BRIDGEPORT, Conn., June 20 — John M. Fabrizi, the mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut's largest city, admitted publicly today that he had abused drugs and alcohol since becoming mayor in April 2003. "I have put this personal struggle behind me," he said in an emotional news conference at City Hall, "and it has never affected my job performance."
Speaking before a room of 200 city employees, residents and reporters, Mr. Fabrizi, 49, apologized for not having been frank about his problem sooner. He also said he did not intend to step down from office.
Last week the matter became public when the government filed a document in court implicating the mayor in a long-running drug investigation that has already resulted in dozens of arrests. After The Connecticut Post published an article about the court filing last week, the United States attorney's office in New Haven moved to seal the document. Kevin O'Connor, the head of the office, also issued an unusual public apology to Mayor Fabrizi for having allowed the document to become part of the public record.
"I thought that these were personal and private matters; that I could deal with these problems alone," said Mr. Fabrizi, choking up as he read his statement this morning. "I now recognize that my actions affect many others and I want to apologize."
He said that he had sought treatment for his problems and that he had not used drugs in the last 18 months. He added that he stopped drinking entirely about four months ago.
He vowed to work hard to "regain the respect and support of the people of the city" and also to make the public "aware that even people in my position can become victims of drugs and alcohol."
He received several standing ovations as he read his statement and afterward many of the spectators said they would continue to support him.
"I think we can all relate to it," said Jill Bruno, director of veterans affairs for the city. "I have some family members with addiction problems and it hit home. I don't know too many mayors who stand up in front of a crowd and cry and pour their heart out to the city."