City Mum On 2019 Federal Subpoena, Hiring Of Lawyer

James DeVita

The city has retained a former federal prosecutor to serve as its point person in response to the issuance of a federal subpoena last summer by the respective U.S. Attorneys for the Southern District of New York and Connecticut.

City Attorney R. Christopher Meyer would not disclose details of the subpoena other than confirming he authorized the hiring of New York lawyer James R. DeVita, whose practice area includes white collar criminal defense, for an hourly rate up to $425 per hour. As a prosecutor DeVita jailed businesswoman Leona Helmsley.

The DeVita agreement incorporates the retention of Guidepost Solutions that was hired by the city about a year ago in connection with reviewing the city’s procurement and contracting process following disclosure of an off-the-books slush fund out of the Public Facilities Department.

Guidepost/DeVita have been paid about $300,000, an amount dwarfing the original price tag the city announced upon Guidepost’s hiring.

Deputy Director of Public Facilities Joe Tiago as well as another department employee, Jose DeMoura, were terminated by the city for their accused roles of turning scrap-metal sales into cash used purportedly as a sunshine fund account to cover goodies to boost department morale. Tiago and DeMoura deny the charges. Tens of thousands of dollars also went missing. A federal investigation ensued.

No one has been charged in connection with the matter.

Unclear if the DeVita legal agreement, recently disclosed to 20 City Council members, is an extension of the federal probe involving scrap metal, or something unrelated. Federal officials were also examining Public Facilities’ employee relationships with a local contractor who has received sizable city work.

Also, what is the interest of the Southern District of New York regarding the  subpoena? Usually it takes the form of records information.

Screen shot of opening page of contract.

See fee arrangement from contract below:

See full agreement: Guidepost Retainer Agreement 08-01-19 (2)



    1. Jim,
      If we remember,the scrap metal mess started out as a “small fund for parties etc” according to Ricci. Then it went to thousands of dollars where City employees(Dept of Public Works or whatever it’s called now) and NOW we are looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. This is crazy. Why are the Taxpayers spending multiple hundreds of thousand of dollars to protect the tens of thousands of dollars that was the original “crime?” It really does not make sense UNLESS,,,where there is smoke,there is fire.

    1. Ron,
      I have the utmost respect but you’re just not going to let this go sooo,,,,,here I go.
      A very special THANK YOU to State Senator/BPT mayoral candidate Marilyn Moore for completely flucking up the WFP petition/ballot line(amongst a longer list of mistakes made during her mayoral “campaign”). Ron,you and I disagree on this but I sincerely believe that had Moore had her actual name on the ballot/WFP line,we would be saying Mayor Marilyn Moore TODAY. And maybe we would not be seeing the exploding legal fees(slush fund?) that Ganim ( ohhh…let’s hear it for R.Christopher Meyer and his crack team in the City Attorneys Office,all who just got a raise) is piling on the Taxpayers of the City of Bridgeport.

      1. Frank, I agree that I don’t agree with you about election. The voters of Bridgeport got what they wanted, they didn’t want change so they reelected Joe Ganim because that’s what they wanted, right Maria.

  1. The amount of money spent by this city on high-priced, external legal advice/representation is insane… It can only be attributed to chronic municipal government dysfunction/corruption/incompetence. If I didn’t have such a deep love and attachment for this city, I would be of a mind to petition for an abandonment of its charter and a petition for total state takeover and division of geographic parts/petition for merger and municipal incorporation with our bordering neighbors — which have, otherwise, to one degree or another, become de facto, major parasitic “partners” on a pragmatic level with us, in regard to municipal infrastructure, services, and private, institutional services…

    This city is dying, its problems being treated with “leeches” (literally and figuratively) — internally (City Hall) and externally (Hartford/DC — with respect to “regional” treatment…)

