Council Shoots Horse, Places Saddle On Finch, Plus: Shooting Update, And Himes’ Homeland

1:30 p.m. update: The Bridgeport City Council voted 13-6 Monday night to abolish the Bridgeport Port Authority.

Now what?

Mayor Bill Finch gave the council a lot of rope to dictate action in dissolving the PBA. He can always blame the council if scuttling the port authority becomes more trouble than it’s worth. But then he can be criticized for not mustering the good sense to step in.

In the end the council action becomes Finch’s benefit or his burden.

The ordinance will be on Finch’s desk for signature sometime today. Will he sign it or veto it? It does not become law until he takes action.

And if he lets it sit for a few days is he hoping that Governor Jodi Rell signs the state legislation that threw the council into overdrive to maintain home rule? If so, the port authority lives and its future cannot be determined without sign-off from the state Department of Transportation.

The ordinance passed Monday night transfers all functions conducted by the port authority–revenues, expenses, maintenance, security, staffing, debt, ferry dealings, etc.–under the authority of Chief Administrative Officer Andy Nunn.

Sounds like a boatload of work.

The council deliberated behind closed doors following a public hearing in which forces from the city’s business community urged them not to torpedo the port authority citing a litany of financial and economic advantages it brings to waterfront development.

Just hours before the special council session, commissioners of the port authority suspended Executive Director Joe Riccio with pay after Riccio failed to seek their approval to lobby state legislation that strips the city of home rule.

Riccio had directed Jay Malcynsky, an attorney and high-powered Hartford lobbyist for the port authority, to splice onto a bill in the last days of the regular state legislative session language that gives the state DOT veto power over municipal dissolution of a port authority.

Ricco apparently felt this was not important enough to bring to his bosses for approval.

Riccio’s stealth campaign forced the city’s hand to consider abolishing the port authority before Governor Rell could sign the measure into law.

The port authority commission was scheduled to meet again later this week to fully consider the future of Riccio who’s under employment contract into October 2010. But now that meeting could be moot depending on the next two days.

Lots of unanswered questions. Will Riccio be paid off and told to go away?

The commission decision to suspend Riccio gave council members something to think about as they debated dissolution. Some council members were looking for blood and Riccio was served up as red meat Monday night.

Several of Riccio’s friends showed up to support him at the council public hearing including Mike Freimuth, former city economic development director who told council members “When you’re mad at the jockey you don’t shoot the horse.”

Well, the council shot the horse, placing the saddle squarely on Finch’s back. Judging by comments Finch issued Monday night before the council debated the issue, the mayor wants to make sure there’s no financial fallout to the city.

Statement from Finch regarding the port authority:

“We will continue to work with the state Departments of Environmental Protection (DEP), Economic and Community Development (DECD), and Transportation (DOT) to address the environmental, economic development and transportation issues that affect our waterfront and the port.

“The city’s assessment of the future of the port has evolved from it being a solely water-based commercial use to one that involves numerous uses including water-based recreational, residential and commercial uses. We’re seeking a resolution to this state legislation that reflects this evolution, and which will allow the City and its leaders to retain a measure of local control over the port and its operations.

“The City and the Council welcome the involvement of the state offices, but it is vital that a degree of local authority be maintained. This current piece of legislation is seen as undermining the future of local control, and I pledge to continue to work with our legislators to craft legislation that meets both local and state priorities in regard to the governing of the port.”

“Of concern is the ultimate scope of legal liability the City would be assuming should the Council vote to dissolve the Port Authority. If tonight’s action passes, the City could be liable for any and all assets and liabilities including buildings, vehicles, land, contracts, retirement and pension plans, grants, accounts payable and receivables, insurance policies and any claims or causes of action pending or threatened, among other items.

“The potential legal ramifications resulting from passage of item No. 92-07 by the City Council are not fully quantifiable at this time without further review. If the Council proceeds to dissolve the Port Authority it could be leaving the City vulnerable to largely unknown legal and financial exposure.

