Why we see need to change mayors on Nov. 7

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Do we want to continue with a mayor who appears to be substantially financed by non-Norwalk residents, attorneys, contractors and developers with questionable conflict of interest contributions? No!

We noted with interest the mention of the fact that Mayor Harry Rilling tried (and we guess failed) to give away the High St Parking lot for $1, in return for a new parking lot that would have been part of “Head of the Harbor North,” a multimillion dollar project created by the DiScala company. What jumped out at us was that there was an underlying “truth” that we had a parking lot with 93 spaces and we would end up with noise, construction, disruption and come out the other side with — a lot with 93 spots, no matter how hard anyone tries to spin it. The only difference would be that the DiScala Company would have made millions of dollars on the city and its citizens’ backs.

We Googled Discala and Rilling and found a series of articles, on one side indicating that DiScala always has $1,000 for his buddy Harry in each election cycle, but perhaps more shocking, Discala has been on the receiving end of deals from the city that we know we would never get. Discala got land that had been part of historic Mill Hill, and now the mayor is trying to “give” him this city owned parking lot — just like the parking lot a former mayor gave to PoKo. We see how great that project is going with Harry at the helm.

In the past, developers gave $1,000 to the incumbent and $500 to the challenger and moved on. Developers have not given a penny to anyone other than strongman Harry Rilling, who is benefiting from his connections, his long tenure as police chief and perceived invincibility to rake in the cash. As has been pointed out elsewhere, Harry has a number of PACs into which the money is funneled. All while the city is on autopilot.

We got curious as to who else is on this list to give our buddy-buddy mayor Harry $1,000 and get some favors in return. We stopped cold when we discovered this next bit of information: Earlier this year, the mayor accepted a series of $1,000 donations from Staten Island. The mayor of our Norwalk is accepting $1,000 donations from Staten Island developers and their partners and their extended families and their partners’ families.

This all starts with New York City Attorney Albert Feinstein. He is the manager of the LLC that owns what we usually call the BJ’s site, wink wink. Gleb Zaslavsky seems to work for Mr. Feinstein, he kicked in another $1,000. Elena Feinstein, who seems to live with Albert, gave another $1,000. Zufar Faynshteyn gave another $1,000, as did Galina Feinstein. Inna Post and Elena Lubarskaya, who both just work for Albert Feinstein, each gave $1,000.

The list goes on and it would seem to be, and this is just our opinion, that these might be a series of “straw donors” funneling money to Rilling’s campaign in exchange for what? Could it be that Rilling pressured various boards to approve that BJ’s site for whatever Feinstein wants? Some might call it bundling, but when someone with no visible, legitimate connection to Norwalk coughs up a grand from Staten Island, we call it a straw donor and influence peddling.

So let’s look at Harry Rilling’s filing with the Town Clerk’s office as of September 30, 2017 as to the amounts raised from  contributions from individuals. OVER 50% of his contributions came in $1000 amounts and OVER 80% OF THESE CAME FROM OUTSIDE NORWALK. So, to repeat our opening sentence- Do we want to continue with a mayor who appears to be substantially financed by non-Norwalk residents, attorneys, contractors and developers with questionable conflict of interest contributions?  WE say-NO!

Dave Davidson

Adolph Neaderland

Andrzej Pienczykowski


Not affiliated October 23, 2017 at 8:29 am

Wow. This is a real eye opener! Of course, the average Joe in Norwalk will never know and blindly pull the “D” lever

Donna Smirniotopoulos October 23, 2017 at 8:45 am

The “Village” approval by the Zoning Commission came as a surprise given the strong community objections and absence of a convincing traffic mitigation plan. The money trail from those with links to the “BJs” site to the Rilling Campaign is another bizarre twist. Say it ain’t so! Though there has been outspoken criticism of my use of “cronies and cheerleaders” to describe how the mayor is empowered to populate land use boards, the decisions of these boards and the money funding the Rilling campaign do not seem to be merely coincidental. These may be fine, well-intentioned people who earnestly want to see Norwalk move forward and who hate to let abandoned lots lie fallow. BUT—and this is a big but—the inclination to get work done irrespective of propriety and horrible optics does this city no favors. We need greater transparency and accountability.

Also there is a pernicious view, in my opinion, that “outsiders” and newcomers can’t possibly play catch up on plans that have been years in the making. Poppycock! Every citizen in Norwalk has an equal right to express an opinion, even if those opinion may seem poorly informed or may clash with well established ideologies and agendas. It’s not uncommon for “insiders” to hold tight to their ideologies and damn those with questions and objections as merely erroneous or worse, spreading misinformation. The Walk Bridge is another example of this phenomenon at work. Mayor Rilling and others have used the old “you never came to any meetings” as a line of attack against those who question the plan. I do not think it should ever be too late to reverse course when the seemingly inevitable path chosen by others seems headed for disaster.

Donna Smirniotopoulos October 23, 2017 at 10:27 am

Agree V that AMEC has more than one iron in the fire. Their first attempt at expanding their use may have failed. But like the BJs developers, they will be back. In any case they seem to have a keen interest in the mayor’s reelection based on their donations.

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