The Unfinished Business of Former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez
September 14, 2010
After attending most of former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez's corruption trial this spring, not being at his sentencing Tuesday felt like unfinished business.
But we all have to move on sometime.
Now if only Perez could understand that.
From what I gathered from my colleague's reporting, nothing much changed from the days of the trial. Perez remains a man unwilling to take responsibility for his actions - nothing proves that more than his plan to appeal.
And friends, family and way too many members of the Hartford community continue to refuse to hold him accountable.
Kudos to Judge Julia Dewey for telling Perez and supporters to stop blaming others for his troubles - including the media, who they targeted in letters of support.
"No one here can ignore the jury's verdict. The reason we are here, Mr. Perez, is your conduct and nothing more," she said. "For those who demonized the media in those letters, the media did not do this, you are responsible."
No one but Perez is responsible for accepting those deeply discounted renovations from a city contractor, including a pimped out Jacuzzi and granite countertops to die for. No one but Perez is responsible for trying to extort a payoff for a political ally.
And, in the end, no one but an unremorseful Perez who continues to downplay his actions by saying it was a "lapse in judgment" is to blame.
In June, a jury found Perez guilty on five corruption charges, including felony charges related to bribery, extortion, and fabricating evidence. Tuesday, Judge Dewey sentenced him to three years in prison.
As I've said in the past, now it's time for Perez to take his medicine, do his time and if the past is any indication, join the ranks of disgraced public officials who manage to reinvent themselves.
"I plan to be part of the life of this city for a long, long time. I want the court to know that I will live for the rest of my life to continue to serve others. There's no words that can express my love for my city and my commitment," Perez said before being sentenced.
Wonderful. Start by not dragging the city through another trial and moving on.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at