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Chief’s Car Accident Costs $65,000, Judge Rules Against City

May 8th, 2015 · 20 Comments · Law Enforcement, News and Events

Joe Gaudett

Chief Gaudett

It will cost taxpayers about $65,000 as a result of a car accident Police Chief Joe Gaudett had with a couple injured in the crash in 2010, according to a ruling by Superior Court Judge Dale Radcliffe.

“Chief Gaudett failed to take timely evasive action in an attempt to avoid the impact,” the judge ruled, according to the CT Post’s Dan Tepfer. See story here.

Attorney Paul Ganim, who’s also judge of probate, filed a lawsuit three years ago against Gaudett and the city on behalf of two East Main Street residents claiming the chief ran a red light Downtown in 2010.

“I’m very happy because the court awarded more than what I was willing to settle the case,” Ganim told OIB. “The chief claimed he wasn’t at fault. That’s not what the court found. Why would the city put the chief on the stand to have the judge rule on his credibility? I would not put my top officials on the stand in an intersection accident.”

Mayoral spokesman Brett Broesder responds:
“We’re baffled by the court’s decision to equally distribute blame in this case. Clearly the plaintiff was speeding without regard for other vehicles on the road, and is at fault for the collision.”

According to the complaint, on August 2, 2010, at 10:29 a.m. Roy Padilla-Jimenez was operating a 1999 Mazda Protege on North Frontage Road near Lafayette Boulevard Downtown when Gaudett, operating a city vehicle 2007 Cadillac Escalade, collided with the front end of the plaintiff’s vehicle. Lucy Batista, also a plaintiff in the case, was a passenger. Gaudett at the time of the accident was acting police chief. He was appointed to a five-year term by Mayor Bill Finch in December of 2010.

The complaint accused Gaudett of negligence, operating the motor vehicle at an unreasonable rate of speed and running a red light.

The complaint asserted the plaintiffs suffered injuries to neck and back incurring “significant medical expenses” and “physical therapy for injuries” and “has been unable to perform activities of daily living.” The accident also caused loss of work and earnings, according to the court complaint.

Ganim had filed notice of intent to sue seven weeks after the accident. Ganim and lawyers for the City Attorney’s Office had gone back and forth in a flurry of legal motions, maneuverings and objections, including scheduling a deposition for the chief.

Unable to reach a settlement agreement, a trial took place before Judge Radcliffe.

According to the police report by officer Peter Kemeza (two other officers were also at the scene), Padilla-Jimenez had been transported to the hospital by AMR ambulance. Gaudett “stated he was experiencing some soreness to left side but stated he would seek medical attention from his own physician.”

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20 Comments so far ↓

  • The Phantom

    Apparently he drives like I hear he runs the PD … not so good. Can’t fudge that stat for Finch. It’s the taxpayers who get screwed again.

  • John Marshall Lee

    The Chief said he’s not at fault, the court says he failed to take timely evasive action. The CITY taxpayer has consequences of $65,000 for the settlement, legal representation and Cadillac damage, I suppose. The victims have pain, suffering and a settlement.
    What consequences do the Chief face? Perhaps a continuing ed course for Escalade evasive maneuvers? Time will tell.

  • Ron Mackey

    You go Chief Gaudett, player, player with your Escalade.

  • Black Rockin

    Everything is upside down in this city.
    I drive a Toyota, get a parking ticket in downtown Bpt at a place to support Bpt. The honcho drives a Pimp Mo Bile (I meant bile), doesn’t live in town. I get a raise in my taxes along with his “Cadillac.” Isn’t this a freaking $65,000 delight. Give me a ride in our car–or just stay off the phone.

  • Steven Auerbach

    Accidents happen. Love how an accident could possibly become a political football. Now we make fun of cars. Where people live. Blame the Mayor for hiring him. Ironically, a Ganim got more money than he was willing to settle for. It really is surreal.

  • city hall smoker

    Another example of the arrogance of this administration. Now the judge is wrong, SMH. They probably could have settled this at much less expense to the taxpayers but instead they end up paying 6$5K and embarrassing the police chief at the same time. My guess is Finch/Nunn/Wood wouldn’t settle just to spite Paul Ganim. Who’s laughing now?

  • Steven Auerbach

    There was a car accident. Who is laughing now?

    city hall smoker, do you find humor in this? Accidents happen. It is sad it cost taxpayers money. Ganim cost the city hundreds of thousands. You want to talk arrogance? What’s the matter with you?

  • carolanne curry

    Steve,
    A Cadillac Escalade?
    Driven by the Bridgeport Chief of Police?
    You can’t see the irony here?
    You can’t see the taxpayer waste here?

    • Wicca

      Non-resident chief of police.

    • Steven Auerbach

      Carolanne Curry,
      Yes, a Cadillac Escalade. Who chose that car? Yes it is a little extreme for a poor city. If you were supporting Mary-Jane Foster, you could use the car as an out-of-touch issue. You are supporting Joe Ganim, let’s not talk about out-of-touch issues. Let’s just agree we are supporting different candidates and we will agree on nothing. We can agree outside of politics that Blood Root is the best vegetarian restaurant in the area. I had lunch there on Saturday and asked that they send you my regards.

    • Jimfox

      A day in the life of Mayor Finch

      MF: Hello!

      CG: Sorry to call you so late, Mayor. Did you have a chance to read the papers yet?

      MF: Who is this?

      CG: Chief Gaudett, Mayor!

      MF: Oh I did, Gaudy. It looks like you had your head handed to you by Judge Dale Radcliffe and Paul Ganim!

      CG: They made me look like a lying sack of SHIT, Mayor!

