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Sunday, August 14, 2005

More tales of corruption by Newton

At this point, it would be in the democratic party's best interest to force Ernest Newton to simply resign. As each passing day goes by, we hear yet another tale of either Newton accepting of soliciting money for favors.

The latest charges of bribery are detailed in today's Connecticut Post

A federal grand jury investigating state Sen. Ernest E. Newton II is learning volumes about possibly corrupt underpinnings to his long and successful political career in the state's largest city, say witnesses who testified.

One witness admitted to the grand jury that he paid Newton about $2,000 in exchange for the senator's "help" in providing state funding and other needs for a now closed youth home.

Another witness said he told the grand jury that Newton repeatedly solicited money from his agency in return for assistance, but said no money was paid. Still other witnesses describe questions from prosecutors, FBI agents and jurors on whether campaign funds were diverted to Newton's personal use.


Last week, Warren Godbolt, former director of Progressive Training Associates, a Bridgeport job-training agency, pleaded guilty in federal court to paying Newton a $5,000 bribe in exchange for the senator's help last year in securing a $100,000 state grant for the agency.

Testimony from Roger Shelton gives us an clearer picture on how Newton ran the scam.

Roger Shelton, who ran University Residential Facility, a group home for troubled youth on Clinton Avenue until 2002, said he told the grand jury he paid Newton about $2,000 over four years in return for providing "help" to the facility.

He said Newton promoted the group home, spoke to state officials who provided funding and talked the home's residents about drug abuse. Newton is a recovering cocaine addict.

Shelton said he gave Newton numerous checks, all made out to him personally. At the time, Newton was a state representative; he became a senator during a 2003 special election.

"I told them at times I gave Ernie money. He [Newton] was the only one with clout," Shelton said.

Another witness describes Newton as one who always had his hands out looking for money in exchange for favors.

Reggie Walker, an economic development director for Hall Neighborhood House, confirmed he testified before the grand jury about Newton's involvement with his agency.

"They asked if we gave money to Ernie, and I said, 'No, we did not,' " Walker said.

"Did Ernie ask for money? Yeah, he asked for money. But he didn't get no money," Walker said, recounting what he said he told the grand jury.

Walker said Newton "asked a lot of people for money. I told him don't bother me. We don't do business that way."

Walker added, "Bob Keeley [a Bridgeport state representative] never asked for money. Ernie bounced around, saying he can do this for that organization."

Like I said in a earlier post, when it rains it pours and right now, Newton is stuck in the middle of a hurricane. His tales of corruption is a eye-sore on the democratic party and his demotion from Senate leadership is not enough at this point.

If anything, the democrats should be relieved that the MSM in Connecticut has not fully embraced this story and take this moment and tell Newton to resgin. Unlike the republicans who during the Rowland scandal by kept quie, the democrats have a chance to remove someone who obviously did wrongdoing before tis whole case gets out of control.

The residents of Connecticut, and Bridgeport in particular, do not need to endure yet another corruption scandal. The list of allegations against Newotn is only going to increase and once the MSM gets their hands on the story, all hell is going to break lose. For the sake of the democratic party, Newton should do the right thing and just walk away before things get uglier.