The state of Connecticut is going after the pension of former Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez, who pleaded guilty last year to two corruption-related charges.
Perez left office in 2010 and eventually pleaded guilty in 2017 to two felonies related to his time in office. In one scheme, he took a bribe by accepting deeply discounted work on his bathroom and kitchen from a city contractor. In the other, he tried to extort a city builder.
In Hartford Superior Court Wednesday, the state argued that Perez should have his pension reduced or revoked because of the severity of the crime and his abuse of the public’s trust.
“We have two crimes that were committed by Mr. Perez as mayor of the city of Hartford related to his being mayor,” said Assistant Attorney General Robert Teitelman, who argued on behalf of the state.
But the defense argued that, even though Perez shouldn’t have used his political power for personal benefit, his financial gain didn’t result in an economic loss to the city.
“Yes, I’ve taken full responsibility for my actions in those crimes,” Perez said. “Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my actions.”
Attorney Bart Halloran, who represents Perez, said that taking away the pension would have a negative effect on his wife. Maria Perez is entitled to half of her husband’s pension if he dies.
“This is a woman who, as the work was being done, had an aneurysm, nearly died, had to have four brain operations over this year-and-a-half period where the guy wasn’t paid and then at the end of it, finds out her husband didn’t pay him and was being arrested for something she had absolutely nothing to do with,” Halloran said.
Before court adjourned, Judge Cesar Noble asked Teitelman to clarify if the attorney general’s office would recommend a reduction or an outright revocation. Teitelman instead deferred to the judge to use his discretion.
It could take up to 120 days for the judge to reach a decision.