When he learned that Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner David Lehman was in negotiations with Digital Currency Group, Gov. Ned Lamont said he and his wife, Annie, sold their shares of the company.
Lamont said that happened in April.
“As soon as David Lehman was taking the lead on negotiations, we found out things were happening, we sold our position – that was earlier this year,” Lamont told reporters at an unrelated event Tuesday.
On Monday, Lamont held a press conference to announce that DCG, a leading investor in bitcoin and blockchain technology companies, was moving its headquarters from New York City to Stamford. The company will receive around $5 million in tax credits for creating 300 jobs. The money won’t be released until 2025.
“We had an investment in DCG going back some years and we obviously disclosed that. It was on our recusal list. Everyone who wanted to, knew about it,” Lamont said.
“We have a thousand companies or something on that list,” he offered.
The current recusal list provided by Lamont’s office includes 134 companies that Oak HC/FT and Oak Investment Partners are invested in through his spouse, who is a co-founder and managing partner.
“Did we get any financial benefit out of that fact? No, but Connecticut gets a big benefits,” Lamont said of DCG moving to Stamford.
Lamont has received criticism from Republicans because of the first lady’s investment in Sema4, the Branford company hired by the state to do COVID testing. The governor and first lady have said in statements that they had no part in awarding that state contract and promised not to profit from it.
Officials with the Office of State Ethics have said the Sema4 contract posed no conflict of interest under the guidance it previously issued to the Lamonts.”
But Lamont admitted Tuesday that it’s becoming a political problem for him.
“This is the fifth question I’ve had about it – so yeah it’s a problem,” Lamont said. “It’s probably a lot easier to start up that groundbreaking business in Nashville than it is in Stamford.”
Republican Party Chairman Ben Proto said the problem the Lamont administration has is that everything is secret.
“There’s no transparency, no openness, no explaining to the people of Connecticut what the benefit, if any, his family may be getting,” Proto said.
He said it makes people wonder if he’s doing “something not in the best interest of the people of Connecticut.”