more than helping raise his granddaughter, and was often seen on dinner dates about town with his favorite girl, Olivia.

Brian is survived by his son, Sean Cotter; his daughter, Elizabeth Cotter and her husband, Eric MacFayden; his granddaughter, Olivia; his sister Julie Cotter; his brothers Chris, Greg, and Barry Cotter; and many nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his third wife, Leslie Burkhard.

He was predeceased by his wife of 32 years and mother of his children Ellen (Tomaino); and his brothers Jim and Shawn Cotter.

I had the pleasure of first meeting Cotter in 2007 when he ran for City Treasurer and I will always cherish the time we shared getting to know each other.

Here's an interview I conducted with Cotter the day before Election Day 2007.


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CITY OF DANBURY VIDEO ARCHIVE (Dec 2012-present)

The Mercurial (RIP)
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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)
"SENATOR KUSHNER DISCUSSES POINTS OF OPTIMISM FOR DANBURY PUBLIC SCHOOLS"

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"

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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.

CLICK HERE TO READ/DOWNLOAD MAYOR BOUGHTON'S DEPOSITION

CLICK HERE TO READ/DOWNLOAD MIKE McLACHLAN (then MAYOR CHIEF OF STAFF) DEPOSITION

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


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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

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2023 MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS

Results:
11.15.23 Recanvass return
(Head Moderator Return Format)

11.07.23: Election night returns
(Head Moderator Return Format)

11.07.23: Initial returns


ESPOSITO FINANCE REPORTS:
Oct 10 2022
Jan 10 2023
Apr 10 2023
Jul 10 2023
Oct 10 2023

ALVES FINANCE REPORTS:
Apr 10 2023
Jul 10 2023
Oct 10 2023

CAMPAIGN SLATE DATABASE
Dem/GOP slate/ballot position

VIDEO: DRTC convention
VIDEO: DDTC conveniton


2021 (ALVES/ESPOSITO)

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

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

FORUMS/DEBATES
(VID) 2021 Danbury City-Wide PTO educational forum

CAMPAIGN FINANCE
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

CAMPAIGN MAILERS
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


PAST CAMPAIGN COVERAGE

2005 (BOUGHTON/ESPOSITO)
Danbury 2005 election results
Newstimes Dean Esposito profile (10.25.05)

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

2009 (BOUGHTON/GONCALVES)
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

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

2013 (BOUGHTON/NO DTC ENDORSED CANDIDATE/MCALLISTER)
Danbury 2013 election results
(VID) 2013 DDTC nominaiton convention

2015 (BOUGHTON UNCHALLENGED)
Danbury 2015 election results

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

2019 (BOUGHTON/SETARO)
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