Tuesday, October 20, 2015

COMMENTARY: Milardo Examines Mayor's Calendar

The following is an opinion piece written by John Milardo, retired city worker.

People ask me, “Why are you so against Mayor Dan Drew?”  I am not against Mayor Drew, I am for the truth, honesty, and integrity in the position he holds as the Mayor of Middletown, my hometown.  Elected officials say it’s an “avocation” to be a politician.  For some it is.  In my opinion, for Dan Drew it is not a calling; he wants to make politics his forever profession and career.  His goal is to be a lifelong politician, and Middletown is his first stepping stone.  And I don’t use the word “stepping” lightly.  So, when I hear and read what Mayor Daniel T. Drew tells the public, and I feel it’s a bunch of malarkey, I research it.  In my opinion, the people of Middletown are not respected by this man; they’re being used by him to further his political future.  

Mayor Dan Drew’s newest campaign financial report has just been released.  He has more than double the amount of campaign contributions in his coffers than Republican Mayoral candidate Sandra Russo-Driska, with her grass roots campaign. 

Currently, Drew has a total of $105,058 worth of contributions for his re-election campaign.   The donor list is extensive and interesting.  Of the $105,058, a total of $77,240 was from contributors outside of Middletown and Connecticut.  That’s a whopping 74% of his funding coming from outside Middletown and Connecticut sources.  

I have attached a spreadsheet (Sheet 1 of  Dan Drew Campaign Contributors .xls)  This spreadsheet only contains out of town/out of state contributors as they were his largest monetary donors.  Many of them are past and current City contractors.

There is nothing illegal about receiving donations like this, but it leads one to ask where his allegiance lies?  Is it Middletown residents, or the lawyers, lobbyists, politicians’ and businesses that gave him all that money?  It makes me think, they bought his services, he “owes them”!  I feel Dan is “For Sale” to the highest bidders, and he therefore puts Middletown up “For Sale” too!  Dan Drew is out to promote himself to further his political career and use our city as his stepping stone.  In my opinion, he's a clone of Governor Dannel Malloy, who he admires and emulates.  Nice friendship they have!  Middletown recently lost $200,000 plus in State aide and Middlesex Memorial Hospital is going to lose $2 million in State funding for health care services to our community which will definitely have a negative impact for our people.  He’s done nothing so far to get those funds back to our town.

My Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request of the Mayor’s calendar now comes into play in respect to Mayor Drew’s donor list.  The Mayor held the below meetings between Monday through Friday, and 8am to 5pm.  Anything on weekends or after 5pm was not calculated.  Even though a Mayor’s job is a 24/7, I understand there is a need for a “personal” life and time for a politician to fundraise in a proper manner.  These are not those instances.

Point of information:  During Dan Drew’s mayoral elections he has employed (paid for) a “hired gun” called “The Vinci Group”.  His campaigns have been spear headed by Geoff Luxenburg of this group.  According to calendar logs, Drew regularly meets with Luxenburg on city time, and does what Mr. Luxenburg recommends him to do.   He is Dan’s “handler”.  The Mayor’s appointment calendar shows a total of 84.5 hours, or 10.5 eight hour days, which the two have met; mostly during work hours.

·      March 23, 2015, Monday, Mayor Drew has a meeting with Geoff Luxenburg between the hours of 10am and 1:30pm.  On the same day he garners 10 donations for his campaign. 
·      March 26, 2015, Thursday, from 11am to 3pm, Mayor attends a meeting at a local restaurant per directive of Geoff Luxenburg, and adds another 10 donations on this date. 
·      June 15, 2015, Monday, Mayor Drew meets from 10am to 2pm with Geoff Luxenburg, and earns a $1,000 donation from a Massachusetts realtor on this date.
·      June 18, 2015, Thursday, Mayor Drew, had a meeting with his paid political consultant Geoff Luxenburg of “The Vinci Group”, in Hartford from 10am to 2pm.  The meeting was with the law firm of” Updike, Kelley & Spellacy” and included lunch.  Coincidentally on that same day, this law firm’s employees made nine (9) separate significant donations to Mayor Drew’s campaign.
·      Monday, June 29, 2015, meeting with Mayor and Geoff Luxenburg, from 2pm to 4 pm and receives two (2) more large contributions on same day. 
·      June 30, 2015, Tuesday, Mayor Drew and Geoff Luxenburg meet from 2pm to 4pm, and receive a $1,000 contribution from one (1) donor on this date.

There are other donations Drew received the following day after meetings which included Geoff Luxenburg of “The Vinci Group”, but I have not listed them in this article.  The FOIA of the Mayor’s calendar was from September 1, 2014 through August 10, 2015.  

According to published reports, Mr. Luxenburg and “The Vinci Group” have been investigated for ethical issues during election campaigns before.   (http://m.journalinquirer.com/mobile/page_one/political-boundaries/article_fcf389a8-3da6-11e3-bcea-001a4bcf887a.html) 

NBC Connecticut news also published an article on their website dated May 21, 2015 regarding the millions of dollars “The Vinci Group” and three (3) other political consulting groups have received.  It’s entitled, “Majority of Taxpayer Funded Campaign Cash Goes to Connected Few."   http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/troubleshooters/Majority-of-Taxpayer-Funded-Campaign-Cash-Goes-to-Connected-Few-304644521.html

Mayor Dan Drew has current expenditures to “The Vinci Group” and Geoff Luxenburg in the amount of for $37,413.51.  

In Middletown, our Charter states: The Mayor shall be the chief executive officer of the City and shall devote full time to the duties of the office. Full time shall mean primary occupation.  I for one believe that campaigning when you should be conducting Middletown business is a violation of this code, as well as election laws of Connecticut.

Middletown needs a full-time Mayor, who is not concerned with self promotion to heighten his political career. Mayor Drew’s own Democratic Common Council members tout; “a transparent and honest government”!  Currently in Middletown, we don’t seem to have that!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

First let me say that I applaud the efforts of citizens to exercise their rights to review our public representatives’ campaign practices and to hold them accountable to the people who have elected them. That being said, I’m having a hard time following the concerns about Mayor Drew’s fundraising activities. The fact that Mayor Drew reaches out beyond Middletown is good for the town. It means that businesses outside of the town want to invest in the town and help us grow. The fact that he has developed State political connections has and hopefully will continue to lead to more support for Middletown businesses and schools. I don’t want a Mayor who only sits in his office all day, but one who builds a network for the city beyond our limited resources. I’ve lived in this town for over twenty years and even though I wasn’t born here, it is my home. I’ve never seen the City more vibrant. My children are growing up here and so are Dan Drew’s children. My children have both gone all the way through the Middletown public school system as does Dan Drew’s children. With the public school budget being one of the most important items to manage as a local politician, I certainly feel much better about a Mayor, who is personally invested in that system. He’s also been a huge advocate for youth in Middletown with his Youth Council. Finally, if in fact Dan Drew has aspirations beyond Middletown, I’m okay with that as well. He won’t go far unless he can show real success in Middletown, so it sounds like a win-win to have a Mayor with long term goals.