Union executive steps down following probe

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Naugatuck’s Soucy emerges as key figure in Donovan investigation

Ray Soucy of Naugatuck, left, talks with Congressman Christopher Murphy (D-5), center, after a press conference last January where Murphy announced he will run for U.S. Senate seat now held by U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman. Soucy, identified as a central figure in a federal probe that led to the arrest of the Connecticut House Speaker Chris Donovan’s campaign finance director, has resigned from his union positions. –RA ARCHIVE

NAUGATUCK — Union officials confirmed Saturday that Ray Soucy, a longtime union executive and political activist, has stepped down from three ranking positions in the wake of a campaign contribution scandal involving Christopher Donovan, the House Speaker of the Connecticut General Assembly who is running for U.S. Congress in the 5th District.

Soucy, of 158 May St. in Naugatuck, was identified in the Hartford Courant on Saturday as a central figure in the federal probe that led to the arrest of Donovan’s campaign finance director Robert Braddock Jr., who authorities say conspired with representatives of roll-your-own cigarette shops to funnel political donations through third parties.

The Courant identified Soucy as the co-conspirator referred to in a federal affidavit as “CC-1.” The FBI affidavit alleges Soucy and Braddock took part in the criminal scheme to hide the source of contributions to Donovan’s Congressional campaign.

The affidavit also details a May 15 recorded phone conversation between “CC-1” and Braddock in which Soucy tells Braddock that two of the third-party donors are from Waterbury.

Neither the third-party donors nor the cigarette shops have been identified, but Soucy told Braddock that one of them was “part owner of the cigarette place.”

An AFL-CIO spokeswoman said in an e-mail that Soucy resigned Friday from his position as vice president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO’s executive board and as president of the Western Connecticut Central Labor Council pending results of the investigation over Donovan’s campaign finances.

A spokesman for Council 4 AFSCME said Soucy, who is also a supervisor at the Cheshire Correctional complex, was asked to resign from his position as treasurer from Local 387, which represents the Cheshire Corrections Officers Local.

At Soucy’s home on Saturday afternoon an elderly woman shouted “bye” through a window and waved a reporter away from the white ranch.

Soucy has been active in local and state politics.

He is an elected bailiff, and he was given a community service award by Organized Labor and United Way in April 2005, calling him a “local hero taking action.”

Braddock, 33, of Meriden, was arrested and appeared before a U.S. Magistrate on Wednesday. He was released on $100,000 bond.

The affidavit by FBI Special Agent William B Aldenberg details how an undercover agent posing as a smoke shop investor taped conversations in which Braddock and another unnamed campaign staffer conspired with tobacco merchants to funnel donations through third-party contributors not directly tied to the roll-your-own shops.

These shops sell cigarette ingredients and rent time with an automatic rolling machine that spits out cigarettes at a deep discount over prepackaged cigarettes. The bill would have upped costs for vendors considerably. The proposal passed through a legislative subcommittee, but the legislative session ended May 9 without the bill ever being called for a vote.

According to the affidavit, a tobacco representative told an unnamed staffer in the unnamed congressional campaign that he and the undercover agent were willing to deliver an extra $10,000 after the defeat of the legislation.

On May 14, the tobacco representative delivered $10,000 to the campaign staffer in the form of three $2,500 checks to the campaign and another $2,500 made to an unnamed political party.

On May 15, Soucy and Braddock talked several times on the phone about the third-party contributors whose names appeared on the checks.

Braddock: “Do you know what towns they live in?”

Soucy: “Both in Waterbury.”

Braddock: “Waterbury. Got it, buddy.”

Then just a few minutes later, according to the affidavit, Soucy calls Braddock back to complain that one of the “drug addicts” used to funnel money had bounced a check.

Soucy asked for the name of one of the middlemen “so I can stay on top of it.”

Braddock said he would text the information to the informant, according to the affidavit.

Soucy replied “because I don’t want to ah look like an idiot in front of my, you know, my future congressman.”

Here’s a link to the Connecticut Mirror’s story on the issue.