BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Mayor John M. Fabrizi admitted Tuesday he had abused cocaine while in office and said he wanted to apologize "to all the people of the city" but had no plans to resign.
The admission followed the inadvertent release of an FBI document in which an alleged drug dealer claimed an associate had a videotape of the mayor using cocaine.
In a tearful speech to about 200 city employees in City Council chambers Tuesday, Fabrizi said he had not used drugs in 18 months and had sought help for a drug addiction that he had hoped to handle privately.
"I thought that these were personal, private matters to me and my family, that I could deal with these issues with my family and myself," Fabrizi said. "I now recognize my actions affected many others, and I want to apologize to my family, my friends, and all of the people of the city of Bridgeport for my actions, my past actions."
Fabrizi, a Democrat who took office after former Mayor Joseph Ganim was convicted of corruption in 2003, said he hopes to move forward and continue running Connecticut's largest city.
"I will do everything, and I mean everything I can, to redeem the respect and the support that you the employees of the city of Bridgeport, and of you my friends, and of you the great people of the city of Bridgeport," Fabrizi said.
Many employees cheered while Fabrizi spoke, though there were some boos. He also said he stopped drinking alcohol four months ago.
"I have put this personal struggle behind me and it has never, ever affected my job performance," Fabrizi said. "The tremendous progress Bridgeport has made over the past three years is a testament to that. Folks, my record speaks for itself."
U.S. Attorney Kevin O'Connor said last week that Fabrizi was not a target of the drug investigation, which led to the FBI report being filed in court. He said FBI reports, which summarize statements made by witnesses but are not always corroborated, are typically filed under seal and apologized to Fabrizi for the release.
Fabrizi first admitted he had used cocaine to the editorial board of the Connecticut Post, which reported the admission in Tuesday's editions.
Fabrizi would not tell the Post how he obtained cocaine, but said he occasionally spent $20 or $40 to purchase it. The mayor offered to take periodic drug tests if anyone doubts he has stopped using cocaine.
Bridgeport, a city of about 140,000 residents on Long Island Sound, has struggled with violent drug dealers who gave the city a reputation as the murder capital of the state in the 1990s before the homicide rate plummeted.
"I do believe that he's got to resign," said Rick Torres, a Republican who ran against Fabrizi in 2003. "How do we explain to children drug use is dangerous and can ruin your life if the top guy is a drug user?"
But some residents were more forgiving.
"I think he can continue on in his job as mayor as long as he's sought treatment," said Matthew Krol, a Bridgeport resident who works in a record store. "I think he should be given a second chance."