Charles Valentino, a Republican who was the last Fairfield County high sheriff before that patronage system ended more than 20 years ago, won a pardon this month, expunging a criminal record that included a year in prison after he was caught selling foreclosed cars at auction, including a Mercedes whose owner had accumulated $500 in back taxes.
Valentino, a former Bridgeport zoning official and leader of the local GOP, was among 86 people granted so-called absolute pardon on Sept. 6 by the Waterbury-based state Board of Pardons and Paroles. The board meeting, in which applicants were referred to by their initials, quickly approved the pardon with little discussion. Attempts to contact Valentino, 74, for comment were unsuccessful. Last year he was a candidate for city sheriff.