Ex-Mayor Eddie Perez's Appeal Grinds On Former mayor convicted two years ago still free
Hartford Courant Editorial
June 25, 2012
The June 14 story about the sale of former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez's Bloomfield Avenue home provided a reminder that the wheels of justice can grind exceedingly slow.
The five-bedroom house had been on the market for more than a year. But that's only about half the time that Mr. Perez has been free on bond while the appeal of his conviction on five of six felony corruption charges is wending its way through the courts.
What's taking so long? Surely it's in the interests of both Mr. Perez and the public to have either guilt or innocence firmly established as quickly as possible.
Two years ago this month, Hartford's first strong mayor under a new charter adopted a decade ago was found guilty by a jury of receiving a bribe, accessory to the fabrication of evidence, conspiracy to fabricate evidence, conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny by extortion and criminal attempt to commit first-degree larceny by extortion.
State's attorneys said Mr. Perez accepted discounted kitchen and bathroom work on his Bloomfield Avenue home from a contractor who they said needed the mayor's help to hang on to a $5.3 million contract for the Park Street improvement project.
Mr. Perez resigned as mayor a week after the jury's verdict and was sentenced in September 2010 to three years in prison and three years' probation. Pedro Segarra, then city council president, became mayor.
Mr. Segarra has since won a term as mayor in his own right, but Mr. Perez's case is still not resolved.
His is a tragic story. Mr. Perez, a well-connected, personable community organizer and Trinity College's major-domo on the Learning Corridor project, seemed like just the right politician to assume the levers of expanded power given him by charter changes in his second term. He seemed like a mayor who could make real headway against Hartford's problems.
But Mr. Perez, the jury said, succumbed to the temptations of power, and it's surprising how cheap was his price.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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