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Spreadsheet details three years of Rilling’s expenses

Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling. (File photo)

Update, 11:49 a.m.: Copy edit, revised headline

NORWALK, Conn. – Mayor Harry Rilling has incurred nearly $13,000 in expense account items for the City of Norwalk in just over three years, roughly in line with spending by former Mayor Richard Moccia.

NancyOnNorwalk filed a Freedom of Information Act request for Rilling’s expense account after receipt of an anonymous letter which questioned Rilling’s expenses and alleged that he was receiving a free trip to Greece.

Rilling said that he paid for his recent vacation in Greece himself.  A Freedom of Information request and follow-up questions posed to Norwalk Finance Department officials revealed that three years of Rilling’s expenses include $45 in parking tickets and $182.94 for “warrants,” $860 total for Christmas staff luncheons in 2015 and 2016, and $341.70 for American flags in September 2015. Rilling’s expenses for the most recent two fiscal years total $8,081; former Mayor Richard Moccia’s total for his last two years in office was $9,563.79. Rilling’s total for fiscal years 2016 and 2017 was $10,252.

The list of Rilling’s expenses obtained by NancyOnNorwalk from Norwalk Comptroller Frederic Gilden states that Norwalk paid $650 on Dec. 2, 2015, for “U.S. Conference of Mayors Conference,” and $650 on Nov. 20, 2016, with the same explanation. Norwalk paid $982.41 on Jan. 27, 2017, and $1,206.43 on the same date for “Hilton Capital U.S. Conference.”

The anonymous letter made many accusations, touching upon rumors that have recently appeared in NancyOnNorwalk’s comments section.

“Did you know that Rilling and his wife went to Europe and stayed at Mike Discala’s home. Not sure who paid for the airfare, but all the rest was free,” the letter said.  “…Now I understand that a trip is planned in the future for another freebie, this time with the Greeks who have supported him at their home in Greece.”

Rilling on Sept. 12 told NancyOnNorwalk that he had arranged his trip to Greece through Groupon, and showed information on his phone that proved it. He emailed a link to that information but the link did not work, as a password was needed.

Asked last week to provide the information as he’d said he would, Rilling by email replied, “This is getting a bit ridiculous.  I paid for every penny of my Greece trip out of my own pocket.  Next are we going to check my grocery bills to see if anyone is supporting me?  How about my utility bills or my mortgage?”

Rilling on Sept. 12 said he had stayed at DiScala’s Florida home as a guest many years ago, when he was Police Chief. Although he was a guest, he had taken out DiScala’s family for dinner multiple times and paid the bills, more than equaling what he would have paid for a hotel room, he said.

He wouldn’t be able to show receipts for that because it was maybe a decade ago, he said.

DiScala, whose company recently completed building and renting out Head of the Harbor South and has made inquiries about building Head of the Harbor North, did not reply to an email asking about the rumors that Rilling has been his guest, both in the United States and abroad.

The letter further alleged that Rilling’s wife has business cards calling her Norwalk’s First Lady.

There is nothing on the expense list to indicate that Norwalk paid for “First Lady” business cards. Rilling and others did not reply to e-mails asking if such business cards exist.

Gilden on Aug. 23 provided a summary of expenses incurred by Rilling, over the last three fiscal years:

  • Fiscal Year 2018   $2,459
  • Fiscal Year 2017   $5,622
  • Fiscal Year 2016   $4,630

 

Fiscal Year 2016 is July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016. You get the drift.

Deputy Corporation Counsel Jeffry Spahr, responding to an FOI request on Sept. 11 provided a spreadsheet detailing expenses for those time periods:

 

  • Aug. 4, 2015:$27.07, Station House business expense
  • Aug. 31, 2015: $27.33, Station House meeting
  • Sept. 23, 2015:$341.70 Carrot Top Industries
  • Sept. 30, 2015: $60, Connecticut Con Conference
  • Sept. 30, 2015: $99.76 Sedona Taphouse meeting
  • Sept. 30, 2015: $313.02 The Gallery Col Holiday Gift
  • Oct. 2, 2015, $246, Sept. 11 remembrance program book
  • Nov. 2, 2015: $64.63, Station House business dinner
  • Dec. 2, 2015: $65.12, JB’s Deli and P staff luncheon
  • Dec. 2, 2015: $650, U.S. Conference of Mayor’s Conference
  • Dec. 10, 2015: $290, swearing in program
  • Dec. 23, 2015: $400, Christmas luncheon
  • Dec. 29, 2015: $135, 2015 holiday reception

 

