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Kydes blasted by former running mate

From 2015: Common Councilman John Kydes (D-District C), left, and his running mate, former Fairfield First Selectman John Metsopoulos, address issues in a City Hall forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Norwalk. (Archive photo)

NORWALK, Conn. — John Kydes’ unusual announcement that he’s running for Mayor in two years has drawn a one-time running mate out of the woodwork, issuing blistering criticisms that include the word “duplicitous” and the phrase “worst kind of political opportunist.”

“People should watch out for him if they are ever thinking about nominating him for Mayor,” said John Metsopoulos, a former Fairfield First Selectman who ran unsuccessfully for Common Council in 2015.

Kydes and Metsopoulos are both Democrats, though Metsopoulos was a Republican Party member for years. Metsopoulos alleges that Kydes recruited him to run in-district six years ago, when he’d planned to run at large, and then supported his Republican opponent. While NancyOnNorwalk can find no one to corroborate that accusation, Metsopoulos came close to the mark when talking about Kydes’ party affiliation.

Kydes was a Republican before he was a Democrat, Metsopoulos said. According to Norwalk Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells, Kydes was a Republican for a few hours in 2013, when his registration was switched from unaffiliated and then back again the same day. A few days later, he became a Democrat.

But Kydes sought the Republican endorsement for Common Council before going Democrat, according to Norwalk Republican Town Committee Chairman Pete Torrano.

 

‘A joke’

Metsopoulos is living in Mexico now, teaching English, he said. His 2015 bid for Common Council came after two driving under the influence arrests and one for “evading responsibility” for a traffic accident; Torrano criticized Democrats for endorsing a candidate with a “criminal record” in August of that year. Metsopoulos said he “wasn’t proud” of the arrests but pointed to his record as a first selectman.

Torrano’s comments came after Metsopoulos reported being “egged” while walking in East Norwalk. In May, Sgt. Sofia Gulino said that back in 2015 Metsopoulos “did not know what type of vehicle was involved (other than possibly a van) and did not get a good look at any of the occupants within. There was no further investigation as there was no description provided of any suspect.”

At least one more egging was reported. Police stopped an SUV with four under-aged youths and an unlicensed driver and found a box of eggs.

Kydes has been on the Council since November 2013 and in December formed an exploratory committee to run for Mayor, although Democratic incumbent Mayor Harry Rilling was already working toward a reelection bid. In May, Kydes announced that he’s running for reelection to represent District C on the Council but also for Mayor in 2023.

Former Mayor Bill Collins, an 86-year-old Democrat, said he was “rather taken” with Kydes’ announcement.

“I haven’t seen anybody announce that far ahead. People have hinted that far ahead. But that’s the first time I’ve seen it done that way,” Collins said, when contacted by NancyOnNorwalk.

And Metsopoulos, who hasn’t been heard from in years, was inspired to leave a comment on a NancyOnNorwalk story, alleging Kydes has no integrity and “is what is wrong with politics.”

Another comment alleged “Kydes will throw you under the bus to get ahead.”

Contacted via telephone, Metsopolous said he wanted everyone to know about Kydes’ true nature because he was “really pissed off” that Kydes challenged Rilling’s reelection.

“That’s why I’m coming out now. He went after Harry. Shame on him. Harry gave him the break. Harry supported him. Harry gave him everything, to help him get elected, and he turns on him? Just like he turned on me,” Metsopoulos said. “And that’s why I’m coming out now. It’s because he’s a political opportunist that cares only about himself and his image.”

Metsopolous alleged, “He had not nice things to say about the qualifications of minority candidates.” And, “Now he’s announcing he’s running for Mayor, two years ahead of time? That’s a joke, that means he’s going to be grandstanding for two years. He’s blaming Harry Rilling for things that are wrong with the city? He’s been on the Council. He’s been majority leader. He’s part of the solution or the problem. No, I don’t have nice things to say about John Kydes.”

Kydes said, “Unfortunately you can’t be involved in politics as long as I have without criticism but I appreciate all the support that I continue to receive.”

 

 

‘Working against me’

Metsopoulos recounts knocking on doors in 2015 and overhearing voters say in Greek, “That’s the one John Kydes doesn’t want us to vote for.”

Others told him directly that Kydes had said not to vote for him, Metsopoulos said.

He alleged that Kydes wouldn’t post campaign signs for Rilling.

Kydes wrote, “I put out dozens of Mayor Rilling yard signs in District C every election and I am sure the Mayor would confirm this fact. I have also done the same for Council and Board of Ed candidates.”

“John and I have campaigned together for the last four elections and our signs have been placed in many of the same locations,” Rilling said.

In 2015, Republicans grumbled about the large number of Kydes signs in East Norwalk.

Referring to a different 2015 grievance, Metsopoulos said in May, “I found out we were going door to door in an area that wasn’t part of the district. He’s not a good person. …Before I caught on that he was working against me, we would sit down and I would tell him my campaign strategy and what I was doing. And he was running back and telling the Republicans.”

Metsopoulos made some of these allegations in 2015, in a post-election interview with NancyOnNorwalk.

In May, he said he’d had a post-election conversation with Torrano, who “told me (Kydes) was working against me.”

Torrano on May 20 said he’d had a post-election conversation with Metsopoulos and told him he thought he’d run an honest campaign.

“To the best of my recollection Kydes did not tell me John M’s election strategy,” Torrano wrote in an email. “We didn’t know what Kydes {strategy} was. I don’t think Kydes knew what his strategy was except to ride the democrat surge.”

