Trumbull Republicans are once again questioning Planning & Zoning Chairman Fred Garrity’s oversight of a zoning application.
The party recently posted a statement on its Facebook page from Vice Chairman Rick Costantini centered on an anticipated application for age-restricted housing on the Huntington Turnpike property that was formerly Moorefield Farm. The statement also was sent to local media outlets.
“A discussion regarding whether this project is appropriate for Trumbull should be saved for another day,” Costantini wrote. “The real discussion is Mr. Garrity’s failure to disclose his business relationship with one of the business partners behind the development.”
The partner in question is Matthew Reale, a member of the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals and a partner in Moorefield Farms Development, LLC, the group seeking to develop the property.
“Mr. Garrity and Mr. Reale are former business partners of a now dissolved limited liability company known as Garrity-Reale Promotions, LLC,” Costantini wrote. “Mr. Reale also serves as Mr. Garrity’s current agent for service for his business entity, FTG Strategic Partners, LLC.”
Costantini stopped short of claiming a conflict of interest existed, but left open the possibility of such a conflict.
“While no one is claiming an actual conflict exists, the business relationship between the two individuals does at least raise the possibility of a conflict, and as such, should have been publicly disclosed by Mr. Garrity before the public hearing ever took place,” he wrote.
Reached by phone Tuesday, Garrity declined to comment of the GOP statement, but said he would address the situation “to everyone’s satisfaction” at the P&Z’s February 20 meeting.
Reale responded to an emailed request for comment with a brief statement.
“The political attack on the Planning and Zoning Chairperson and the current administration by the local GOP does not need warrant a response from me,” he wrote. “It is unfortunate that the Republican leaders attempt to control reasonable development in Town as an effort to harm the current administration. Their actions simply serve to hurt the residents of Trumbull and the Town of Trumbull. Most Towns would welcome the opportunity to have development and growth. It is what makes our Town so desirable.”
Costantini said the nature and extent of the relationship between Reale and Garrity was immaterial and ran counter to the spirit of transparency that town Democrats ran on in 2017.
“What is material is the fact that a business relationship exists; and that alone warrants a public disclosure on the record, because quite frankly, the public deserves to know,” he said. “How can the residents of Trumbull have faith in their elected officials if we can’t trust them to be honest with us?”