Community Leaders Join Republican Calls for Public Hearing on State’s Handling of COVID-19 Relief Funds

December 2, 2021

HARTFORD – A group of community leaders and concerned citizens are joining with Connecticut Senate Republicans to call for an immediate public hearing on the distribution of federal COVID-19 relief funds, following the allegations of improper and fraudulent use of funds in West Haven and possibly elsewhere.


The community leaders have previously written to Connecticut’s Congressional delegation asking for an investigation of the state’s spending of COVID relief money and the possible disparate economic impact of COVID-19 on Black and brown families, and other marginalized groups, following the arrest of a state lawmaker for allegedly stealing more than $600,000 from the city of West Haven.


Connecticut Senate Republican Leaders have previously called for a statewide audit of all federal COVID-19 funds and called for a public hearing in October following the initial arrest in West Haven.


Today, the lawmakers and concerned citizens sent a joint letter(attached) to state officials calling for an immediate bipartisan public hearing to seek answers from the administration on protocols and procedures overseeing the distribution of federal relief funds, following questions of equitable distribution and alleged misuse of funds.


“We share the same goals. We want transparency and accountability when it comes to taxpayer dollars and we want to help the most vulnerable. People have a right to know how their money is being spent and should have guarantees that their tax dollars are making it where they are intended to go to help populations struggling the most in every community,” they wrote in a joint letter to Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney and Speaker of the House Matt Ritter, “What were the checks and balances that the money the state was entrusted with actually went to the purpose of helping people?”


“The pandemic created unprecedented challenges for Connecticut families, and these funds are supposed to be helping people who are sick, hungry, and in need. It is infuriating to hear that anyone is allegedly cutting the bread line and misdirecting these funds. It raises serious questions about what safeguards are in place to protect these dollars and ensure they are helping the most people during these difficult times.


“We are asking for something simple – answers and transparency. A public hearing is the first step to rebuild public trust, to restore confidence, and to ensure the proper protective policies are in place that safeguard equity and compliance with the law.”


The letter was signed by: Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford); Senate Republican Leader Pro Tempore Paul Formica (R-East Lyme); Cynthia Jennings, a civil rights attorney and former Hartford city councilwoman; Bridgitte Prince of Veterans for Black Lives Matter; Gwen Samuel, founder and president of the Connecticut Parents Union; Antonia Edwards, co-founder of grassroots organization group SoliDarity; Rev. Ernestine Holloway; and Reggie Hales, Inquiring News.

Read their letter.


A Press Conference 2021-12-02 Covid Relief Funds (55 of 56)