The conversation was in Jimmy’s Deli. “I saw him and approached him telling him I thought he ran a good, clean campaign. And I think, but can’t say with certainty, that John actually was the one who said he got undermined by Kydes. I would have probably agreed with him.”

Metsopoulos suggested NancyOnNorwalk talk with specific East Norwalk residents about what happened six years ago.

One of those people hung up on NancyOnNorwalk on a first phone call and didn’t return a follow-up voicemail. Two others said last week that it was too long ago, they didn’t remember.

 

 

‘Maybe there is some other story’

This story has its genesis in a comment Metsopoulos left May 10 on a article about Mayoral campaign finance documents:

“Lets get the facts out:
“Kydes was a Republican, when he could not get the nomination for city council, he switched to Democrat.
“He recruited me to run for city council, then worked for republicans behind my back(profiles in courage). His thinking he could control votes no matter who won. (all this can be backed up with facts)
“He had some very less than flattering remarks about the minority members of the DTC.
“Now he turns on Rilling who gave him the opportunity to run for.
“Kydes has no, integrity.
“He is what is wrong with politics.
“Keep Rilling a man of vision and morals.
“More on Kydes later.”

 

Reached by NoN, Torrano said he’d considered suggesting a story about Kydes back in December, when the exploratory committee became news, but figured Kydes didn’t have a chance of winning so he didn’t bother.

He said that in 2013, Kydes came to him at the suggestion of then-Republican District C Council member Michelle Maggio. Kydes told Torrano that he wanted to run for Common Council because his wife was unhappy with what was going on with the Board of Education, Torrano said.

“I told him it was the wrong office, that he really should be on the BoE if it was the schools bothering his wife,” Torrano said in an email. “I also made it clear that we already had our candidates and we couldn’t ask for one or the other to step aside for him. I also told him he needed to register Republican before seeking office endorsed by the RTC. I then offered that if he registered I would support him for a commission seat on a commission that may already be, or come open. I explained that would give him name recognition and an understanding of how things worked in politics. He said he would do that.”

After 10 days, he reached out to Kydes, he said.

“I asked if he had registered yet,” Torrano wrote. “He thanked me for working with and advising him, but told me he had spoken with Councilman Nick Kydes and other Democrats (Nick Kydes was actually a Republican who suggested that John Kydes go democrat and oppose the Republican seated candidate). John never did register Republican and registered Democrat instead.”

Nick Kydes and John Kydes are cousins.

Norwalk Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells said:

“John Kydes originally registered in Norwalk as Unaffiliated in 2003. We next show a change to Republican AND change back to Unaffiliated on the same day – February 27, 2013. The most likely explanation is that we made a clerical error, caught it and corrected it the same day, but maybe there is some other explanation or story. Two day later, on March 1, 2013 he was changed to Democrat, which seems likely to be what he wanted in the first place. If there is some story about those two days, I don’t know it. Our records don’t track the reasons why someone does something.”

 

Torrano said he didn’t recall what month it was when he’d spoken to Kydes.

Kydes said, “I am not disparaging anyone’s political beliefs however I have never registered as a Republican.”

8 comments

Stuart Wells July 7, 2021 at 7:34 am

Please note my statement, quoted at the end of the article above, that Mr. Kydes brief “switch” to the Republican Party in our records was most likely a clerical error on our part, which we caught and corrected quite quickly. As such, it does NOT constitute a verification of Mr. Metsopoulos’ statement, as implied in the first section of the article.
Stuart Wells, Registrar

David Muccigrosso July 7, 2021 at 8:04 am

Metsopoulos doesn’t sound like the most reliable source, but he’s still not far off the mark.

Look, I come from Missouri. Specifically the suburbs of STL. Out where I lived, the Republicans were the dominant party, even in municipal politics.

But it rarely mattered! Kydes and Rilling are instantly recognizable to me. They’re Democrats here, and they’d have been Republicans back home. They don’t really believe in much of anything, they’re just opportunists who’ll run under whichever banner they think they can win. Norwalk Republicans are half-right: One-party power attracts those who are attracted to power. But for all the GOP glorification of “local control” being “closer to the people”, all it results in is the tyranny being pettier and harder to dislodge, what with our election cycles oh-so-coincidentally timed to the least convenient off-years and off-month dates – the better for police, firefighter, and teacher unions to control the outcomes.

Norwalk needs multiparty reform. Give the people Ranked Choice, and they sure as heck won’t be choosing *these* clowns.

HB July 7, 2021 at 11:20 am

Nancy – why would you give any credence to a person that has none? Metsopoulos appears disgruntled because he didn’t win. And attacking John Kydes (and blaming him for not winning), is a sign that he isn’t over his defeat that happened years ago.

John Kydes continues to serve our city and his only intentions are making Norwalk a better place for all. And he supports and continues to work alongside our very honorable Mayor Rilling.

Please print something worthy of reading – this is just gossip and Norwalk residents deserve better than this hearsay.

Tysen Canevari July 7, 2021 at 8:44 pm

Its pretty funny that he talks about throwing people that support you under the bus. Harry did the same thing to Dick Moccia when he decided to run againt him after he supported him and his downfalls as chief of police. Isnt it enlightening what people do in the political arena? They will all throw you under the bus for self enhancement opportunites.

Michael Foley July 7, 2021 at 10:50 pm

I dont know what the truth is here but why do some people hide their true identity ? Either stand behind your posts or stop posting with fake names and stand up to your beliefs.

David T McCarthy July 8, 2021 at 10:30 am

I was going to write something, but I couldn’t put it better than David Muccigrosso. Respect.

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