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Rally planned to support NancyOnNorwalk reporter …

 

Common Council member David Watts (D-District A) has created this image to promote a rally planned for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

By Nancy Guenther Chapman

NORWALK, Conn. – Folks, I don’t know what to say about this one. I’m going to let Common Council member David Watts’ Facebook announcement speak for itself, with some clarifications beneath it.

Watts said:

  • I (have) just been informed that an arrest warrant is being issue(d) for a reporter. As a result, I am introducing the following resolution at Tuesday’s meeting. Please, come and speak out!
  • A Resolution of the Norwalk Common Council
  • Sponsored by David Watts (District A)
  • Whereas. On June 26, 2012, Mayor Richard Moccia had a “private” conversation with Board of Education officials. Mayor Richard Moccia was recorded by a digital recorder making statements that he did not want published. The digital recorder was placed on a ledge at the media table (council chambers). The reporter “accidentally” left the digital device unattended but still recording.
  • Whereas. On June 28, 2012, the reporter contacted Mayor Richard Moccia via electronic mail before printing the content of these recordings.
  • “Mr. Mayor, As you know, Tuesday night you had an impromptu negotiation session with Tony Ditrio and Bruce Mellion during the Common Council meeting. What you don’t know is that my digital recorder, which was sitting on the ledge where you were standing, was on. I walked away from my computer and forgot to shut the recorder off. It recorded a conversation that was held in a public venue, in a public space. I have listened to the recording several times. Although there is a lot of background noise I am confident that I have most of the conversation transcribed correctly. We have decided that this is a story, which will run in the morning. If you would like to complain about the editorial decision, please call Christine Hall, who is filling in for the vacationing Matt, at (number deleted). If you want to talk about the conversation, call me at 941-716-1012. I will record the phone call for the protection of both of us.”
  • Whereas. On June 28, 2012, the Corporation Council Robert Maslan Jr. responded via electronic mail:
  • “Dear Ms. Chapman: Mayor Moccia forwarded your email to him regarding your recording of a private conversation involving the Mayor and others. Thank you for bringing your recording of the conversation to our attention before publishing a story about it. Please be aware of the following: Assuming that your  characterization of the conversation is correct – that it was an “impromptu negotiation session” with two collective bargaining representatives – the discussion was not a meeting as defined by the Freedom of Information Act. Accordingly, the conversation cannot be considered as public, even if it occurred in a public place. Recording a private conversation as you did, without the consent of the participants, constitutes an invasion of privacy, and may also constitute a violation of the eavesdropping statutes. Publication of the contents of the conversation would raise significant legal issues, and we are considering legal options. You did not have Mayor Moccia’s consent to record his private conversation, and you do not have his consent to publish the contents of the conversation. Please call me as soon as possible to discuss this serious matter. I can be reached at 203-656-3800 or 203-854-7750. Thank you. Robert F. Maslan, Jr. Corporation Counsel City of Norwalk P.O. Box 798 Norwalk, CT 06852-0798 Phone: 203-854-7750 Facsimile 203-854 7901.
  • Whereas. The reporter was later contacted by the Connecticut State Police and interviewed regarding a complaint filed by Mayor Richard A. Moccia. This is currently a criminal investigation.
  • Whereas, On October 19, 2012, Mayor Richard Moccia sent the following electronic message using city property to Robert Maslan “Ok Bob start the civil lawsuit against Chapman she must have sent it to Watts”
  • Whereas, On October 24, 2012, Mayor Richard Moccia made the following statements to The Hour Newspapers. “Mr. Maslan is part time. He’s my private attorney, also,” Moccia said. “It is my own private choice if I decide to pursue any action.”
  • Whereas, Mr. Maslan’s dual roles as both private attorney and Corporation Council (sic) Mayor Richard A. Moccia present a conflict of interest.
  • Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Common Council of the City of Norwalk that: Mr. Maslan no longer serve as the corporation council.
  • Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Norwalk on January — 2013.

