The other day City Attorney Mark Anastasi poked an editorial stick in the eye of the Connecticut Post claiming the newspaper’s assertions regarding a $400,000 driveway at the Stratford home of a Bridgeport-based developer were “skewed to reflect the narrative of an alleged unscrupulous deal between the city government and a local developer.” Anastasi may wish he wrote that editorial with disappearing ink. On Wednesday, Airport Manager John Ricci was placed on leave pending an investigation into the matter that clearly required a series of approvals–including Anastasi’s office–way beyond the scope of Ricci’s authority.
Anastasi wrote, “Selling newspapers should not be a higher priority of the newspaper than actually reporting on the facts … There is a level of trust that residents have in their government, and false attacks like this one can have a damaging effect on that trust.” The city has certainly reversed course since Anastasi’s protest. Anastasi has been the city’s chief lawyer for more than 20 years. His title is “City Attorney” but in reality he’s the “Mayor’s City Attorney.” Mark is loyal to the mayor he serves, be it Joe Ganim, John Fabrizi and now Bill Finch. He knows no other way. Sometimes it places him in the crosshairs of controversy such as his refusal to release government cell phone records of Joe Ganim during the federal investigation that forced him from office more than 10 years ago, or his defense of John Fabrizi when he too faced personal demons that forced him from office. And now Anastasi’s front and center during an oops! moment involving this airport driveway arrangement.
We will be hearing more from Anastasi as additional details on this arrangement play out.
Andy Fardy, a regular OIB commentator, for one doesn’t pull punches about Anastasi’s role in government. He filed this response to Anastasi in a CT Post letter to the editor.
This is in response to a live letter sent in by City Attorney Mark Anastasi. Mr. Anastasi stated that the driveway construction near Sikorsky Airport was required as part of an agreement with various agencies and the town of Stratford.
That is pure baloney. There was no order from any agency stating that the driveway in question needed to be moved and rebuilt. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection never ordered this to take place.
It’s strange that Mr. Anastasi’s letter appears in the paper so soon after the Post article appeared in print. There is an old saying “he who protests too hard is guilty.” It is strange that there is such a rush on this project after all these years of discord between Stratford and Bridgeport concerning this project.
I have a question for Mr. Anastasi and the administration–why are we doing this at all? Last year the airport ran at a $300,000 deficit and really only serves a few wealthy plane owners.
I see Mr. Anastasi used the old excuse that we needed to get this job going and so bypassed the normal bidding procedure, and it was covered by a city ordinance. How nice.
I want to bring to Mr. Anastasi’s attention a statement from one of his employees assigned this airport project. The statement of the century came from Associate City Attorney Lisa Trachtenburg, who was assigned the airport project. She stated, “Whatever is going on with Manny and the driveway, quite frankly, I didn’t care. Wasn’t thinking about it. Didn’t know much about it because it had nothing to do with me or the city.”
How does that sound? This just reflects the attitude of the city and the City Attorney’s Office.
By the way, has anyone in the City Attorney’s Office heard of due diligence?