  • Jan. 31, 2016: $115.34, Sedona Taphouse business expense
  • Feb. 1, 2016: $807.58, Hilton Capital Hotel
  • Feb. 1, 2016: $16, Sunoco gas
  • Feb. 1, 2016: $24, Sunoco gas
  • Feb. 23, 2016: $40 parking violation
  • March 2, 2016: $74.34, Hansens Bruces sympathy gift
  • March 2, 2016: $100.03, local kitchen business luncheon
  • March 31, 2016: $42.10, Italia Restaurant luncheon meeting
  • April 28, 2016, $149, “WARRANT=042916 RUN=0 CITY OF”
  • May 4, 2016: $71.36, Sedona Taphouse business meeting
  • May 5, 2016: $165, 127th annual dinner member TIC
  • June 1, 2016: $50, CT Secretary of Norwalk Commu
  • June 1, 2016: $50, CT Secretary of Norwalk Commu
  • June 30, 2016: $9.58, Costco KS kettle
  • June 30, 2016: $15.94 Michael’s Store white LED
  • June 30, 2016: $58.19, KS water/table cover
  • June 30, 2016: $57, South William P parking business
  • June 30, 2016: $41.53 Osteria Romana Business luncheon
  • Aug. 1, 2016: $54.60 Harbor Lights business luncheon
  • Aug. 31, 2016: $43.95 Partners Café business luncheon
  • Aug. 31, 2016: $48.40, Penny’s Restaurant business luncheon
  • Sept. 20, 2016: $255, Sept. 11 remembrance program book
  • Sept. 29, 2016: $500, Catering Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment luncheon
  • Sept. 29, 2016: $350 Mini bites dessert bar
  • Oct. 3, 2016: $25.74, Station House business luncheon
  • Oct. 3, 2016: $38.70, Station House business luncheon
  • Oct. 3, 2016: $15, Sunoco gas
  • Oct. 18, 2016: $34, Notary stamps
  • Oct. 25, 2016: $133, luncheon for Mayor’s meeting
  • Nov. 17, 2016: $109.95, tax exempt customer
  • Nov. 30, 2016: $50, Paypal Catholic business expense
    Nov. 30, 2016: $650, U.S. Conference of Mayor’s Conference
  • Dec. 9, 2016: $372.84, Mayor’s buffet breakfast
  • Dec. 22, 2016: $460, Christmas staff luncheon, Dec. 16

 

  • Jan. 27, 2017: $982.41, Hilton Capital U.S. Conference
  • Jan. 27, 2017: $1,206.43, Hilton Capital U.S. Conference
  • March 30, 2017: $33.94 “WARRANT=033117  RUN=0 CITY OF”
  • April 3, 2017: $27.50 Hartford parking CI parking violation
  • April 3, 2017: $5, Laz parking fee
  • May 1, 2017: $225, SoNo Pizza business expense
  • Aug. 22, 2017: $153.27, Lunch of Mayor’s meeting August
  • Aug. 27, 2017: $21.20 Post Road Diner business expense
  • Sept. 22, 2017: $260 9/11 remembrance program book
  • Nov. 20, 2017: $33.85, Partners Café business lunch
  • Nov. 20, 2017: $43.15, Penny’s restaurant business lunch
  • Dec. 7, 2017: $344, greeting cards Mayor Gallery collection
  • Dec. 13, 2017: $460, holiday luncheon
  • Dec. 13, 2017: $55.50, Luncheon Mayor’s meeting
  • Dec. 31, 2017: $120, Connecticut Conference of Mayors conference
  • Dec. 31, 2017: $380.14, Fox Tower Hotel, conference
  • Dec. 31, 2017: $149, Lawline CLE business expense

 

  • Jan. 16: $150, 2017 holiday reception
  • Jan. 31: $38.37, Station House meeting
  • Feb. 27: $82.64, Mayor’s Office luncheon, Feb. 2
  • March 16: $26.64, Mayor’s Office Department meeting bridge conference call
  • April 19: $25.60: Mayor’s Office meeting bridge conference call
  • April 30: $45.20, Penny’s Restaurant and diner, meeting
  • May 31: $20, 250 West 50th Parking LLC, meeting
  • June 30: $87.95, funeral basket Mayor’s Office

 

MAYOR BUSINESS EXPENSE

A follow up email asking about the Fiscal Year to date shows the City paid $39.17 on Aug. 31 for a meeting at the Station House and $165.78 on the same day for a meeting at Panera Bread.

Carrot Top Industries sells American flags, Rilling said in an Oct. 1 email. The Hartford parking ticket was because a parking kiosk wasn’t functioning properly and one of the Christmas luncheons was held in City Hall, he said.

NancyOnNorwalk requested Moccia’s expenses last week. The former Mayor also had his share of “warrants” – six, actually. That includes  a “WARRANT=122812 RUN=0 CITY OF” costing $242.38 on Dec. 13, 2012, and a “WARRANT=011113 RUN=0 CITY OF” costing $31.56 on Dec. 27, 2012.

