Gomes Doesn’t Think He’ll Get ‘A Fair Shake’ in Bridgeport Democratic State Senate Endorsement Dispute

Former state Sen. Ed Gomes who wants to reclaim the office says he doesn’t think the process will turn out fair for him. He and city Councilman Richard DeJesus are locked in a dispute over the party endorsement. A three-member Democratic Party “Dispute Resolution Committee” met Tuesday to try to hash things out. They have five days to decide according to party rules.

Gomes, who spoke to The Shad on his way to the Democratic State Central Committee meeting in Hartford Wednesday evening, said, “I’ve served this party for 40 years and all we wanted was a fair shake. We wanted a clean election and it [the endorsement vote] wasn’t.”

Gomes asked the state party to “dismiss” the endorsement that eventually went to DeJesus when the convention chair, attorney Edwin Farrow, broke a tie by voting for DeJesus. It was later learned that Farrow did legal work for DeJesus. Neither Farrow nor DeJesus disclosed the candidate was a legal client of Farrow’s. The Gomes camp says that’s a conflict of interest and the endorsement should be vacated. The official backing is important because clears a path for public financing.

“They hung everything [as to whether there was a conflict] on the ‘money thing,’” Gomes said. “Obviously money changed hands because DeJesus was [Farrow’s] client.”

DeJesus could not be reached but this report and his attorney John King declined further comment until the panel made its decision.

However at the hearing Tuesday, King told the panel that “a relationship is not a conflict…There has to be a direct financial benefit to the party making the decision,” said King, adding no evidence was presented indicating financial gain, reported the Connecticut Post.

The state Senate seat is open because Andres Ayala who was the sitting senator is the new commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles. Although the dispute resolution committee has five days by party rules but because the election is February 24, a decision is imminent.

The three-person dispute resolution committee consists of party state central committee members Dorothy “Dot” Mrowka of Colchester, Al Onorato of New Haven and Carl Schiessl of Windsor Locks.