Democrats dropped the ball with Abrams pick

Greenwich-Voices-DadakisGreenwich witnessed an old-fashioned political sex scandal last week.

Democratic candidate Marc Abrams stepped down in disgrace from the 149th District state representative race when Hartford Courant columnist Kevin Rennie revealed he was a defendant in a 2009 sexual harassment lawsuit. The suit is proceeding through various courts and administrative agencies and it’s important to stress that legal wrongdoing hasn’t yet been proven.

That being said, it still rocked Connecticut politics, placing Democrats in the cross hairs of the so-called “war on women.”

The allegations in the complaint are revolting, but most shocking is the apparent quoting of actual emails from Abrams emails. They reveal a man who intimidated and degraded women. As Democratic House Speaker Sharkey said Thursday, “the tone of misogyny in the complaint [is] disturbing.”

The speaker’s right. There are numerous examples, including Abrams referring to female employee(s) as a “hooker”,  a ‘f***** rotten piece of dirt” and “white trash.” And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The full complaint is available at Pospislaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Complaint-Pecile-v.-Titan.pdf, but be forewarned, it’s graphic and raw.

His own repulsive words now exposed, Abrams spoke publicly, characterizing the suit as frivolous yet careful not to deny he wrote the abusive emails detailed in the complaint. He blamed trial lawyers and his opponent while asserting that he’d remain a candidate. Isn’t blaming lawyers the last refuge of scoundrels?

DTC chairman Frank Farricker backed him, fully assuring everyone that Democrats knew of the complaint and vetted him “with a fine-tooth comb.” He vowed Abrams “is the best our party has to offer.”

But while local Democrats saw nothing wrong, Hartford Democrats knew immediately that Abrams’ candidacy was untenable. Speaker Sharkey telephoned Abrams asking him to withdraw. Abrams refused, insisting the suit was old news. While perhaps it was to Abrams, to Connecticut voters it was shocking.

With the speaker rebuffed and Farricker, Malloy’s handpicked choice to run the lottery agency, backing him unwaveringly, Malloy’s people jumped to action. Facing a tight race against Foley, Malloy couldn’t afford having someone else caught in the Democrats’ “culture of corruption.” After all, Malloy’s appointee as deputy DMV commissioner was just arrested for child molestation and Bridgeport Democratic Representative Ayala was arrested for voter fraud. Malloy needed Abrams and Farricker’s intransigence like he needed another poll showing his support in the 30s.

Governors don’t usually get involved in these situations, preferring to let aides handle them. However, Abrams and Farricker refused to back down, forcing Malloy to make what must’ve been an embarrassing call. Finally Abrams was out.

The question now is, Why in the world, knowing the facts as Farricker says his party did, would Democrats nominate Abrams? Malloy’s got to be questioning his lottery chief’s judgment and there are questions aplenty for Greenwich Democrats who have remained silent throughout the scandal.

If Farricker is truthful that Democrats knew, why didn’t Jill Oberlander, state representative candidate in the 150th, speak out? She claims she asks the tough questions. Not this time, just silence. What about Mary Lee Kiernan, a leading BET Democrat and vice chairman of the Commission on the Status of Women? She’s been silent. Does she agree with Abrams’ nomination?

Fortunately, former DTC Chairman Alma Rutgers, the conscience of Greenwich Democrats, stood up and wrote in her Greenwich Time column that she was appalled Abrams was nominated and condemned the DTC’s failure to act appropriately, declaring “Greenwich Democrats never looked worse.”

This scandal shows that Farricker is a leader with poor judgment. This will taint both his chairmanship and his lottery appointment. He only won the chairmanship by a single vote over Beth Krumeich. You’ve got to wonder what the Krumeichs are thinking. Yet to be seen is whether a new power struggle will emerge in the DTC.

Abrams must return the leftover taxpayer funds he received from the Connecticut Election Program. Hopefully that will occur promptly and this sordid episode will end. There’s a lesson here for all political parties — vet your candidates.

Ed Dadakis is a former chairman of the Republican Town Committee and has spent more than 30 years serving on the Representative Town Meeting (RTM). He may be reached at [email protected]

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© Hersam Acorn. All rights reserved. The Greenwich Post, 10 Corbin Drive, Floor 3, Darien, CT 06820

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress