From the National Mortgage Crisis to Eastern Connecticut Harassment

Consider how David Lehman, during Connecticut’s legislative confirmation hearings on his 2019 nomination as Governor Ned Lamont’s economic development commissioner, described his role in the Great Recession.

Lehman, a former chief executive of Goldman Sachs, was a key player in the toxic mortgage meltdown of 2007-2008 that led to the country’s economic collapse.

“I didn’t know at the time that those (mortgage) securities were going to be worthless,” he told Connecticut lawmakers. “I understand, looking back, you know, the significant decline in stock prices and house prices and the pain that has caused the economy. But I didn’t know that at the time. »

I got no such mea culpa from Lehman when I asked him on Tuesday how the state Department of Economic and Community Development, under his leadership, came to plan to divest the prized property of the former Mystic Oral School, with – incredibly – no promises made on how it will be developed.

After all, what was the point of even having a bidding process and vetting potential developers of oral school ownership if in the end you were just going to give it away with no strings attached?

And of course, the potentially harmful repercussions for Groton, giving away the magnificent property, to someone convicted by mob prosecutors in New York of bribing public officials, remains to be seen.

Perhaps one day Lehman can acknowledge and apologize for the yet unknown pain to Groton taxpayers that will come from the state donating such a large and crucial property with no idea how it could possibly be developed.

This isn’t the first time Lehman’s disastrous handling of the DECD has had a negative impact on the people of Groton.

It was the DECD commissioner’s ill-conceived ploy to lure tax-free data centers into Connecticut, with emergency legislation that excluded the public from the usual legislative reviews, that led data center real estate speculators to target Groton and its local electric utility.

We all know how hard residents and concerned environmentalists have had to work to fend off the data center opportunists – people mired in lawsuits and bankruptcies, who had never developed a data center – that Lehman and his Tax-free plans have unleashed on the city.

New London ratepayers also have a big issue to deal with with Commissioner Lamont of the Great Recession mortgage crisis.

I learned from secure emails during a hard-fought freedom of information skirmish with the governor’s office that Commissioner Lehman chose the party of wealthy public utilities and not the people of New London as the city’s mayor attempted to secure a local welcome agreement for the use of State Pier.

Lehman said London’s new mayor, Michael Passero, should have accepted the paltry offer that was on the utility table instead of asking for more. Lamont appeared to agree with the commissioner and only stepped in after the mayor moved in with lawyers in an attempt to derail the project.

“I had another call with (New London Mayor Passero) last night – he requested a meeting next week,” Lehman wrote in an email, shortly after meeting with Orsted officials. to discuss the hosting agreement with New London. “I told (the mayor) he’s supposed to play the Long Game here on WIND and the current deal is very good for the city.”

Once again, Lamont and his big banking world commissioner have sided with wealthy corporations or opportunistic developers at the expense of Connecticut taxpayers.

Fortunately, Passero fought for what the people of New London deserved, even if it meant challenging the incumbent Democratic governor. His threat of legal intervention worked where the crude political diplomacy, calling on the governor and commissioner to do the right thing for Connecticut taxpayers, did not.

There aren’t many other elected Democrats in Connecticut willing to do that.

We’ll see that proven once again soon, as Democrats-elect will likely sit back and let a star participant in the Great Recession mortgage crisis cede valuable public property in Mystic to someone convicted of bribing public officials.

This is the opinion of David Collins

[email protected]