Dear Neighbor, Burn in Hell
New London — Fort Trumbull diehard Susette Kelo has sent out a heartfelt holiday greeting card to some 30 or so current and former members of the City Council and New London Development Corp., among others, wishing them, in essence, hell on Earth for the rest of their lives.
The text, accompanying a sparkling, snowy image of Kelo's iconic pink house in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood, reads, in its entirety:
Here is my house that you did takeThe cards—conceived and produced by Kathleen Mitchell, a friend of Kelo and city gadfly, and bearing Kelo's name—were received Tuesday by NLDC members David Goebel (the agency's former executive director), George Milne and Reid Burdick, and by Alan Mayer and his wife, Gail Schwenker-Mayer, supporters of the Fort Trumbull development project and one-time assistants to Claire Gaudiani, former president of both the NLDC and Connecticut College. State Sen. Andrea Stillman, D-Waterford, also got one.
From me to you, this spell I make
Your houses, your homes
Your family, your friends
May they live in misery
That never ends
I curse you all
May you rot in hell
To each of you
I send this spell
For the rest of your lives
I wish you ill
I send this now
By the power of will
Kelo said this week that she mailed two cards to Gaudiani.
Kelo confirmed others on her list for the Christmas curse, including Mayor Peg Curtin and Beth Sabilia, Ernie Hewitt, Ron Nossek, Jane Glover, Kevin Cavanaugh, Rob Pero, Tim West, all current or former city councilors involved with Fort Trumbull. NLDC President Michael Joplin and members John Johnson, Carl Stoner, Steve Percy, Karl Sternlof, John Brooks and Pam Akins also are to receive the cards.
Kelo said she was considering sending the cards to the five U.S. Supreme Court justices who, in 2005, sided, as a majority, with the city and NLDC against the Fort Trumbull homeowners who fought the city's right to take the properties by eminent domain [for private use].
Kelo, among six Fort Trumbull property owners who contested the city's and agency's right to seize their homes and businesses [for private use], was the lead plaintiff in the case. She ultimately accepted a settlement offer from the city totaling $442,155 for her house at 8 East St., more than $319,000 above the appraised value in 2000.
"It's amazing anyone could be so vindictive when they've made so much money," said Schwenker-Mayer on Tuesday, after receiving her card.
Milne, a former top executive at Pfizer Inc. here, called the card "immensely childish."
"It's sort of sad she elected to do this," said Milne. "We were trying to do things for the city. It was nothing personal."
Burdick said he put the card on his mantel with all his other Christmas greetings. "I think the poor woman has gone around the bend," he said. "I haven't gotten any mail from her in years. I still feel bad for Susette. The sorry part of this is that the things she's angry about were not done to be mean-spirited toward her personally."
To Glover, a former mayor, the card's rendering of the Kelo house was cute. But the curse didn't cut it. "Being a Christian, I don't believe in curses," she said. "It was really childish. I didn't think Susette Kelo believed in curses and black magic. If she did, she would have tried it on the Supreme Court."
Goebel, the former NLDC executive director, said, "Children will be children." But Goebel was the only recipient, thus far, to suggest that the card might not be from Kelo.
"You shouldn't take the signature at the bottom as that of the one who sent it," Goebel said. "It's not something Susette would have done, in my view. It's unfortunate children have to do this."
He did not speculate on who else might have been behind the mailing.
Kelo said the card was her idea. "I'm very upset with what these people did to me," said Kelo, who works for the City of New London as a nurse dealing with lead paint and lead poisoning cases.
"This all could have been solved and ended many years ago," she said. "They didn't have to do what they did to us, and I will never forget. These people can think what they want of me. I will never, ever forget what they did."