by Charles A. Monagan
Apr 4, 2011
01:20 PM
On Connecticut

The Waiting Game in Shelton


The waiting game goes on in Shelton, as popular and powerful developer Robert D. Scinto awaits sentencing on Wednesday after having been found guilty of lying to federal authorities about giving gifts and payments to Shelton officials.

Scinto has spent the last few decades making his mark in Bridgeport, Trumbull and Shelton, among other municipalities, becoming a vital player in helping those towns to increase their commercial and residential enterprises. Unfortunately though, according to federal officials, he resorted to providing financial gifts and other considerations to public officials in the process, which, despite seeming to be a sometimes practical way of getting business done, is also an illegal way of getting business done.

As penance, Scinto's lawyer has recommended probation or home confinement, and that Scinto dedicate his vast resources to creating a municipal code of ethics, which he would then go around the state meeting with business owners and public officials to discuss. Federal prosecutors prefer a more conventional sentence for what they see as bribery and corruption: 27 months in prison.

Also in limbo of sorts until Wednesday is Elliott Wilson, the Shelton building inspector who was sentenced in February to five months in prison for his part in the scandal. Interestingly, although his sentence is to start Wednesday, according to the Connecticut Post, Wilson has somehow managed to keep his job with city of Shelton, despite betraying the public trust and pleading guilty to accepting cash and benefits from developers. Mayor Mark Lauretti has seemingly let the situation linger, appearing to prefer to reach some sort of deal to let Wilson resign or retire rather than fire him outright. A "resolution" in that situation is expected, according to the Post.

Also still waiting are opponents of Lauretti, a one-time potential gubernatorial candidate who still hasn't been charged with any wrongdoing after seven years of federal investigations and the convictions of Wilson, Scinto and another developer, Peter Botti. Despite being prominently mentioned in all three criminal investigations, the mayor maintains his innocence and still enjoys very strong public support.

It will be interesting to see how the next few days play out, and if federal prosecutors will get the severe sentence they are hoping will send a message about municipal corruption, or if (defense) money talks and it will be business as usual in Shelton.

The Waiting Game in Shelton

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