by Jennifer Swift
Sep 15, 2013
08:45 AM
Connecticut Politics

Tom Foley says he's heard accusations of ethical lapses in Malloy administration

Tom Foley says he's heard accusations of ethical lapses in Malloy administration

Gubernatorial hopeful Tom Foley says he's "heard" several accusations of ethical lapses in the Malloy administration, but hasn't been able to confirm any of them.

Appearing on WFSB's Face the State Sunday morning, Foley, who has formed an exploratory committee for governor, said he'd gotten the information from "reliable sources." He said whether any of the accusations are true or not, the mere perception that they are is harmful to Malloy.

In a statement emailed to reporters less than a half hour after Foley's comments aired, Malloy spokesman Andrew Doba strongly denied the allegations.

"Mr. Foley’s allegations are factually incorrect. The reason he can’t back them up is because they’re untrue. Mr. Foley owes everyone to whom he referred an immediate apology," Doba said in a statement.

Foley said he had heard  Daniel Esty, now the commissioner of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, had compensated Malloy during the 2010 governor's race, and that the money was not labeled a campaign contribution.

“A lot of people believe that his consulting firm Esty environmental partners or some entity that he controls was compensating Dan Malloy,” Foley said.

In a statement emailed by spokesman Dennis Schain, Esty said Foley's allegations were "simply untrue."

"Neither I, nor my former consulting firm, employed or did any business with Dan Malloy or Class Green, the firm he was associated with," Esty said.

WFSB 3 Connecticut

Foley also said first selectmen across the state knew they were more likely to get a bond approved by the governor if they used the law firm Pullman & Comley, where Andrew McDonald worked. McDonald, a longtime Malloy ally, is now a state Supreme Court justice. Prior to being appointed to the court, he served as Malloy's chief legal counsel.

Foley also said that a firm run by former Malloy chief of staff Roy Occhiogrosso had an unfair advantage in obtaining the contract to do communications for Access Health CT, the state’s health insurance exchange.

"Totally improper if this is the case...that somebody leaves the administration and turns around within a very short amount of time…and he receives a government contract," he said.

Access Health CT CEO Kevin Counihan confirmed that Global Strategy Group, where Occhiogrosso is a managing director, was chosen after a "competitive bid process" to do communications and outreach for the agency. Counihan said a formal request for proposal went out, to which three or four organizations responded. 

"Global won based on a combination of their response for the RFP, their oral presentation, their experience, their prices," Counihan said. "There are a variety of criteria."

Counihan said any allegation that GSG was chosen because of Occhiogross's connection is "completely and fully wrong and factually inaccurate."

"I didn’t even know there was an involvement [with Roy] until later. I was told Roy did some work for the governor," he said. "But they won on merit, and we received no communication from the administration, no counseling, no one asked to weigh in on it and we did not request anybody to weigh in on it. It was completely indepenent."

Because Access Health CT receives federal grants to operate, employees like Counihan are not considered state employees.

Foley also said Malloy's use of the UConn Foundation to fund international travel is an improper use of funds. He said a senior member of Malloy's staff pressured reluctant board members to permit him to use the funds.

“I think the perception that this administration does not have high ethical standards that favors are being done for friends and family is there and the mere fact that it’s there is a problem,” he said.

Foley said he was calling on the governor to answer and explain the allegations he has heard, and said he hope they aren’t true. But he said the fact that people think they could actually occur is a problem in itself.

“If I were governor nobody would even think these things possible,” he said, later adding. “But these are things that are commonly accepted at the Capitol as being true.”

Following the show, state Democrats released a statement calling on Foley to release details of arrests in 1981 and 1993.

"Every single one of the allegations Mr. Foley made are factually incorrect, and that’s why he can’t back them up," a statement from the party said. "Speaking of disclosure, Mr. Foley has steadfastly refused to release his arrest records involving two incidents, including one felony arrest in which he ended up spending the night in jail.  Today the Connecticut Democratic Party call on Mr. Foley to release those records, in the spirit of open and full disclosure he says he believes in.  The facts surrounding these incidents have never been brought to light.  Mr. Foley has called them “minor,” but no one spends a night in jail for something considered to be “minor”.

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.

Face the State host Dennis House has a full recap of his interview with Foley on his blog.

 

 

Tom Foley says he's heard accusations of ethical lapses in Malloy administration

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