Jackboots in Greenwich

Greenwich Detective Mark Nordick leads a raid on the Board of Education

Greenwich Detective Mark Kordick leads a raid on Town Hall

Bob Horton’s out with an incredible – okay, it’s credible, but pretty frightening – story of the Greenwich Police Department’s top detective, one Mark Kordick, personal campaign to follow and report on the activities of a political opponent of America’s Common Core curriculum, now infesting our school system. No violence, no threats of violence, just a citizen of Greenwich (and a member of the Republican Town Committee) exercising his First Amendment right of free speech.

One day in late August, local political activist Arthur “Cort” Wrotnowski placed flyers on car windshields in the Island Beach ferry parking lot, hoping to drum up a crowd that would listen to his take on the perils of the Common Core, the controversial federal and state educational reform initiative.

[O] nly two people attended the early evening event at Town Hall on August 28. But the one-page notice did catch the eye of Greenwich Police Captain Mark Kordick, head of the Detective Division and an almost three-decade veteran of the force. He immediately drafted an email to School Superintendent William McKersie, informing the schools chief of the anti-Common Core meeting. That set off a chain of events that resulted Thursday in First Selectmen and Police Commissioner Peter Tesei starting an investigation into Captain Kordick’s behavior.

In an email sent over his signature as Captain of Detectives, Kordick told McKersie about Wrotnowski’s plan to hold a public forum in Town Hall “in the event your office wanted to send an official (or off the record) representative to attend the public event.” He attached a scan of the flyer and identified Wrotnowski as “among other things, (he is) apparently both an anti-Common Core activist and participant in the anti-President Obama “birther” movement.

McKersie replied that he and his staff knew of Wrotnowski’s opposition, but would not be sending a representative to the event, off the record or otherwise.

The head of detectives sent a second email to McKersie, after the anti-Common Core confab, with this report: “I’ve been informed that the meeting was sparsely attended. Other than Mr. Wrotnowski only two persons appeared to be in attendance at around 7:30 p.m. That headcount is exclusive of an amateur videographer who was recording an impassioned PowerPointpresentation being given by Mr. Wrotnowksi.”

…[K] ordick [admitted to Horton] that Wrotnowski’s meeting posed no public safety threat. He added, “The police department exists as a community service organization as well as a public safety agency.”

Kordick further said that he wrote the follow-up report on the meeting “to help the public schools track local interest in this topic.”

Kordick also wrote, “Mr. Wrotnowski has been quite unabashed about his political leanings, is a member (or perhaps recently a former member) of the Republican Town Committee and established a measure of notoriety with me and others when he initiated a lawsuit against Connecticut’s Secretary of State over the inclusion of Barack Obama’s name on the Presidential ballot some years ago citing ineligibility based on Mr. Obama’s birthplace.

“To be honest, I’m surprised that you, Mr. Wrotnowski or any other member of our community would find the idea of public employees being attentive to conditions and aware of the social and political environment both in Town and among its residents to be objectionable. Commitment to our community and its values by Town workers is one of the things that makes Greenwich a great place to live,” Kordick added.

To be honest, I think Kordick, a dick to his core, should be immediately fired and deprived of his pension for so outrageously abusing his position of power to conduct surreptitious surveillance and produce official police reports on a private citizen whose political views differ from Kordick’s. That will never happen, of course, but at the very least, Selectman Tesei should appoint an independent investigator to look into the GPD’s practices regarding treatment of
“persons of unabashed political leanings”. Make that report public, then retire Nordick and any of his superiors who may have approved or agreed to overlook his behavior.

55 Comments

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55 responses to “Jackboots in Greenwich

  1. Flash

    well, ya got trouble, my friends
    right here, i say trouble right here in river city

  2. housecat

    He papered Bruce Park Playground with those flyers a few months back. I didn’t read the whole thing- to be honest it was really just a tedious rant. I’m not sure what the fuss was about here (why the officer felt it was needed). I just exercised my right to ignore it, as did everyone else in the park as far as I could tell – few people read the flyers and some even threw them away. No one was harmed in the process, I can assure you.