“This is why my administration has worked with Council leadership and state leaders to consider all available alternatives before pursuing this path.

Shooting Update From Mayor’s Office

BRIDGEPORT, CT (June 23, 2009) – Bridgeport Police have released the following information regarding the incident at 197 Burnsford Avenue on Monday, June 22, 2009:

As of 6-23-09 — Autopsies have been completed by Medical Examiner. Incident has been ruled an apparent Murder-Suicide.

Police were summoned to 197 Burnsford Avenue at approximately 3:37 p.m., Monday, June 22, on a report of a shooting.

Upon entering the premises, Officers found two female victims both dead from apparent gunshot wounds. Police Detectives are continuing to investigate and will confirm additional details after all evidence is collected and forensic/autopsy examinations are completed.

Victim #1 is the biological mother of Victim #2.

Police identify the victims as Ann Marie Rino, 48, and Gabriella Marin Rino, 8.

News release from Jim Himes. I wonder if any of this dough is for Bridgeport’s port!

Himes Announces Nearly $13 Million to Protect Against Terrorism

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Jim Himes (CT-04) today announced $12,835,255 in grants to local organizations to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks. A member of the Homeland Security Committee, Congressman Himes is committed to protecting Southwest Connecticut from the fear and consequences of terrorism.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t think about what we can do to prevent a tragedy like 9/11 from ever happening again,” said Congressman Himes. “This funding is critical to keeping terrorist activity at bay and protecting ourselves if there ever is another attack.”

The funding is broken into two categories: funding for the greater Bridgeport area and state-wide projects.

Bridgeport-area grants include:

$2,807,350 for the Urban Areas Security Initiative: Funding to select high-threat, high-density urban areas to assist them in building enhanced and sustainable capabilities to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism.

$273,038 for the Urban Areas Security Initiative Nonprofit Security Grant Program: Grants to eligible 501(c)(3) organizations at high risk of terrorist attack in high-risk urban areas.

State-wide grants include:

$9,545,500 for the State Homeland Security Program: Supports the implementation of State Homeland Security Strategies to address the identified planning, equipment, training, and exercise needs to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism and other catastrophic events.

$209,367 for the Citizen Corps Program: The Citizen Corps Program supports activities involving citizens in emergency preparedness, planning, mitigation, response and recovery.

For more information on FEMA grants, please see



  1. Mayor Finch’s statement is absolutely correct:
    “The potential legal ramifications resulting from passage of item No. 92-07 by the City Council are not fully quantifiable at this time without further review. If the Council proceeds to dissolve the Port Authority it could be leaving the City vulnerable to largely unknown legal and financial exposure.”

    Bravo to Danny Martinez, AmyMarie VP and the four council members who understood true due diligence is more than the powerplay of home rule. True due diligence is fully understanding all of the liabilities before voting. The 13 members of the City Council did Bridgeport residents and businesses a huge disservice tonight. Now the table turns to the Mayor to deliver on his statement.

  2. Ann Barney and I were at the council meeting last night. It started out with an insult to all residents of Bridgeport when 4 police officers were assigned to the meeting. What Bridgeporters are not civil enough to have a meeting without police presence?
    I was originally for dissolving the PA but after hearing the public speakers I changed my mind. There are a lot of unanswered questions and a lot of potential financial liability to the city. Where are we going to get the money to pay the PA’s bills? You got it, from taxes.
    There were only 2 financial items brought forward. One was a $900K loan the PA has and the other was a buyout of Riccio’s contract which could come in at over $200K.
    Here we put this important asset under CAO Nunn who had his job almost eliminated by the council. Please tell me what a person from a landlocked town knows about the water front?
    Mayor Finch was at a high school graduation and at no time made an appearance at this very important meeting. This is just another example of a lack of leadership by the mayor.
    I too congratulate Danny Martinez for his great insight into the problem and for the great speech he made. Kudos to the other no votes.
    As expected all the city employees on the council voted in favor of getting rid of the PA.
    Countdown don’t hold your breath waiting for Finch to stand up to the council or for Finch to make the hard choice of vetoing the council’s actions.

