Kriskey: Horton’s Column Portrays Camillo Campaign in False and Unflattering Way

Letter to the Editor from Jack Kriskey, Campaign Chairman, Fred for First

Greenwich Time writer Bob Horton’s latest column attempts to malign Fred Camillo and portray Mark Kordick in the best light possible.

I have no interest in commenting on the status of the former police captain. He has a long history that is well known, and the people of Greenwich can be the judge of that.

What I do have an interest in is the attempt to paint the Camillo campaign in a false and less than flattering way. I received a call from Mr. Horton on April 17th asking for comment on Fred’s campaign finances. When I contacted him it was clear that was not his main focus. His real focus was questioning me on the ethics of our investigation of the fraudulent lawn signs.

Since Mr. Horton was not particularly accurate in his depiction of what transpired, let me set the record straight. On October 25, 2019 lawn signs, not approved by the Camillo campaign but designed to look as if they had been, popped up all around Greenwich. While trying to determine where they came from, we instructed our volunteers not to remove them. Some people not associated with the campaign plucked a few out, however, and brought them to the Republican headquarters. While we were discussing what if anything needed to be done, Mr. Lincoln Millstein, a senior Vice President of the Hearst Corporation, came into HQ pretending to be interested in the BET race, but was nervously scanning the room while a volunteer assisted him. When he spotted one of the signs he excitedly tried to photograph it. I removed it and explained it was a fraudulent campaign sign, not connected to our campaign. Apparently, I was not quick enough because soon after we received a call from a reporter at the Greenwich Time asking for comment on the sign that he photographed.

That same morning I accompanied Fred to police HQ to see what could be done to remove the signs. The sergeant on duty said nothing could be done. When I insisted that she take a report she checked with a superior upstairs and told us no action would be taken. I asked if our campaign volunteers would be arrested if we removed the unauthorized signs and she could not answer me. The Chairman of the Republican Town Committee then contacted the Democrat Chairman and together with input from the Town Attorneys decided they could be removed. That would have been a good time for Mr. Kordick to speak up and claim ownership, but he remained silent.

My instructions to Fred’s campaign team that evening were to ignore what had happened, it was just a distraction. There were only days left in the campaign and we had spent enough time on the misleading campaign signs. However, one campaign volunteer could not let it go and, with my blessings, he began to investigate. Kordick had so cleverly disguised his actions that we wondered if the deception had indeed come from within our own campaign. Months earlier, on March 10, 2019, Kordick had purchased (and has recently renewed) the web domain  and redirected it to Fred’s campaign website. The volunteer had noticed that site earlier and assumed another campaign volunteer had set it up. After the signs went up with that web address printed on them he looked into who owned it, but Kordick had taken the additional steps and cost of having his name shielded from public view. His curiosity peaked, the campaign volunteer began his quest for the origins of the signs. He searched the internet for signs resembling the ones that popped up that day. He hit upon one that was quite similar and when he entered the text in the website’s design tool, it was identical. He called the printer in Texas to ask who had purchased them. He was told they could only search their data with a name. He tried a few and there were no matches. He then posted on a message board in the area that he would pay someone willing to drive to the printer with a photo of the lawn sign to pick up a receipt. The effort was successful.

After receiving a copy of the receipt on October 28th, just a few days before the election, we were shocked to see it was a Greenwich police officer and relieved it was not someone associated with Fred’s campaign. We immediately contacted First Selectman Tesei, as the Police Commissioner, and requested a meeting with him, the Town Attorney and the Police Chief. We met with them that afternoon and turned over the document that finally led to Kordick’s admission. Since that date Fred and the campaign have never interfered with or commented on the process. We cooperated fully when asked for background information by investigators.

Had Mr. Horton stayed on topic I would have been happy to go through all of this with him. When he began to stray into the politics of the signs it became clear to me that his aim was to tarnish a man who throughout the entire saga stayed positive and insisted his campaign do the same. I am proud of the way Fred conducted his campaign and the people who implemented his policy. It is rare in today’s political environment and Fred should be commended, not condemned for it.

Jack Kriskey
Campaign Chairman, Fred for First