by Jennifer Swift
Apr 18, 2014
05:46 AM
Connecticut Politics

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton Won't Back Down from Accusation

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton Won't Back Down from Accusation

New Haven Register file photo

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton.

Danbury mayor and gubernatorial candidate Mark Boughton says he misspoke at a debate when he suggested a Democratic donor was appointed to a “high-paying position” because of a “quid pro quo” arrangement, but maintains the arrangement still stinks of a pay to play atmosphere in the state’s executive branch.

The individual he spoke of, Nicholas Donofrio, was appointed to the uncompensated position of Chairman of the Board of Regents for Higher Education by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. While Boughton now acknowledges the position is unpaid—he says it’s still “high ranking”—and raises red flags, after Donofrio and his wife each made $10,000 donations to the state Democratic party weeks before the appointment.

During his allotted rebuttal time at a televised debate last week, responding to a question about how to clean up corruption in the capitol, Boughton used the example Donofrio’s as an example of possible corruption in the capitol.

“I give you one quick example—look at the Board of Regents [chairman] right now. Donated $10,000 to the state Democratic party and then gets appointed to a high-paying job. Now, if that isn’t corruption or at least raises the issue of perhaps being corrupt activity, I would certainly, would be concerned about that,” Boughton said. “The reason you get into public service is to help the public, it’s not to make money, it’s not to better yourself, it’s very very important that we have a governor that won’t engage in quid pro quo activity like that.”

The description of “high-paying” didn’t sit well with Donofrio, who describes his position as a volunteer and is not paid—leading him to write a scathing letter to Boughton.

In the letter obtained by Connecticut Magazine, Donofrio said he was “honored” to dedicate himself to the cause because he believes in the mission of extending the opportunity for higher education. He was not appointed for some ulterior reason, but rather because he and Malloy share the same vision, he said.

“I receive no salary whatsoever. Governor Dannel P. Malloy appointed me to serve as chairman of the Board of Regents System because I share the Governor’s vision of a cohesive, technology-centered system that prepares students for 21st Century careers,” he wrote.

He said this was not the first time Boughton made such a statement, and he urged a retraction and apology.

“Attempting to score a political cheap shot based on blatant factual errors that could have been avoided with a little research, and doing so at the expense of Connecticut students, is shameful. As someone who attended one of our state universities, I would have expected more from you,” he wrote.

Boughton campaign manager Heath Fahle said Boughton stands by the assertion that it raises concerns when someone makes a large donation and then receives something seemingly in return immediately following.

“It was a suspect set of circumstances. That individual who had never contributed to the Democratic party before, or his wife, and then they donated, they each wrote $10,000 checks to the state Democratic party and then about two, two and a half weeks later he was named chairman of the board—that raises red flags,” Fahle said.


 

Letter to Boughton

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton Won't Back Down from Accusation

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