  3. Let’s see what we have here. Bridgeport has the largest port in the state (unutilized), and now has no Port Authority. Stupid move.

    Was this just an exercise to get rid of Riccio? He obviously had to go because the port was not being run efficiently and profitably. Why not just fire him?

    I hope Finch does the right thing for the city. Because he is the worst shithead to have ever held that office, I doubt that he knows what the right thing is.

    1. Getting rid of Riccio would be my guess. The city has the option of reestablishing a Port Authority after reading through the amendment to the transportation bill that a lobbyist working for the city inserted at the last minute.

      Someone needs to stand up and explain all of this hocus-pocus mumbo-jumbo strategy to the rest of us.

  4. “Bridgeport Now”
    We have canceled the appearance of former councilperson Keith Rodgerson for important developments. Bob Walsh will be on tonight’s program to discuss current Bridgeport issues. Also, Charlie Coviello will discuss current developments in the city. Channel 77 at 8pm also seen on the net on

  5. When is this city going to get a leader? Why didn’t Finch step in 13 months ago when a committee made up of council people and PA commissioners was formed? Why didn’t he give them a mandate to straighten this PA mess out. You can hide this any way you want but the heart of this matter back then was Riccio.
    This committee met exactly twice in 13 months and accomplished squat.
    As a last-minute rescue attempt the PA commission suspends Riccio. Too Little too Late.
    The council in their infinite wisdom learns nothing more in a week’s time between their committee meeting and last night’s meeting.
    Have subpoenas issued and ask the hard questions; at least get an idea of what you are taking on. This is a perfect example of no leadership and no communication.
    People it’s time for a change and it’s time to offer alternatives to the Bridgeport voters.
    This dog and pony show last night was a disgrace. At least 6 people gave it some thought.

  6. The Port Authority claims in its defense that it receives $1 million in rental and docking fees from the ferry and another $1.3 million that it charges in illegal tariffs as determined by federal courts and upheld by a panel of two judges from the Second Circuit court of Appeals in New York.
    The Port Authority borrowed $900K from a non-traditional lender to finance additional appeals of this ruling and pledged all of its assets as collateral for this loan.
    Hello? Am I the only person who believes that this represents a breach of their fiduciary responsibilities and a complete lack of financial control?
    This of and by itself represents a compelling need to disband the PA immediately before more permanent damage is done to both the port and the city.
    Anyone who suggests otherwise is simply allowing personalities to seep into these discussions.

  7. I’m in total agreement with Councilman Walsh (who I’ve never regarded as a troll, hobbit, dwarf or other mythical woodland creature) on this issue. Dissolving the PA is the only way to ensure the city retains control of the harbor and waterfront. Perhaps the City Council didn’t act with due diligence, but the clock was ticking.

  8. Before I respond to TC’s last post, today I logged into the CT Secretary of State’s Commercial Recording Division’s website and performed a query on the name Titan LB, LLC since this was the name of the company that lent the PA $900K. They are not registered to do business in the state of Connecticut.
    And unfortunately as an LLC they do not need to disclose the owners of the business. However, as I said they are not even listed and it brings into question the legitimacy of the business and the level of due diligence that was performed by the PA prior to entering into this agreement.
    Is this a big issue, maybe not but as a matter of public policy the taxpayers of the city have the right to know who is lending $900K to the PA and what is the background of the individuals involved.
    And, just as important was the fact that a representative of the City Attorney’s Office informed the council last night that they had never seen a loan agreement between the PA and Titan. As a matter of fact, all that the PA gave them was basically a term sheet not an executed loan agreement. Furthermore, based on what the City Attorney said was that the loan was for 1 year with a 1 year renewal that has already expired.
    Again, another fine example of the level of professionalism within the PA.
    And we are being told that if the PA is dissolved, the city will be responsible for repaying the loan.

