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Former Hartford Councilman Files Ethics Complaints Against Current Council Member


April 08, 2010

Former Republican city Councilman Mike McGarry has filed formal complaints against Councilman Luis E. Cotto of the Working Families Party over the use of Cotto's office to promote an International Workers' Day event.

McGarry says that Cotto violated the city's code of ethics, which says council members should "avoid any improprieties in their roles as public servants," when he promoted a political event whose sponsors include the Working Families Party, the Community Party and the Socialist Party of Connecticut. The event also lists the "office of Minority Leader Luis E. Cotto" as a sponsor.

By listing his office as a sponsor, Cotto implied that the city is promoting a political event and agenda, McGarry said. He said that he filed complaints with the offices of the attorney general and city corporation counsel.

McGarry also took issue with the event's being held at the same time as and next to a city-sponsored children's fair and offering children's activities.

"Obviously they want children to come, and he sees nothing wrong with that," McGarry said. "I do."

On the original poster promoting the event, Cotto had also listed the city's Office for Young Children and the Hartford Commission on LGBT Issues, but removed them after McGarry complained. Cotto said Wednesday that he had no intention of removing his name or office as a sponsor and saw no ethics violation.

"I'm within my rights to sponsor or co-sponsor anything I want," he said.

Corporation Counsel John Rose responded to McGarry's complaint in an e-mail, saying that he proposed "to address the issue of inclusion on the poster with a city office, agency or department referenced," and answer his questions about the propriety and whether city staff or equipment was used to promote the event.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal also responded to McGarry in writing Wednesday, saying that his inquiry had been assigned to "the special litigation department."

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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