    • If anyone out there’s not worried about the Constitutional issues here, they might respond as taxpayers: Kordick’s actions would support a juicy lawsuit for violation of a citizen’s civil rights. Plaintiff’s attorney’s fees which can run high,are awarded upon a finding of wrongdoing, regardless of actual monetary damages and, thanks to the genius of Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence granting immunity to individual cops, it’s us taxpayers, and not the creepy police officer, who will pay those fees.
      Plus our own, of course.

      • housecat

        I agree. While I can’t remember specifically what was written, I do remember that I really didn’t care for Wrotnowski’s tone. I don’t mean that in a Thurston Howell III kind of way, but rather that he came off a bit like $Bill when he posts one of his mouth-foamers. The tone was distasteful and the premise sounded a bit screwy, but I didn’t read it and think “This guy’s going to take out the Bd of Ed”. To me, it *seems* like the very type of speech the 1st Am is supposed to protect. I understand that law enforcement is supposed to watch our collective backs, but this is one of those areas where they have to tread carefully.

      • AJ

        The Free Thought Project has in the past come out with the perfect plan to prevent tax payers from having to pay for the deeds of bad cops. And that is to make all cops carry an errors and omissions type insurance to pay for successful lawsuits on claims of wrongdoing. The idea being that after a few claims bad cops will become uninsurable and therefore unemployable. End of story.

  3. burningmadolf

    With all that free time, you might think there was no need for a detective division and a captain?

  4. Walt

    Dude –
    THIS CANNOT STAND!! Who is the correct person to write to and complain? Tessio? Francis? We all need to take action on this, and at least let them know we are FED UP!! I will even draft the email, so the reader can just copy and paste it. Can you provide the appropriate email addresses? Here you go:

    To: Pete
    CC:EVERYONE!!
    Dear Pete –
    I am a Greenwich resident, and I pay taxes to this shit hole. So get up off your fat ass and deal with this. Did you read donut boys column in todays ragsheet? Well here it is. CLICK THE LINK!!
    http://www.greenwichtime.com/news/article/Bob-Horton-Police-captain-confused-service-6548201.php

    You find this behavior acceptable? WELL I DON’T!! I want action!! I want consequences!! I want to know how you plan to deal with this, and let the ENTIRE COMMUNITY know that you will not allow the police force to be a political tool. You tool. And I want this guy to shave. Is he a 1960’s hippie? And I want a PBA card. A GOLD ONE!!

    Just because we built the police A FRIGGING PALACE does not mean they are kings. And I am a police supporter, but you better get these guys in line, and send a strong message that they are public servants, and not political activists. You cretin.

    Warm Regards,
    Chris Fountain

    I intentionally kept it short and to the point, without emotions. Just the facts. Post their email addresses and lets get the ball rolling.

    Your Pal,
    Walt

  5. Walt

    Dude –
    Why do I keep getting spammed?
    Your Pal,
    Walt

  6. Anonymous

    A battle between two very bored people is just very boring.

  7. Anonymous

    I have posted anonymously before about the GPD. I believe that are not to be trusted under any circumstances, witness the article in the Greenwich Post.
    There are too many bad apples and they more than offset the good that the few officers do. Unfortunately, they won’t or are unable to police themselves.

    • dollar bill

      Wrotnowski’s politics are atrocious, but Kordick’s behavior is far, far worse. Heads should roll over this. Police departments are running amok across the country on this type of overzealous surveillance, and it has to stop. If it can happen to Wrotnowski, it can happen to any of us. Needless to say, there wouldn’t be a scintilla of outrage from CF if the politics were reversed, and the person under surveillance was a Muslim or an Occupy Wall Streeter, but that doesn’t excuse Kordick’s behavior. Heads should roll.

      • Anonymous

        Is this really that big of deal?

        • CatoRenasci

          Yep.

        • nutmegger

          I agree, it’s a huge deal. Exactly like the IRS auditing the tea party groups to exclusion. Public servants can not become political.

        • dogwalker

          Yes, it is. If Kordick had just handed a flyer to McKersie and said, do you know about this? That’s one thing. Suggesting that he might want to send a representative is inching right up to the edge of the slippery slope. Filling in additional information about the guy’s political views sends him sliding into the abyss.