For the record, while I have been told a warrant has been prepared, I also have been told it has not yet been signed by a judge, and thus has not been issued. I am hoping that doesn’t happen.

I did not provide Watts with any emails.

Watts is also planning a rally on my behalf for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, before the next Common Council meeting. I have not discussed this or participated in the conception or planning of the event.

For more information on this issue, read The Hour newspaper. 

40 comments

LWitherspoon January 4, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Nancy, I was sorry to read about this. It appears that you are now caught in the middle of the neverending political bickering between Mayor Moccia and David Watts. The idea that the Mayor would pursue legal charges against a reporter who was simply doing her job is disturbing, and it’s also surprising that no resolution was possible given the fact that politicians generally want amicable relationships with members of the press. Is there something more to this story? If Watts didn’t get the e-mails from you, where would he have obtained them? In view of the long history of grandstanding and gamesmanship by Mr. Watts, I have serious doubts about whether Mr. Watts is genuinely concerned about supporting you with this rally. If supporting you is not Watts’s true concern, he is likely to act in ways that serve his own interests rather than yours, in fact this seems inevitable since you are not in communication with Mr. Watts regarding these activities.

I enjoyed reading your reporting while you were at the Daily Voice. Now at Nancy on Norwalk, your coverage is often more thorough than any other local publication. However in light of recent events I hope you can understand my wondering about your objectivity going forward. As it stands right now you appear to have a legal case pending involving charges made by Mayor Moccia, and David Watts, the Mayor’s political enemy, is out organizing rallies to support you. It seems that you have gone from reporting the story to being a principle part of the story. If you can’t comment on details of the case, I certainly understand, but is there anything you can say to assure us of the objectivity of your coverage going forward?

nancy January 4, 2013 at 7:33 pm

Hi “L,”

I don’t know how David got the emails but I am impressed. Anyone can get emails through a Freedom of Information Act request, if you know the dates they were sent on.

David was talking about this back in July. Apparently the mayor was talking about it, but David was the only one who seemed to know there was a threat of arrest.

I do talk to the Democrats about this situation, but I had no idea they were planning a rally. They have been sympathetic and expressing concern about my well-being — as have several Republicans who are not on the council. I appreciate all of the support I have been getting from both sides, and the comments about the good I have done for Norwalk.

The Democrats told me in late October that they were considering a resolution. I hadn’t heard about it since November. I didn’t ask them to do it. I have tried to remain noncommittal.

In this job you make enemies, you make friends. You strive to keep arm’s length from all of them. As a reporter you are beholden to no one except the readers. I respect all of the politicians who have remained friendly after I have written things that weren’t flattering.

This appears to you that it has just happened but in reality it has been going on for months. The mayor told me last April that personal interviews were off the table after I wrote a story he didn’t like. No recordings, he said. “All questions must be submitted by email,” he said, but it wasn’t long before he stopped responding to them. I was taken off the list for press releases.

After the criminal complaint was filed I was told to stay away from him. We do not talk. I take what quotes I can get from public meetings.

Have you noticed bias? Yes, I write stories that take a close look at things, but I am doing that in an attempt to look out for the public.

I take my obligation to readers very seriously. Why else would I have resigned from my job in a down economy? I can also tell you I lost a friend here because I chose to look out for the public and ask a question I knew she’d find hurtful. No story ensued but I felt I had to do it.

My priorities remain with my integrity and in being honest. I choose to write stores based upon a mission statement that can basically be described as “government watchdog.”

Yes, I am surprised to be a principle in a story. (I knew about this possibility for months but it feels different than I expected it to.) I am concerned about it; I plan to attend the council meeting and write about it, but there are many issues around this that I feel I cannot approach. They are important issues that I’d be all over, but I feel there is a conflict of interest.

