Outgoing Shelton alderman gets in final barbs

Board of Alderman member Jim Capra bid farewell to the board he is leaving this week with some praise for supporters but harsh words for those he accused of turning their back on him and choosing politics before the good of the city.

“I have met too many politicians and not enough public servants,” said Capra, a two-term alderman who represented the Fourth Ward and who was endorsed by the Shelton Republican Town Committee in July but quickly fell out of favor with top Republicans who threw support behind the Mayor Mark Lauretti-backed Bernie Simons.

Simons beat Capra for the Fourth Ward spot in the September primaries by six votes, 325-319.

“Even several people who encouraged me to get involved in Shelton politics, and I thought were my true friends, ended up choosing their title ... rather than supporting and standing by me as I did for them in previous contentious elections when they, too, were abandoned and not supported,” Capra said during Thursday’s meeting.

“These people have spread lies, gossiped about the city administration and caused major divides even in the Republican Party,” he said. “It is clear to me that they used me and others for personal gain in politics. They know who they are, and I will leave it at that.”

The political seesaw over official Republic support drove Capra to help form Here for Shelton, a group that included members of Save Our Shelton and fielded a slate of its own for the primary: Anne Gaydos, Mark Holden and Tom Minotti for school board; Mike Gaydos for Alderman representing the Second Ward; Peter Squitieri and Greg Tetro for Alderman representing the Third Ward; and Chris Jones for planning and zoning.

The Shelton RTC endorsed candidates — outside of Capra — all easily won their primaries.

Capra offered his best wishes to the incoming Simons and also singled out Board of Aldermen President John Anglace Jr., saying he would miss the man who he considered a mentor.

“I have appreciated your friendship and willingness to listen to my ideas, and at times assist me in getting things done,” Capra told Anglace. “I have heard one time someone call you a great statesmen and that is 100 percent who you are.”

“During his time on this board, Jimmy was a valued member and a very positive force,” Anglace responded. “It was a pleasure to work with you, Jim. I wish you nothing but the best in whatever you do in the future.”

Mark Holden, outgoing Board of Education chairman, credited Capra for his support of education.

“I want to thank Jimmy Capra,” said Holden. “Over the years, he has done his best to try and support education while maintaining reasonable taxes. I also appreciate you being one of four aldermen who refused to waste thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ money on a frivolous lawsuit.”

The city sued the Board of Education for repayment of what it said the board overspent in its 2016-17 and 2017-18 budget allocations by some $2.7 million. Capra, David Gidwani, Noreen McGorty and Cris Balamaci voted against filing the suit.

The case is still pending.