The grand jury investigation into potential corruption in the administration of Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez feels like an oppressive cloud over the city.
Exactly a year ago, investigators served a search warrant on Mr. Perez's home. They were looking into $20,000 in belatedly-paid-for kitchen and bathroom work performed by businessman Carlos Costa, whose firm, USA Contractors, has gotten millions of dollars' worth of contracts from the city.
Mr. Perez's credibility wasn't helped by a later revelation that none of the work at his house got official inspections or permits.
The grand jury is also investigating work on the city's school reconstruction project and no-bid arrangements involving at least one of Mr. Perez's political allies, parking lot manager Abe Giles.
Now comes news that investigators executed a search warrant Wednesday for the home of Republican councilwoman Veronica Airey-Wilson. Their focus reportedly is on granite countertops installed by Mr. Costa's employees in Ms. Airey-Wilson's kitchen.
At the very least, by retaining the services of a contractor who does so much work for the city, the mayor and Ms. Airey-Wilson have invited speculation about whether they used their public offices for personal benefit.
Ms. Airey-Wilson, who owns a local insurance agency and has served as a councilwoman for a decade, says she is cooperating and has nothing to hide. She is running for a state Senate seat. And while she maintains this latest revelation will not hurt her candidacy, it's not helping, either.
The search of Ms. Airey-Wilson's home shows the investigation is active. Obviously, the grand jury must be thorough and follow every plausible lead. That said, we hope it can conclude with all reasonable speed.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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