Diane C2 January 4, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Nancy, it’s awful that you are in this position. I do believe if it were any other reporter things would never have escalated to this point. Perhaps just another example of the bullying in Norwalk, which happens more with elected adults than with children.
I believe Mr. Watts, et al, should address their concerns through proper channels, including whatever council committee would handle these matters. I’m not sure a resolution is the most effective means, but I applaud the passion behind the support and the willingness to bring this matter to the public’s attention. I will be horrified if this continues to the point of an arrest, and I know I will lose whatever heart I have left in fighting for open government and transparency.

Tim T January 4, 2013 at 10:35 pm

This is the same game this administration played a few years ago with the rag The Hour. Moccia was upset about citizens as in “taxpayers” critiquing him and his failed administration. If I remember correctly he wrote a letter to the editor of the rag The Hour and they put pressure on the rag The Hour to verify user names and address. Also if you read the rags privacy policy it basically says they can divulge whatever they want to whomever they want for any reason they want. This came into play at the same time as the other requirements. Moccia can’t stand to be critiqued and when critiqued becomes defensive and attempts stifle free speech. This is very typical of ignorant people.
Also I find it comical that the Republicans are now crying about the democrat’s behavior. Has anyone seen how Moccia behaves when a “taxpayer” as in his bosses disagrees with him???

Tim T January 5, 2013 at 12:44 am

Oh please LWitherspoon you support Moccia on each and every issue. You have some nerve questioning anyone’s objectivity. I would suggest you look in the mirror.
What Norwalk needs is more caring politicians such as Mr. Watts And Mr. Pena that are not part of the old boys club that has destroyed Norwalk

Diane C2 January 5, 2013 at 9:57 am

@Tim T: Many people have witnessed his bullying and tirades, but incredibly, no one has videotaped any of the episodes. In this age of cell phone cameras and video, taxpayers should keep their electronic devices on at all times (of course, when legally able to do so…..)

Suzanne January 5, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Nancy, early on in making comments I was alerted to your WEB site and I am very grateful Diane C2 did. I find your coverage well-balanced and I “get” your mission. The partisan politics that seem to dominate other Norwalk based publications leaves me wondering about the “higher good” of journalistic integrity. At “your place”, I feel I can trust that. It is the proverbial “light in the tunnel”. I hope you can continue with it and I wish you well during this unsettling time.

Diane C2 January 5, 2013 at 7:56 pm

David, powerful sentiment – where do you make this speech? If only to dems, you were preaching to choir, no?

oldtimer January 6, 2013 at 10:56 am

This is not so much about Nancy as it is about a free press and a local dictator trying to intimidate the press. Nancy was barred from the mayor’s office months before this recording incident.

If David Watts had not shined a very bright light on this, many of us would not know, but every reporter covering Norwalk would know and be warned to tread lightly. Now, in response to David’s statements in support of a free press, Moccia’s minions have been instructed to attack David as a “rabble rouser” and distract us from moccia’s shameful treatment of this reporter.

It will be interesting to see what other news organisations show up for the rally in support of a free press and Nancy.

LWitherspoon January 6, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Thanks for providing more information surrounding the circumstances. Transparency helps, though I hope you didn’t reveal anything that might adversely affect any case against you, if in fact there is one. I admire your decision to resign from the Daily Voice rather than be restricted in your coverage. In response to your question about whether or not I have noticed bias in your reporting, I have not, and I hope I never do. I am sympathetic to the fact that you are in a difficult situation; what concerns me about Councilman Watts and company involving themselves is that we all know that politicians would do anything for good press coverage. So how do we know that’s not what he is hoping for here? I hope you’ll forgive the question about objectivity, I didn’t mean to add to your worries. It’s just that if the Mayor seems to be pursuing criminal charges against a reporter, and the Mayor’s adversaries are out organizing rallies to support that same reporter, I think it’s reasonable to wonder if that conflict could in some way color that reporter’s future coverage of the Mayor and his adversaries.

