Hartford Councilwoman Gets Special Form Of Probation
Was arrested in 2009 with former Mayor Eddie Perez
October 21, 2010
Hartford City Councilwoman Veronica Airey-Wilson was granted a special form of probation today. She was arrested with former Mayor Eddie Perez last year and charged with faking payment to a city contractor for work done on her home. WNPR’s Jeff Cohen reports.
Airey-Wilson has served on the city council for nearly 20 years. In court, she says she sent a $420 check to contractor Carlos Costa for granite countertops he put in her kitchen pantry. But Costa -- who also did deeply discounted work at Perez's home -- says he never got the check and that the work was worth more like $1,500. And as for the check that Airey-Wilson used as proof that she paid? The state says she faked it.
It was the job of Judge Julia Dewey to figure out whether to grant Airey-Wilson's request for a special probation called accelerated rehabilitation. To do that, she had to ask two questions.
Dewey: In all of this, what is your biggest regret? I need to know.
Airey-Wilson: My biggest regret is that I guess I'm so open and trusting of everyone and in my choice of selecting someone to do the work in my home.
Dewey: From your perspective, what was the worst that happened because of this incident?
Airey-Wilson: The humiliation and shame.
It was that acknowledgment of the loss of public face -- both for Airey-Wilson and for her community -- that got Dewey's attention.
Dewey: You got it. You understood what the problem was. That the public viewed its servants in a less-than-kind light, and that's unacceptable. So it was almost like the 20 years you did could have been down the drain for one stupid granite countertop.
Dewey gave Airey-Wilson three months of probation and ordered her to pay $420 to the state's victim restitution fund. The state did not oppose the probation.