Moccia mayor expeneses Nov. 2011 – Nov. 2013

13 comments

M.Murray October 15, 2018 at 7:44 am

Harry praise for my breakfast sandwich a few years ago. Looks like he didn’t expense it from what I can see here.

Sid Welker October 15, 2018 at 9:30 am

{…} David McCarthy {…} openly in these comment sections has been making these accusations and pleading for Nancy to investigate. David you moved out of state. Enough with the sour grapes on Harry because you were thrown off the common council. Enjoy Florida. I hear they have plenty of bushes down there you can creep behind secretly video taping people.

Edited to remove speculation about the letter writer’s identity.

Piberman October 15, 2018 at 10:10 am

Ah its the Mayor’s much criticized Reorg Plan that merits attention which by the Mayor’s own team will cost City taxpayers a million dollars over the next decade. All for more “chiefs”, “directors” and a glorious “chief of staff” without obvious benefit to the City. Reorgs invariably save monies. But this is Norwalk where modern business management practices are not so “visible”. City taxpayers pay a steep price for not electing leaders with significant business experience. Our surrounding towns and the Gold Coast generally illustate the positive consequences of electing business experienced town and City leaders.

Piberman October 15, 2018 at 12:20 pm

Detailing the Mayor’s expense statements has limited if any virtue. The real questions are the costs to the City from the Mayor’s policies of avoiding using Prof Search to secure Top Talent for the City, not requiring City managers to do more with fewer resources, always awarding raises for doing the same job and doling out Administrators salaries far above what could be earned in the private sector. And letting City administrators pretty much the City on auto pilot. Potentially there’s millions of dollars that could be saved with a Mayor having business experience and modern business management skills. As long as our political parties maintain that anyone can become Mayor we’ll all pay the piper. Business interests understand all too well how Norwalk is governed.

James Cahn October 15, 2018 at 2:31 pm

I’m OUTRAGED.

The fact that even the Mayor of Norwalk can’t escape extortion at the hands of the Norwalk Parking authority is absurd. I mean, what good is being the Mayor if you can’t fix your own parking tickets?

And the assertion that Harry might have gotten his wife ceremonial business cards for his wife designating her as “The First Lady of Norwalk” is frankly too cute and romantic to be upset over. If you got those cards, fess up to it, Harry. And send me the $40 Minuteman bill. I’ll happily pay that for you.

Rusty Guardrail October 15, 2018 at 2:35 pm

Interesting, but small potatoes compared to the millions of taxpayer dollars paid out for unfounded tax incentives and lawsuits stemming from incompetent government.

EnoPride October 15, 2018 at 5:45 pm

The Mayor had lunch at two different restaurants on 8/31/16 (I wonder what the business luncheon subject matter was? Shouldn’t that be itemized on the expense account? That is how it is done in the corporate world!) and lunch twice at The Station House on 10/3/16, and topped off his gas tank at the nearby station afterwards on the taxpayers’ dime. Sweet… Glad we can help.

Sid Welker October 15, 2018 at 6:57 pm

Lets put some perspective on this. If you click on Moccia’s expense report Nancy provided and actually took a close look at that you all would have a field day with it. So for argument sake lets swap names on the expense reports and say that Harry spent the following like Moccia did with out explanation. Since no-one batted an eyelash in 2013 does it make him exempt now?

1/28 CASH 2013 C $926.42
HILTON HOTELS C US CONFERENCE 2012 D $1,071.83
AMTRAK .CO31981 US CONFERENCEN 2012 D $294.00
JETBLUE 27970 BUSINESS EXPE 2012 D $237.60
FAIRWAY LIMOUSI BUSINESS EXPE 2012 D $115.00
LOEWS HOTELS RO BUSINESS EXPE 2012 D $1,072.17
FAIRWAY LIMOUSI BUSINESS EXPE 2013 C $115.00
FAIRWAY LIMOUSI BUSINESS EXPE 2013 D $115.00
LOEWS HOTELS RO BUSINESS EXPE 2013 C $1,072.17
LOEWS HOTELS RO BUSINESS EXPE 2013 D $1,072.17
HILTON HOTELS C MAYOR CONFERE 2013 D $2,317.35

So Moccia doesn’t eat as much as Harry. But man he sure did travel alot and loved hotels and Limousines. Not to mention his expense report has more holes in it than a stool pigeon found on the side of the road in Jersey.

Sid Welker October 16, 2018 at 8:24 am

Good question Tysen. I think once you become Mayor you are to swear off all past friends and only go to dinner and speak only with your wife. You may as well throw your list of friends away until after your mayor. Because once your mayor you cant have a social life.

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