Robles Still Unopposed Despite Investigation, Calls To Resign
By JENNA CARLESSO
October 04, 2010
HARTFORD — — With less than a month until Election Day, incumbent state Rep. Hector Robles remains the only candidate for the 6th House District seat — despite being the subject of a disciplinary hearing by his employer and calls from fellow Democrats to resign from the legislature.
Robles, a city police officer, is accused of fabricating documents to give the appearance that he was on duty while he was working private jobs. The alleged double-billing scheme defrauded the department of more than $9,000, police officials said.
The police department began formal hearings in the case in September, but continued the hearings to Oct. 19, two weeks before the Nov. 2 election.
Janet Appellof, a spokeswoman for the Democratic town committee's 6th District in south Hartford, said Robles told her last month that he planned to resign from both the legislature and town committee, but apparently changed his mind.
"There are a lot of people who are really, really angry about this," Appellof said. "But there's nothing I can do unless he's willing to resign."
Neither Robles nor his attorney, R. Bartley Halloran of Farmington, could be reached for comment.
Under party rules, if a candidate resigns prior to 10 days before the election, the town committee could nominate someone else, said Allison Dodge, executive director of the Democratic State Central Committee. The state central committee and town committee do not have the authority to remove Robles from his position, she said.
Alyssa Peterson, who unsuccessfully challenged Robles in the August primary and publicly stated that Robles was under investigation by the Hartford Police Department, tried to collect enough signatures to get on the ballot as an independent. But state elections officials said she fell short of the requirements.
Robles has been charged with knowingly or willfully making a false entry in department records, intentional absence from duty without authorization, conduct unbecoming an employee and intentional failure to comply with lawful orders, procedures, directives or regulations — oral or written. Robles is not charged with crimes, but with violating the department's code of conduct.
Hartford police Lt. James A. Bernier wrote in the internal affairs report that if certain charges are sustained against Robles during the disciplinary hearing, he would recommend that Robles be terminated from the department.
The report was forwarded to the chief state's attorney's office for review. Mark DuPuis, a spokesman for the office, would not comment because the investigation is ongoing.
Since the internal affairs report was released, members of the town committee's 6th District have held two meetings to discuss the matter. Appellof said Robles was invited to both meetings, but did not attend.
"You feel like you're in limbo because you're not one place or another. I feel that he should resign from the town committee and legislature," she said. "It's another black mark on Hartford. There's enough black marks on Hartford."
House Speaker Christopher Donovan said it's too soon to tell if the Democratic Party has anything to act on. At this point, he said, there are no plans to remove Robles or call for his resignation.
"We'll have to see what the investigation calls for and what the evidence shows, but we don't have any of that information at this time," Donovan said. "We certainly have to give everyone due process."
Peterson said she is still trying to get on the ballot as an Independent.
"Worst-case scenario, I'll be a write-in candidate," she said. "I think there is voter outrage and I think voters have to be given a different choice. I am trying hard to provide voters an alternative on Election Day."
The 6th House District currently has no write-in candidates, said Av Harris, a spokesman for the secretary of the state's office. Those interested in becoming certified write-in candidates have until Oct. 19 to complete the necessary paperwork.
Police Chief Daryl K. Roberts said he doesn't know if Robles' disciplinary hearing will be completed before the election.
"I was surprised it went this long," he said, "but we want to do this right and not be hasty. He's entitled to the hearing."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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