      • In fact, Dillard, I have pointed out to you over the years that your refusal to condemn unconstitutional, illegal acts by your peers is a failure on your part to recognize a principle when it bites you on your ass.
        Again and again, I have urged you to consider what will happen when someone.you don’t like takes power and uses his new found power to go after people like you. Today, you applaud Obama’s overturning laws via executive power, for instance. You won’t be so happy when Sarah Palin’s running the show.

        • AJ

          Obama with his scepter wearing the suit of a fool. He thinks the thing has magical powers and that all he has to do is point it in some direction and issue edicts and they automatically become the law of the land.

      • Maitre d'Oyer et Terminer

        db: like the proverbial broken clock, you’re right on occasion. In the comment above you were right on Kordick ( perfect name huh? – at his core he’s a dick) and wrong on CF who you really don’t understand at all.

    • dogwalker

      What article in the Greenwich Post?

  8. too protect and surveil..

    probably just the tip of the iceberg.

    • GPD Folk

      Probably not……

      • AJ

        Says a disinterested party . . .

      • Walt

        GPD Folk – Why not share your opinion on this? Give us the insiders view? Can I ask some other questions I have always wondered about? Thank you!!

        What is the starting pay for GP Officers, and how many years of service do you need until retirement?

        Where can I score some decent giggle weed in town?

        Do PBA cards actually work, and can you get me a gold one? Gracias.

        How many donuts a day does the average Police Officer eat?

        Do you pop a woody when you turn the siren on? I know I would.

        Are female officers held to a lower standard? What is your opinion of Pamela Gustovich, and what ever happened to her case?

        Do you prefer to waterboard or just beat the shit out of a suspect?

        Who killed Martha Moxley? YES OR NO!!

        How is the food in the Greenwich jail? Do you have menus? Price Fixe or ala carte?

        What is the going rate to get out of a speeding ticket?

        Do you sense a change in attitude recently towards the police? Because it is there in many other cities.

        Can you arrest the Dude for spam blocking my posts? ANOTHER ONE DUDE!! WTF?

        All kidding aside, thanks for what you do. It may not seem it, but I think most people appreciate it. That was meant for GPD Folk, Dude. Not you. You frigging loser.

        • dogwalker

          Oh, you’ve got all the good questions, Walt. I wish he would answer at least some of them. I’d LOVE to hear different views on the Pamela Gustovich situation!!! All the juicy accusations and counter accusations! And you forgot to ask about Margolies. And you clearly haven’t taken the CPS class, or you would know that meals are provided by Glory Days Diner; set menu; if you eat Kosher, you’re out of luck.

        • dogwalker

          Oops, just saw the post below!

        • dogwalker

          https://ecf.ctd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/show_public_doc?2014cv1242-41

          There has been some very recent action in the case (a Summons and some other minor stuff), but it is on a paid site, so can’t see the details.

  9. First of all, is this an appropriate job for the Captain of Detectives on the public’s dime? Is this one of his tasks? If not, he should be docked for wasting time on this nonsense. Clearly he doesn’t have enough to do keeping up with current cases.

    Even more disturbing, his behavior implies that he has done this before. That he knows of this guy’s political leanings implies that he either has a wonderful memory, or he keeps track of what the bad citizens are up to. He also doesn’t have a problem sharing his findings with city officials. Former mayors and council members should be asked if they’ve ever received emails from the CD.

    If he wants to be a snitch on public behavior, he should do like the rest of us and get a blog. What he shouldn’t be doing is getting paid by taxpayers, unless Greenwich doesn’t have a problem with this behavior.

  10. Anonymous

    Tesei will once again after the fact call for an investigation. It’s always after the fact. He will order his police chief ( who he is friends with ) to look into this Captains actions. Tesei remember has Emergency Director Dan Watzoha’s son working for him as his campaign manager in this years local election. Point is nothing will be investigated. The Police Chief calls the shots. Not Tesei. Tesei has allowed this police chief to control who gets to use the police boat. An expensive boat that should be also available to the Fire Dept..

    What this Captain did anyway is really no big deal.

  11. Flash

    There seems to be a problem with a lot of our peace officers:

    Secret Service Agents Tried To Dig Up Dirt On Congressional Critic
    Just a day after President Obama praised the Secret Service for successfully protecting Pope Francis and the president of China, the agency is back in the headlines with another scandal.

