Feds Asked To Examine HUD Allegations About Housing Authority, Are Commissioners Scapegoats?

In a letter to Patricia Ferrick, agent in charge of the FBI in Connecticut, former City Councilman Bob “Troll” Walsh asks that the federal law enforcement agency look into allegations made by the head of the Housing and Urban Development’s Hartford field office asserting “HUD has received information that supports that some current Board Members continue these unethical and possibly illegal activities.” Suzanne Piacentini, the HUD official, made the allegations in a letter to Mayor Joe Ganim whom she asked to reconstitute the board of the troubled  Bridgeport Housing Authority. See related story here. Ganim says he plans to follow up on HUD’s request. CT Post reporter Brian Lockhart has more on the political and personal dynamics here. Why is HUD throwing commissioners under the bus?

Letter from Walsh to FBI:

Dear Special Agent Ferrick,
I am writing in regards to recently published stories alleging potential criminal activities at the Bridgeport Housing Authority, a.k.a. Park City Communities, that appeared in the Connecticut Post as well as online on Only In Bridgeport.

It has been reported that Suzanne Piacentini, Field Office Director, Hartford Field Office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has written the Mayor of the City of Bridgeport suggesting that “HUD has received information that supports that some current Board Members continue these unethical and possibly illegal activities.”

She further outlines in the letter that “there has been a history of Board Member interference in the daily operations of the agency and the inappropriate use of their authority to influence the award of contracts.”

Since the Bridgeport Housing Authority receives $43 million in federal funds annually, I believe that this would place this item well within your jurisdiction.

I am attaching a copy of this letter.

As a near lifelong resident of the city of Bridgeport, a member of the City Council for 17 years and someone who assisted your agents in their previous investigation of corruption allegations in the city, I must tell you comments like this hit hard. If there truly is information supporting these claims then I am requesting that your office initiate an investigation. Bridgeport can hardly afford the damage of allegations of more corrupt acts.

If this is pure political posturing then I would hope that your office could quickly address this situation and in some manner dispel these rumors.

Although I am not privy to any information beyond what has appeared in the media and contained in the letter, you can always feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.

I appreciate any efforts on your offices behalf to look into this matter.



  1. Good job, Bob. Can’t hurt. There has to be a (unacceptable) reason(s) why something as simple and cost-effective as maintaining the operation of the small community center in Trumbull Gardens couldn’t be accomplished in the face of the obvious needs of that community.

      1. Article says a couple dozen local, state and federal law enforcement, including AJ. There’s a photo in the article, perhaps someone can recognize some of the people.

        1. In that picture just to the right of a police deputy chief, in the white shirt is a police officer/secretary. She’s hard to see in the picture but is the one wearing glasses. She is his personal full-time assistant and not injured. She collects full pay and doesn’t work on the road. As you know, there are few cops on the road yet she works in an office, even though she’s a full-time “street cop.” Many loyal street cops have complained to the union. Ironic because this is a meeting to get these street cops more help.

          1. Oh dear Phantom, you do sound as if you work in some capacity for the Police Department. Now I know why you don’t use your name.

  2. News alert. Maria P. is on news 12 screaming about a security breach at Central High school. She says she was able to walk into the school multiple times without being stopped. What a cuckoo, hypocrite. She herself pushed to lay off the cops who worked the school doors! You can’t make it up. And why call news 12 to complain? Aren’t you on the board? When it’s all about you and not the kids it doesn’t matter, does it?

    1. Phantom, there are no front doors at Central due to construction, so there was no security. Since this construction has been going on for well over a year, wouldn’t you think putting doors in would be a priority? We had to use Madison School in the last election. I don’t know how over 1,500 students entered the school, but I’m sure it was chaotic. I’m wondering why the Interim Super didn’t address this before school began. As far as the police layoffs, para layoffs and other relevant staff, blame the City for flatlining the BOE budget. I realize Maria-bashing has become fashionable, but stay within the realm of reality. If she deserves it, go for it, but give it a break, she shouldn’t be everybody’s whipping girl every time. And if anyone considers this a defense of Maria, you’re right!!!

      1. The mere fact you called her “everyone’s whipping girl” speaks volumes. Why do you think she’s a “whipping girl?” Is it because she is a nice, easygoing, smiley, personable, all-around nice woman? Yet now she needs you to be her surrogate. Keep sipping the proverbial kool-aid she’s passing around. BTW, front door, back door. What difference does it make if there is no one around to come to the school’s aid if God forbid someone with bad intentions walks through? I’m hoping for her sake no one gets hurt and cites a lack of an SRO.

