Derby Receives $9,900 Refund From Infomercial Company
by Ethan Fry and Eugene Driscoll | Nov 17, 2014 11:54 am
Posted to: Derby, Derby Tax Watch, Investigations
Derby Mayor Anita Dugatto announced the city’s agreement with an infomercial company has been terminated and the city has received a full refund.
In September the Board of Aldermen approved an agreement with “Communities of Distinction,” an infomercial series that charges communities $19,800 for a five-minute promotional video.
The agreement OK’d by the Aldermen said legendary quarterback and sports personality Terry Bradshaw was the “Communities of Distinction” host.
However, that was news to Bradshaw, who said, through a representative, that he was no longer connected to the Florida-based company behind “Communities of Distinction.”
Bradshaw’s representative said a cease and desist letter was sent to the company, ordering them to remove Bradshaw’s name and image from the infomercial.
Bradshaw’s connection to the company ended four months before Derby signed on with the company, according to Bradshaw’s representative, who alleged the infomercial company, U.S. Media, ignored Bradshaw’s requests to remove his name and image.
According to a prepared statement issued Monday by Dugatto, “Communities of Distinction” has agreed to give Derby an “edited production from the footage already filmed” during shooting last month.
Derby will have “full licensing rights” and use the video as they wish, according to the mayor’s statement.
Derby received a $9,900 refund, according to the mayor.
The infomercial agreement had been scheduled to be discussed in a closed-door executive session of the Derby tax board tonight, as “pending litigation.”
Here is a copy of the mayor’s press release:
The manner in which the infomercial was funded raised some questions in Derby.
In September, the mayor said the city would search for grant money to fund the $19,800 venture. However, after the single-day film shoot was completed, the mayor said taxpayer money was being used from the economic development office budget. Mayor Dugatto said the city would search for grants to pay the money back to the economic development office budget.
That raised questions as to whether the money should have passed through the Derby tax board, the political body in charge of government spending in Derby.
Dugatto said it did not have to pass through the tax board.
By contrast, the City of Bridgeport Monday morning announced a $255,000 television, digital and radio marketing campaign for the city. It includes six radio and television ads — plus a website exclusively to market Bridgeport.
That money comes from a specific marketing budget within the Bridgeport economic development office.
“The competitive bidding process that was used for choosing these two firms received unanimous support from the City’s Board of Public Purchasing. And, the contracts were approved with nearly unanimous support by the Bridgeport City Council,” according to an email from Brett Broesder, a spokesman for the Bridgeport mayor’s office.
Thank god we didn’t have Terry come to Derby. Where would we take him? To our downtown area ? There’s not much going on there…..We can take him to a Derby football game as long as he doesn’t have to use the bathroom…..Have you seen the bathrooms ? Why not use this money and fix up the bathrooms ??? Hopefully we got all our money back and we’ll never do anything stupid like this again….. PS Take him to ROSELANDS
Hopefully Derby city officials will now get the message and put a freeze on unnecessary city spending as “Derby is stuck in between a rock and a hard-place” in a fiscal bind that they should follow the lead of Ansonia Mayor David Cassetti diligent effort to work on reducing their tax rate by asking department heads to cut expenses towards a 2% decrease in spending.