Top Stories 2017: Controversial Kentucky Derby trips led to many changes
The 2016 controversy over lavish trips to the Kentucky Derby hosted by the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative continued in 2017, with ethics violation rulings in Norwich and Groton and more state scrutiny over municipal utilities.
Four Norwich Public Utilities officials, then-Mayor Deberey Hinchey and three Groton Utilities officials were found in violation of ethics codes. In March, Hinchey paid the city the recommended $1,945 reimbursement, 25 percent of the estimated value of her trip. NPU General Manager John Bilda in September donated $15,000 to a fuel assistance fund.
Former Norwich utilities commission Chairwoman Dee Boisclair and Vice Chairman Robert Groner resigned prior to a City Council investigation. In Groton, utilities commission member Edward DeMuzzio resigned when faced with potential removal and said he would donate $7,500, the value of his 2016 trip, to a charity. GU Director Ronald Gaudet, who attended the 2016 trip for one day, and GU General Manager of Utility Finance David Collard each were fined $100 and asked to donate $7,500 to a Groton Human Services program to support needy families.
State law changes mandate all CMEEC retreats now be held in state and include official business. A five-year forensic audit of CMEEC’s books is underway, and veteran Aetna attorney Bill Kowalski was named in December as the new municipal electric energy consumer advocate.
— Claire Bessette
Review 2017 at www.theday.com/2017review.
Stories that may interest you
Dylan Gonzalez, 3, and his mother, Ivette Barinas, were having fun playing soccer Friday at Williams Park in New London.
Kane, the 3-year old English bulldog of the Albrikes family of Mystic, was ignoring tennis balls and relaxing courtside while his humans practiced Friday.
Myriam Gonzalez of New London and Angelica Vanin of Norwich went for a walk at Fort Trumbull on Friday, part of their exercise routine.
Gov. Ned Lamont said 1,291 people have now tested positive for COVID-19 in the state, with 271 new infections, 27 deaths, and 173 hospitalizations.