• Greenwich Swamp Fights Being Drained

    February 24, 2024
    "Draining the swamp" in Binney Park, Old Greenwich (2017).

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    In Greenwich, there is a small group of insiders who together with their hand puppets are mainly interested in staying in power. Call them “RINOs” or the “Old Guard” or the Greenwich Swamp, they stay in power by voting for lots of government spending, making them "essentially functional Democrats" who run as Republicans and spend like Democrats, whatever you call them.

    In Greenwich this group has been operating for quite some time. Many are life-long Greenwich residents working the system to their own benefit (see The Swamp below).

    They claim a winning record having somehow forgotten that under their watch there’s been a large decline in Republican registrations, and:

    • They lost the Greenwich State Senate seat to Democrat Alex Kasser;
    • Mike Bocchino and Joe Kelly BOTH lost the 150th Assembly seat to Democrat Steve Meskers;
    • The Old Guard swamp lost the BET (the town's finance board) and Tax collector in 2017.
    • Several voted for the MISA $25M auditorium which ballooned to $60M
    • And they orchestrated a huge recent run-up in the current budget.

    They’re famous for “dirty tricks,” and file nuisance complaints. They pretend they want to unite Republicans, while their inner circle attacks Republicans as “toxic” from the start.

    They’ve even joined in belittling parents concerned about our schools. And, like Democrats, they silence opposition by calling criticism “misinformation.”

    As a result of their support for left-leaning BOE and BET candidates, the Greenwich Town budget has ballooned, rising even faster than Biden-flation.

    What does this all this insider dealing mean to you?

    After adjusting for inflation, your tax bill is 20% higher than it was as recently 2015. Yet Greenwich hasn’t grown, school enrollment is down significantly, and Greenwich has fallen in school rankings. Parents have no idea what their kids are being taught. And the swampy solution to high-rise developments is to bribe developers with taxpayer dollars to make the high-rises slightly smaller.

    The Swamp

    Here are just a few examples of personal favors among this clique.

    Peter and Beth Barhydt run the Greenwich Sentinel, a local newspaper, founded in 2015, after the Greenwich Post shut down. The Barhydts also owned a consulting company named Aberdeen Associates, Inc. The Sentinel strongly supported Scott Franz in editorials and letters and the Sentinel now supports the “old guard” swamp. Frantz's wife, Icy, started as an "author" for the Sentinel in 2016, and still holds that position today.

    In 2020 for Livvy Floren's open seat in the 149th district, the Barhydts endorsed EVERY REPUBLICAN candidate—Harry Arora (for Fred Camillo's seat), Joe Kelly (to go against Meskers and win back Bocchino's seat) and Ryan Fazio (to win back Scott Frantz's seat)—EXCEPT non-swamp Republican Kimberly Fiorello.  Instead, the Greenwich Sentinel endorsed Kathleen Stowe, the swamp candidate. Arora and Fiorello won, while Kelly and Fazio lost in 2020.

    All told, State records show the Greenwich Sentinel received $45,000 in political advertising over a six-year period. This dwarfs the total of $8,856.99 in the Greenwich Time and $23,328 in all Hearst media combined over a 16-year period. The Barhydts, also directly or through their Aberdeen Associates, received an additional $73,000 in fees and payments, mostly from the Frantz and Bocchino Campaigns. It’s no wonder The Greenwich Sentinel is now busy publishing editorials in support of their benefactors.

    Several “old guard/Swamp” insiders are local developers with regular dealings with the Town. For instance, Marc Johnson, now running for RTC, was on the BET and his Stone Harbor company got a contract for the “massive” Greenwich Library renovation. Meanwhile, Mr. Johnson’s partner, Andy Fox, was on the Planning & Zoning board for three terms: 20132015 to 2020, while many Stone Harbor projects appeared before P&Z, and Stone Harbor worked on the Bruce Museum, Brunswick, Greenwich Country Day School and other large local projects. Mr. Fox of Stone Harbor even bid on the now $120 million Central Middle School.  By comparison D2 candidates Joseph Kelly and Nick Barile and their realtor wives are small potatoes, even if you throw in Mr. Kelly’s $14.5 million home and Mr. Barile's condos in Darien.

    Like the Barhydts, Michael Hahn, a D5 RTC candidate, saw a mentor in Christopher Shays. Shays was ousted in a primary amid charges of embezzlement in his campaign. Mr. Hahn afterwards claimed he disdained the Republican party, as he too settled State Elections Enforcement Commission allegations. Mr. Hahn gave kudos to the Democrat voting moms and seemingly hoped for a Democrat Sweep 2023. He also claims to have been “Vice Chairman to the Connecticut State Republican Party” but CT GOP denies Hahn held any state-level elected position.

    RTC candidate Lisa Becker Edmundson is the daughter of former WGCH owner, John Becker. During the administration of First Selectman Richard Bergstresser (D), the Beckers reportedly wanted a $1 lease for town-owned land for their station’s antenna. WGCH has been “sold,” but sources tell the Centinal that Ms. Becker Edmundson allegedly still owns a stake and works as advertising manager for WGCH which received $15,000 in campaign advertising, mostly from the Frantz campaign run by the Barhydts. Ms. Edmundson also donated to the campaign of Democrat Cheryl Moss.

    PACs called the Republican Roundtable Of Greenwich and Cos Cob Republican, Inc. seem to be dinner clubs. They hosted events costing a total of over $400,000, giving each other awards and pats on the back, while generating what appears to be less than 6% in actual contributions to political campaigns. The Roundtable is run by Barhydt, and the Cos Cob Republican by a local builder, Richard Kriskey, whose son Jack runs the Camillo campaign.

    Mind you the Democrat Town Committee is full of similar issues, making Greenwich a uni-swamp.

    The bottom line is that the so-called “old guard” RTC is a clique of local people out to keep their perks at taxpayer expense.

    The “new guard” claims to have no such insider connections and say they will run a tight fiscal ship with no back-scratching. It’s worth a try, but first they’ll need to win the RTC, and the swamp is fighting back.

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    Hats off to CT Centinal for having the courage to take on the swamp. Bravo!
    Too bad the local press just runs cover for the swamp.

    Mike Meyers

    Wow; informative. Imagine all the corruption that’s taking place behind the curtain…

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