Nick Balletto, former town chairman in New Haven, has been unanimously elected as the Connecticut Democratic Party’s replacement for longtime state Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo.
Balletto is a skilled political insider who was New Haven’s Democratic town chairman from 1996 to 2002. He played a key role in helping Dannel P. Malloy get the big New Haven majorities he needed to win the governor’s races in 2010 and 2014.
“Those charges were bureaucratically and politically motivated,” Balletto said Thursday. “It was no big deal … and it’s ridiculous that it’s still being brought up after all this time.”
Balletto was an accountant for New Haven schools in 1991. He and the school’s finance director were accused of altering more than $352,000 in bills to conceal a budget deficit.
He said he “cooperated fully with the investigation … and the prosecutors applauded my cooperation and agreed with having the charges dropped.”
Balletto was suspended with pay, but decided to resign from his school position. “I never asked for my job back,” he said.
His supporters, like the state Senate’s top Democratic leader, Martin M. Looney of New Haven, insist “those charges should never have been brought in the first place.” “It was really a politically motivated situation at the time,” said Looney, who described Balletto as a “dear friend.”
DiNardo said she was unaware of Balletto’s involvement in that controversy. “You’re telling me something I know nothing about,” she said.
Balletto, 48, has served for the past four years as DiNardo’s vice chairman.
His current accounting firm is Balletto, Shariff & Associates in New Haven. He was elected as head of the state party Wednesday on a unanimous vote of the Democratic State Central Committee.
“I’m thrilled to have the confidence of the governor and the state central committee,” Balletto said. Taking note of the widespread successes of the Connecticut Democratic Party in recent elections, Balletto said: “We have to keep it going.”
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