HARTFORD, CT — (Updated 7 a.m.) Oz Griebel, who petitioned his way onto the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate, is the first gubernatorial candidate to release three years of personal income taxes. It’s unclear if the two major party candidates will follow suit.
Griebel, the former head of the MetroHartford Alliance, made $395,000 in 2017 and had $115,000 in taxes withheld. As a result he ended up getting a $20,000 refund. Griebel made similar amounts in 2016 and 2015, according to the returns.
Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ned Lamont and Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob Stefanowski have thus far declined to release their tax returns.
“I’ll put those out the exact same time Bob does,” Lamont said Tuesday. “Bob you pick a time and a place and I’ll be there.”
Lamont, who recently retired from his cable company, disclosed in 2006 that he and his wife, Annie, had assets between $90 million and $300 million. The federal disclosure required for his run for U.S. Senate required a candidate to state a range of assets, rather than a precise number for a candidate’s net worth.
Lamont said he thinks the public has the right to know. Lamont said Stefanowski should release both the income statement and the Schedule A, which shows how generous a person is to charities. However, Lamont needs to retain his leverage over Stefanowski.
“He’s a little Trumpian,” Lamont said.
He said he doesn’t want Stefanowski to decide against releasing his taxes after Lamont and Griebel release theirs, similar to what Republican Donald Trump did during his 2016 campaign. Trump still has not released his taxes.
Stefanowski has said he would release the amount he’s paid in taxes, but would have to consult with his campaign staff about releasing anything more. Stefanowski is a former GE and UBS executive, who recently retired as CEO of DFC Global, one of the largest payday lending companies in the world.
Meanwhile, Griebel who has been raising money in order to be competitive against two candidates who have been spending millions of their own money on the race, is out with his first television and radio ads.
The television ad shows two puppets: one in blue as Lamont and one in red as Stefanowski.
The puppets are on strings and are hung under signs that say Dan Malloy and Trump.
“Stefanowski just whines that Lamont is tied to Malloy,” a female narrator says. “And Lamont just whines that Stefanowski is tied to Trump.”
Griebel walks in and introduces himself after the narrator says “there is a better choice.”
“I’ll stand up to special interests, look you in the eye and give you straight talk about how we can fix Connecticut, add jobs, and cut waste,” Griebel says in the ad. “And I have no strings attached.”
Griebel then cuts the strings on the puppets as he says that and the 30-second ad ends.
Based on information filed with the FCC, Griebel purchased about $8,900 in airtime on WFSB. He’s also purchased airtime on the three other television networks and a handful of radio stations, but not all of the information has been made available yet. A cable purchase is expected in the future.
Griebel will be on the stage with Lamont and Stefanowski tonight at the Jorgensen Auditorium at the University of Connecticut. The debate hosted by WFSB is the first to include three of the five gubernatorial candidates since before the primary. It begins at 7 p.m. and will be streamed live.
Libertarian Party candidate Rod Hanscomb and Amigo Constitution Party candidate Mark Stewart Greenstein will be on the ballot, but they were not invited to the debate.