During the first televised debate Tuesday Tom Foley, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, hammered Democratic gubernatorial nominee Dan Malloy on the number of jobs he created while he was mayor of Stamford and Malloy hammered Foley on his management of a Georgia textile mill, which filed for bankruptcy in 1996.

“I didn’t fire anybody,“ Foley said in the spin room following the debate. “I didn’t lay anyone off at Bibb either.”

“I didn’t get $20 million in management fees. I don’t know if my company got $20 million in management fees, but I did not get $20 million from the Bibb Company and that’s an inaccurate statement,” Foley said. “He has no reliable source. I encourage him to provide a source if there is one for that data.”

“I had a salary from Bibb. I don’t even remember what it is at this point,” Foley added.

He told the media to ask Malloy to substantiate the allegation. Asked for clarification from Foley himself, Foley asked for the next question.

Malloy’s campaign said it’s part of the bankruptcy filing in Delaware and Foley was chairman of the company when it filed for bankruptcy in 1996. This article from the Home Furnishing Network seems to substantiate that, but there’s a dispute over whether Foley actually laid anyone off. This Courant article tries to get to the bottom of that claim.

Malloy’s commercials latest commercials, like those run by Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele in the Republican primary, have focused on former employees of the NTC Group Inc., Foley’s firm that owned the Bibb Co. for 11 years.

“I never fired anybody at Bibb. I bought the company in 1985. It was failing. I turned it around and, frankly, saved the company,“ Foley said during the debate. “I owned it for 11 years. I sold it in 1996 and it had new management and new owners. Two years later, they closed the plant and, yes, unfortunately, when they closed that plant, several hundred people lost their jobs. But I was not involved at the time, so it’s very unfair to blame me for it. The objective of my opponent is to scare state workers. State workers have nothing to fear from my being governor.”

“Tom just likes to blur the reality and he’s doing it again,” Malloy said during the debate. “He was the chief executive officer of this corporation on the day they filed bankruptcy, period. They did fire their employees. Tom was responsible for that.”

“Dan, you’re making this stuff up as you go along. I never fired anybody in the company,” Foley said. “The company went through a financial restructuring. It didn’t go out of business. It was merely an exchange of bonds for equity. Nobody was fired as a result of that. Why don’t you be truthful with your negative ads?”

Foley’s campaign advertisements have focused on Malloy’s claims that he created thousands of jobs during his tenure as Mayor of Stamford.

“Dan is misrepresenting his record and I think it’s important in negative ads that you provide the voters with accurate information about people’s records,” Foley said during the debate.

“Stamford lost 13,843 jobs from 2000 to 2009. Dan Malloy was mayor from 1995 until 2009. When did you create those jobs if these jobs have been lost?”

“Tom doesn’t tell the whole truth,” said Malloy.

“He doesn’t want to tell you that from 1995 to 2007 Stamford was the only city that had actually grown jobs and retained more jobs than they had in 1995,” Malloy said.

“Was Stamford severely hurt in the downturn in the economy with a crash on Wall Street starting in the third quarter of 2007? The answer is yes, it was,” he said. “But what we did in Stamford was take an old industrial city, not unlike the other old industrial cities of this state, and change it into a financial center of the world. There’s nobody watching tonight who doesn’t think Stamford isn’t a great place to live and work.”

Asked why he stops counting job growth in 2007 when he was mayor until 2009, Malloy said, “I thought it was legitimate to point out that between 1995 and 2007 Stamford maintained more jobs that it had in 1995.”

“What he doesn’t want to tell you is that we had an attack on 9/11, a dot.com bust, and we also had a failure of our financial system,” Malloy said. “Look Connecticut lost jobs for 22 years in one of those city’s we actually gained jobs.”

Malloy and Foley met again Wednesday morning at the Connecticut Convention Center for a forum on municipal issues. Check back later this afternoon for our report.