A former member of Bridgeport’s ethics commission who resigned his position in 2017 after being arrested for allegedly soliciting a prostitute has quietly re-emerged under a new name as the director of a health education program that receives state and federal funds.
Noel Kayo was appointed to the Bridgeport Ethics Commission on Aug. 22, 2016, by a unanimous vote. In presenting himself to the commission as a candidate for consideration, Kayo identified himself as an M.D. who was educated in France and Belgium and had “started to research preventative measures for heart disease in minorities, i.e. Blacks and Hispanics.” The commission also noted that Kayo said he had “recently been appointed to (the) Yale School of Medicine to participate in a health care disparity research project on which he is now working.”
On June 26, 2017, Kayo was arrested outside of The Quality Suites in Stratford after hiring a woman from the now-defunct Backpage.com for what he told police was a “massage and happy ending.” However, Kayo then approached a different woman at the hotel who opened a pepper spray canister into his face. The woman’s boyfriend witnessed the incident and opened his own pepper spray canister at Kayo.
Kayo was charged with patronizing a prostitute, a misdemeanor, and the couple were charged with assault. The publicity related to the incident cast a harsh spotlight on Kayo’s career and raised questions about his professional activities.
In his commission application, Kayo stated that he graduated from St. Matthew’s University Medical School in Grand Cayman, although he would later admit that he was not licensed to practice medicine in Connecticut. Nonetheless, state law enabled him to host screenings on medical and health issues. At the time, he was running the nonprofit Bridging the Gap Education, which focused on preventive strategies to mitigate the risks of diabetes and heart disease.
But an investigation by the Connecticut Post determined the nonprofit was not properly licensed in the state and further probing raised questions on whether he had any affiliation with Yale, as he claimed in his ethics commission application.
During his application process, Kayo would state that his candidacy was recommended by Mario Testa, the Democratic town chairman. Testa would later tell the Associated Press that he did not know Kayo very well.
Kayo used his Facebook page to decry how he was treated by the police and the media.
“I was assaulted with pepper spray by 2 criminals who where (sic) trying to rob me,” he wrote on June 30, 2017. “They both admitted to their crimes and were charged for assault. Ironically the News paper (sic) turned things around and smear me with wrong allegations about the incident.
“My organization which has nothing to do with the assault was also under attack with false allegations. Very unfair.”
Kayo resigned from the ethics commission on July 14, 2017, citing the need to clear his “good name and reputation.” Four months later, the charges against him were dismissed.
After this incident, Bridging the Gap Education disappeared from sight and there is no longer any website tied to that organization. A nonprofit called Monitor My Health Inc. emerged in 2017, with its original business address based at Kayo’s Bridgeport residence. The new organization had an identical mission to its predecessor in providing screenings and educational seminars for lower-income area residents on strategies to mitigate the onset of diabetes and heart disease.
Noel Kayo also disappeared from public view. He legally changed his name to Dana Paris Wade in December 2017.
“I am a U.S. citizen now and I wanted a culturally appropriate name,” he told the Business Journal. “My whole family changed its name. I felt it was good to have a name that was easier to pronounce.”
Wade added that changing his name had nothing to do with his arrest, stating that his application for a new name was submitted before the incident occurred.
Under his new name, Wade successfully pursued an MBA at the University of Bridgeport. His first public appearance as Wade occurred in April 2018 when the university released a news release and photograph that showed Wade as the second-place winner in a “Shark Tank”-style business pitch competition. He would also update his LinkedIn profile under the Wade name.
In December 2018, Solera Health issued a press release welcoming Monitor My Health into its national network of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recognized diabetes prevention program providers. In 2019, he conducted health-related seminars in Fairfield and New Haven counties. In December, his office issued a press release about receiving its second $25,000 federal matching grant — the first came in 2018 — with the funding issued by the CDC and the Connecticut Department of Public Health.
On Jan. 14, Wade was featured in the Hometown Hero segment of News 12 Connecticut based on his work with Monitor My Health. The interview made no mention of his career under the Kayo name.
In discussing Monitor My Health with the Business Journal, Wade pointed out that it is never too late for people to reinvent their lives in pursuit of a longer and healthier existence.