Attorney General Files Suit Seeking To Revoke Perez's Pension
By JENNA CARLESSO
September 27, 2010
HARTFORD — — Attorney General Richard Blumenthal filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to revoke or reduce the pension of former Mayor Eddie Perez, who resigned in June following his conviction on corruption charges.
The lawsuit was filed in Superior Court in Hartford, though Blumenthal said Perez was served with the suit on Sept. 17.
Perez was convicted in June of five felony corruption charges, including bribery and extortion. He was sentenced Sept. 14 to three years in prison, but is free on bail pending an appeal.
"The law requires that action be taken and my office is fulfilling its legal duty in requesting that the court revoke or reduce Mr. Perez's taxpayer-funded pension in light of his conviction and sentencing for violating a public trust," Blumenthal said. "Certainly, the court must consider the conviction a betrayal and misuse of public office and the message it is sending."
Blumenthal had indicated that he would seek to revoke the former mayor's pension just days after his June conviction.
A Superior Court judge could turn all or a portion of the pension over to Perez's family. The law requires the judge to consider the damage done to the city or state by an official's illegal actions, the amount of trust or responsibility placed in the official and the needs of the official's innocent spouse or children.
Perez's wife, Maria, had brain aneurysms in 2005 and has had several surgeries. Defense attorneys alluded to her health during Perez's four-week trial, saying her illness drastically affected his concentration and attention to details.
Blumenthal said Monday that he has not yet taken a stand on what should happen to Perez's pension.
"We've begun the process without taking a hard and fast position on those issues," he said.
As the case moves forward, Blumenthal said, "our recommendation will be based on all of the facts and circumstances, including his history, his conviction and his personal circumstances, such as family and other factors."
Blumenthal said it is the first time his office has invoked a law passed in 2008 after the corruption conviction of former Gov. John G. Rowland. The law, which Blumenthal proposed, requires an attorney general to seek pension revocation after a public official is convicted on corruption charges.
Perez, 52, could choose to begin collecting a partial pension of about $25,000 a year for the rest of his life when he turns 55. He would have to wait until he's 60 to receive a full pension of about $31,000 a year. Perez made an average salary of $140,000 a year during his nine years working at city hall, Blumenthal said.
It is unclear if Perez's criminal defense attorneys, Hubert Santos and Hope Seeley, will represent him in the civil matter. Calls to their law office were not returned Monday
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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