by Jennifer Swift
Sep 19, 2013
07:01 AM
Connecticut Politics

Tom Foley Offers No Evidence of Unethical Acts by Gov

Tom Foley Offers No Evidence of Unethical Acts by Gov

Brad Horrigan/New Haven Register

Tom Foley offered no evidence Wednesday morning when pressed for details regarding his claims of unethical behavior by the Malloy administration, but continued to repeat them.

Foley, who appeared on WNPR's radio program "Where We Live," said that three of the four allegations he relayed Sunday on WFSB's "Face the State" Sunday have been proven true.

Foley has repeatedly said, and did so again Wednesday, that the fact remains there’s an “impression” such unethical acts could occur.

“The impression is out there that practices and ethical standards of this administration are not certainly as high as it would be if I were governor and not high enough,” Foley said. “Because I think the impression is out that there that business is being sent to friends, that people are cashing in on leaving the administration after a year or so.”

While subjects he broached such as contracts and appointments have been proven to be true, whether there was unethical behavior on the part of the administration in those instances has not been proven.

“Whether these things are illegal or not, they stink, they smell,” Foley said.

During his appearance Sunday on “Face the State,” Foley said he did not have the resources to investigate the claims.

Foley continued to tout that he had reliable sources that alerted him to the four instances of unethical practices by the current administration. He repeatedly said he was “surprised” that the media reacted the way it did to his announcement, and said he had met the “journalistic standard” because the rumors had been confirmed by two people.

That statement was challenged several times by host John Dankosky who said, "The journalistic standard isn't to throw a bunch of things and see what sticks, just so you understand."

Foley said reports from the Hartford Courant on such things as former Gov. John Rowland's illegal behavior was done so with information from source, and Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who broke the scandal dubbed “Watergate,” only had one reliable source. Not having the hard evidence before you repeat what you have heard should not preclude you from saying, Foley tried explaining. He also asserted that although Rowland took a plea deal and was sentenced to jail, he was never "proven" to be guilty.

"I’m not saying that something bad didn’t happen.  I’m jut saying that the facts in that case the claims were never proven in a court," he said.

He continued to say that much of what he said Sunday has been reported as true.

“There’s no factual difference of opinion on this, the facts are established. I’ve got three out of four and the governor has not denied the fourth,” he said.

Foley said that it’s the responsibility of a strong leader to come out against claims like this if they aren’t true.

Malloy’s administration released a statement Sunday immediately following Foley’s appearance on Channel 3, and called his claims “factually incorrect” and calling for an apology to everyone he mentioned in the claims. Foley says that isn’t enough, and Malloy himself needs to refute the claims and not a spokesman or “surrogate.”

Among Foley's claims is that Daniel Esty, who Malloy appointed to lead the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, contributed to Malloy's 2010 campaign without properly labeling the contributions, presumably in exchange for the DEEP post. No part of this has been proven, and Esty has released a statement that says at no point was Malloy employed by him, nor did he help Malloy to get a job during the campaign. Foley says this doesn't answer the issue of whether Malloy as a candidate was given funds by Esty. This is the claim by which no part has been proven true.

He also alleges he has been told towns were pressured into using the firm Pullman & Comley when purchasing bonds, because there was a greater chance the governor would approve them. Malloy’s former chief counsel, Andrew McDonald, worked for Pullman & Comley and was later named a state Supreme Court Justice by Malloy. This has been told to him by first selectman whom he would not name.

A third allegation is that after Roy Occhiogrosso, Malloy’s senior adviser and chief strategist left his administration, his company Global Strategy Group was awarded a contract with the quasi-government agency Access Health CT, which operates the state’s health exchange, because of Occhiogrosso's connection to Malloy. Access Health CT does utilize the services of Global Strategy Group where Occhiogrosso works, and Occhiogrosso is a member of the team working on communications for the health exchange.

The CEO of Access Health CT, Kevin Counihan, vehemently denied the Malloy administration had any input in their choosing of Occhiogrosso’s company, and said they were chosen after a competitive bid process. Esty also released a statement denying that he had ever employed Malloy.

The fourth allegation was that a senior member of Malloy’s administration pressured a UConn Foundation board member into financing Malloy’s international trips. It has been reported prior to Foley’s comments that the UConn Foundation did pay for Malloy’s trip to Davos, Switzerland. It has not been proven that a board member was pressured into allowing the funds to be used that way. Foley said either way, it's an improper use of funds. 

"Hey, I win because I only need to be right on one," Foley said. "I think three definitely shows that there's a pattern here."

Foley said that "pattern" is one where the governor is not doing what is in the best interest of the public and businesses in the state.

In response to Foley's accusations Sunday, the state's Democratic party has repeatedly called for Foley to release his arrest records from 1981 and 1993 in which the charges in both cases were dropped.

In 2010, following a Hartford Courant story on the arrests, Foley released a statement saying that both incidents were minor and related to motor-vehicle incidents. In the statement, Foley criticized political opponents for wrongly saying he was "imprisoned" following one of the arrests and for saying that the 1993 incident involved domestic violence.

"To raise that specter (of domestic violence) publicly without any evidence is a shameful lack of fair play in the public domain," he said at the time.

Dankosky read off one of Foley's past statements regarding the arrests to ask how Democrat's raising the issue in 2010 without what Foley deemed evidence was different from what Foley is doing now.

Foley repeatedly charged the governor with calling for the release of the records, though the requests have come from the state's Democratic party. Foley asserts that as governor, Malloy is the head of his party and therefore responsible.

"The governor shouldn't be brining these things up. They were vetted in the 2010 race...these were charges that were dropped. Innocent until proven guilty," he said. "Whatever public records exist about this are out there for the people to look at. Nothing's sealed. I haven't requested that anything not be provided...there are no unreleased records for the governor to come out and say release the records."

Despite Foley's denial that there remains anything to be "released" Democrats again called for him to hand them over.

""For the third time this week, I am demanding that Tom Foley release his arrest records to the people of Connecticut,"  Democratic Party chair Nancy DiNardo said in a statement. "He has no more excuses left to not release them now that he has finally admitted they exist.  Time to turn them over, Tom,"

Tom Foley Offers No Evidence of Unethical Acts by Gov

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