Tag Archives: Ellen Lautenberg

Lawsuit Roils Democratic Selectman Race

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.

Click here for the entire case. Click here for the most recent and relevant portion: the Amended Case.

Unsung Hero #89

Just over a year ago, as winds howled, a large tree branch fell on Victoria Gouletas. She broke her back, and fractured bones in her neck, scapula and sternum.

Victoria Gouletas

Victoria — a real estate attorney, member of Westport’s Zoning Board of Appeals, and mother of 3 young children — was told she would never walk again.

Victoria is incredibly strong and tenacious. Buoyed by wonderful support from her husband Troy Burk and her kids — and a fantastic outpouring of energy, resources and funds from friends and strangers all across town — she made extraordinary progress.

In a little over 3 months, Victoria was back at her seat on the ZBA. She was an inspiration to all.

However, the cold weather is difficult. The family is moving to North Carolina. It’s a huge loss to our town.

Last night, the ZBA surprised her. Congressman Jim Himes and Secretary of the State Denise Merrill sent letters of commendation, and First Selectman Jim Marpe was on hand to honor her for her service and courage.

Victoria Gouletas and 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, at last night’s ZBA meeting. (Photo/Josh Newman)

Jim Ezzes called her “one of the most qualified and valued members I have had the opportunity to work with, during my over 20 years as chair of the ZBA.”

Democratic Town Committee chair Ellen Lautenberg added, “Her dedication and professional approach to the position has been exemplary. In addition, Victoria is a wonderful role model for how she has dealt with personal challenges in terms of her positive attitude, incredible fortitude and perseverance.”

Westport has many unsung volunteers — including members of town boards and commissions. But it’s hard to find anyone — in government, or anywhere else — who better epitomizes dedication to the town, and the power of the human spirit, than Victoria Gouletas.

Click below for Rob Simmelkjaer’s tribute video: