Tag Archives | Eddie Perez

Former Hartford CT Mayor Eddie Perez attempt at retrial almost comical


Former Hartford CT Mayor Eddie Perez, who was convicted on bribery and extortion charges, is taking a novel approach in asking for a retrial, saying that grouping the charges together prejudiced the jury because it made him look “like a liar, a crook and a thief.”

Good luck with that Eddie, who was once the great progressive hope that as mayor he could turn perennially ailing Hartford around. Instead he apparently just grabbed whatever money and favors he could and in general acted like the gang member thug that he used to be. A grateful Hartford thanks you, sir.

The sad tale of Eddie Perez

Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez. Hope Seeley, one of Perez's attorneys, to his right. (Hartford Courant photo. Michael McAndrews)

(Some background on Eddie Perez, to go with my brief post yesterday)

Hartford CT Eddie Perez was born in Puerto Rico, was a gang leader as a youth, then became a community organizer. He was elected mayor in 2001 with great hopes that a genuine progressive could revitalize Hartford. Yesterday he was convicted on five charges relating to corruption which could put him in prison for many years. Plus, he still awaits trial for extortion.

Hartford sure didn’t need this. Surrounded on one side of the Connecticut River by prosperous suburbs and on the other by solid industrial and manufacturing areas, it’s been the classic decaying hole-in-the-donut urban core for decades. People really hoped Perez would make a difference.

I grew up near Hartford and we lived there in 2007. Perez came to a Jena 6 march in Hartford I was at, not as the mayor but as a progressive. Sure, he said a few words, but didn’t make a big deal about himself and just marched with the rest of us. That impressed me.

Look, he’s guilty. There’s no question about that. What a waste.

Why the Eddie Perez case matters

Colin McEnroe on the corruption trial of Hartford CT Mayor Eddie Perez, speaking about how low expectations for Hartford from surrounding areas clouding the issue. (Some history. Hartford is desperately poor, many of the suburbs surrounding it are quite wealthy.)

I want you to picture the town where you live and then picture the chief elected official there. I want you to imagine the reaction in town to the following fact pattern.

1. Your top official accepted $40,000 in free home improvements from a contractor.

2. The contractor was in the middle of a $5.3 million public works project in your town.

3. The project was so screwed up that the department of public works wanted to pull the contract.

4. Some guy who worked directly for your top official overruled public works and countermanded that order.

I want you to ask yourself how long you think the top official in your town would stay in office after all that came out. A week?

Some of it is Hartford’s own fault. The city knew of Perez’s behavior in 2007 and elected him anyway. In a city of 124,000 people, fewer than 14,000 voted in that election. Perez became mayor of a U.S. capital city with fewer than 6,500 votes.

There’s a lot of trial to go, but I do not consider facts 1 through 4 to be in dispute. You wouldn’t put up with it where you live, so don’t say it’s OK for low-expectations Hartford. It’s our state capital. It has to be better than this.

Perez is a genuine progressive too. We lived near Hartford in 2007 and Perez joined a march in support of the Jena 6 without making a big deal about it. He was there as a progressive, not as mayor. But Perez has been arrested twice on corruption charges yet refuses to step down as mayor. Hartford needs and deserves better than that.