      MF: Dale and Ted Lovegrove (RIP Fred) used to kick my ass when I was in the State Senate too! Welcome to the real world, Gaudy! I’ll have Woody call Hamilton Burger, let’s see what Ham comes up with. Just what I need, another talking point for Joe Ganim and Charlie Coviello! This goes right back to Judge Bellis, she’s the one who makes the flucking case appointments! I pissed her off when we screwed over Mary-Jane, last time in court!

      CG: It sucked not having my Escalade, and I had to use my own car. It doesn’t have a CD player, XM or Howard, it’s not like the Escalade and the console sucks, nowhere to put my donut or a hot cup of coffee and the flucking Air wasn’t working, and no PD radio! No GPS! I don’t know the names of these Flucking Bridgeport streets! I’m from Newtown! Hey! That reminds me, Mayor, the City owes me $140 bucks for gas and I put it on my credit card!

      MF: Gaudy, I’ll call you right back! I have a call coming in from Ham! Hello!

      HB: Hello Mayor, what’s going on?

      MF: Ham, Gaudy got his head handed to him in court today by Radcliffe, and the city now has to come up with the $65K judgement and Gaudy wants $140 bucks for gas!

      HB: I heard all about it! That cheap bastard! If he’s telling you Mayor it’s 140 bucks for gas, it’s more like $70 that lying sack of Shit!!!

      MF: Ham, listen I got both Ganim boys kicking my ass on this one, I need help with this!

      HB: Okay! We’ll have to pull a Sal DiNardo on this one, first thing is to file an appeal!
      1. The City will claim Radcliffe was obviously cajoled by his wife, retired Judge Carman Lopez while at home!
      2. The City will claim you never made fun of assignment Judge Barbara Bellis’ nail polish!
      And that’s why she came after you and the lying sack of shit, using Radcliffe to do her bidding to get at you, Mayor!

      MF: I concur, Ham!

      HB: Then we’ll file for a change of venue, like New Haven or Danbury! Now if Joe Ganim or Charlie Coviello or Mary-Jane and the press bring up the case of the lying sack of SHIT, you just say I can’t talk about it, it’s under appeal, and we’ll drag our feet until well after November or Christmas and then offer a small amount to the plaintiff, and settle it out of court with nobody the wiser! Hey! It works in Fairfield!

      MF: DiNardo did this in Fairfield? You’re the best, Hamilton Burger!

      HB: It’s my duty to serve this wonderful city and you Mayor, good night, Sir.

      MF: Good night, Ham. Honey, we just saved the lying sack of Shit’s ass!

      Mrs. F: Did Gaudy get the Escalade back yet? Honey, you know I have to go to the outlets!

  • BPT REBEL

    Seriously, you are ruining this blog for people looking for info and commentary. Can you please dial it down with your agenda, maybe comment once a thread so we don’t have to scroll through your comments every other comment?

    Thanks in advance even though we all know you can’t help yourself and this was a wasted comment.

    • Steven Auerbach

      BPT REBEL, do you ever post a comment that is worthy of a response? You may scroll past my comments. I do not take it personally as I consider the source and anonymity. I will continue to read all posts as I respect all opinions and appreciate the banter.

  • Wicca

    Whatever happens THIS time leads to the same place everything else leads to. The taxpayers get screwed. All roads lead to the taxpayer’s wallet.

    You are a common John Q. Citizen in Bridgeport. What’s in your wallet? Either cobwebs or the Mayor’s fingers.

  • city hall smoker

    Here’s my take on it from an insider city hall perspective:
    The Chief is leaving DD with a coffee he plans to enjoy while watching the breakdown of Gathering of the Vibes at Seaside. He’s not rushing to the scene of a crime, not on important police business. He’s driving his Escalade, which incidentally, he takes home to Newtown every night. He gets into an accident while maybe on his cell phone. The Chief says he wasn’t on his phone, the accident victims and cell phone records say he was. BTW, it took the City a year to release cell phone records as ordered by the court as part of the Discovery process.
    I would bet money the City Attorney wanted to settle before this went to trial as he realized the exposure of putting the Chief on the stand. Why risk it? Settle and keep the details out of the paper, right? But the powers that be over-ruled him and now it is what it is.
    I have seen this before. Adam Wood runs interference between the Mayor’s Office and City Attorney’s Office. Being the spiteful little man he is, he would rather spend thousands of taxpayer dollars to spite the victims or the the victim’s attorney so he can get his jollies proving what a powerful man he is.
    A few years ago, Adam disagreed with one of the City Attorney’s opinions and ordered the attorney to change it. When the attorney said he was not changing his educated legal opinion, Adam went after him, threatening his job. The City Attorney then had to get an attorney to protect himself.
    The problem with this administration is Adam calls the shots and it’s all based on power and who he can control and who he can punish at the expense of the taxpayers.

  • Ron Mackey

    ALERT: Bridgeport City Council members, you have the power to change the police chief’s NEW contract to protect the taxpayers from these type of cases that have nothing to do with the chief performing his duties as the chief. Remember, the police and fire chiefs’ contracts must be approved by the City Council.

  • Black Rockin

    You know the Berkshire Hathaway boss doesn’t drive an Escalade. Be real, Police Chief! This is Bridgeport.

  • DonTito

    Rooney had an accident at a NY airport dropping off his girlfriend a few years back and got into an accident. He never reported it and had the city car towed and hid at the FD maintenance shop. The shop then repaired the vehicle and replaced it with a new car and never told city officials.

  • Donald Day

    Certainly he could drive his own vehicle while on personal time. I know he can afford to drive his own vehicle because Mayor Finch let him and fire chief Brian Rooney collect their pensions after signing their current contract while paying them a salary in the range of $130,000 yearly. Fiscal irresponsibility again, Mayor Finch.

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