    The next CC meeting might appropriately commence with an ecumenical “last rites” service for us as an independent, functional municipality, with a copy of the Bridgeport City Charter placed in a coffin for viewing by “mourners” in attendance of the meeting… (Perhaps the BFD could hose-down City Hall prior to the meeting as the symbolic cleansing of “the body” which is an ancient, universal, pre-burial ritual that might be appreciated by our very diverse community…)

    *(Just think of how much $$$$$$ could have been added to the PUBLIC SCHOOL BUDGET if we could get back all of the law-suit money from the past 25 years of malpractice of government
    in this city… )

    1. Jeff,
      IMHO,we are already past that point. TestaGanim are destroying the “financials” of the City of Bridgeport literally by the day which will destroy the future ability of Bridgeport to address the future(WHAT FUTURE??)

  2. This is simply outrageous. Insane. I have been saying that governance in The City of Bridgeport has been going downhill since the mayoral election. TestaGanim are in total control and who knows where all this money is really going to.
    In the last couple of days,JML has brought up the word, “OVERSIGHT.” As far as I can tell,the only legitimate City governance body that might have oversight over this is The City Council. Yet the City Council does NOTHING.
    Where is the esteemed City Council Person Ernest Newton to make a comment on this on OIB. It seems that the only reason he shows up on OIB is when anything comes up about Marilyn Moore. Will Ernest Newton make a statement here about the cascading outside legal entities and dollars that Ganim and the City Attorney Office have been doing out.

  3. Oversight is a word that I have frequently used, certainly during the past year in referencing the responsibilities of the City Council. My reasoning has been that for the folks who stay tuned to what the House members and Senate members are about in District of Columbia, there will be a connection for the necessary work of our own municipal legislative body. Both the Federal government and State government have bodies that support them with legal, financial and other technical questions, but the administrators, elected, appointed, or just plain surviving from “time before the present” have limited the ability to rely on such personnel. That is a definite limit on good governance. It serves neither OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE, TRANSPARENT or HONEST process or governance that is current.
    Connecting the dots: Scrap metal practices? Missing funds? Termination of employees? FBI ongoing investigation? Guidepost hiring but no response or reporting? And now we learn of Attorney DeVita retaining Guidepost? And a federal subpoena? Mayor Ganim in rooftop video discussing the thorough “washing of hands”? Sometimes it looks like a dot, but may be something else? Time will tell.

  4. Wait a minute. If the United States Federal Court of the Southern District of New York is involved….THIS IS HUGE NEWS. This District is one of the most powerful if not the most powerful districts in The United States. Why?. Because it covers Manhattan(think of everything that is in Manhattan),Bronx, Counties of Westchester,Orange,Putnam,Rockland,Dutchess,Sullivan. Think of this. It has successfully prosecuted Michael Cohen(Trumps lawyer),Bernard Madoff,Leona Helmsley,Martha Stewart and probably Wall Street Firms etc. It has been nosing around Trumps Tax Returns. Why is this District nosing around in Bridgeport CONNECTICUT. Connecticut has it’s own Federal Court District. The Chief Attorney is John “Bull” Durham and OIB ran a story on Durham. However,lately,Bull Durham was put in charge if the FBI did anything wrong in terms of the FBI doing anything wrong in the investigation of Trump while Trump is President. Bull came up empty on that. Maybe Bull was too busy on that and missed whats going on in Bridgeport. Anyway, the question remains. What is the New York Southern District looking at in Bridgeport and why do they feel it falls within their jurisdiction. Looks like The Mayoral Administration of Joe Ganim,his political appointees(who serve at the pleasure of the mayor),whom they hire and what they have done? Does political boss Mario Testa have any influence on who gets hired? Ok… I admit the above is PURE CONJECTURE. However,the power of the Federal SDNY is not conjecture. BTW,,since this seems to involve some of the bidding practices of Bridgeport,who won the 5 million bid to do the demo work on the Remington site. OPED would not disclose who it was in today’s CT Post article. I wonder if I walk into OPED tomorrow and ask will they tell me?


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