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City Committee Candidate Charges That Opponent Doesn't Live In Hartford


February 23, 2012

HARTFORD A candidate for the Hartford Democratic Town Committee's 4th District has accused a member of an opposing slate of not living in the city.

Ralph Arena, a town committee member who is seeking re-election, filed a complaint with the State Elections Enforcement Commission Wednesday alleging that Jose A. Contreras Jr., a member of a competing slate, lives in Wethersfield.

"From information derived from personal connections, this candidate is alleged to reside in Wethersfield at The Villages complex," the complaint states.

Contreras could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Arena said Thursday that while Contreras maintains a Hartford address at 180 Preston St., Apt. 2A, he believes it is a secondary address.

"I believe his mother is living at that address, and he's using that as his address," Arena said.

Officials at the city's registrar of voters office said Contreras' only listed address is the Preston Street location.

He was registered under that address in 2002, and has voted under that location in city elections in 2004, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011, according to the registrar's office.

Arena has also charged in his complaint that the opposing slate, which comprises 13 candidates, improperly used the state seal by including it on their official ballot.

According to a report prepared by the state Office of Legislative Research: "The seal cannot be used for commercial and partisan political purposes." Forging the seal, the report states, is a class D felony punishable "by one to five years in prison, a fine up to $5,000, or both."

Arena also said that the slate's use of Mayor Pedro Segarra's photograph, which appears in the upper right corner of the ballot, gives a false impression that it was endorsed by the mayor.

The mayor's office, however, said that Segarra has lent his support to the slate, and that he did give members permission to use his photograph.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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