Let The Brown Rudnick Wine Flow

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RITTER2 - Copy - CopyRITTER5One party was for a good cause and the other was “just because” but any way you pour the wine, the two downtown Hartford soirees attracted a festive crowd totaling about 1,000 people Thursday night.

Let’s start at the Bond Ballroom where Brown Rudnick LLP, and more specifically firm principal/lobbyist and former House Speaker Tom Ritter and camera-shy colleague and House Minority Leader Larry Cafero welcomed  about 500 Democrats, Republicans, clients, friends, relatives and assorted Hartford heavy hitters and hanger-on-ers to the firm’s annual “Red Wine Party.”

RITTER3The now mega-bash began as a little post-Lenten get-together more years ago than anyone seems to remember for sure, and over the decades has grown and grown catapulting it into an A-list  “must go to” this time of the year.

“I do remember when it was just a few people getting together at the old Chuck’s Steakhouse at the old Civic Center,” recalled Wells Fargo advisor Tom Hall, one of lots of Ritter’s friends who filled the ballroom. “It just kept growing,” he said as people jockeyed their way through the crowded space to either get a glass of wine or chit-chat with each other.

RITTER1 - Copy (2) - CopyThe crowd boasted a fair share of former legislators, including some who showed they still had that biting edge when it came to talking politics. Case in point, former Republican Senate minority leader, Lou DeLuca.

It is well-known that DeLuca, 79, who was forced to step down from office in 2007 after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor threatening charge, was never a big Edith Prague fan. To put it kindly, the two regularly scrapped when they served together in the Senate.  So his thoughts on the 88-year-old Democrat’s  new appointment as head of the state Commission on Aging?

“Mark my words,” said the 79-year-old DeLuca who has not let age affect his outspoken demeanor or his candid feelings about his former senate mate. “In three months, Malloy (Gov. Dannel P. Malloy) will rue the day he appointed her as Commissioner on Aging.”

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