P&Z chairman responds to critics
As a 15-year volunteer on the Planning and Zoning Commission, the actions of the Trumbull Republican Town Committee are disturbing, specifically, the false and misleading accusations made by Chairman Joseph Pifko and Vice Chair Rick Costantini. Their personal attacks questioning my character are nothing more than their style of nasty politics, repudiated by voters.
No matter which party holds majority, the P&Z stands as a model commission. Discussions are fact-based. The vast majority of decisions are reached by a bipartisan vote.
The TRTC leadership has purposefully misled the public by directing their accusations solely at me. They either deliberately or negligently failed to comment on a conflict of interest by their own Republican commissioner.
As chair, I spoke with the Republican commissioner, who informed me he had officially notified staff last Friday that he has recused himself from the current and future Moorefield applications. I applaud his decision and feel no need to publicly embarrass him.
Let me address the misinformation in the public domain.
I was accused of not responding to the false TRTC allegations. The truth is, as a matter of legal procedure, P&Z commissioners do not engage in public comment of open applications outside of the hearings. The application by Moorefield Farms Development, LLC has been withdrawn. I can now comment.
I was also falsely accused in a defamatory manner of having a conflict of interest because of a past relationship with one of the developers, Matt Reale. The truth is I have no legal conflict of interest as defined by Trumbull’s Code of Ethics. I have used Attorney Reale’s legal services in the past (along with other attorneys) but I never shared an interest in any business venture that resulted in a personal monetary gain. There is neither a current nor past financial relationship between us.
In 2014, five years ago, Mr. Reale and I formed an LLC for the purpose of hosting a charity event. That event never materialized and the LLC was dissolved without a single transaction. Trumbull’s Code of Ethics regarding partnerships raising a conflict states that the relationship had to exist within one year of a vote. These pertinent facts were conveniently omitted to intentionally mislead the public. There is no conflict of interest.
In hindsight, it would have been prudent for me to have noted this previous relationship, as the public could attempt a claim of the possibility of conflict where no actual conflict exists.
I hold this commission in the highest regard and would do nothing to put its deliberations in question. While it is clear I have no actual conflict of interest, it is in the best interests of the commission that I will also recuse myself from further discussion on the Moorefield property because of the perception of a conflict raised by the false allegations of the TRTC.
I certainly appreciate everyone’s passion. I have always treated everyone respectfully, and I will always continue to do so.
Fred Garrity, chairman
Planning & Zoning