DERBY - First term Derby Mayor Anita Dugatto is proud of her track record and running for reelection. That’s why she won’t stand for what was said in a robocall hundreds of city residents received Saturday.
The call, from a group identified as C-One, started with a startling assertion about one of Derby’s two elementary schools.
“Mayor Anita Dugatto wants to close Bradley School and bus your kids to Bridgeport,” a clearly computer-generated female voice stated.
“It was outrageous,” said Dr. Dugatto, who is also a dentist. “It had no merit. It was just not true.”
The robocall claims she’d close it to save millions.
Dugatto says it’s a distraction.
“I know it's not true. We put money into the building. We just put new roofs on it. It was never mentioned, never thought of,” she said.
Most parents of children attending Bradley School, which educates students between kindergarten and 5th grade, had not received the robocall and were stunned to hear its contents.
“I'm moving out-of-state,” said John Keklik. “We're getting away. If my kids have to go back to a Bridgeport school, I wouldn't want that.”
Keklik grew up in Bridgeport and he and his wife have a daughter in 4th grade at Bradley.
“I couldn't believe it,” said Yalixsa Keklik. “I wouldn't want my daughter to go to any other school but Bradley School.”
Dugatto says she expected negativity during this campaign because “someone wants this job.”
That someone is long time former Hamden police officer Rich Dziekan, the Republican mayoral challenger, who said that on Saturday “about 5:30 my phone starts blowing up.”
Folks from his campaign wanted to know what he knew about the robocall.
“And, I'm like what? I just had no idea what anybody was talking about,” said Dziekan, who lives close to Bradley School.
Dziekan approached Dugatto at a city function they both attended Saturday evening.
“We went to a private area and talked,” said Dziekan. “I just explained to her it wasn't my party, it had nothing to do with the Republican Party, my candidacy, anything.”
“I can't say I believe him or not. It doesn't even enter the equation,” said Dugatto.
The 24-second robocall finished by saying “This November vote Anita Dugatto out of office.”
Dziekan’s campaign traced the call to a Hartford based LLC, which did not return a call to Fox CT. Derby police are not investigating because they say they have received no complaints.