        1. I’m no more concerned about Maria’s personality traits than I am about yours, and she doesn’t need me or anyone else to act as her surrogate. You obviously don’t know me, I speak my truth and I’ll defend anyone I feel I want to defend. So don’t waste your comments replying to me, send the administration a message they’re responsible for needed employees who lost their jobs because Ganim was too busy playing chicken with the unions rather than getting rid of superfluous friends he awarded with high-paying salaries. Stay on target or shut up.

          1. Sad because you’re not one of those high-paid salaries? You were on his transition team, weren’t you? How’d that work out?! Just trying to “stay on target.”

          2. Phantom/Coward, I was not on Ganim’s transition team, never had a City job, and never wanted a job. Do you really think you’re on target? I have a feeling you’re a City employee afraid to use your name, I further have a feeling you’re an entry-level employee and have been for some time, some would say you’re a frustrated low-achiever, unable to distinguish fact from fiction. Since I’m a Christian with a compassionate heart, I will ask that at some time before you depart this mortal life you find achievement in your empty life so you will be kinder to others.

          1. I get it now, Frank. I was just stating what I knew, didn’t even give the moniker a thought until he/she went all mean on me. It’s sort of hard not to reply when someone you don’t even know is misrepresenting comments about you. I think at least 75% of the bloggers use their names, maybe a few have a legitimate reason not to. But at this point it’s kind of childish and tacky; and cowardly.

        2. Phantom/Coward,
          I am more than happy to defend myself and don’t hide behind a handle or any individual.

          I thoroughly enjoy debating anyone, but please know I will conduct thorough research and will be well prepared.

          Those who know me will tell you I have a great sense of humor and am an incredibly loyal friend. I generally don’t start conflict, however I am more than happy to deal with it head on. I will not shrink away from cowards like you, for instance.

          I am contacted by parents, residents, BOE staff and constituents because they feel I am a good source of information or can direct them to those who can help them. My word means everything therefore if I say I am going to help someone, I absolutely will.

          Some of us just post on blogs anonymously, and there are those who actually work on behalf of those in our community.

          I am pretty sure I know which category you fall into.

    2. Phantom/Coward, the Channel 12 News story clearly shows I was quite calm and not screaming. By the way, for the first time Frank Rechia from Channel 12 was told he could not film on school property and was told to leave school grounds. Hmmm … I wonder why.

      It was both parents and staff who called me last week because of the condition of the building. I scheduled a visit on Monday and toured the building.

      When I walked into the main lobby I was stunned to see there were no front doors and the adjacent security office was in shambles. In addition, 150 staff members had arrived to work that day and the Fire Marshal had not so much as issued a TCO, therefore it was illegal to have staff in the renovated areas.

      It doesn’t take a security expert to know especially in today’s world you cannot open any school, never mind the largest school in Bridgeport, with NO front doors. All they have is a portable chain link partition that sits in front of the entrance. And when I approached the main entrance dressed casually without my BOE ID visible and asked if I could cut through to the main entrance, the construction workers said okay, and I did.

      I also walked in through a propped-open door through the side, walked through the basement area, up to the main floor and to the main office. Not a single teacher, custodian, construction worker, or security asked me who I was.

      Children cannot be placed at risk because of the actions, or inaction, of adults.

    3. Oh dear Lisa. I’ve never hidden the fact I worked and retired from there. Talked about it dozens of times on here. BTW, my beef isn’t with you. I’m just sticking up for what’s right. It’s about the layoffs she helped usher in.

        1. Maria, he must be working for the City in another capacity, which means he’s double dipping. Collecting his pension and taking money from us taxpayers. He probably doesn’t live in Bridgeport. So if he’s so worried about the layoffs in the BOE, why not take it to the source, or perhaps the source, Joe Ganim is his boss. Lennie, I respect you and know you well. This person doesn’t have a clue, yet you allow him to misrepresent facts while hiding behind a ridiculous moniker. For the many of us who use our names, we own what we write and expect to be taken to task if we get reckless with what we imply or say outright. This is not fair, he claims he’s mentioned many times he’s retired from the PD, please refer me to one blog that indicates that.

        2. Counter-request:
          Lennie, it’s never been done before, but I ask that you force MP to remove her name from OIB and from now on post under a handle. Her past activities have made her name synonymous with toxic behavior, disgruntled viewership and self-promotion.

