In 2006 he endorsed gubernatorial hopeful Dan Malloy and in 2010 he endorsed gubernatorial hopeful Ned Lamont, but both Lamont and Malloy were quickly distancing themselves from Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez Friday after news of his conviction on larceny and bribery charges broke.
“The jury has spoken, and Mayor Perez has violated not just the oath of office he took, but the trust of the people of Hartford,” Lamont said. “It’s time for Mayor Perez to step aside, and give Hartford a chance at a fresh start.”
Malloy sent out a statement also calling for Perez’s resignation.
“It’s my opinion that the best thing for the City and for the people of Hartford is for the Mayor to resign his office immediately,” Malloy said. “Hartford needs strong leadership in the months and years ahead, and the City has in place a process that would allow an immediate and orderly transition to occur. It should be allowed to begin that process as soon as possible.”
Lamont’s running mate Simsbury First Selectwoman Mary Glassman said with a third big city mayor being convicted over the past decade “it is a sad day for Connecticut.”
“This is yet another example of why we need to increase transparency and openness in government,” Glassman said. “The good news is that the process worked and the wrongdoing has been found. Now Eddie Perez should step aside and let Hartford get back on track.”
Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell who has always had a tortured relationship with Perez didn’t call for his resignation, but said she was confident he would do what is right for the city.
“This is a sad and extremely difficult day for Hartford, Mayor Perez’s family and all who care about our capital city,” Rell said. “Mayor Perez must now make some very difficult decisions. I am sure he will act in the best interests of the city and its people.”
Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele who is hoping to succeed Rell joined his Democratic opponents in the governor’s race and called for his resignation.
“Mr. Perez needs to immediately resign as Mayor of Hartford,” said Fedele. “Hartford deserves a government that is transparent and accountable to the people it serves. Mr. Perez has violated the trust bestowed to him by the citizens of Hartford. He must immediately step down.”
Perez’s spokeswoman Sarah Barr said this is a moment for pause.
“Mayor Perez, his family and his attorneys will make statements as they digest the verdict and explore their options. We need to be considerate of this time,” Barr said.
An announcement from Perez is expected some time next week.
Perez was convicted of larceny, bribe receiving and three other felony charges resulting from an investigation into corruption at Hartford City Hall. He faces up to 60 years in prison, with each of the five counts carrying a minimum of one year in jail.
Superior Court Judge Julia DiCocco Dewey scheduled sentencing for September 10.
The state presented evidence at trial that Perez had $40,000 worth of work done at his home by a city contractor, Carlos Costa, who did business with the city and paid nothing for the home improvements until after the investigation began.
The state also presented evidence that Perez engaged in a scheme to extort money from an individual seeking to develop property near a parking lot owned by former state Rep. Abraham Giles.
Perez has maintained his innocence throughout the investigation and trial. However, he never took the stand in his own defense.