Richard Foley, a GOP chief who taunted the FBI, dies at 71.

Marty Heiser exhibit

From left, J.R. Romano, Dave Mathus, Matt O’Brien and Richard Foley right through the 2019 campaign for GOP chair.

On his way to jail in January 1995, the forty four-year Richard Foley noted he knew how his obituary would start: There can be a mention of his service as a state lawmaker and Republican state chairman, followed by the truth he was convicted of taking a bribe.

Dick Foley wasn’t common for flinching. He turned into the blue-collar guy who led the state GOP from 1989 to 1992, when Connecticut turned into a presidential swing state and the party struggled to come to a decision if its future was in Fairfield County or the publish-industrial Naugatuck Valley.

When it grew to be clear in late 1992 that he became within the crosshairs of the FBI, Foley called a press convention to call the feds bumblers and bureaucrats. “We’re happening offense. Put up or shut up,” Foley referred to. “They picked on the wrong mick.”

The quote ended up on the wall of a semi-secret office the FBI stored for a time in Waterbury, a corruption goal. Two years later, Foley changed into convicted of four felonies in connection with $25,000 he permitted from two corrupt businessmen, a developer and a banker.

When asked for an interview before he left for penitentiary, Foley mentioned, “Yeah, why now not?”

Foley, seventy one, changed into found lifeless at his condominium in Danbury on Saturday. His chum, Ben F. Proto, noted Foley’s daughter known as with information of his demise. No cause was automatically evident.

An Irish memory

He came head-on at pretty much every thing, from politics to reformatory. He had an Irish reminiscence, invariably remembering friends and foes. He was a state representative, a salesman and a scholar of human behavior.

His conviction changed into overturned on appeal, and Foley managed a second act in political existence as a lobbyist and crusade consultant. He tried a comeback ultimate year, challenging J.R. Romano for state chair of the GOP.

He won and lost plenty of political bets. In 1991, he changed into convinced that passage of the earnings tax through a Democratic legislature and an independent governor, Lowell P. Weicker Jr., often is the GOP’s ticket to the bulk. It wasn’t.

“I talked with him earlier within the week,” referred to Ben Proto, a Republican insider who joined Foley in the 2018 flooring combat at the GOP state conference that resulted in Steve Obsitnik of Westport acquiring adequate delegate aid to join the party fundamental for governor. “We had been going to have lunch subsequent week. He become a dear buddy. He changed into the variety of guy you wanted to have as a pal.”

Proto talked about that Foley changed into steeped in Connecticut’s political background and become among the many very young Republicans who, within the early Seventies, made up Gov. Thomas Meskill’s “kiddie corps.” 

Chris Healy, a former GOP state chairman, mentioned Foley prized – and exuded — loyalty.

“He turned into the most-loyal, steadfast person you could locate,” Healy said Saturday. “i’m grief- as a result of I lost considered one of my most effective pals. You either loved him or hated him, and people of us who loved him, we’d have done anything for him. He cherished to have a good time, and he adored to snort at the absurdity of issues. You always ended up laughing all through a dialog with Dick Foley, at some point.”

Foley was blunt, commonly coarse. He had no persistence for the timid or cautious. To them, he would say, “if you desire a guarantee, then buy a f-*#! fridge.”

He may well be flippant, however his suggestions to candidates in quest of assistance on concerns of morality become not: determine the place you stand; don’t be cute; your ingredients will tolerate a principled change.

He offered himself for instance. For 10 years, he represented a conservative and largely Catholic district, but he become greater professional-alternative than seasoned-existence in his voting. 

dealing with time in penal complex

His prison troubles came from an affiliation with Richard D. Barbieri Sr. and John A. Corpaci, key figures in a Waterbury corruption scandal. They instructed the FBI they had built a favor financial institution with politicians as they dependent a true estate and banking enterprise.

To curry choose with a bigger banking chain, they stated they paid Foley $25,000 to support circulate a invoice liberalizing state banking legal guidelines. The story had some holes: Foley, for one, turned into in the minority. 2nd, he voted against the invoice and urged its defeat.

Foley never denied accepting ten $2,500 funds, however he insisted they have been a consulting charge in return for in quest of tenants for a industrial property. He was convicted and sentenced to 40 months in jail.

He went to penal complex doubtful about profitable his enchantment.

Over coffee at an Abdow’s large Boy on the Silas Deane dual carriageway in Wethersfield, Foley talked for three hours about jail and his expectation he could ought to serve three years before qualifying for a superb-habits unencumber.

He smoked a cigar, one which he promised would be among his final. He turned into loud. An elderly girl within the next booth gave him a protracted sideward glance, mouth agape.

Foley pointed out quitting tobacco, dropping pounds. If he become going to lose three years stepping into, in all probability he might benefit five more on the back end via clear residing.

however he had no illusions about how he would be remembered, in spite of the fact that he gained his enchantment.

“In most situations, dying will pay the debt. no longer during this one,” he stated. “This one you pay after you die. That’s challenging. That’s complicated. however that’s one you gotta accept. That’s the style it’s going to be.”

A federal appeals courtroom voted 2-1 in January 1996 to overturn his conviction, concluding he had been improperly charged beneath statutes that lined the unlawful acceptance of federal money.

Foley served four months in prison, then became freed on bond throughout his enchantment.

Ken Dixon of Hearst Media contributed to this record.