DTC: Town’s Refusal to Investigate Surveillance of Meetings in Town Hall is Disgraceful

Statement by the Greenwich Democratic Town Committee

In 2017, the campaign of Democratic candidate for First Selectman Sandy Litvack was surreptitiously surveilled by video during a closed-door meeting in a room in Town Hall. This shocking act of spying and recording should disturb all of us. It is not acceptable and against our values.

That is why the Greenwich Democratic Town Committee calls on all town residents to put partisanship aside and call for a transparent investigation by an independent third party. We must push back against the notion that some are above the law. We must maintain trust and accountability in local government.

The Town-owned and operated video recording equipment is stored in a room kept under lock and key and is only accessible by certain individuals given access by the Town. This act came to light earlier this year when a former official of the Republican Town Committee, Edward Dadakis, now a member of the Republican State Central Committee and RTM, posted a picture from that video recording on Twitter. Town Democrats, among others, have sought information, documents and answers about how and what exactly happened.

After providing certain documents and a list of individuals who had access to the room in response to requests made pursuant to the State’s Freedom of Information Act, the Town advised that it had no plans to do anything further. Last week, Selectman Litvack made a motion that the Board of Selectmen investigate this matter and determine who made the video and how a picture of it got into the hands of a third-party politicaloperative. At the meeting, Town Democratic Chair Tony Turner, and former Town Democratic Chair Jeff Ramer, provided details and context supporting such an investigation. Shockingly, despite all of this testimony, the two Republican board members, First Selectman Peter Tesei and Selectman John Toner, refused to second the motion and, as it currently stands, there will be no investigation.

Town property with very limited access was used to deliberately record private citizens in a closed-door meeting room and was disseminated to a third party for political purposes. Worse yet, the subject of the recording was the campaign of the First Selectman’s political opponent. To not call for an investigation is unconscionable and a dereliction of the First Selectman’s duty to the residents of Greenwich.

These are dirty campaign tactics, most likely illegal, with the incumbent administration turning a blind eye to what happened. This raises many obvious questions. Did they participate at some point during these events? Do they know who did? How widespread is this abuse of citizen privacy?

Only by getting the answers to these questions, and many more, can we continue to have faith and trust in town government. We truly are better than this.

See also:

Republican Selectmen Demur on Investigation of Unauthorized Filming