© 2023 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Affidavit reveals the name of Connecticut Port Authority board member who accepted illegal gifts

State Pier in New London, Conn.
Office of Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont
Connecticut Port Authority
State Pier in New London, Connecticut

The identity of the Connecticut Port Authority board member who accepted illegal gifts from a vendor seeking business has been revealed in documents obtained by WSHU through a freedom of information request.

Don Frost, a current port authority board member, is named in a sworn affidavit from an Office of State Ethics investigation into Seabury PFRA, LLC.

In the affidavit, Jeffrey Erickson, Seabury’s chief financial officer, lists Frost — as well as Evan Matthews, the former port authority executive director, former board member Henry Juan, and their spouses — as having been guests of Seabury employees and dinner guests in August 2017. Accepting gifts is illegal under state ethics law.

“The [Connecticut Port Authority] has notified Mr. Frost's appointing authority to the board, the speaker of the House, who will determine what action, if any, they wish to pursue regarding his board seat,” said Port Authority Chairman David Kooris in response to the now-released affidavit.

Kooris said he is frustrated that Frost did not voluntarily identify himself last month when board members were asked whether they were involved in the illegal gifts investigation. He said Frost told him “his reasoning for not doing so was confidentiality regarding communications with the Office of State Ethics."

The port authority will review Frost’s voting history to determine how it relates to a 2018 contract and its amendments with Seabury.

The New York-based vendor was hired to find a new harbor management company, Gateway, for the redevelopment of the State Pier in New London to be a hub for the offshore wind industry. Seabury is now under investigation by the state attorney general’s office for a “success fee” of over $500,000.

Seabury settled with the Office of State Ethics over the impermissible gifts and paid a $10,000 fine last month.

A letter earlier this week to revealed to State Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly and State Senator Paul Formica, R-East Lyme, that Evan Matthews, the port authority’s former executive director, and current employee Andrew Lavigne, accepted hockey tickets, food, drinks and an overnight stay at a Greenwich club.

In total, employees and board members of the Connecticut Port Authority accepted gifts worth about $800 in 2017 and another $2,300 in 2019 — when Seabury had a consulting contract with the Port Authority and was seeking additional contracts.

An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.