Norwalk needs government watchdogs, so I hope you’ll continue in that role, because all our elected officials need watching. For the record, my opinion continues to be that it’s highly inappropriate for the Mayor to pursue criminal charges against a reporter simply for accidentally recording a conversation. Members of the media are professionals doing their jobs, everyone is capable of making a mistake, but the response to those mistakes shouldn’t be criminal prosecution.

Best wishes as you face the current situation while at the same time performing your duties as a watchdog!

LWitherspoon January 6, 2013 at 9:49 pm

“you support Moccia on each and every issue.”

Not true. I have criticized Mayor Moccia regarding Beach Road Bike Lanes, the Norwalk Museum closure, giving raises to Police and Firefighters, the recent tax hike, potential prosecution of Nancy Chapman, and the list goes on.

At the same time, I have been critical of Common Council members who curry favor with interest groups – i.e. municipal employee unions – by advocating policy that costs taxpayers more money. I have also been critical of partisan gamesmanship displayed by certain members of Common Council which brings zero benefit to the City of Norwalk.

Those who don’t like what I have to say find it easier to attack me and my motives, or make sleazy and unsubstantiated allegations, than to get informed and engage with me on the substance of these issues. Frankly, I don’t care. Perhaps now you’ll claim that the differences with Mayor Moccia listed above were all part of an elaborate strategy designed to confuse people. Good luck with that and any other conspiracy theories you wish to believe, the facts are what they are and no amount of name-calling by you and others will change that.

Tim T January 6, 2013 at 10:54 pm

Please provide verifiable proof that you have criticized Mayor Moccia on each and every of the issues that you have listed.
Thank You

oldtimer January 7, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Am I the only one wondering how, and why, former State Police Officer Maslan got the State Police involved ? Were all the Norwalk Police unavailable ? Do former State Police officers get to pick and choose the law enforcement agency they want to handle a complaint ? Did Maslan call in a favor ? Did Moccia’s daughter at the Norwalk courthouse suggest it would be far better if the police investigation and any subsequent warrant application be handled by out-of-town offices ?

LWitherspoon January 8, 2013 at 10:27 am

@Tim T

Here is your verifiable proof. Have a nice day.

January 6, 2013: “For the record, my opinion continues to be that it’s highly inappropriate for the Mayor to pursue criminal charges against a reporter simply for accidentally recording a conversation. Members of the media are professionals doing their jobs, everyone is capable of making a mistake, but the response to those mistakes shouldn’t be criminal prosecution.”

Link: http://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/2013/01/rally-planned-to-support-nancyonnorwalk-reporter/#comments

October 24, 2012: “It seems odd, not to mention unwise, for the Mayor to come down so hard on a member of the media over an accidental recording of a private conversation in a public space.”

Link: http://www.thehour.com/news/norwalk/daily-voice-reporter-s-recording-sparks-charges-against-mayor/article_50806a80-6115-5aa6-b8a5-b388b7b28153.html

September 30, 2012: “…my specific concern is that elected officials use our tax dollars to buy votes from municipal employee unions. That’s highly offensive and it needs to stop. I include Mayor Moccia in the group of politicians that engages in this distasteful practice with respect to the Police and Firefighter Unions.”

Link: http://norwalk.dailyvoice.com/opinion/norwalk-letter-rip-gop-racist-party

November 19, 2012: “The Notify Norwalk system is a good system, but an unintended side effect is that a robocall goes to every household with the mayor’s voice on it. That does in fact promote the Mayor, even though the call contains important and useful information. What would be wrong with having an unnamed City employee’s voice on the recordings, and this way there is no question in anybody’s mind about whether or not taxpayer dollars are promoting an elected official?”

Link: http://norwalk.dailyvoice.com/opinion/letter-hurricane-sandy-cleanup-continues-norwalk

August 13, 2012: “I agree that the Mayor should not take contributions from executives of City Carting, even if it’s legal for him to do so. My general feeling is that ALL executives of organizations that do any business with the City or State, as well as the organizations themselves, should be barred from making campaign contributions.”