  9. “Bridgeport Now”
    Upset or concerned about last night’s Bpt city council vote on the Port Authority? We will open the phone lines to your opinions on the important vote and have someone from the city council on to discuss, for most of the program, from 8:15pm to 9pm.

    Ch 77 or on the net:, call-in number will be posted there. We reached out today to Executive Director Joe Riccio and several other city council members.

  10. I thought it was gutless for the mayor to be a no-show at last night’s City council meeting. He and his staff will lobby council members and press for passage of some of the silliest personal agenda items but when it comes to a real issue the mayor was a no-show.
    Today’s Connecticut Post reports that the mayor attended the Harding High School graduation at Harbor Yard last night.
    I believe the ceremony started at 7:00 PM but even if it didn’t start until 8:00, it lasted only 90 minutes and he could have easily stopped by to weigh in on the issue if he had the courage.
    Instead he hides behind the high school graduates because he doesn’t want to have to stake a stand on this issue contrary to his friends in the business community.
    Spineless, gutless, cowardly. For all of the bloggers who asked where was the leadership last night, it was apparently AWOL, starting with Mayor Finch.

  11. So Lennie has the mayor approved the action taken by the council last night?
    City Council President Tom McCarthy promised me that he would serve as courier if needed to get the paperwork from the City Clerk’s Office to the Mayor as soon as it was certified.
    His CAO Adam Wood promised me that the minute the mayor received it he would sign off on it. And that was after the vote was taken.
    So Lennie why don’t you give a call over there and find out the status of the bill?

    1. *** I’m in complete agreement with you Bob & it was about time the council stood up & showed its teeth concerning a P/A board gone astray for personal reasons rather than for the city’s best interests! *** Also, you know the games will start now on the signing of the ordinance, because someone wishes to stay on the fence playing both sides against the middle. *** And I love how easy some of these change-the-world advocates & can’t-make-up-my-mind Council members so quickly folded after some usual city attorney & anti-ordinance speeches were made! *** In the end, the change will be for the better of the city & the taxpayers city legislators. *** “POWER TO THE PEOPLE”! ***

  12. OK TC, as to your questions, now what?
    1) If I were the mayor I would have signed the ordinance already. IF there is any hesitancy than I urge him to veto it. Delaying serves no one but an indecisive leader.
    2) As mayor I would begin contacting any and all state officials whose agencies had any dealings with the Port Authority and put to rest any concerns that they might have concerning the PA. I would reassure them that the City of Bridgeport at this time is a far more trusting conservator of their funds and offers greater security than the PA did. I would urge them to contact my CAO or City Attorney if they seek any type of formal action on behalf of the city. I believe all of these threats about loss of funding or grants was just a lot of last-minute bluff and bluster but I would put all parties at ease.
    3) I would immediately open up communications with the Port Jefferson Steamboat company as to fees in lieu of tariffs and levies on a short-term basis and open up other negotiations concerning alternative ways of doing business in the future.
    4) I would immediately initiate an audit of all funds under the control of the PA. I can not understand how they collected nearly $2.5 million a year from one company and have nothing more to show for it than what is in place today.
    5) I would immediate establish a select committee with a stringent timeline to examine the operations of the PA and make recommendations as to how to proceed. I would not appoint anyone to this board who has had any direct financial dealings with the PA as a contractor, service provider or recipient of PA services for the past 5 years. I would require that anyone who agrees to serve would further agree to a revolving door policy that would prohibit them from serving on a newly constituted board, as an employee of the PA or as a contractor or recipient of services for at least three years.
    6) In conjunction with the audit I would retain the services of outside legal counsel to review all contracts, grants and other financial activities to ensure that there were no violations of the board members or employees of their fiduciary responsibilities. If there were any such acts I would refer such actions to any appropriate law enforcement agency or seek civil redress if possible.
    7) I would contact our US Senators and Representative to assure them that the city acted in the best interests of all parties and that I would maintain an open line of communications throughout the transitional period.

