Last week I ran across a reference to scandals that arose out of the construction of the Merritt Parkway and the Wilbur Cross Parkway, both in Connecticut.
The Merritt Parkway, now a National Scenic Byway and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, was built between 1934 and 1938, and also became a great scandal in 1938 when it was alleged that the private individuals entrusted with acquiring the land arranged to inflate the prices paid and split the swollen commissions (which were naturally a percentage of the purchase price). G. Leroy Kemp spent four years in jail as a result of his activities.
The Wilbur Cross Parkway (named after a Depression-era state governor, and built between 1940 and 1948 (interrupted by World War II)) turned out to be a tempting graft target within the Highway Department itself, as revealed by a New Haven newspaper in 1941.
Such back-to-back scandals suggest, dishearteningly, that corruption was not as rare in the state as one would hope – and perhaps, even more dishearteningly, still isn’t.
Mark H. Jones, The Merritt Parkway, Connecticut State Library
Steve Anderson, Wilbur Cross Parkway, Eastern Roads