State to investigate out-of-town candidate
Published 1:24 pm, Thursday, November 16, 2017
FAIRFIELD — The State Elections Enforcement Commission will be looking into allegations a former Representative Town Meeting member had moved out of a town more than a year ago, but kept her new address a secret.
Jennifer Hochberg-Toller, a Democrat in District 4, apparently moved to Bridgeport in the summer of 2016, after getting married. She remained on the RTM, and initially appeared on the ballot for last week’s municipal election. Just a week before the election, Republican Town Committee Chairman James Millington learned she had moved. Her name was subsequently removed from the ballot, and both she, and her husband, John Tyson Toller, a justice of the peace, resigned.
Millington filed a formal complaint against both of them with the SEEC.
“We had a commission meeting (Wednesday) and it was determined that they are going to investigate,” Joshua Foley, a staff attorney for the SEEC, said.
Millington has asked that the commission take “all appropriate action including a referral to the Chief State’s Attorney’s office.
“If they uncover what they suspect is an incident of criminal violation, they refer the matter to the Chief State’s Attorney’s office,” Foley said. He said it is unknown how long the commission’s investigation will take.
Democratic Town Committee officials said they were unaware, prior to being contacted by Millington, that Hochberg-Toller no longer lived at her parent’s Church Hill Road address. Despite having moved out of town, Hochberg-Toller continued to sit on the RTM, and cast votes.
Hochberg-Toller did not return calls seeking comment.
Town Attorney Stanton Lesser is looking into what effect Hochberg-Toller’s Bridgeport address has on the outcome of any RTM votes.
In 2015, Christina Ayala, a former Bridgeport state representative, was given a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to state election law violations. According to the complaint, between 2009 and 2012, Ayala voted in several elections in districts other than where she was living.
Ayala was initially charged with eight counts of fraudulent voting, 10 counts of primary or enrollment violations and one count of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. As part of a plea bargain, Ayala agreed to not seek an elected office for two years. She received a suspended one-year sentence for two counts of providing a false statement.