NORWALK, Conn. — Some Norwalk political notes for you:
- Riddle launches campaign Facebook page
- Rilling selling real estate? He says no.
- Kydes accused of SEEC violation
A riddle: Where was that photo taken?
Republican Mayoral candidate Jonathan Riddle launched his campaign Thursday on Facebook, and quickly changed the main photo, sources say.
The page first showed Riddle, who seeks to lead Norwalk, in Stamford. That photo was replaced with one that’s more generic; if the photos look familiar it’s because Riddle used them when he was running against U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Greenwich) last year.
Riddle explained that the first photo “was the prominent picture of my Congressional Campaign and main picture used for my Congressional website.” He explained, “Rather than incur additional cost for new pictures, I used the images I own but changed it to a Norwalk-centric image that showcased my smile.”
The replacement photo was taken, “Somewhere in Norwalk 2 years ago,” he wrote. “I forget the exact location but it was taken during my Congressional Campaign.”
Riddle grew up in Westchester County, N.Y. The City’s land records online show that he’s been co-owner of a Sheridan Street condo since December, 2015.
The candidate confirmed Saturday that he “moved into Norwalk as both Resident and Homeowner on 12/10/15,” and, “This was my first home purchase.”
Rilling: I’m never leaving Norwalk
Riddle owns a condo in South Norwalk and, as many people know, Democratic incumbent Mayor Harry Rilling owns a condo in West Norwalk.
Who pays more in taxes? According to the City’s website, Rilling wins that contest:
- Jonathan Riddle and Cynthia Dellett paid $2,425.92 in property taxes for the South Norwalk condo on July 22.
- Harry Rilling paid $2,527.09 in property taxes for the West Norwalk condo on July 29.
Rilling’s owned that condo since December 2012, but his property taxes may be going up: he and his wife, Lucia Rilling, have been shopping for a home, he said in May. They’d like something bigger so of course there will be a bigger bill.
Rilling’s using his own real estate license to shop for a new domicile. He took a real estate class at Norwalk Community College after he retired as Norwalk Police Chief in 2012 and qualified for a license, but had it in “inactive” status for seven years. He reactivated it in 2019 for the home hunt. That’s the only thing he’s using it for, he said.
The Raveis real estate website advertises Rilling as an agent; although he’s the only agent without a photo, he has a Raveis email address and a Raveis page.
Rilling said he uses his license to scan the MLS listings and if he sees something he and Lucia might like, they drive by. Then if they’re interested they take a tour.
That’s it. No, not selling houses.
Raveis Norwalk managers didn’t answer a May 31 email asking why Rilling appears on the website if he’s not selling homes. The email also asked if Rilling is showing homes and if he’s sold any.
“Harry Rilling is a member of the Mid-Fairfield County Association of REALTORS® in Westport (MFCAR). He has been a member since 2015, and has an active license which will expire March 31, 2022,” Carol Heins, Associate Executive of MFCAR, said.
Rilling emphasized that he’s only shopping in Norwalk. He and Lucia have no intention of going anywhere else, but they’d like to entertain and have other reasons for wanting something bigger.
‘The most courteous thing to do’
Common Council member John Kydes (D-District C), who is both seeking reelection this year and campaigning for a Mayoral run in 2023, recently posted a Facebook ad that some feel violated Connecticut campaign finance laws.
The July 27 post says it was paid for by John Thomas Kydes and touts the endorsements he and running mate Jennifer Higgins McAllister received the night before at the Democratic Town Committee meeting. At the bottom it includes a link to “John Kydes for Mayor – 2021.”
Kydes closed that campaign on March 31, dissolving his exploratory committee for Mayor this year and converting it to one for the election two years from not.
“I’d have to think using campaign funds to continually promote a nonexistent campaign to raise money is a campaign violation,” said Justin Matley, who alerted NancyOnNorwalk to this issue on Aug. 3.
Jenn McMurrer, who, along with Tyler Fairbairn, is challenging Kydes and McAllister for the endorsement, and Matley said the ad was online for about a week; Kydes took it down when they complained about it.
“We decided not to file a complaint with the Seec, rather reach out to him directly to solve the matter. We thought it was the most courteous thing to do,” McMurrer said.
Joshua Foley, State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) Staff Attorney, said he couldn’t comment on specific instances of alleged violations.
Kydes did not reply to an email asking for a response to the allegation. Kydes has not responding to any NancyOnNorwalk inquiries since the recent article about comments made by his 2015 running mate, John Metsopoulos.
The primary is scheduled for Sept. 14. Norwalk Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells said Friday that he doesn’t yet have an estimate for how much the primary will cost.