          1. Local Eyes/Coward,
            You know what they say; birds of a feather flock together.

            Coward + Coward = Coward

          2. What’s it like to lose your identity and be reduced to using a blog-imposed moniker? The Blog Police call it reverse grandfathering.

  3. Lennie,
    Can you make a couple of phone calls and find out how much Housing Authorities in other Connecticut cities pay for police protection in their host cities?
    It seems Ganim is tying changes to the board to more money for the city from BHA.
    I would like to know what is reasonable based on other cities in the state.

  4. Councilwoman Rev. Mary McBride-Lee, said, “I think HUD is trying to find somebody to kick under the bus” by targeting current board members.
    Word on the street is if she got her head out of Ganim’s butt she could see what was going on.

    1. Rumor Mill:
      Everyone on the street, on devices of all types, is reading the new bestseller called “Unpacking the Visible Knapsack” by Donald Day. He’s becoming famous for all the wrong reasons.

  5. All the Bridgeport municipal governance and $ problems aired on this blog are symptoms of a failing city. We know Connecticut is a failing state.

    Some people might think I’m speaking from an alarmist, hysterical perspective.

    But really, look at the financial state of the city JML and David Walker have been tracking, detailing and analyzing on our behalf for several years. It has only been getting worse. Grand list shrinking; costs for municipal services and infrastructure increasing. Taxes increasing as businesses and homeowners fail and bail because of increasing taxes. And the city tries to replace lost tax base with undesirable/inappropriate development that is either destined to fail [as it pays no taxes and costs the city money (Bass Pro)] or is of the nature that drives out businesses, lowers taxable value of surrounding properties, and discourages location of high-value tax base (power plants, waste storage/disposal/recycling operations) that are actually tax-negative in their overall grand-list/tax-base-revenue effects.

    And look at our public safety situation. The police department is dangerously understaffed. The number of killings stands at “only” six this year, so far. True. But how many shootings? And how bold and brazen? And how capable are we of addressing a riot/situation of violent civil disorder (such as happened in several US cities this year)?

    What is the trend in regard to our ability to address increasing gang violence and other public safety contingencies? (What is the evolving trend of scope and intensity of this violence?) The trend is negative, we are becoming increasingly vulnerable to the gamut of public safety/public health contingencies.

    And the Governor comes to Bridgeport this past Thursday and dresses down the Police Chief about the failure of the PD to adequately address several severe public safety incidents. He (the governor) is obviously extremely anxious about the situation of Connecticut’s cities, because they are going bankrupt and undergoing socioeconomic degeneration as the state, itself, is going deeper into its state-level governance/fiscal crisis. His inappropriate, anxious, stressed conduct at the public safety meeting in Bridgeport on Thursday speaks of the state’s inability to adequately assist the cities in meeting public safety needs or in stabilizing their fiscal situations.

    So we have Bridgeport going ever deeper into fiscal crisis as its stressed public safety apparatus is becoming ever more stressed while at the same time the state goes deeper into a fiscal and governance crisis.

    Now, we need obviously need the federal government to step up to the plate for us, but all they can do is shirk their responsibility (re: the BHA crisis) and pass the buck back down to the Mayor.

    Now: While I think G2 is off to a rough start and not approaching overall city governance effectively and is demonstrating an apparent inability to assert Bridgeport’s political and economic power (per our large electorate and essential workforce), especially in regard to economic development/job creation, and proper valuation of region-serving city-based services and infrastructure, I don’t believe Mayor Ganim can be blamed for our present crisis. He inherited it. I do, however, blame him for not being more assertive for Bridgeport at the state and national level.

    It has been asserted Chicago and Detroit are in worse crisis than Bridgeport and the federal government isn’t doing much for them.

    Well that is not really accurate, with respect to the socioeconomic conditions of these urban areas when considered in terms of scale, trends, and negative potential. Bridgeport is just about as bad off, getting worse, and in a much weaker position, in regard to population/tax-base critical mass. This is especially true if you compare us to Chicago. Detroit is probably as dead and helpless as we are. But two wrongs don’t make a right. It is absolutely shameful for the US to allow its cities to decay as we promote ourselves as the model and beacon for the rest of the world. Absolutely shameful as well as a threat to our national well-being.

    There is no reason why Bridgeport shouldn’t be demanding federal intervention and a bailout. It is the duty of our political representation to demand federal help to address and arrest the negative trend of our fortunes before it becomes too late, as might well be the case for Detroit. Our relatively small size presents a practical situation for a federal bailout. Bridgeport could be fixed thoroughly and relatively quickly with appropriately-applied federal assistance/intervention. This is not the case for a huge, severely damaged place like Detroit.

