WANTED: CITY BOND COUNSEL
“Firms submitting qualification statements must be licensed to practice law in the State of Connecticut. The firm must have considerable experience in public finance and taxation, and must be free of all obligations and interests that might conflict with the best interests of the City of Bridgeport. The firm must further have the capacity to provide services on a timely basis, and must be listed in the latest edition of The Bond Buyer’s Directory of Municipal Bond Dealers of the United States, commonly referred to as the ‘Red Book’.”
(Competing firms must also feature at least one attorney that served as Bridgeport Democratic Town Chairman, raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Mayor Bill Finch and possesses perspicacity to counsel mayor to cut taxes $600 for each taxpayer irrespective of future budget fallout.)
Okay, okay the parenthetical language is mine, but isn’t that at least part of the reason that Pullman & Comley, the law firm that pays former Democratic Party leader John Stafstrom, will be selected once again as the city’s Bond Counsel? If you want to make a play for the work the application deadline is Thursday.
City Bond Counsel is a major nugget to hand out. Stafstrom’s firm has reaped millions from the city in its many years advising the city on a variety of financial matters. Pullman is qualified and Stafstrom’s a good lawyer. What he isn’t now is party chairman, but that shouldn’t stop Finch from selecting Pullman once again to represent the city. Finch has been obsessed with Stafstrom’s solid fundraising abilities so much so that Finch looked like an amateur trying to line up the Democratic Town Committee votes to keep him in power. Instead, the party revolted (for a variety of reasons) and ran back into the arms of former chair Mario Testa.
The bid package lists the selection committee as chief financial officer, city attorney, deputy director of finance and city treasurer. Guess what? If Finch wants Stafstrom’s firm, Stafstrom’s firm will be selected. Bridgeport City Council ratification of the bond-counsel selection has always been a fuzzy area. State law gives the city attorney/corporate counsel authority over outside legal hiring, and the only one on the counsel that might question that authority, without council ratification, is councilman Bob Walsh. Finch’s relationship with the council is a little scratchy right now as his first budget heads to a vote, so others may weigh in such as Bob Curwen and Rich Paoletto, both of whom view the former chairman as uppity and self serving. They’re Testa guys.
Finch, to his credit, has assembled a strong committee to examine privatizing school-based health clinics whose jobs Finch whacked in his budget, and has heard the public outcry. The committee includes former City Health Director Tim Callahan, now in Norwalk and freshman City Council member Sue Brannelly, a nurse. Finch is hoping he can farm out the work while maintaining his proposed budget cuts. The City Council is expected to submit its budget changes to Finch by Monday. Stay tuned.
Mark your calendar, May 15, 6 p.m., OIB party at Captain’s Cove Seaport. First cocktail on me, then it’s on to happy hour and munchies. Sometime today or Thursday we will crack the 50,000 pageview mark. The poster that puts us over the top gets dinner for two with me and my wife Mo, and a signed copy of my book Chased, the life of mob infiltrator Billy Chase.
I see where OIB friend Joel Gonzalez, former city council member, has switched to the GOP and is now looking at running as the Republican candidate for the 130 State Assembly seat, being vacated by Felipe Reinoso. It’s a tough seat for a Republican to win, but that won’t scare off Joel who worked actively in Black Rock and West End for Republican Rob Russo’s state senate victory in March.
Wow, Joel against Democratic district leader Mitch “The Switch” Robles’ candidate will be fun. Joel’s endured a lot of personal tragedy the past year, including the loss of a son, but that hasn’t ended his zippy personality. He enjoys a good fight. And now the fight seems to be more intense in light of the layoff slip Finch handed him last week. The good news for Joel is that he has bumping rights.
Speaking of fights … press release from Boxing USA
USA Boxing to Host an Open Weigh-in and Press Conference at 2 p.m. on Thursday, May 8 at The Arena at Harbor Yard
All Three USA Boxing Olympic Invitational Teams to Step on the Scale and Give Interviews
BRIDGEPORT, CONN. — The USA Boxing Olympic Invitational festivities will kick off at 2 p.m. on Thursday, May 8 at the Arena at Harbor Yard with the competitors from all three teams stepping on the scale. Fourteen Olympians will compete in Bridgeport. The USA Boxing Olympic Invitational, which will take place at 8 p.m. on May 9 at the Arena at Harbor Yard, will showcase top athletes from the United States, China and Brazil as all three nations prepare for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
Six United States Olympians, including 2007 Welterweight World Champion Demetrius Andrade (Providence, R.I.), three Chinese Olympians and five Olympic-qualified boxers from Brazil will all compete in the first-ever USA Boxing Olympic Invitational. In addition to Andrade, light flyweight Olympian and 2007 Pan American Games champion Luis Yanez (Duncanville, Texas), bantamweight Olympian and 2005 World Championships bronze medalist Gary Russell, Jr. (Capitol Heights, Md.), lightweight Olympian and two-time Golden Gloves champion Sadam Ali (Brooklyn, N.Y.), light welterweight Olympian Javier Molina (Commerce, Calif.), and heavyweight Olympian Deontay Wilder (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) will all compete in Friday night’s action. Russell will step up to the featherweight division for Friday’s competition, but will compete at the bantamweight class in Beijing.
Molina, Andrade and Wilder will all face off with Chinese Olympians in what could be an early preview of the action that will take place in Beijing. The U.S. trio will face light welterweight Olympian Qiong Maimaitituersun, welterweight Olympian Silamu Hanati, and heavyweight Olympian Yushan Nijiati respectively. Yanez, Russell and Ali will all battle Brazilian Olympians in Bridgeport with the three boxers all facing the newly qualified light flyweight Paulo Carvalho, featherweight Robson Conceição, and lightweight Everton Lopes.
In addition to the 20 athletes, USA Boxing CEO Jim Millman as well as the coaching staffs of all three delegations will be on hand. Following the press conference and weigh-in, all three nations will complete their final training sessions at the Bridgeport Police Athletic League gym. China and Brazil will train from 3-4:30 with the United States team working out from 4:30-6 p.m.
Tickets for the USA Boxing Olympic Invitational are currently on sale and are available through Ticketmaster as well as the Arena at Harbor Yard and range from $30 for upper level seats, $50 for lower level seats, to $75 for premium floor seating.