Tom Foley, the Greenwich millionaire who walked away with the Republican endorsement at the convention and is the frontrunner in the polls, doesn’t seem to like that his opponent, Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele, is picking on his record as a business owner.
Late Wednesday afternoon around 5 p.m. Fedele’s campaign put out an email titled “Myth v. Fact.“ The email called attention to Foley’s statements on his campaign website and some investigative reporting by the Hartford Courant regarding the Bibb Company, a Georgia textile company held at one point by Foley’s Greenwich-based company, the NTC Group.
The Fedele campaign email says, “MYTH: During Tom Foley’s Leadership Bibb Company Doubled Its Revenues and Expanded.” Then it cites a paragraph from Jon Lender’s May 21 Hartford Courant article detailing the company’s ultimate failure.
When asked Wednesday for comment Foley’s campaign spokeswoman Liz Osborn said the campaign already commented on the Bibb Company in the Hartford Courant article.
“We already commented in the Lender piece. We think it accurately reflected the situation and we don’t have anything further to say,” Osborn said.
The Fedele campaign continued to do its research and dug up articles from the Home Furnishings Network a weekly newspaper, which wrote in 1996 that after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy the Bibb Company implemented a restructuring plan which called for Foley to step down as CEO and give up 90 percent of his stake in the company.
The Fedele attack email may have been in response to Foley’s attack of Fedele’s campaign earlier this week.
In a fundraising email, Justin Clark, Foley’s campaign manager, pointed out that Fedele is seeking to raise small donations in order to qualify for public campaign financing.
“As a Republican I don’t mind a primary, but I do mind that the Lieutenant Governor is trying to use taxpayers’ dollars to finance his campaign,” Clark said. “He is asking people for contributions so he can qualify to use taxpayers’ money for advertising, balloons, bumper stickers and high priced consultants against a fellow Republican.”
“Most Republicans don’t understand how a candidate for Governor whose most important leadership challenge will be reducing government spending can start off by asking taxpayers to pay up to $2.5 million for his primary campaign,” Clark added.
Fedele’s campaign spokesman Chris Cooper shot back Tuesday by bringing up the Bibb Company again.
“Tom Foley made millions of dollars by firing 750 workers and driving a company in Georgia into bankruptcy—and that’s the millions he’s using to fund his campaign,” Cooper said. “He’s financing his campaign on the backs of people he put out of work – he’s the last person who should be talking about how campaigns are financed.“
“Ambassador Foley thinks only the super wealthy should be able to run for office. He bought an Ambassadorship, but I don’t think the people of CT will let him buy the Governor’s office,” Cooper added.
The Fedele campaign said Tuesday that it expects to qualify for the $2.5 million primary grant in 10 days. The campaign has been promising to qualify for the funding since the convention at the end of May.
State Elections Enforcement Commission officials said last week they don’t know if Fedele is close to qualifying because the last financial form his campaign filed only shows his fundraising through the end of March.