Updated, 6:51 a.m.: Copy edits
NORWALK, Conn. — Here’s a roundup of Norwalk political items:
- Redevelopment seeks new legal firm in POKO lawsuit
- Hosten endorsed by Planned Parenthood
- Norwalk registrars share voter registration info
Redevelopment tries again
The Redevelopment Agency is seeking a different legal firm to represent it in the lawsuit filed against Rich Olson of POKO Partners and an LCC managed by developer Jason Milligan. The lawsuit stems from Milligan’s purchase of Wall Street Place properties from Olson without Redevelopment Agency approval.
Mayor Harry Rilling on July 17 blasted the Redevelopment Agency: he questioned the process that resulted in the selection of Russo and Rizio as representation in the lawsuit, questioned the judgement of the Agency’s leadership, and expressed concerns about unaddressed conflicts of interest.
Russo and Rizio was selected to replace Redevelopment Agency Marc Grenier because Grenier has ties to Milligan.
Redevelopment Agency Chairman Felix Serrano and Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Tim Sheehan were expected to meet with the Common Council last week for an executive session where Rilling’s concerns would be discussed and questions asked.
Rilling and Common Council leaders have not replied to an email asking if the executive session allayed their concerns.
Serrano on Monday said the selection of a new law firm did not stem from the executive session but was related to Russo and Rizio’s potential conflict of interest: the firm has represented JHM Group in other matters. Citibank is expected to request that JHM Group become its preferred developer in Wall Street Place.
“Our current special counsel had advised or informed us that they have a conflict with JHM Group, which is a potential developer of the POKO project, therefore necessitating us to go back out to search for new counsel, instead of, avoiding having to do it at some point if he does become the developer,” Serrano said, opening Monday’s meeting.
Grenier was not present.
The Agency voted to appoint a Committee to select a new firm, with Commissioners Tom Devine, David Westmoreland and David Speirs volunteering to do the work. Sheehan explained that Corporation Counsel Mario Coppola wanted a meeting Wednesday so he can explain the urgency related to an Aug. 28 hearing date. Coppola had reviewed a list of potential law firms and didn’t see any potential conflicts of interest from the city’s side of the equation, Sheehan said.
Sheehan said he hadn’t been involved in the selection of Russo and Rizio but would do the staff work this time.
This was in response to Westmoreland’s questioning. Asked for a reaction, Westmoreland said, “It’s such a luxury for me to be on a Commission that actually has staff and where the Commissioners don’t have to do of all the work. I think that’s a great way to go.”
Hosten receives Planned Parenthood endorsement
Colin Hosten, who is challenging Common Council member Travis Simms (D-District B) for the Democratic endorsement for State Representative in District 140, has another endorsement for his collection.
Hosten “has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood Votes!, a political action committee formed by Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit organization that offers reproductive and other healthcare to millions of women, men, and young people around the world,” a press release said.
“This endorsement means a lot to me,” Hosten is quoted as saying in the release. “Not just because we are in a crucial moment when women’s health issues are under constant attack, but because it is important for everyone to recognize these attacks affect all of us. Women’s rights are human rights. We must continue to defend them together.”
Hosten, a newcomer who lives in Village Creek and has been a Norwalk resident for a decade, is vying with Simms to replace State Rep. Bruce Morris, who is retiring. Republicans have put forth John Flynn for the seat.
The release said:
“In the endorsement letter, Chris Corcoran, Chair of Planned Parenthood Votes! Connecticut said, ‘we are proud that Connecticut has maintained its strong historic record of support for reproductive health and rights. But there is also much room for improvement, especially in consideration of the current threats from the Federal government and the upcoming appointment of the next Supreme Court Justice of the United States.’
“In addition to Hosten, Planned Parenthood Votes! has also endorsed Gannon Long (Dist. 3), Shanté Hanks (Dist. 126), and Terry Adams (Dist. 146) for State Representative, and Aaron Turner (Dist. 23) for State Senate.
“Planned Parenthood Votes! Connecticut is a nonstock corporation exempt from taxation pursuant to Section 501(c) (4) of the Internal Revenue Code and does not coordinate with any candidates running for office.”
Hosten was previously endorsed by Run for Something (RFS) and the Working Families Party, and is a Gun Sense Candidate of Distinction from Moms Demand Action.
Simms won the Democratic caucus to receive the Democratic endorsement, and Hosten obtained enough signatures to force a primary.
Simms has not informed NancyOnNorwalk of any endorsements.
Voting in the primary
The Norwalk Registrar of Voters Office is holding “enrollment sessions.”
If you want to vote in the Aug. 14 primary and you plan to mail in a voter registration card, your card must be postmarked Aug. 9 at the latest.
You can also enroll online, by Aug. 9.
The deadline for in-person enrollment is noon, Monday, Aug. 13. The office opens at 9 a.m.
You must be at least 18 years old when the election is held Nov. 6, be a United States citizen and a Norwalk resident to vote in Norwalk, according to a press release from Norwalk Registrars Karen Doyle Lyons and Stuart Wells.