    The Inspector General of Homeland Security found that 40 agents dug into the confidential personnel files of Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who was leading an investigation into a string of serious security lapses and scandals at the Secret Service.

    The agents were looking for something that might embarrass the Congressman in the job application he filed with the Secret Service years before he was elected to Congress, according to the IG report. The office found that the internal agency data search was launched just 18 minutes after a hearing chaired by Chaffetz slammed the Secret Service for lax discipline and poor performance.

    Chaffetz, 48, is chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

    The report noted that 18 Secret Service officials were aware that agents were digging into the confidential personnel files, but did nothing to stop it.

    “It scares me, it really does,” Chaffetz told ABC News. “It is intimidating, and it is absolutely, totally wrong.”

  12. AJ

    I can see from attempting to read the jumbled mess of words that the Greenwich Time presents as a news article that no one there believes in second drafts.

  13. CatoRenasci

    Cut off the PD Budget unless they fire Kortnick

  14. Could some clarify the historical background for me. Was this sort of behavior common in the past among police chiefs or is this a new phenomena/”

    Yes, I know there was a nasty time just after WWI, when the Woodrow Wilson administration went after leftist radicals. And I assume that in the 1950s, some police cooperated with the FBI in monitoring communists.

    But communists really were dangerous. In the Soviet Union alone by the 1950s they’d murdered perhaps 40 million people. Their counterparts in China would soon be doing the same in the so-called Cultural Revolution. They were something to be feared.

    But how many mass murders have been committed by Common Core opponents? None that I’m aware of. Even the suggestion is ridiculous. Some of the most vocal critics are child development experts who warn of how the harmful the curriculum is to child development.

  15. GPD Folk

    Walt…my opinion on this issue is pretty much similar to most others……I don’t believe Capt Kordick has any right to take offense/cite/bring to the attention of others Mr. Wrotnowski’s stand on Common Core.as a representative of GPD……That’s my personal opinion….as for your other questions…..GPD Officers make a pretty good wage ( a lot more than I made when I first started)..Yes PBA cards do work…so does being polite and humble and admitting that you went through that Stop Sign! Not sure about the Weed…But I do remember those Days! The new breed of Police Officer is in really good physical shape…not like the old days…. they eat egg white omelets….we ate Cheeseburgers with chili! I never beat the shit out of a suspect….although there were a few I wanted to…..II believe Michael Skakel killed Martha Moxley……The food at GPD is only as good as the food at Glory Days Diner…..that’s where we get it from (BTW the meals are called cadets…..not sure why) I always thought Pam Gustovich was a pretty good cop!.Yes there’s a change in attitude toward the Police…but really not here in Greenwich…..Our Community is far too educated and sophisticated to buy in to that kind of CRAP…..they like their COPS and their COPS like them…….and I like you too Walt……..any time you need my help …you just let me know!

  16. Kordick’s worldview has been on display before. Many may recall him as the cheery voice on the robocalls from Town Hall during the Sandy storm, and in its aftermath. Unfortunately, that cheery message delivery belies the track record.

    He distinguished himself as an idiot during the (heated) public meeting in Spring 2014 regarding the DPW’s plan to replace the triangle at the intersection of North St, Fairfield Rd; and Parsonnage Rd with a poorly-conceived redesign. The best justifications that the DPW had for the modification were that 1) the DPW had found a way for the State to pick up nearly the entire bill (of course, that doesn’t mean the project is worthy); and 2) that the town had already expended about $1m on the engineering design, so if the project didn’t move forward the money would be wasted (one wonders why the redesign was allowed to go as far as it did, given its flaws). About 90 minutes into the meeting for public commentary, Capt Kordick offered a comment along the lines of, “I don’t understand why so many people are attempting to prevent the ‘improvements’ to this intersection that have been proposed. The experts have said these changes will reduce accidents…so why don’t the opponents want to prevent accidents and injuries” Just the fact that this police officer believes that “experts” should always be trusted tells you where he stands. Furthermore, his comment illustrated that he failed to absorb or comprehend the 90 minutes of extremely insightful commentary and analysis from “non-expert” citizens that had just transpired at the meeting disproving the theory that the redesign was an improvement, illustrating that the change made matters worse for bikers and pedestrians, and raising significant concerns about impacts the change would have on Fairfield and Old Church during Country Day opening and dismissal hours. The combined insights from so many Greenwich citizens at that meeting illustrated that ordinary people as a group had far more judgement and common sense than the supposed “experts”, despite the lack of highway engineering degrees. Fortunately, Capt Kordick’s advice that the townspeople of Greenwich leave the future in the hands of “experts” was ultimately rejected, as the RTM formally voted the project down.

