BRIDGEPORT -- A trim and fit-looking Joseph Ganim was in the city's East End on Thursday, where the former mayor handed over a $1,000 check to the Bridgeport Area Youth Ministry, an organization that connects inner city youth and adults with computer technology.
"I just wanted to do something small for this organization," the former mayor said. "George (Stowell, BAYM's executive director) and I went to high school together, and BAYM started when I was mayor. This is a way for me, personally, to give something back."
Ganim, who was Bridgeport's mayor between 1991 and 2001, was convicted on 16 corruption charges and spent seven years in prison. He was released on July 19, 2010.
Although the rumors are flying in the city's political circles that Ganim is contemplating a run for mayor in November, he wouldn't answer any questions from reporters that had to do with politics.
"I hope this won't be interpreted in any political way at all," Ganim said. "This is just my way of recognizing the inner-city nonprofits that do so much for those who need help the most."
The check was from the Fairfield County Community Foundation, although the money was from the Joseph Ganim Foundation. The Ganim foundation is funded in part by leftover campaign contributions from the former mayor's election races, as well as contributions from friends and also from more recent fundraising.
Ganim said that the Ganim Law Firm, for which he works, will also be funding several college scholarships for inner-city high school graduates.
BAYM was established 17 years ago and yearly provides training for about 300 teens and refurbishes 2,500 computers, which are re-sold for less than $100. Most of the clients in the training program are between 13 and 19, according to Stowell.
"We'd like to do this on an annual basis," Ganim said of the BAYM contribution. Ganim said that on Friday he would be making similar contributions to the Ralphola Taylor Center on Central Avenue and the Cardinal Sheehan Center on Main Street.
"A lot of the inner-city nonprofits are really struggling now, and I hope that these contributions will draw attention to their needs," Ganim said.
You can reach John Burgeson at 203-330-6403 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Follow twitter.com/johnburgeson.