State Rep. Deborah Heinrich said she was stunned when a 74-year-old constituent tried to hand her an envelope with cash during a meeting about condominium law reforms at the Capitol complex Wednesday.
Heinrich, D-Madison, said she immediately told Capitol police, who arrested Anthony Perrelli on a bribery charge minutes later as he tried to get into his car in the Legislative Office Building parking garage.
"After we had talked for about 40 minutes, he offered me an envelope that he indicated had money in it," Heinrich said Thursday. "I told him, 'Don't show that to me, I don't want to see it, put it away, I'm going to report it.'
"It's very upsetting," she said. "It's upsetting to think that anyone would think that I would accept something like that."
Capitol police declined to say how much money was in the envelope. Bribery is a felony that carries up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Heinrich said Perrelli became upset when she told him she was going to report the incident.
"He said, 'Nobody knows.' I said, 'I know. The law is very clear,"' she said.
Perrelli, who lives in a condominium, has been pushing for more regulation of condominium associations, and he wants a requirement that condo managers be licensed by the state, Heinrich said. State law currently does not require such licenses.
He has also supported a proposed bill backed by Heinrich that would create a statewide condominium review board to hear condo owners' complaints. Owners now have to go to Superior Court with their grievances. The bill was not approved earlier this year.
Capitol Police Chief Michael Fallon told The Hartford Courant that Perrelli claimed he was just trying to make a donation to a Christmas party with the cash.
"But when my officers were questioning him, he said, 'Do you have Christmas parties here?' He's got to know better than that," Fallon said.
Heinrich, who holds no legislative committee chairmanships, is not among the state's most powerful lawmakers.