    To answer Chris’s question, yes, we should be very concerned about this incident, and the guy should be fired. However, that is unlkely, and his actions illustrate a general objective within town government to prevent the citizens from standing in the way of their government. For instance, many citizens aren’t aware of the details of the Byram pool, the MISA project, and other budget-busters. When average citizens learn the details, typically they ask, “How could this happen?” The answer is that this First Selectman is extremely skillful in working the levers of power to enable these grade projects. The RTM has been neutralized as an obstacle, and cannot even weigh in a meaningful way on any of these projects. That the town government may have the equivalent of the White House plumbers out there attempting to identify potential sources of dissent so they can be neutralized should not be surprising. The real issue goes beyond the actions of this single individual, and the lack of public engagement, and a political system that offers no choice at the ballot box this November at the local government level. Think of it–there is no opportunity to change our slate of elected officials via the ballot box this November. Three of the 4 candidates for Selectman will win. All BET candidates will win. All (or nearly all) BoE candidates will win. Greenwich is much closer to Putin’s Russia than the USA, and in Putin’s Russia, the state engages security organizations to identify and neutralize dissent. Let’s just hope no one in town government has access to polonium-210:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poisoning_of_Alexander_Litvinenko

    • dogwalker

      The lack of choice in elections elsewhere is imposed from above. Here, it is largely a matter that people are not participating. Many RTM districts do not have a full slate of candidates. If you are not a party-chosen candidate for BET or BoE, you are going “against” the party. Independents being out of the loop is another matter. But these could all be changed by the voters. Yes, it would take some effort, but it would not require a coup d’etat as it would in Putin’s Russia.

  17. Richard

    How on earth did the town spend a million bucks on an intersection redesign study?

    • Anonymous

      The same way it spent seventy thousand dollars on two very small foot bridges in Binney Park. An amazing waste of money.

      • AJ

        You guys all got deep pockets; what are you complaining about? Two small wooden foot bridges for 70 grand? Wow, someone mad out like a bandit.

        • Libertarian Advocate

          No doubt there were environmental impact surveys to be done, reviewed, re-performed, re-reviewed, edited, submitted, returned for corrections, corrected and finally re-submitted.

  18. Anonymous

    Time for Tesei to go and get a leader with a spine

  19. Anonymous

    Tesei ain’t going anywhere, but Kordick’s behavior is about as dumb as that od Christie’s aides who created the childish traffic jam prank that will likely cost him the Republican nomination. Kordick’s action seriously calls into question his competence to be a senior police official. Any chance he covered up evidence used in trials, to convict people he didn’t like?

  20. Anonymous

    no doubt state and directorate of homeland security has been alerted to FWIW blog

  21. Mickster

    I think people are over-reacting here. He was obviously out of line and should be censured for it in some way but firing him…seriously? Guy definitely has too much time on his hands..

    • He is rumored to be heir-apparent to the current chief, so the idea of this goon running the entire force is even more disturbing than his staying quietly in his detective office, stuffing powdered sugar donuts in his maw.

      • dogwalker

        Oh, say it ain’t so. They’ve got a really good captain who ought to be chief, IMHO. But I agree with Mickster on firing. Reprimand, yes.

  22. Anonymous

    The GPD is embarrassing. I’ve never seen they do anything except direct traffic on Greenwich Ave., sit parked for hours in parking lots (my office overlooks a favorite haunt — seriously, they will sit there for 2-4 hours without leaving), and set up speed traps. And yet they get a pension and retirement package as if they’re doing any real work!

    • dogwalker

      Take the Civilian Police Academy next time it is offered (twice a year – spring and fall).

    • Matt

      and you know what, I am extremely blessed to live in a town that has so little going on that requires police intervention…you should feel as lucky to commute to such a town as well.