    We will never get the help we need if we don’t ask–demand. It is no longer a possibility for us to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps. We no longer have boots.

    Now, fiscal transparency and prudence is essential just for governance purposes in any event, and it is absolutely necessary if we are to seek help from the federal government. And seek big-time help we must, or this city will soon melt down. It is City Hall’s job to get our house in order and lead the charge on Washington for federal help. We will not have a better opportunity to do this for at least four years, after which it might well be too late. We must use this election year to our advantage by making a big noise and leveraging our electoral power.

    Whether or not the Mayor does this will be the measure of the success of G2.

    1. Jeff, it all sounds good if one wants the federal government coming in and giving but we all know nothing is given from the state without them taking. So we have the entire state, which votes VERY STRONG Democrat, please explain to me why a couple things, 1) The city and state is Democrat and the politicians know this so they have the votes, why would they give if they already have? If they give to Bridgeport and not the others like Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore they would potentially lose votes from a larger voter pool. Politicians don’t do what is right for the people of the United States, they do what is right for them to get re-elected.

      1. Gary, would you tell us what large urban city in America has successfully been run by Republicans or what state? Don’t forget, it was the Republican Governor of Michigan who made the money-saving decision to change the water system in Flint that is still poisoning the residents. New Jersey is a mess with Republican Governor Chris Christie, please, Republican, tell me who and where.

          1. Jennifer, did you read this article? “The lower you get in the U.S. system, the less the political affiliation [of the leader] really matters,” Connecticut?

          2. Donald, yes I read the article. I think it gave a good breakdown of true or not regarding city-state one-party rule.

          1. Rudy “thrice-married adulterer” Giuliani did not run NY City. He was the mayor, but the City Council and four of the five Borough Presidents were Democrats.

          2. In 1968, Giuliani wed his second cousin, Regina Peruggi, who was the daughter of his father’s first cousin. (Think of your son/daughter marrying your cousin’s daughter/son.)

  6. Who’s this everybody who agrees Giuliani saved NYC? Giuliani was a bigoted overseer who used the police department to harass and stop black and Latino men at a rate that was 10 times higher that those of European descent. He was a piece of crap then and he’s a piece of crap now.

  7. Gary. Bridgeport’s votes are essential for candidates who want to win 4th District Congressional races and statewide races. There is power in the 4th district, and both parties want to claim control of it. Ditto for the high statewide offices. Presidential candidates mine a lot of $ in Connecticut’s 4th District, and party control of the district makes a significant difference in the way $ flows from the district. And during a tight election, Connecticut and Bridgeport votes can become very important.

    Now, if you consider the power and effectiveness of employing the right message in the right way through all aspects of the media, even a place like Bridgeport can wield power and leverage.

    That is the problem with Bridgeport’s electorate; they don’t realize that, as the largest urban electorate in Connecticut, they have power, all the way up to DC. But let me add, Bridgeport’s problem is also our bought-off politicians who are paid with attention, promises, and re-election help from higher up the food chain (Hartford, DC; a la Greenwich, et al.) to keep Bridgeport’s electorate docile and voting the “right way,” or not voting at all.

    This is a really strange election year, and Bridgeport’s political leadership, both parties, should be working it to Bridgeport’s advantage. There could be gold in this election for Bridgeport.

  8. Ron Mackey,
    And Rudy cheated on wife one with Donna Hanover who became wife two and cheated on her with Judy Nathan who became wife three. As I said, a thrice-married adulterer, just like his buddies Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich. And the GOP stands for family values?

    Both parties are made up of people of questionable moral character.

    1. Marshall, I wish Jodi Rell had run for Governor because she is one Republican I have no problem with but now we are stuck with Malloy. If Rell had run I’m sure she would have been elected.

      1. I agree Ron, I liked her. But she put her health and family first as she should have. If Hillary wins I doubt Malloy will finish his term. He’ll be off to Washington leaving Nancy to handle the mess.

      2. Ron,
        I was in the retail business in Danbury in the 1980s and Jodi Rell was a customer of ours (she lived about 10 minutes from our store in New Fairfield). She was a down to earth concerned mom looking for the best for her kids, local government and the state. I also would have voted for her should she have chosen to run. She managed to work with all groups to bring about compromise and change.


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