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Bridgeport Now Host Issues FOI Request, Seeks Review Of Documents For Driveway To Manny’s Mansion

July 1st, 2013 · 16 Comments · Development and Zoning, News and Events

Jennifer Buchanan, an active member of the community action group Citizens Working For A Better Bridgeport, has issued a freedom of information request to the city seeking a review of documents associated with the city’s approval to finance a controversial driveway for Bridgeport-based developer Manny Moutinho’s Stratford mansion as part of an airport safety project. Buchanan, who co-hosts the weekly Bridgeport Now cable access show, has requested review of the following documents in a letter to Bridgeport City Attorney Mark Anastasi:

Dear Attorney Anastasi:

Under the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act § 1-200 et seq., I am requesting an opportunity to inspect or obtain copies of public records that are directly related to the construction of a gravel access road and driveway at the Stratford waterfront home of Manuel Mountihno, owner of Mark IV Construction. I do not want the copies sent to me, I prefer to come to the location at which the records are housed, inspect them and only copy what I need.

Please provide the following:

• Any and all correspondence between Mark IV Construction and The Office of the Mayor of Bridgeport, Bill Finch. This request is inclusive of any employee who works in the Mayor’s office, including the Mayor himself and his Chief of Staff, Adam Wood.

• All correspondence between Airport Manager, John Ricci and any representative of Mark IV Construction.

• Any and all correspondence between Airport Manager John Ricci and The Office of the Mayor of Bridgeport, Bill Finch. This request is inclusive of any employee who works in the Mayor’s office, including the Mayor himself and his Chief of Staff, Adam Wood.

• Any and all correspondence between Julian Anthony Railroad Construction and The Office of the Mayor of Bridgeport, Bill Finch. This request is inclusive of any employee who works in the Mayor’s office, including the Mayor himself and his Chief of Staff, Adam Wood.

• Any and all correspondence between Airport Manager, John Ricci and any representative of Julian Anthony Railroad Construction.

• Any and all correspondence between H.R Candee Construction Company and The Office of the Mayor of Bridgeport, Bill Finch. This request is inclusive of any employee who works in the Mayor’s office, including the Mayor himself and his Chief of Staff, Adam Wood.

• Any and all correspondence between Airport Manager, John Ricci and any representative of Julian H.R Candee Construction Company.

• Any and all correspondence between City Council President Thomas McCarthy and The Office of the Mayor of Bridgeport, Bill Finch. This request is inclusive of any employee who works in the Mayor’s office, including the Mayor himself and his Chief of Staff, Adam Wood.

• Any and all correspondence between City Council President Thomas McCarthy and any representative of any of the following: H.R Candee Construction Company, Julian Anthony Railroad Construction and Mark IV Construction.

• Any and all correspondence between City Council President Thomas McCarthy and Airport Manager, John Ricci.

This information is not being sought for commercial purposes.

The Connecticut Freedom of Information Act requires a response within four business days. If access to the records I am requesting will take longer, please contact me with information about when I might expect copies or the ability to inspect the requested records.

If you deny any or this entire request, please cite each specific exemption you feel justifies the refusal to release the information and notify me of the appeal procedures available to me under the law.

This request is being filed on behalf of the Citizens Working for a Better Bridgeport (CW4BB)

Thank you for considering this request.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Harcourt Buchanan