Link: http://norwalk.dailyvoice.com/news/south-norwalk-mom-garbage-smell-bad-baby

July 30, 2012: “The reasons given by City Administration for why one lane can’t be closed don’t seem to make sense. Gregory Blvd is the main feeder to Beach Road Highway, should the City use eminent domain for a project that would widen it to two lanes?”

Link: http://norwalk.dailyvoice.com/politics/shared-lane-planned-norwalks-beach-road

June 19, 2012: “I agree with you that “test and learn” is a great idea with very little downside. If they’re looking for a compromise they could try closing one lane in one direction only, say heading to the beach. Some opponents claim that this will be a massive inconvenience and there’s a “silent majority” who want to keep Beach Road Highway as it is, rather than adding a lane for pedestrians and cyclists. If that’s true, we’ll see traffic issues emerge when “test and learn” is implemented. All the people who are massively inconvenienced will voice their complaints, and the road can be quickly restored to the four-lane limited-access highway that it is right now.
There was a story in the Hour in which Hal Alvord stated that the City’s plan was to move Beach Road Highway’s centerline to the left by a few feet, and paint sharrows on the right side of the right lane. I think that given the public attention focused on the issue, Mayor Moccia decided to postpone that move so that the Traffic Commission could review all the studies. If there are three studies and none of them recommend sharrows, it’s hard to see justification for the sharrows. I hope Mayor Moccia doesn’t think that he can simply ignore the matter — a large group of people feel quite passionately about this and that won’t change anytime soon. Some opponents claim that the proposed changes are just for the benefit of cyclists, and that’s simply not true – the changes are for pedestrians too. It’s a sad day when pedestrians are derided as an insignificant minority and City infrastructure encourages them to drive to the beach rather than walk.
Link: http://norwalk.dailyvoice.com/news/norwalk-beach-road-issue-tabled-further-study

May 28, 2012: “I am extremely disappointed that the City administration closed the museum well in advance of the date which had previously been advertised, without providing the Norwalk community with any prior warning of the new closing date. While I understand the budgetary constraints that forced the closing, as well as the reasons for the earlier closing date, the manner in which it was done seems haphazard and extremely poorly executed.”

Link: http://norwalk.dailyvoice.com/news/no-easy-answers-norwalk-museum-committee

February 27, 2012: “Let’s remember the main responsibility of our elected officials — to achieve essential services on the best possible terms for the taxpayer. In my view Common Council and the Mayor abdicated their responsibility to do that when they failed to even debate a zero tax increase budget.”

Link: http://norwalk.dailyvoice.com/news/norwalk-council-will-debate-5-tax-hike

February 24, 2012: “I am troubled by the fact that both the Democrats and the Republicans intend to raise our taxes, and the only disagreement is over how much they want to raise them. Before there is any talk of raising taxes, there should be a clear explanation of exactly why it’s impossible for city government to survive on the same amount of money this year as it did last year. Why does there have to be ANY increase? Most taxpayers are not seeing salary increases, so the tax increase means that taxpayers will have less to save or spend on themselves or their families.
I would like to know what sort of budget is possible with ZERO tax increase, and I would like every member of the Common Council to go on record and explain why he or she is not advocating for a zero tax increase budget.”

