An indignant press release Friday issued by the campaign of Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez slammed challenger Art Feltman for what it described as misleading voters.
The act drawing the fury of the Perez camp, which demanded answers and filed complaints with two state agencies, was a passage in Feltman's biography on his official General Assembly website.
Feltman, a Democratic state representative, describes himself as a practicing attorney - even though he is not currently allowed to practice law, having retired in May 2006.
The site, a closer look reveals, also lists Feltman's age as 46.
But here's the thing: Feltman is 49.
And three years ago, when the information was posted on the website, Feltman said, he was a practicing attorney.
So Feltman's crime appears to be the failure to update his posted resume.
"Perez is drowning," Feltman said. "Will someone throw this man a rope? His Karl Rove-trained Lieberman attack dogs are on the hunt with their vicious personal attacks." Three of Perez's campaign staff worked on campaigns for U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman.
Kenny Curran, Perez's campaign manager, said the Perez campaign posed "questions of fact," adding that Feltman had referred voters to his website in mailings to voters' homes.
"This is about providing facts to the voters," said Curran, who said he filed complaints with both the Office of State Ethics and the Statewide Grievance Committee. "If you send out information directing people to a website, and that website has erroneous information, you are responsible for making sure the information on that website is updated and correct."
"Currently he is not a practicing lawyer," Curran said. "Today he cannot practice law. But his site says he is."
Curran said he did not know Feltman's age and had not checked when the biography on his General Assembly site was last updated.
Feltman said he retired in 2006 after 17 years as a lawyer to focus on his work as a legislator, especially as he gained greater responsibilities on various committees.
"I was afraid that I wasn't going to be able to give my clients the full attention they deserved," he said. "The fact is that I sacrificed income to better serve the public, and I should be commended for that."
But the Perez camp's press release never mentions that Feltman had retired. Instead, it says he is "barred from practicing" law.
It also says Feltman "turned in his law license for undisclosed reasons," though the fact that Feltman retired is public record.
The release ends with a quote from Curran: "So before Art goes around making any more wild accusations about others, Art would be well served to first address the hard evidence of his own misconduct and what it says about his fitness to lead this city."
Feltman said this is another example of Perez's trying to divert attention from real issues. "They never talk about what is real and what is actually going to be important," Feltman said.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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