HARTFORD —— The city council is considering a proposal to add Abraham Giles' name to a North End street corner. Giles, an embattled former state representative, died last year at age 84.
City residents have had varied perceptions of Giles. To some, he was a man who cared deeply for his constituents. To others, he was a deal maker who always seemed to be in the news for the wrong reasons.
He made headlines in 2010 after pleading guilty to two misdemeanors in connection with the corruption investigation that ensnared former Mayor Eddie Perez. Under the terms of Giles' plea agreement, he did not receive jail time.
Councilwoman Cynthia Jennings said Giles' controversy didn't dissuade her from raising the proposal, which would designate the corner of Main and Windsor streets as "Abraham Giles Way." The council on Monday referred the request to its public building dedication committee. A public hearing on the proposal will be held April 16 at city hall.
"He's always been involved with doing things for the residents, and the people he represented loved him," she said. "He's a part of black history in Connecticut."
Jennings said Giles didn't have a chance to redeem himself after his misdemeanor convictions because he died.
"John Rowland has a building named after him, and he was reinstated into his community," she said of the former governor, who in 2004 pleaded guilty to a felony corruption charge and served 10 months in federal prison. "It's not like [Giles] was a felon."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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