    I would feel confident and assured that all of the right steps had been taken and that, of course, would all be done today.

    Any other questions TC?

    1. *** I like that Bob, it’s not over ’til its over, “Big Ups To The Dark Side”! *** Keep your eyes & ears open & don’t accept any wooden nickels! *** “POWER TO THE PEOPLE’S COUNCIL” ***

    2. I have a question Bob!

      What are the chances of an entire district getting fair and balanced representation, when its two Councilpersons live on the same Street?

  13. Breaking News:

    The 138th district is no longer the only district poised for a primary challenge. Isa Mujahid, a City of Bridgeport employee is currently working the 135th district in preparation for a Council seat challenge. Isa is a Democrat.

  14. So the Port Authority is now under the CAO. I hope this is only a temporary situation since I don’t believe he has any qualifications AT ALL to run it. Neither does Bob Curwen. Does this mean that Lisa may have to answer a few more phone calls now? Maybe she’ll get another raise. As of July 1 her salary will be $65,598 but Big Charlie can get her more if he wants. He has to keep his trophy girlfriend happy or she will F-R-E-A-K out!!! She is the nervous type you know.

  15. TC, do you have any more information on the HUD funding recall? No one is really talking. They were threatened not to say anything because Alanna doesn’t want this to leak out. This is a major fuck-up on her part and she doesn’t want the negative press. Maybe she should be investigated by Labor Relations for poor work performance. She has fired members of her staff for a helluva lot less than this. BTW, another one of her staff quit. Couldn’t deal with Alanna’s put-downs, temper tantrums and Sister Agnes attitude any longer.

  16. *** If assigned, I wonder who the city council member was that was council liaison to the P/A? The Council Pres. @ the last Dec. city council meeting when the different committee members’ list is read into the meeting’s record, picks Council members as council liaisons to most of the city’s boards in order to report back to the entire council any important issues that maybe happening on the boards other than usual business? But if you don’t attend the specific board meetings nor have them e-mail or fax a copy of the meeting’s agenda and minutes, you’re out in the cold with nothing to report back to the entire council??? Shit happens! *** Just a quick OIB blog bite; it’s amazing how obsessed C.H.S. is with a certain city employee couple on what they appear to be or not be doing? Stalker type of interest if readers have been paying attention! Do your fucking job & stop watching and worrying about everybody else already! Talk about water-cooler grapevine gossip, man you’re getting pathetic! ***

  17. Mojo, help me please. I am obsessed and I can’t stop!!! No seriously man, you don’t know how bad it is. I do my job, work an average of 45 – 50 hours a day and when I say Lisa does nothing every day I mean NOTHING. Maybe if it weren’t in my face I could ignore it but it is so I can’t. I understand political jobs, I really do. But this bitch won’t lift a pencil and if you ask for something simple like a copy or a phone number, she will tell you in no uncertain terms, “I only work for the CAO” and she runs to Charlie. You know what happened to John Gomes when he tried to get some clerical assistance. This is fucked up.

      1. I’m down to 1/2 pack a day. As of July 1 we can’t smoke on City grounds so I am cutting back. But when I was outside smoking, I couldn’t help but notice the Parks and Rec staff breaking their asses to get the WWII monument done on time. Occasionally I would see Lisa walk across the street to give someone a note or leave to have lunch with Charlie. She was supposed to handle this project but it was obvious that she did little. That’s all I’m saying.

        1. Before I enter a comment.

          Congrats on the declination of the amount of sticks you’re smoking; it’s better for you.

          AGREED!!! Parks does wtao.

          I’m curious since you know so much of the goings-on within the annex walls do you have anything you want to share about walls at parks? Wonder why they’re there and how they landed that spot; you mean there isn’t a place in the large city of Bridgeport?

