NOV. 15. 2011: Shortly after the campaign fundraiser at the City Hall Café in Waterbury, federal informant Patrick Castagna calls Paul Rogers and their conversation is recorded. Two names come up: Speaker of the House Chris Donovan, who was running for Congress, and Robert Braddock Jr., Donovan’s campaign finance director. Rogers tells Castagna that Donovan and Braddock planned everything in detail at the meeting earlier that evening. Rogers says Donovan is key to the plan because he alone controls which bills are called for votes on the House floor.
PR: Pat, What’s up big man?
PC: Hey, Is this Paul?
PR: What’s going on buddy?
PC: Nothing man. Listen, I was just talking to Benny and I guess his phone died, or the shop phone died, where ever I was calling.
PR: Yeah, that was his cell phone. The battery died.
PC: That was his cell phone. Okay.
PR: Yeah, yeah.
PC: Alright. What’s happening, how you doing?
PR: You’re going to, you’re going with George tomorrow, right?
PC: Yeah, well, I’m gonna meet him at 7:30 at the Smoke House, right?
PR: Yup, yup. And, then, ahh, we already talked to, ahh, we talked to ahh, this guy tonight. And we talked to his Finance Director tonight, andahh, and they’ve already discussed in great de-, great detail about you know their strategy for the whole thing, so.
PC: Do they, do they know about the smoke shop? Did you guys explain anything to
PR: We explained everything to them.
PC: You did.
PR: The Finance Director, but tomorrow you are going to meet with, ahh, the actual Speaker of the House, which we talked to him, we, we met him tonight too, but.
PR: But ahh, yeah.
PC: Is that the guy I’m going to talk to?
PR: Yeah, this guy Rob is going to be there. He’s the Finance Director.
PR: and, and Donovan’s the Speaker of the House.
PC: Okay, gotcha.
PR: Which, once it, once it becomes, once, if, if, if they try and make a bill to, ahh, stop this, he’s the only person in the State of Connecticut that could bring that bill up in front of legislation. Nobody else, not the Governor, nobody.
PC: Nobody, gotcha.
PR: So, this is bigger than sitting down with, with, with the Governor, you know?
PC: Gotcha, gotcha, okay.
PC: Okay, well that’s cool because you know George was excited about me coming (and then I explained to him that Tracey was out of-
PR: No, because, you know, we know a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, but we don’t know, you know, you know more in your finger tip than we know, you know?
PC: Yeah, no, I understand. Okay.
PR: And then, and then this guy pulled us aside. Said tomorrow, just, just, just, ahh, the Finance Director pulled us aside, said, listen, tomorrow there is always people following this guy around, watching what he’s doing and everything
PR: And, so tomorrow just discuss, like, ahh, like our stuff. Don’t talk about a bill, don’t talk about anything. Just discuss, you know our version of –
PC: Just explain to him about the smoke shop deal.
PC: About the smoke shop deal.
PR: Our version of why we believe it’s, it’s legal for us to do this, you know.
PC: Okay, yeah, no problem.
PR: And, he said, he said the big thing to um, the big thing to bring up is the jobs that we provide.
PR: and the money these people are saving. They’re putting it back, back into the community.
PC: Okay, okay, cool, good.
PR: The job, the job, the job is a big thing.
PC: Okay, good. Good.
PR: Now, you, you know how we said we were going to donate to his campaign, we were going um, we were going to start with, with ten, which we’re going to do twenty five from us, twenty five from Big Cats.
PC: Um hmm.
PR: And then, you know we were thinking.
PC: He, he called me tonight, he called me.
PR: Who did Mike?
PC: Yeah, Dave.
PR: Oh Dave, yeah, what did he say?
PC: Nothing he just wanted some clarification. I didn’t call him back. I figured I’d talk to you first. You said you would handle him, is what you had told me, so I just kinda –
PR: Yeah, don’t worry about him. They gotta, they’re gonna, they’re, they’re giving that. I don’t give a fuck whether they like it or not.
PR: You know? So we were thinking, I mean, I didn’t know if you think, you know, cause you had said everybody split equally, we were thinking twenty five hundred us, twenty five hundred Big Cats, twenty five hundred Tracey’s.
PC: Ah ha.
PR: and I don’t know if you want to do it with Bogey’s too?
PC: Right. Well, I haven’t talk, I haven’t, like I said I got to wait to talk to Tracey until she comes back. But George, I told that to’ George tonight. He says look already, you know, you guys already donated or something so he says just come to the meeting.
PC: Did you guys, I mean do lowe you anything? Did you, did you, what did you guys do?
PR: I mean it would be better if you did come with a check for $2,500.
PR: You know.
PC: Alright, well let me reach out to Tracey tonight, worst case scenario you know listen I’ll owe it to you but I mean, I got to get –
PR: I mean, we got no problem we can get a check from some- you know, cause, and, and the thing is, another thing too, which I’m, I was just glad I thought of, do it, don’t, you know, if you could have someone else do it, like ahh, you know, someone other than you or Tracey. Like, give someone the money and they could, they could write the check, and it would probably be uh –
PC: Well, that’s what Ray was, I was trying to get a clarification from Ray, and I didn’t know if I should call him or not or ask him because, I mean should it come from an individual human person, you know what I mean, uh? Somebody we –
PR: It can’t, it can’t, it can’t come from the smokes – it can’t come from a business, anything. You just can’t do that.
PR: So, you know, we were, I was thinking, and Ray agreed that it probably shouldn’t come from you or Tracey either, you know, like even like –
PC: Okay, I gotcha.
PR: If you’ve got a buddy of yours, just, you know, we, we had one of our employees, she just wrote a check for us, you know.
PC: Okay, alright.
PR: SO, SO, I mean if you, you know, if you could come with that then it would, it would be more effective (UI).
PC: Okay, alright, well, let me see what I, let me see what I can do Paul. But definitely I’m going to be there at 7:30 tomorrow morning.
PC: Are you going to be there?
PR: I’m not going to go, George is going to go.
PR: So you, George, and Ray and then this guy Rob who is the Finance Director and then Donovan.
PC: Okay, alright.
PC: Very Good.
PC: I will be there early.
PR: Sounds good buddy.
PC: Okay, pal talk to you.
Transcript and recording were both provided as evidence by federal prosecutors in the trial of Robert Braddock Jr.