New RTM member draws on finance background

Charles Carey, RTM-9, at Town Hall in Westport. The 63-year-old Westporter since 2006 was recently appointed to fill a Representative Town Meeting vacancy. Photo: Laura Weiss / Hearst Connecticut Media / Westport News

WESTPORT — Westport resident Charles Carey entered law to take up the family trade. The lawyer of 40 years comes from a family of lawyers, but the field brought him his own family as well, connecting him with his future wife.

The 63-year-old, who was recently appointed to fill a Representative Town Meeting vacancy in District 9, has lived on Otter Trail in Westport with his wife Kathleen since 2006. The couple will celebrate their 39th wedding anniversary this month.

About four decades ago, they met in law school — Charles was a mentor and Kathleen his mentee. Both were attending St. John’s University School of Law in New York City, and six months after meeting in Charles Carey’s mentor group, they began dating. A year later, they married, living in Stamford, Darien, Los Angeles and Boston before settling in Westport 11 years ago.

Their moves followed Carey’s career.

The Washington, D.C., native’s parents hailed from Pennsylvania, but his mother raised him and his brother as a single mother in Alexandria, Va., after his father’s death when Carey was 3 years old. After studying at the University of Scranton, Carey chose law as the family trade; his mother and brother, both lawyers, worked for the federal government. His mother was a longtime U.S. State Department employee, while his brother works for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

But Carey chose private practice, working for two law firms across his career and specializing in municipal financing.

The day Carey was admitted to the New York Bar Association, he went to court to be sworn in. He returned to the office and his wife returned home to find robbers in the young couple’s apartment.

“And I said, ‘I’m never going back to court,’” Carey joked, “and I’ve never gone back.”

Now a member of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C. in New York City, Carey has worked on financing for affordable housing, health care facilities and — in a project among his most memorable — Yankee Stadium.

When Carey and his wife returned to the New York City area in 2006, they chose Westport for its community offerings that stretch beyond schools, in particular the beaches, theater and golf course in town.

Their children grown — Charles Jr. (Chas), 31, is a lawyer and actor in New York and Sean, 26, works in finance in London — the couple has found what they were looking for in Westport.

“We decided that Darien and Stamford wasn’t it,” Carey said. “Our kids were grown. We wanted a little more mature community and came to Westport, and we’ve loved it.”

Carey continues to work in law, while Kathleen Carey, who worked for law firms, a real estate developer and General Electric, is president of the Urban Land Institute Foundation. Both regularly volunteer at the Westport Public Library, in particular for its annual sale, and Charles Carey recently resigned as vice chairman of the Westport Housing Authority in order to take on his new RTM seat.

“I think having had some experience in the finance side, I thought it was a good opportunity to give back some of my experience,” he said of joining the RTM. “I think it’s a very interesting perspective in the sense that it is a representative position. You don’t go in with an agenda; you don’t go in and say I need to get this done or I need to get that done. I’m really trying to come in and sort of hear what people are interested in and then decide how best to do it.”

Carey’s top concern is with the state budget and how it will impact Westport.

“There’s not going to be the revenues available to share with the local communities, and towns like Westport are going to take a disproportionate share of that hit,” Carey said. “How we balance those things out and maintain the quality of our town will be some difficult decisions, and I have no idea what those answers are or how best to approach it.”

He said, “But I’m ready to listen and try to figure out how best to make that work.”