Text by Rick Green, Hartford Courant; video by Jan Carabeo, Fox CT
Escalating his attack in a campaign that technically hasn’t begun, Republican Tom Foley blasted Gov. Dannel P. Malloy Sunday as a chronically unethical leader.
Foley, who says he has not yet decided whether he is running for governor, offered a blistering, unsubstantiated, indictment of Malloy as running an administration of back-slapping insiders “getting special deals.” Appearing on WFSB’s “Face the State” Sunday morning, Foley declined to offer on-the-record evidence to back up his charges, saying that his allegations meet “journalistic standards.”
The comments drew outrage from Malloy’s office.
“Foley’s allegations are factually incorrect,” said Malloy spokesman Andrew Doba. “The reason he can’t back them up is because they are untrue. Mr. Foley owes everyone to whom he referred an immediate apology.”
Among his charges is an allegation that former Malloy aide Roy Occhiogrosso’s communication firm won a state contract; that Malloy’s hiring of Dan Esty as commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection was essentially a payoff and that the governor pressures towns to hire the law firm of another former aide, Andrew McDonald, who is now a justice of the state Supreme Court. Foley also alleged that it was improper for the private UConn Foundation to help pay expenses on Malloy’s trips overseas.
The Malloy administration had previously acknowledged the assistance from the UConn Foundation before the governor left on his travels.
The most serious charge — that Malloy received improper campaign contributions from Esty before he was appointed commissioner — is “something I heard and that people believe,” Foley said.
Esty denied Foley’s “far-fetched” charge Sunday afternoon. “At no time have I or the consulting firm I once ran had any employment relationship with Dan Malloy in any way shape or form,” Esty said. “I would add it’s disappointing and irresponsible to see someone who wants to be governor of Connecticut putting forth such demonstratively untrue statements.”
Reached while campaigning in Torrington Sunday afternoon, Foley stood by his charges — and said Malloy ought to go on television on Monday to respond. He promised that this is “only the tip of the iceberg.”
“If this governor doesn’t say this is simply not true then it’s true,” Foley said. “I’ve met the media standard of two reliable sources on each of these stories. I don’t think I need to reveal who my sources are, either. It’s up to the governor to respond.”
State Democrats, meanwhile, moved quickly Sunday to bring up stories from Foley’s past — a car accident in 1981 in which, witnesses allege, he rammed their car; and a breach of peace charge from 1993 stemming from a dispute with his wife.
“Mr. Foley has steadfastly refused to release his arrest records involving two incidents, including one felony arrest in which he ended up spending the night in jail. Today the Connecticut Democratic Party calls on Mr. Foley to release those records, in the spirit of open and full disclosure he says he believes in,” the Democrats said in a statement.
Charges against Foley in both cases were dropped. He declined Sunday to release more information about the cases.
“This isn’t about me, it’s about the governor,” Foley said. “Let’s stay on the topic at hand.”
Occhiogrosso’s communications firm, Global Strategies Group, denied Foley’s allegation that it received a “totally improper” state contract.
Tanya Meck, executive vice president with Global Strategies Group, said the firm “participated in a competitive process to become the public relations consultant for Access Health CT.” She said her firm won the contract for the new health care program “legally and ethically.”
Meanwhile, Foley also said that Malloy’s “close buddy” Andrew McDonald was part of a conspiracy that forced municipalities to hire McDonald’s former law firm. Foley said the allegations are “commonly believed,” when pressed for evidence by “Face the State” host Dennis House.
According to Foley, there is little Malloy can do, even if all of Foley’s accusations are bogus.
“These are things that are commonly accepted at the Capitol as being true,” he said.