Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Questionable Malicious Harassment and Punitive Investigations


Newton Quits Leadership Role

Investigation Prompts Lawmaker To Give Up Public Safety Post

February 1, 2005 By CHRISTOPHER KEATING, Capitol Bureau Chief, The Hartford Courant

Less than a week after federal agents raided his business office and five other sites, state Sen. Ernest Newton II stepped down Monday as co-chairman of the legislature's public safety committee.

Newton and others said it was appropriate for him to temporarily withdraw as leader of a committee that handles sensitive issues involving the state police, gambling and homeland security.

Since FBI and IRS agents arrived last week at Newton's Stratford office, his sister's business and other sites, he has maintained a relatively low profile. But Newton was back at the state Capitol complex Monday, posing questions to witnesses regarding the death penalty during a crowded hearing in front of the judiciary committee.

Newton, 48, a Bridgeport Democrat, said he could not comment about the federal investigation. When asked whether he would resign - a question that has arisen repeatedly at the Capitol in recent days - Newton turned around and walked away.

He then spun around and asked, "Am I here today?"Patrick Scully, a spokesman for the Senate Democrats, said Newton would remain a member of the public safety and judiciary committees under a legislative rule that mandates a two-year appointment.

"He doesn't want anything distracting from the work of the [public safety] committee," Scully said.

"And when this is all over, he'll be back. He's not resigning. He hasn't been accused of anything."

Federal investigators have been tight-lipped about the scope of the investigation. Thomas Carson, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in New Haven, declined to comment Monday on Newton's case.

Investigators have been seeking information on contracts held by a nonprofit corporation that employs Newton, sources said. Newton works as a community affairs director for a subsidiary of Partners For Community Inc. of Springfield, a nonprofit organization that operates an office at 160 Avon St. in Stratford. That office was raided last week by federal agents.

Company officials have declined to reveal details about the documents seized under a search warrant.

"We think it's prudent to have as little publicity as possible," said David Shrair, an attorney for the parent organization.

A subsidiary of the Springfield company - known as the Corporation for Justice Management - has held state contracts to provide more than $12 million in services over the past four years, including $3.4 million for the current fiscal year, officials said Monday.

Of the funds this year, $1.2 million is going to programs at the Stratford office - a site that offers day and evening programs for adults who have been accused or convicted of crimes. The office conducts education and literacy programs, along with substance-abuse counseling and evaluation, said Rhonda Stearley-Hebert, a spokeswoman for the state judicial branch.

This year's contract also allocates $1.4 million for operating an alternative to a detention center for juveniles in Bridgeport and an additional $800,000 for a new halfway house in Bridgeport.

The Springfield company is among 67 contractors receiving more than $55 million annually to run programs for the judicial branch, ranging from drug treatment programs to anger management classes, officials said. Newton, an admitted recovering drug addict and a member of the legislature since 1989, has come under increased scrutiny during the past week at both the Capitol and in his hometown of Bridgeport.

His local newspaper, The Connecticut Post, called on him to resign in an editorial Sunday, saying that the ongoing federal investigation is "simply the latest chapter in an epic novel of disgraceful incidents surrounding the Bridgeport Democrat's political career.

"The editorial continued, "Enough is enough. It's time for Newton to put his own personal interests aside and finally do what is best for the city of Bridgeport. It's time for Newton to resign."

The above came from the Hartford Courant website.

Links, picture of Newton, and a smoking gun. FreeSpeech.com post (click)

Fair use of copyrighted material

* * * *

My email to incoming Gov. Rell of Connecticut regarding Rowland and corruption

How can there not still be sleaze in the Connecticut Governor’s Office, if former Rowland aids are answering Rell’s phones? (post)

Can cops rape, rob, beat, and murder with immunity?
(post contains pictures of young adults brutalized by police, and picture of a 1978 Chevrolet Corvette and one of the houses I fixed up from a boarded up condition)

This blogger's email: stevengerickson@yahoo.com


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