GOP donor switches to Dems after Malloy election, bond commission approves $6 million in state support

    Abul Islam was a generous donor to the Connecticut Republican Party – until the state elected a Democratic governor.

    Islam, as the principal of a state contractor, can only give to the federal accounts of either party. A party’s federal account cannot benefit candidates for state office like a governor. Instead, they support candidates for U.S. Congress, Senate or President.

    According to the Federal Elections Commission, Islam gave $350 to Democrats in April 2004, the first of his donations in the agency’s online database. At the time, then-Gov. John Rowland was facing the corruption scandal that led ultimately to his resignation and guilty plea to federal charges.

    In 2008 and again in 2009, while the Republican M. Jodi Rell was governor, Islam gave $10,000 to the Connecticut Republican Party.

    On Oct. 29, 2010, he gave another $2,500.

    Days later, on Nov. 2, 2010, Connecticut elected Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, to be its next governor.

    On the last day of 2010, before Malloy was inaugurated, Islam gave $2,500 to the Democratic Party. He followed that up with another $925 in 2011 and $2,500 more on Election Day 2012.

    Islam said Malloy’s election is why he started giving to the Democratic Party and stopping giving to the Republican Party.

    “I have been a longtime supporter of Dannel Malloy from his days as Mayor of Stamford,” Islam said.

    Asked if he knew the federal account couldn’t benefit Malloy, Islam said, “Yes, I know that but I have been a supporter and a friend of Congressman John Larson for years, too.”

    One of Islam’s companies, AI Engineers, has done about $18.2 million of work for the Department of Transportation since January 2011, including subcontracts, according to an agency spokesman.

    AI Engineers did about $100,000 in business with the University of Connecticut in 2013, according to the state’s transparency website. In 2010, the company did a smaller amount of work for the UConn Health Center.

    Last month, the state bond commission approved assistance for another company run by Islam, TAROB, including a $2.5 million 2 percent loan and a $1.8 million equity investment, to develop Residences at Riverview at 3 Constitution Plaza in Hartford.

    The project will include 48 rental units and 20,000 square feet of commercial space.

    The Capital Region Development Authority is providing the assistance to TAROB. Payments on the loan are deferred for six years.

    The bond commission also approved $8.9 million for the Westport Housing Authority’s Sasco Creek Apartments. That property is managed by Millenium Real Estate. Bruce Whitaker Jr., Millennium’s owner, gave $5,000 to the Democratic Party’s federal account in November.