New Haven Alderwoman Lindy Lee Gold said Monday she was “duped” into endorsing the Rev. W. David Lee DIV ’93, a candidate for the Yale Corporation, when she posed for a photograph after a Jan. 25 fund-raiser at Lee’s church.
Gold said that a vague invitation and confusing program misled her into thinking that the gathering was a simple community meeting, and added that she was surprised when the group photograph of local politicians and community leaders posing with Lee appeared in an advertisement in the March 2002 issue of the Yale Alumni Magazine under a banner reading, “The New Haven community joins together in support of Rev. David Lee for the Yale Corporation.”
But Lee said the fund-raiser’s invitation, which said campaign contributions would be accepted, and program, inviting the leaders to join a group photo, made it quite clear that the event was a fund-raiser.
Gold said she had never heard of Lee before the event and said she did not see Lee’s New Haven residency as a compelling enough reason to endorse him.
“It certainly seemed innocent enough,” Gold said Monday. “When we realized they were actually doing fund raising in a church sanctuary for a candidate for the Yale Corporation, we left — I don’t have any more feelings about it. I had never met the man before.”
But several other aldermen who attended the event said yesterday they did not understand how Gold could have misunderstood its purpose.
Alderman Willie Greene said he was fully aware what his presence at the event implied.
“I can’t speak for everyone else, but I was very clear why I was there,” he said.
The program, which Lee said was widely distributed at the event, did not explain that the photograph would appear in an advertisement, but it did explicitly invite “Yale alumni, clergy, and all elected and local officials” to come forward for “a photo opportunity in support of Rev. Lee’s candidacy.”
Lee said he made the event’s purpose perfectly clear in the invitation and in the program.
“There was nothing hidden,” he said. “Everything was clear. It was expressed. Everyone was there.”
But Gold said she still felt cheated.
“I really felt as though I had been duped,” she said. “I wouldn’t have been offended by it, or any part of it, if the invitation had been straightforward.”
At the event, Lee received formal endorsements from New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. and U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro.