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Somers, Carney call on legislature to hold hearings on Connecticut Port Authority

State Sen. Heather Somers (R-18th District) and State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd District) called on the legislature's Transportation Committee Sunday to hold a public hearing regarding "the leadership changes and related controversies" regarding the Connecticut Port Authority.

They joined state Sen. Cathy Osten, D-19th District, who called for a hearing on Thursday.

The authority has been engulfed in scandal the past two weeks.

It started July 18 when then-Executive Director Evan Matthews was placed on leave by then-Chairwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder for reasons that still have not been disclosed.

Reemsnyder, who is also the Old Lyme first selectwoman, resigned a few days later under pressure from Gov. Ned Lamont over the revelation that the authority paid her daughter $3,000 for six photographs that hang on the walls of the authority's Old Saybrook office.

"There are many questions to be answered to give the public confidence that this organization is meeting its responsibilities to the taxpayers at a critical time," Somers said in joint statement with Carney on Sunday. "It is very disturbing that we are not receiving more information about staff and finances."

State auditors are also beginning to take a routine look into the authority, including investigating a whistleblower complaint filed May 23. This comes as the authority seeks a $93 million partnership that will renovate State Pier in New London to produce offshore wind energy.

"It has been five years since the agency was established, and I feel strongly that given its recent leadership changes, there is no better time than now for us to take a close look at what is going on regarding the Port Authority and how it is accomplishing its statutory goals," Carney said. "There appears to be more going on here than what we are being told and the legislature owes it to the people of this state to get to the bottom of it. We must have more transparency and oversight."





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