These come after the Drew campaign filed its own complaint with the SEEC, alleging that the Russo-Driska campaign failed to report that 8 donors gave more in cash than the maximum of $100.
The Russo-Driska campaign is alleging 14 violations, linked to $12,500 worth of donations.
Connecticut's campaign finance law bars anyone from giving more than $1000 to a candidate, and requires the campaign committee to identify each donor's employer, and to answer the question,
“... does contributor or business he/she is associated with have a contract with [Middletown] valued at more than $5,000?”Here are some of the complaints about the Drew campaign, relating to donors who failed to reveal apparent associations with corporations doing business with the city:
- Mike Silvestrini of Westbrook, CEO of Greenskies Renewable Energy, donated $1000 to Drew on April 20th. In reporting that donation, the Drew campaign failed to disclose that Greenskies has multiple contracts with the City.
- Charles Hajjar of Milton (Mass.) donated $1000 to Drew on June 15th, he was described as “self-employed”. The Drew campaign failed to disclose that Hajjar is a principal in Hajjar Management, which has obtained a very generous tax abatement and building fee waiver from the City for developing apartments at the corner of Broad and College.
- Kelly Landino of Chester donated $1000 to Drew on March 27th. The Drew campaign described her as “home-maker”. But Kelly Landino listed the same address as Robert Landino, who also gave $1000 to Drew, and is the CEO of Centerplan. The Drew campaign failed to report that she is associated with Centerplan, which has contracts with the city.
- Martin Smith of Middlefield donated $500 on June 8th. The Drew campaign described him as “self” employed. It failed to disclose that he is "Founder and Principal" in Waterhouse Development, which asked for tax abatement for development of condominiums along the river.
- Barbara Smith of Middlefield donated $1000 to Drew on February 14th. The Drew campaign described her as an attorney for Fidelity National Title Insurance Co. But Barbara Smith listed the same address as Martin Smith, Founder and Principal of Waterhouse Development, who also gave $500 to Drew. The campaign failed to disclose that she is associated with Waterhouse, which asked for tax abatement for development of condominiums along the river.
- Mary Cermola of New Haven donated $1000 to Drew on June 29th. The Drew campaign described her as a Programmer for AT&T. But Mary Cermola listed the same address as Joe Cermola, who is a Principal and Founding Partner with Cardinal Engineering, and also gave $1000 to Drew. Cardinal Engineering has contracts with the City.
Dorian Lockett, speaking for the Drew campaign, told The Eye, "My only comment is that the complaints speak for themselves."
The SEEC will review these complaints at their next meeting, which will take place on November 3rd.