A public employee in one of the city's most detested departments found an unorthodox way to pay homage to his boss, and got a handful of city residents and aldermen to foot the bill.
The worker, who asked not to be named because he works for the city and is not authorized to speak to the media, had a portrait of mayor John DeStefano tattooed on his bicep to commemorate the mayor's record breaking ninth election victory two weeks ago. Underneath the mayor's smiling face, the words "original gangster" appear in old English font.
"There are some people in the world who are born winners, that's John DeStefano," the worker says. "Then there are some people who are born losers. That's Jeffrey Kerekes."
When asked what he likes about the mayor, the employee, a New Haven native who dropped out of Wilbur Cross, did not get too deep into politics.
"What do I like about the mayor," he says, holding back a chuckle. "I don't know, his smile. He gave me a job. He's just one of my heroes. Him, Morrissey, and Pee Wee Herman."
City Hall spokesman Adam Joseph says the mayor got a little kick out of the idea that he was inked on someone's arm, but did not make a direct comment.
"I mentioned it to him yesterday and he just laughed," Joseph says. "Then he asked if I was the employee in question. Little known fact, all members of the mayor's staff have portraits of the mayor tattooed somewhere on their bodies."
Among the elected officials who donated money for the memorial were East Rock alderwoman Jessica Holmes and downtown alderman Doug Hausladen, who the worker says both made small contributions. Another politician, state representative Roland Lemar, pledged money but has not come through as of press time.
"Roland Lemar pledged a 15 to 20 percent tip, and he's been ducking me," the worker says. "He's a slippery fish, politicians, you know?"
Reached by phone on Friday, Lemar says he plans to come through with his end of the bargain over the weekend.
Though he admits it is a silly concept, the worker says he won't regret the ink.
"People say to me, 'you are crazy, what are you going to tell your grandchildren 40 years from now when they ask you about that tattoo,'" the worker says. "I say, 'what are you talking about? In 40 years John DeStefano is still going to be mayor.'"