Link: http://norwalk.dailyvoice.com/news/democrat-plans-hike-taxes-pay-education

LWitherspoon January 8, 2013 at 10:38 am

@Old Timer

While I am not an expert on jurisdictions, your suggestion that it would be better to have the Norwalk PD handle this investigation seems ridiculous on its face. Is it not the case that Norwalk’s Police Chief serves at the pleasure of Norwalk’s Mayor? Were Norwalk’s PD to handle the investigation, people such as yourself would howl that the Mayor was using the City’s Police Department for his own benefit, and we would all wonder if the Norwalk PD investigation’s result was colored by the Mayor’s influence.

oldtimer January 8, 2013 at 11:52 am

Lwitherspoon
What suggestion ?
Both departments have jurisdiction in Norwalk.
No matter how this turns out, there will be criticism. As a practical matter, most investigations of crimes in Norwalk start with a complaint to the Norwalk Police. Some result in requests for assistance from other agencies, including the State Police, and the judgement to ask for assistance is made by Norwalk police. There are exceptions, but they are beyond the scope of this discussion. I raised the question as to how and why the State Police got involved in this, and I still wonder. I have confidence in the local police and there is no apparent reason why they would not have handled this complaint. Chief Kuwhalik is the mayor’s appointee, as are most chief’s, but any suggestion that makes it impossible for his officers to conduct an honest and impartial investigation, is offensive to sworn law enforcement professionals. I suspect the Norwalk Police are just as happy somebody else got stuck with this mess, but I still wonder.

That “serves at the pleasure” is not entirely accurate. Once appointed, a chief is not easily removed for political reasons. His/her job is protected. Removal of a chief who wants to stay requires proof of misfeasance and/or malfeasance and is very unusual. Think about it, when was the last time you heard of a chief being removed from office ? A mayor that gets too involved in running a police department risks getting arrested for interfering. As an ex-officio police commissioner, there are policy issues a mayor can speak to, but getting involved in a criminal investigation is a serious no-no.
That lack of control over a police chief is a fact of life and may account for why most chiefs are contract employees, with no guarantee of contract renewal. A mayor can decide to NOT renew, but has no real control beyond that. A chief, or another police supervisor, can decide, after investigation, NOT to apply for an arrest warrant for various reasons and the person making the complaint, even a mayor, has very little practical recourse beyond filing a civil suit against the accused.

M. Murray January 8, 2013 at 4:08 pm

I am still not sure why you chose to pursue information that you knew or should have known was not legally obtained. If recording this conversation was an honest mistake, you could have easily deleted the tape and not true to use that information in a story. I am sure attorneys would have properly advised you on the use of that information if you sought counsel. If the mailman accidentally delivers someone else’s tax return to my mailbox, I would not try to cash te check and use the money. A little common sense would go a long way in this matter.

Suzanne January 8, 2013 at 7:26 pm

M. Murray, Journalists are meant to report on the subjects that they are assigned. Presumably, Ms. Chapman was at the Council meeting to report on what occurred there. It would seem reasonable that the recording, whether accidental or not, would be included in that reporting in this context.

I am not sure, given the public circumstances of the event, Ms. Chapman was even required to notify the mayor’s office prior to any publication of information from the recording.

We live in an age where electronic information, including e-mails which are not private as well as recordings are freely used to report the news.

The Mayor has successfully raised this issue to a level of discriminatory behavior seeking to criminalize what are accepted standards of journalistic behavior simply because he doesn’t like what? Journalists? What he was saying that night? Lack of control?

It’s ridiculous. I feel we are all coddling this man’s infantile excuse for diversion from the real issues concerning our town. It makes him look suspect, quite frankly, to be so litigious about this issue.

As you seem to be familiar with laws and legal matters, I don’t know why you are questioning why she would have had to seek counsel in the first place. Public meeting, public conversation, public paper.

M. Murray January 8, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Sorry. You are wrong on that matter. I know several reporters from reputable major papers who have said that they and their papers would have ethical issues, if not legal issues, with using recordings in this situation without at least one party consent. They said they would certainly consult staff attorneys before notifying someone that they had this information. If a third party had recorded it and given them the information, they would be covered under law.

