Wednesday, March 23, 2011
THE SILENCE IS DEAFENING
Does anyone remember Senator Lou DeLuca (R) and his downfall from the Connecticut Legislature a few years ago? After Senator DeLuca stepped up to defend his granddaughter who he believed was being threatened, he was arrested on, I believe, a misdemeanor charge. He was promptly run out of the Senate and forced to resign.
No violation of the public trust, no theft of the taxpayers money, DeLuca was accused of trying to defend a family member.
Governor John Rowland and Senator Gaffey are two more Connecticut politicians who promptly resigned when their actions were called into question and they were marched before Judges. One a Democrat (Gaffey), one a Republican (Rowland).
What is the standard that should be applied to our elected officials and their resignations when they are accused of crimes? All too often we hear "innocent until proven guilty", but does it really take a guilty verdict to confirm that an elected official isn't worthy of the public's trust placed in them by the electorate?
When does integrity and soul searching kick in to realize what is best for the people the elected officials represent as well as the institution itself? It seems that all too often it is about self survival and selfishness. Is it any wonder voter participation is so bad and many voters don't even bother to turn out to vote because they see the system as so corrupt.
Hartford has lived the nightmare of municipal corruption for several years now. Not just through the Perez corruption investigation and his arrest and trial but also through a corrupt Councilperson, Veronica Airey-Wilson being rewarded with an early retirement after her arrest on corruption charges.
We currently have another Councilperson facing potential disbarment or suspension of his law license for his role with a client in a Federal Investigation where one party just plead guilty to $1.3 million in Food stamp fraud.
And the most recent case is that of Hector Robles who is being accused of violating the public's trust on two very important fronts. One as a police officer in a city that struggles everyday to earn the trust of its residents. Secondly as an elected member of the Connecticut House of Representatives.
Robles has been arrested and accused of "double dipping" in a scheme he is said to have perpetrated to steal over $10,000 from the taxpayers of Hartford. To read the original IAD report from the Hartford Police Department, click here
Robles was recently arrested by Inspectors from the States Attorney's Financial Crimes Unit and charged with two felonies, crimes far more severe than those that forced Senator DeLuca to resign.
The sad part though is that even though Robles admitted to IAD investigators, in a statement he gave to them, that he knew what he did was wrong and illegal and was "double dipping, he still refuses to accept blame. He continues to claim that others were doing it also, as if that lessens the seriousness of the allegations. Quite a few people rob banks every year in Connecticut, but that doesn't diminish the charges against those who do get caught.
I guess the part that is troubling though is the silence by all of the people that you would hope would show some integrity and step up to demand Robles's resignation. I really don't expect too much from the Hartford Democratic Town Committee, but Speaker of the House Donovan as well as other members of the Legislature are surprising me with their silence.
I would think that the Speaker would be as offended as I was when Hector first lied to me when I asked him about the allegations almost two months before any of the allegations became public. That was long before the IAD report was released when Hector essentially admitted to the scheme.
He used the same line on just about anyone that asked him about the investigation, claiming that it was all administrative and was no big deal. He never mentioned that he gave a statement admitting his wrongdoing.
This past Saturday the 6th District Democratic Town Committee held a meeting at which Robles was present. According to sources a lot of tough talk was being made prior to the meeting by members that were going to call for Robles resignation or censure. Apparently that is all that it was was talk, since none of the big talkers made any motions or even brought up his resignation.
Robles apparently again gave his speech that others were doing the same thing so it wasn't a big deal, even claiming to the group that Chief Daryl Roberts was guilty of the same thing when Roberts was a detective. The truth is the truth and although Chief Roberts vehemently denied the accusation when I asked him about it, it in no way lessens the allegations against Robles. So far no evidence has been introduced to show that others on the PD were "double dipping" but if there is any evidence to substantiate others involvement, then they should be standing before a Judge entering a plea, the same as Robles did.
If others were double dipping, that does not suggest that Robles is innocent, all it shows is that we have a greater problem.
I guess I need to go back to one of my previous questions, is a guilty verdict the only time we can ask a public official to resign. Or when the evidence shows that they clearly violated the public's trust as well as their own statement that they clearly violated the public trust by stealing, shouldn't that be enough to call for them to step down. If not, it is a slap in the face to any politician that understands the awesome responsibility they are entrusted with the day they are elected.
I also realize that the paycheck Robles is receiving from the Legislature may be his only source of income now that he has been fired by HPD, but that is not a reason to allow him to remain in a position of public trust and authority. Besides, the MDC might be hiring , surely someone else in the legislature could put in a good word for him there.
HERE IS ROBLES' ARREST WARRANT AFFADAVIT FOR HIS ARREST: