COLUMN

Perez, O'Garro, Rowland Buried By Facts

It was the Doonesbury character Mark Slackmeyer, speaking on the radio about Watergate conspirator John Mitchell, who said that all known facts made Mitchell look guilty. And then he added, "Guilty, guilty, guilty!"

It's fun to say.

So let's see who is Guilty, Guilty, Guilty these days.

Eddie Perez. I feel sorry for Eddie Perez, the way I felt sorry for Oedipus by the time Sophocles got through with him. True, he killed his father and had sex with his mom — I'm talking about Oedi, not Eddie — but he suffered a lot at the end.

Last week, Connecticut's Appellate Court vacated Eddie's guilty verdicts in two separate cases of extortion and receiving bribes. In so doing, the court said that, given the facts of the cases, the jury correctly found him Guilty, Guilty, Guilty! The problem was that the court let the same jury hear both cases. Back to Oedipus. First you hear he killed his father. Then you hear he fooled around with mom. Are you going to say: "Well, I believe he murdered dad, but not so much the mother thing?" No. You're going to say: "This guy is a 10-chariot pileup."

From 2008 to 2010, I used up a lot of oxygen and ink agitating for the state to drop the hammer real hard on Eddie, but with the passage of time it all just seems sad and aspirational in a middle-class way. It's all there in the judge's recap. We see Eddie and his wife picking out the kitchen countertop and bathroom vanity that they have no way to pay for, except getting it free from a contractor who's milking the city like it's a pregnant cow. We see Eddie grinding a developer to give $100,000 to his (suddenly enthusiastic) political ally Abe Giles who died in 2011 and is now probably getting some of God's more naive angels involved in questionable warehouse deals. It's the "Great Gatsby," minus about five zeroes.

The court ordered two new trials. Eddie's lawyer, Hubie Santos, is a dilatory genius. Even if the state forged ahead, Eddie would go to prison around the time the Earth falls into the sun. Abe's dead, and Eddie's a broken unit. I say work out a plea and move on, so Santos (who also recently won a new trial for Michael Skakel) can start representing …

Earl O'Garro. O'Garro has invented a new "type" — the dashing and damned elusive insurance broker. His modus operandi is simple: If somebody from the government gives you money, keep it. So far, this includes a city of Hartford insurance payment and a bunch of ill-advised loans and grants from the state. With last week's report that O'Garro owes the state another $264,000 that we hadn't known about, he broke through the $1 million mark. Whoo-hoo! I would say, "Break out the champagne," but that seems like part of how he got in this mess.

The big question: To what degree was O'Garro's chicanery abetted by Hartford's famous Cloud family: Adam, Chris, Sandy, Nimbus and Rain? They have rented to him, lobbied for him and spoken up for him. It may turn out, in the words of Joni Mitchell, that we really don't know Clouds at all.

John Rowland. Long after the Earth falls into the sun, buffalo-headed gods who live in the sky will still be trying to resolve all the trouble Rowland caused while governor. Last week, Attorney General George Jepsen decided not to appeal to U.S. Supreme Court a federal appeals court judgment that Rowland broke the law by punishing union members for being union members by laying them off and sparing all non-union workers.

This case is going to cost the state (that's you and me) a lot of money to settle. Meanwhile, Rowland is named as a separate "personal" defendant, and he will try to get the highest court to hear his appeal. You and I have been paying his personal legal fees and will continue to do so.

I'm cool with that. It makes me feel like part of legal history. And because it's a civil case, Rowland can't be found Guilty, Guilty, Guilty! But if memory serves, that already happened.

Colin McEnroe appears from 1 to 2 p.m. weekdays on WNPR-FM (90.5) and blogs at http://courantblogs.com/colin-mcenroe/. He can be reached at Colin@wnpr.org.

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