By SHERIDAN CYR
A controversial message is popping up all around town, as Election Day approaches for Southington’s municipal elections. Someone acting alone, or a small group of people, is anonymously mailing out copies of a May 2015 civil court case filed by an employee of HQ Dumpsters & Recycling, LLC, against the company.
The plaintiff makes allegations toward his employer, Jack Perry, currently an unaffiliated candidate for Town Council. The plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.
The case isn’t listed under public records on the Connecticut Judicial Branch website. According to Perry, the case was withdrawn and settled outside of court before trial.
“The thing with this case is that there is no case,” said Perry. “There were some allegations, anything that [the plaintiff] had said was withdrawn, it’s a personnel matter, and I can’t say much more on it than that.”
The documents were sent anonymously to all Southington’s candidates running for Town Council, to local publications, and to a number of residents who publicly support Perry with candidate signs in their yards.
“I just think this is some nasty tactic of dirty politics,” said Perry. “It’s the same stuff we see nationally. I’m being smeared, and it has felt like a nightmare. I wasn’t trying to shed light on this by giving the sender the satisfaction they were looking for.”
“I’m the independent. I’m the little guy in this election,” he continued. “I’m not in a party, so there are 13 people running, and the one guy who is not in a party and doesn’t have a base vote is being picked on. Why would that be? Obviously, I know things in this town, and [the anonymous sender(s)] are afraid of me because I have the town’s support, and with that, I’m going to dissolve the good-old-boy network that this town is so notorious for.”
Perry admits he has suspicions but is careful not to point fingers or be a judge of the situation. “If I were to start pointing fingers, it would give them the reaction they were hoping for. I’m just not getting into those political tactics.”
Democratic Town Committee chair Bob Berkmoes and Republican Town Committee chair Brian Callahan said that they are not pointing fingers, either, but are anxious to deflect any allegations of their party’s involvement.
“I can absolutely assure you that everybody that I know in the Democratic Party would not do something like this,” said Berkmoes. “This is just very, very poor conduct. If someone wants to bring something up, then they should put their name on it.”
Berkmoes doesn’t blame the Republican Party, either. “I would hope that our competitors would not do something like that, either,” he said. “It’s very disheartening and I just can’t imagine them doing that.”
Callahan said the actions of the anonymous mailer(s) were “disgusting.” “I have been running campaigns for seven years for the Republican Party, and we have never done something like this. I abhor the thought of character assassination,” said Callahan. “This is a small town, and whether it’s here or national, politics should be about your track record and what you plan to do for the public. That’s all politics should be. You’re fighting for issues and for the betterment of the town.”
Callahan commented that he did not believe this was coming from either party, in his opinion. “For the life of me, I cannot figure this out,” he said. “My own thought process is that somebody has a vendetta against Perry and wants to get even.”
Perry says the anonymous sender is hoping that the recipients will become the voice behind the controversy and run with it.
“The elections are less than two weeks away,” said Perry. “I just want to stay on course and do what I need to do, but at the same time I don’t want people to feel like I’m hiding from this. I just don’t want to give it the oxygen and the attention [the sender(s)] are looking for.”
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.