Suzanne January 8, 2013 at 8:03 pm

This is like gun control. For every reporter you know, I am sure I could find some too (and you are overlooking the fact that she did contact the mayor’s office before proceeding.) The point is: Ms. Chapman could have been beaten by a wet noodle, consulted attornies, she never wrote anything on the recording, for crying out loud, and, yet, this Mayor chooses to pursue this like it is a crime. Show me where it says in the LAW that she did something to violate the Mayor’s rights. I could be wrong and that would be just fine. But, I don’t think, legally, this is still worth pursuing and this Mayor, if he had any perspective at all about what his job is, would let it go.

Oldtimer January 8, 2013 at 8:55 pm

If, and it is not likely now, NANCY published a transcript of the recording, it would have us all asking what all the fuss is about. I am not reccommending anything. Nancy should continue to follow the advice of counsel. I do know (not from Nancy) there was nothing that would embarass any of the three conversation participants, and the mayor is the only one with an issue. (notice not a peep from the others) If it ever comes to a court case, a transcript will get any case laughed out of court. Might even get the mayor laughed out of office, or at least any influence in the next election. Moccia does not need this case to be the end point of his political career.

Tim T January 8, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Oh please LWitherspoon those comment that you call criticizing the mayor are trifling at best. On the other hand when you (unjustly) criticize a democrat you tend to rip them apart. NICE TRY AT SPIN BUT YOU FAILED.

Tim T January 8, 2013 at 10:06 pm

just ignore M. Murray as he is clealy lost on these matters. The only group that could be more lost is the NPD

M. Murray January 8, 2013 at 10:13 pm

53a-189. Eavesdropping: Class D felony. (a) A person is guilty of eavesdropping when he unlawfully engages in wiretapping or mechanical overhearing of a conversation.

(b) Eavesdropping is a class D felony.

M. Murray January 8, 2013 at 10:18 pm

I am sure I am not as well versed on the law as Tim, but I am curious to know why Namcy has never published a transcriptnofnthe conversation if he attorney’s assured he that she has not violated any laws or rights of individuals.

Suzanne January 8, 2013 at 10:22 pm

It says nothing about whether the eavesdropping was intentional or not. It also does not indicate in what venue this would apply. Am I now guilty of a class D felony because I overheard a restaurant conversation? How about My Smart Phone picking up noise on the train accidentally? Please. M. Murray, you may be right to the “letter of the law” but you are disregarding the context in this case. The whole thing needs to be dropped, the Mayor needs to apologize for being so frivilous and get on with the business of the City of Norwalk, which is what we taxpayers, including you M. Murray if you are a resident, elected him to do.

Tim T January 8, 2013 at 11:39 pm

Suzanne
You are 100 percent correct. It seems Moccia has a history of making himself look foolish.
I didn’t think he could top the asinine move of promoting a chief from within the old boys club of the failed NPD but it seems he has.

M. Murray January 9, 2013 at 6:04 am

The issue of intent is the key factor in this case and probably the reason a warrant has not already been served. Intent is often the most difficult element of a crime to prove. In statutes where intent is an element of te crime, te prosecutor is often left with only circumstantial evidence to prove his case. Suspects rarely admit that they intended to commit a crime. One of the key factors a prosecutor would use in this case to prove intent would be what she did with the information once it was obtained. Did she delete the tape or did she attempt to use the information improperly obtained?

Suzanne January 9, 2013 at 7:36 am

M. Murray, you have stated before that you do not understand why Ms. Chapman did not delete the tape. Now, this entry implies that by not deleting the tape “..the suspect…intended to commit a crime.”

You are lawyer, jury and judge in this. What a shame. With your knowledge, you could have shown just how silly this entire fiasco has been. There is no “there there.”

Your last question also implies the intent of trying a journalist via blog. You are elevating an inocuous incident to the level of legal concern where it never had to go to begin with had the Mayor chosen to handle this like a leader instead of like a child whose feelings are hurt.

