East End City Councilwoman Eneida Martinez provides background and an update on the collection practices of the Water Pollution Control Authority. “In regards to your WPCA article in OIB I will detail how this all started and the WPCA matter became an open topic in Bridgeport.”
In 2013, when this writer was elected, this writer along with (then City Councilwoman) Milta Feliciano started researching the foreclosure protocol on WPCA and looking into the many properties that were being taken from minorities both on the East End and East Side. As the both of us started searching we found many WPCA violations. As the both of us continued to search we were then joined by elected officials Jeanette Herron & Jose Casco, together we printed the many foreclosures that were happening at the hands of (attorney) Juda Epstein. At this point we decided to have an open citywide forum which we held at Margaret Morton Government Center on a Saturday morning. This open forum was well attended. At this open forum was where Johnny Moore presented his experience and testimony regarding his foreclosure crashing with Juda Epstein.
Johnny Moore provided copies to the elected officials present regarding his foreclosure. This information was reviewed by the elected officials, which opened the doors to conduct more detailed investigation into the operations from the City Attorney’s Office and Juda Epstein. After this forum Senator Ed Gomes set up a forum at the Bridgeport Public Library, at this point was when the WPCA became an interest to others. No one had any concern about the abuse with homes being taken. These few council members fought, but unfortunately we had no support from our City Attorney’s Office. We, the elected officials. were given the runaround, improper information, and lack of legal opinion from the City Attorney’s Office.
The light bulb came on after the American Legion Post 140 was going to be foreclosed. This writer sat with the members of the Legion, at that point it was discovered that there were some illegal operations happening and that the abuse was really an abuse: from the City of Bridgeport WPCA protocol, to the City Attorney’s Office, to Juda Epstein law tactics, etc. At this point was when (State Rep) Christopher Rosario attempted to put in a bill, but the session was over. Once the session started again (State Senator) Marilyn Moore became concerned along with Ed Gomes. We were very thankful for the level of support received by these individuals.
Marilyn Moore stood up and drafted the bill, presented it, fought and the bill passed. As Marilyn Moore’s bill was still awaiting approval, this writer received the blessings from Judge Carmen Lopez. Judge Lopez became the driver to the many unanswered legal questions, reviews and documents that the City Attorney’s Office refused to help the council members with. It was not until Judge Lopez got involved that ACTION was taken. Judge Lopez spent countless hours, days, paper, ink and law researching, along with looking through many documentations, etc. for free to make sure that this writer along with other council members were properly educated with the law as well as the WPCA standards. Judge Lopez became the pilot to everything that passed, was written, and argued. It was her leadership that made this possible here in the City of Bridgeport.
Unfortunately I can admit that she became very frustrated at the nonsense that was happening and the lack of knowledge or understanding from some council members causing Judge Lopez to simply walk away. Judge Lopez was the fire that kept this writer moving, and I must truly say that she was God sent. Although we have not fully completed a standing ordinance or resolution, this issue is not a dead or moot matter. On Tuesday September 26, we should have a final drafted agreement, law and changes to the WPCA foreclosure standards here in the City of Bridgeport.