Gidwani calls RTC removal 'slap in face'

SHELTON — Alderman David Gidwani is not leaving the Shelton Republican Town Committee quietly.

Neither he nor his wife, Sageeta, was reelected to the committee during its caucus Jan. 14, some of a dozen changes made during the political group’s reorganization.

“It was a slap in the face,” said Gidwani, who is a First Ward aldermen along with RTC Chairman Anthony Simonetti. “I was elected by the people of Shelton. I work for them, not for Anthony Simonetti, not (Mayor Mark Lauretti).”

“The caucus is open to all Republican electors in the city,” said Simonetti. “It was properly posted in the CT Post and all present members were afforded a written notice. David Gidwani was present but was not nominated that evening.”

Gidwani’s removal sparked a response from a well-known Shelton Democrat and longtime past alderman, Jack Finn, who, on his Facebook page, praised Gidwani.

“David has been a fighter for education carrying the flag on the Board of Aldermen,” wrote Finn. “David has no special interest but to help his fellow residents. David also had more votes then Anthony in the past election. Seems Anthony is throwing his weight around. Will Anthony oppose David running for re-election next year as he did Jimmy (Capra) in the fourth ward?”

Gidwani said he approached Simonetti before the vote to discuss his candidacy. At that point, Gidwani said Simonetti told him “you went to the other side, and you’re off.” Gidwani said he walked out.

Here for Shelton, a grass-roots group that came to prominence during the GOP primaries last September, included Republican candidates who were not nominated by the RTC. It was comprised of then-Fourth Ward Alderman Jim Capra; Mike Gaydos, who ran for Ward 2 Alderman; Peter Squitieri and Greg Tetro for Ward 3 Aldermen; Anne Gaydos, Mark Holden and Tom Minotti for Board of Education; and Chris Jones for Planning and Zoning Commission. All but Capra were not nominated by the RTC for the November election and chose to force primaries.

Gidwanis said his wife had contributed to the Here for Shelton group. Members of Here to Shelton and their supporters were among several people who were voted off the committee during the caucus.

In the First Ward, the Gidwanis were removed, as was Mark Holden. Paul Simpson and Planning and Zoning Commissioner Mark Widomski were also not re-elected.

In their place, ward members elected Linda Hooper, Board of Education member Amy Romano, John Boyko, Rob Cristiano and Bernadino Maurati.

In the Second Ward, both Mike and Anne Gaydos were not re-elected. Present Board of Education Vice Chair James Orazietti was elected to the ward, which dropped from 17 to 16 members because there were fewer registered Republicans in the ward.

The Third Ward went from 20 members to 21 because of an increase in registered Republicans. Donald Corri, Mike Kingersky, Francis Macillvain, John Pulsar and Dennis Salzer were elected, while Lynne Farrell, Penny Brown Lee, Nancy Minotti and Squitieri are now out.

In the Fourth Ward, Capra was not re-elected, and Don Stanziale took his place.