Now, we have Council meetings on “Freedom of the Press” at which the Mayor nor his Council (or the City’s Council, take your pick) show and the divisiveness continues INSTEAD of important city business. This, I believe, is exactly what the Mayor wanted. The more divided, the less work gets done and that is exactly what happened.

M. Murray, your continued legalizing of this unfounded, no result, and unintended incident plays right into the chaos: the law does not have to be used to solve every problem. A good conversation would do.

LWitherspoon January 9, 2013 at 9:38 am

@Tim T

Let’s review YOUR words again:

“you support Moccia on each and every issue.”

The comments I provided are factual, verifiable evidence that what you said is not true. Any open-minded individual who reads them can see that. I knew you wouldn’t accept this evidence, because you never accept facts that run counter to your rabidly partisan ideology. That’s ok. I didn’t post the evidence for you, I posted it for those who have an open mind and are capable of judging for themselves.

oldtimer January 9, 2013 at 3:39 pm

M Murray
As it is apparent you have not read all the stories about this mess, nothing was ever used from the recording at issue.
The statute you quoted is not clear what makes listening/recording of other people’s conversations unlawful. It is common accepted practice for reporters at public meetings to record what they are hearing. Recording equipment is not concealed, and the local cable company also records the entire meetings. Calling this particular recording criminal because it happened during a recess and the mayor assumed all the recording equipment was turned off is, to be kind, the definition of silly.

M. Murray January 10, 2013 at 6:50 am

Oldtimer
As I have said elsewhere, this is not a clear cut case. As you know from our days, intent is the hardest thing to prove without an admission. I may be wrong but it is my understanding that she contacted the Mayor and intended to use thi ill gotten information. It was apparently the decision from someone on the Norwalk Daily Voice that decided it was either illegal or unethical to use information surreptitiously recorded, intentional or not. If the mayor believes a crime was committed, then he should report it to be investigated. And it appears that he has done so. Let the investigation conclude and if no crime was committed, so be it. My point is this is being blown out of proportion by both sides. Let the matter take it’s natural course. This is not a Freedom of the Press issue. If the tape had simply been ignored and erased we wouldn’t be here. If the reporter had checked with their staff counsel before proceeding with contacting the mayor for a followiup she probably would have been advise not to and we wouldn’t be here.

oldtimer January 10, 2013 at 1:30 pm

No part of that recording was used because moccia squashed it by means of a email message by maslan, while technically not threatening, close enough to scare the editors of the voice, after the same editors had decided to use the recording. There was nothing ill-gotten in the recording, it was recorded as a normal part of covering a public meeting. There is no law requiring all obvious visible reporter’s recorders in plain sight be turned off during a recess. In a crowded public meeting room proving any unlawful intent would be impossible. It is a shame Maslan was unable to convince Moccia that pursuing this would only make him look foolish.

BARIN January 26, 2013 at 5:06 pm

We’re standing in the aisle at Walmart talking, would our conversation be considered private? I think that would be the same for anywhere in city hall, except executive session conversations involving say HIPA. How about a conflict, Mr.Maslan is both the private and city attorney for the mayor. Even if that is legal, it is unethical in my opinion, but opinions are like you know what’s, everybody has one. The other local paper should also be a bit ashamed of the reporting on the Nancy issue at her support rally. When it was mentioned by the four screaming Republicans at the rally that the Democrats should have gone to the ethics board/committee with any concerns, Ms. Duleep mentioned that Mr. Maslan sat on that particular board/committee so she took it to Hartford for advice. Good thinking Ms. Duleep, but the other papers reporter never mentioned this pertinent fact in his article that Mr. Maslan is on that board/committee. Hmmm, so much for the independent voice of the community. Journalistic integrity to me means never omit pertinent facts that would lead the public in the wrong direction in regard to ANY issue you may report on. I think this whole recording nonsense has much to do with TRANSPARENCY in municipal governing, ALL elected/appointed officials talk about wanting more transparency, until they are actually called on to be transparent. Am I wrong?

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