Sources: Mayor And Others Will Surrender To State Police; Corruption Case
Jeffrey B. Cohen
September 02, 2009
Mayor Eddie A. Perez will walk into a state police barracks in the city he runs and turn himself in today, marking the second time in eight months that the mayor will be arrested on state criminal charges.
Sources familiar with the investigation into corruption allegations at city hall say Perez and others will turn themselves in today at Troop H in Hartford. This comes one week before jury selection is scheduled to begin in Perez's trial on charges dating to January that he traded influence for allegedly discounted work done on his home by a city contractor.
That trial is now likely to be delayed, sources said, as the mayor and his attorneys learn more about the latest charges against him.
On Monday, Perez read a statement in the office of his attorney, Hubert Santos, saying that he was innocent, that he would beat the charges against him, and that he would not resign. He began by saying he expected to be arrested on charges relating to former state Rep. Abraham Giles.
John J. Kelly, Giles' attorney, would not comment Tuesday, but said he would have something to say today. Various other attorneys declined to comment. The Courant has reported two incidents involving Perez, Giles and city parking lots that state criminal investigators said prompted their interest in Perez in early 2007.
Meanwhile, members of the city council met behind closed doors in a conference room at city hall Tuesday to discuss Perez, the effect of the new charges against him, and their collective responsibilities.
The meeting began as a caucus of four council Democrats - James Boucher, Kenneth Kennedy, Matt Ritter and Pedro Segarra. Council President Calixto Torres and Democratic Majority Leader rJo Winch - both of whom are considered Perez allies - did not attend.
After Perez's arrest in January, Boucher, Kennedy, Ritter and Segarra all voted to oust Torres from his seat as council president. Nothing like that is being seriously considered now, two council Democrats said.
"We had that vote in January," Ritter said.
After the Democrats caucused Tuesday, Kennedy left and Councilmen Luis Cotto and Larry Deutsch, both of the Working Families Party, each entered by themselves - so as not to violate state freedom of information laws by having enough people to make a quorum.
Kennedy left without commenting. Before the meeting, Boucher said he was still trying to wrap his head around the facts. Segarra and Ritter were vague about the nature of the discussions at hand.
Cotto, who met with Perez Tuesday, said the mayor remains confident.
"The impression I got is that this man is not planning on going anywhere," Cotto said.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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