On behalf of CW4BB

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16 Comments so far ↓

  • Phil Smith

    Hopefully tonight’s “briefing” by the Finch administration will be more than a one-sided presentation by city officials attempting to justify their handling of this dubious project. The questions about the roadway project grow daily and largely remain unanswered. Those questions include:
    • When was the issue of replacing the old easement raised? By whom?
    • Were there negotiations between the City and the property owner? If so, who represented the City?
    • Why was it necessary to relocate the current easement? Specifically, was it the result of (a) environmental contamination; (b) flooding; or (c) the airport safety improvements?
    • Why did the City of Bridgeport agree to pay for this work? Was it under a legal obligation to do so? If so, what was the nature of that obligation?
    • Who made the decision to pay for this work?
    • Who approved the inclusion of the driveway project in the larger airport safety project?
    • Did the Federal Aviation Administration and the Connecticut Department of Transportation, which are paying most of the cost of the safety improvement project, agree to the inclusion of the roadway in that project?
    • If the roadway project is a legitimate part of the safety improvement project why aren’t state and federal funds being used to offset part of the cost of the roadway?
    • What was the role of the Airport Commission in that project?
    • Was the commission given specific information about the roadway project? Did it approve the project?
    • What role, if any, did the Department of Public Facilities and the City Engineer play on the project?
    • What role did the City Attorney’s Office play in the roadway project? Did it extend beyond providing legal advice?
    • When was the City Council informed of the roadway project and its cost? Was it told the project will be funded entirely by the city?
    • What role did the Purchasing Agent and the Department of Public Purchases play in the roadway project? Who developed the specifications for this work? Who approved waving the normal competitive bidding process?
    • Who determined what vendors would be invited to submit price quotes? Was the request for quotes written or oral? Who conducted the bidding process?
    • Has the contractor who performed this work been paid?
    • Was funding for the roadway project included in the city’s capital budget?
    • Did the city evaluate any environmental issues which might arise as a result of the project?
    This is far from an all-inclusive list of the questions about the project which need to be both asked and answered.
    Other than setting the annual budget and tax rate, few, if any, powers and responsibilities vested in the City Council are as important as the obligation to oversee the performance of city government. Sadly, that kind of oversight has not been a priority of recent City Councils. Tonight, the current Council gets the chance to set a new direction by demanding the answers they, and Bridgeport voters and taxpayers they represent, are entitled to.
    How will they perform?

    • John Marshall Lee

      Phil,
      Yours is truly a GRAND LIST for the City of Bridgeport. And if the questions find answers it will probably mean a positive change in our financial future as taxpayers. Time will tell.

    • Follow the Money

      Phil–Perhaps the best one to answer your questions on this matter is … John Ricci!

  • Bob Walsh

    Jennifer,
    You missed some things:
    1) Copies of any and all documents relative to a bid waiver to include e-mails, memorandums, meeting minutes, telephone conversation minutes/notes, requesting the bid waiver or requesting assistance in obtaining a bid waiver.
    2) Copies of the actual signed bid waiver.
    3) Copies of any correspondence between the mayor’s office, et al., and/or purchasing agents office and the City Council as a whole, as individuals, or to select individual officers, i.e. the president, chairpersons of the contracts committee, chairpersons of the public safety committee etc, notifying them that the bid waiver has been granted.
    I would suggest you submit a new FOI request for these items. If you amend your original request the city will start the clock again.

  • Jimfox

    What about:
    Who’s responsible for the underground utilities from here on out?

    How did this get by the Town of Stratford Conservation Commission?

    How did this get by Coastal Area Management in Stratford?

    Were there any cost overruns?

    What happened to the CT Post, did they go out of business?

  • Ron Mackey

    Jennifer Buchanan, good move but you do know there will be roadblocks. The first one will be cost for copies of that information seeing you didn’t mention you will cover the cost. Now that is a minor issue but that is how the roadblock works, little things to piss you off.

    • Jennifer Buchanan

      I will put on my protective gear and shoulder pads on–thanks for the heads up, Ron.

    • Bob Walsh

      Ron,
      As long as Jennifer has requested documents for her review prior to copying then she should not have to pay for anything until she asks for copies to be made.

      Then she can selectively request a copy of this and a copy of that.

      You are very much correct about what the city can do AND if the city goes ahead and makes copies they can kill her with the costs, i.e. a copy of each and every e-mail in a ten e-mail thread for both the sender and receiver and if any of the people mentioned are copied.

      You could easily end up with 30 pages at $.50 or a dollar each instead of maybe three or four pages.

      • Ron Mackey

        Bob Walsh, the Firebird Society always stated in our letter we will pay for the copies in order to move things along, now if we are going to court then we want everything in our possession. Bob, you are correct with your suggestion but you know how Mark likes to play games with information that might go against the City’s position.

  • Mustang Sally

    I think Jen has the copy cost thing covered …

    “I do not want the copies sent to me, I prefer to come to the location at which the records are housed, inspect them and only copy what I need.”

    • Ron Mackey

      Mustang Sally, that will work but they will say they don’t have the personnel to watch you go through those records. All I’m saying is keep your eyes on the prize and be prepared for roadblocks but don’t let that stop anyone, justice is not fast.

  • Dave Walker

    It’s time to shine a light on the incompetence and conflicts associated with “Drivewaygate.” Unfortunately, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. With light comes heat, and with heat comes action!

  • countdown

    Jennifer,
    I recommend you add whether a copy of a signed bid waiver is the reason the purchasing board wasn’t required to review the bid package before the contract was signed.

  • Mojo

    *** IF IN THIS CENTURY, COPIES OF THE F.O.I concerning this (?)driveway should be sent to the STATE and FED authorities for a full investigation. ***

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