Editorial: Unresolved Questions and Today’s Port Authority Hearings

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Twelve weeks ago, someone filed a whistle-blower complaint alleging some sort of misdoings regarding Connecticut Port Authority finances.

At the time, Scott Bates was board chair of the Connecticut Port Authority. Bonnie Reemsnyder was finance committee chair. Evan Matthews was executive director. Gerri Lewis was office manager and ethics compliance officer.

All have since departed. First, Bates stepped down as chair. He was replaced by Reemsnyder. Gerri Lewis was fired by Matthews. Matthews was then placed on leave. Then Reemsnyder resigned, and finally Bates.

It’s frankly damning that twelve weeks later no one has been able to provide a half-plausible explanation for any of it.

With only a handful of staff, a modest budget, little income, and an organizational history dating back less than five years, the port authority is hardly a fiscal conundrum.

With the deal between Ørsted and the port authority threatening to unravel, you’d like to think that the Lamont administration would want to resolve the situation as soon as possible.

So it’s disappointing that the agenda for today’s hearings before the General Assembly’s Transportation Committee does not provide an opportunity for Bates, Reemsnyder or Matthews to appear or answer even the most basic of questions.

Why was Matthews placed on paid leave? Why was Lewis fired? Who was involved in this decision-making? Was there any attempt to influence or interfere with a whistle-blower investigation? What agencies are currently conducting investigations of the authority?

On June 22nd, Jonathan Harris, an official at the Office of Public Management (OPM), promised to take the issue of legacy funding “under his wing.” How was this issue resolved? And was Harris, or anyone at OPM, questioned or pressured on the issue? Since the creation of the port authority in 2014, what is the total amount of legacy funding that has been resolved or that remains in port authority accounts?

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