Westport’s race for 1st selectman has taken an unexpected turn.
A lawsuit filed in Bridgeport Superior Court charges State Representative Jonathan Steinberg and his campaign chair Lisa Newman with defamation. Steinberg seeks the Democratic nomination for 1st selectman. The DTC will endorse a candidate later this month.
Kristan Hamlin — a member of the Democratic Town Committee — claims, among other things, that:
- Steinberg falsely represented his marketing background to her, voters and others
- His workplace conduct rendered him unemployable
- He worked in a “low-paying” government position (state representative), sought the more remunerative 1st selectman’s post in 2013, was not nominated and now has entered into a “quid pro quo” agreement with that nominee (current 3rd Selectman Melissa Kane) in which Steinberg will run for 1st selectman, while she seeks his state representative post.
Hamlin also charges that Newman and DTC chair Ellen Lautenberg worked together to manipulate elections to the DTC executive committee, and the makeup of the Nominations Committee, to ensure Steinberg’s nomination.
Hamlin asks for compensatory and punitive damages against Steinberg and Newman, for pain, suffering, emotional distress, humiliation and more.
Newman’s attorney, Josh Koskoff, says:
In May, after a lengthy discussion, and on the heels of multiple complaints regarding her conduct, some of which date back years, the plaintiff was removed from all Westport DTC subcommittees unanimously by the 14-member executive committee.
The plaintiff then filed a complaint with the State Democratic Party, making numerous allegations against the Westport DTC for allegedly violating multiple rules. The State Party panel hearing the plaintiff’s allegations unanimously ruled against the plaintiff and summarily dismissed the complaint.
In 25 years of practicing law I have never filed an appearance on behalf of a defendant. The fact that I am doing so now should speak for itself. This appears to be a vindictive suit motivated by self -interest. We are confident the case will be dismissed by the Court in short order for its lack of merit.