A proposal to allocate state funds to a New Haven community organization with links to the Communist Party was pulled Friday morning, right before the state Bond Commission was scheduled to vote on it.
The Malloy administration, which controls the commission agenda, asked the panel to remove the request, which would have provided the New Haven Peoples Center with about $300,000 in state bonding money to fund renovations.
“The project’s not ready to go forward at this time,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said.
State Rep. Sean Williams, a Republican from Watertown who sits on the commission, said several People’s Center officials have ties to the Communist Party in Connecticut. The group, described on its website as a “labor and community center for educational, social and cultural activities since 1937,” is hosting a fundraiser next month for People’s World Connecticut, a Communist Party newspaper.
“Political association is not a criteria for awarding or not awarding funding under any state program that I’m aware of,” said Ben Barnes, secretary of the office of policy and management.
Al Marder, who is listed as the president of the Peoples Center, could not be reached for comment.
After the commission hearing, Williams said the entire episode illustrates the need for better vetting of projects placed on the panel’s agenda.
“The governor has extreme latitude to place items on the bond commission agenda, perhaps rightfully so,” Williams said. “But that also comes with a huge responsibility…you heard Secretary Barnes say political affiliations are not a consideration. Perhaps they should be.”