  18. *** Upcoming candidates *** This P/A matter is & was a perfect example of some of the types of important decisions city council members must make. You may come in 99% mind set about a particular vote, then hear last-minute info. (pro or con) that gets you re-thinking your decision! You can’t call ghost-busters, & you can only miss so many meeting’s where a tough vote has to be made, but you can not make up your mind? But that’s what you’re there for, good or bad, in the foxhole taking enemy fire as charlie overruns the first perimeter defense and continues to advance into the campsite! Then you realize, hell I’m not by myself, it’s a team effort, do or die regardless of what the city attorneys have pulled out @ the last minute to change your mind! You buckle down & remind yourself that you’ve done your councilmember homework & you’re sticking to your vote to disband the P/A. *** This is just the tip of the jalepeño pepper; however when in doubt completely, vote “no”! It.s probably the safest way to go if you’re having a “brain freeze” or don’t want to hurt anyone’s feeling’s. *** Oh Dear! ***

      1. *** There you go again, thinking you’re so fucking smart & have all the answers! I sort of feel sorry for you, you were probably the head of your class in special-ed, so now you’re the perfect Bpt. city worker specimen that lives in the ‘burbs but spends all his work time smoking and watching everybody else! *** Organic Waste! ***

        1. No but I was in the top 10% of my class at ND. Sorry Mojo, you’re just so easy to get going. Truth is, I do like your posts and you know a lot from your years on the council. Your Spanglish just makes me LOL!!! Chill and have a nice day.

  19. Mojo,

    I have to say that I am a fan of yours, and OIB of course! I especially enjoy when you spar with CHS.

    By the way, have you asked CHS how Costa Rica was yet? I hear there was a big wedding that took place and there were quite a few COB employees who took the time off to attend.

  20. Greetings from Monticello, Utah, population around 1,200; an hour out of Arches National Park. It has been an incredible few days. Drove across Kansas, not scenic but definitely an interesting view of a Red State. Billboards crying Jesus saves lined the interstate and right next to them ones advertising sex shops. I am not sure which ones came first. Drove through the Rockies, a little harrowing when your 16-year-old is at the wheel. It was then into Utah and down through Arches National Park. If you never heard of it, google it. It is as spectacular as the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone. One of the the natural rock formation Arches fell in last year due to natural erosion, so we took a detour to see it before they all fell.

    Based on the past posts and the news in Bridgeport I am glad I am here. Hearing of all this is like a nightmarish flashback and sickening déjà vu all at the same time. Well, anyway good luck Bridgeport, I hope the commander you need at the helm shows himself. Are the coyotes howling as loudly there as they are here?

    1. *** While @ Utah, stop @ Salt Lake City and see how beautiful it is surrounded by mountains and clean too! Be safe & never pass up a chance to get gas or use the rest rm. when available. Things can get pretty lonely & isolated real quick when lost in the wilderness. *** Trailblazer: give us a little taste of info. on your M.O. & past covert operations while here or near the Park City? *** However be forewarned, someone may be trying to crack/read the “Deep-throated” coded messages you send. ***

  21. CHS: It is my understanding that someone dropped a dime to the Feds outlining the fact that federal monies were being used to pay housing code enforcement staff. I don’t know how many are being paid with federal dollars.
    It is my understanding that federal money can be used if the inspector is totally dedicated to inspections in designated low-income neighborhoods.
    I was told that this has been going on for years and the Feds want their money back. Meetings have taken place but that’s all I know.

  22. *** C.H.S. now who could that cell-phone undercover, disgruntled employee watching covert “Deep Throat”; Costa-Rica visiting spy with a cold nose be??? ***

  23. Congressman Jim Himes will be a guest on “Bridgeport Now” tonight, Tuesday June 30, at 8pm to discuss current issues. We will have a phone number on the screen for you to call in with questions.

    Last week did not put the phone number up.


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