Reemsnyder refuses to say if she will testify at port authority forum

Bonnie Reemsnyder, the former Old Lyme first selectwoman who served on the board of the Connecticut Port Authority, confirmed Monday evening that she's been invited to testify at an upcoming forum on the quasi-public agency, but refused to say whether she would attend.

Following the release of a state audit showing skyrocketing spending at the agency, which has also faced staff upheaval and scrutiny over its spending and operational practices, members of the General Assembly's Transportation Committee will get the opportunity to question at least one of agency's key decision makers on Dec. 4, when the committee convenes its second forum on the port authority.

Scott Bates, the deputy secretary of state, who served as chairman of the port authority's board from its inception until June when he stepped down and was replaced by Reemsnyder, said in an email Saturday that he plans to provide testimony at the forum.

Rep. Roland Lemar, D-New Haven, co-chairman of the committee, said by phone early Monday evening that he and co-chairman Sen. Carlo Leone, D-Stamford, invited Bates and Reemsnyder, who also served as chairwoman of the board's finance committee, to speak at the forum, and that former port authority Executive Director Evan Matthews also should be getting an invitation soon.

Reemsnyder and Bates stepped down from their board chairmanships at the request of Gov. Ned Lamont. Matthews resigned from his position Oct. 1 after being on paid leave for more than two months for comments he made to the media about a port authority critic.  

Reached by email earlier Monday, Matthews said he had not received a request from the committee.

Matthews was invited to attend the first forum in August, but he said he declined to attend after he read reports that neither Bates nor Reemsnyder were planning to appear, and after he and his attorney reached out to the port authority for guidance on his participation.

"It was clear that the CPA did not welcome my participation, so I declined," Matthews said.

Lemar said it's possible he and Leone will invite others port authority representatives to speak at the December forum including ousted officer manager Gerri Lewis, who claims she was fired without cause and has said she would be willing to speak, upon request, to any entities conducting an investigation of the port authority.

Lemar said he and Leone are determining who to invite to the forum based on what information committee members are seeking and who would have knowledge of that information.

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