Feds Cast Shadow On Sunshine Boys–Visit Finance Department In Scrap Metal Probe

Maybe the feds should call this one Operation Sunshine Boys. What started as a so-called sunshine fund to lavish goodwill perks on municipal employees from cash sales of scrap metal is causing a heap of trouble for fired Public Works employees Joe Tiago and Jose DeMoura. Money from an off-the-books account is missing. The feds are following the money.

Tuesday morning federal agents visited the city’s Finance Department in the Morton Government Center seeking additional information. In November City Finance Director Kenneth Flatto scrapped the scrap-metal sales in the Public Facilities Department and took control of the proceeds after what was then part of an internal probe handled by city police.

The feds have since taken over the investigation.

Last week, following due process hearings before Labor Relations, Tiago and DeMoura were fired 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.

Mayor Joe Ganim had previously announced that his appointed director of the department John Ricci was docked two weeks pay and two weeks vacation for his role in the matter. Ricci accepted responsibility as the department head. He says he did not use the money for personal use. It was spent “to pay for meals, cakes, event tickets and other morale-boosting activities.”

The feds are investigating the matter to determine where the missing money went.

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27 comments

  1. FBI don’t follow the St. Mary’s. ($ 470K Emergency lighting project) to Mario or his reciprocal relations.
    We will all be shocked if you touch Mario or this old B.S Lamppost story.

    1. The Vaz brothers are good friends of Tiago and big donors to Joe Ganim.They are also courteous and respectful.

      The large contracts to the Vaz brothers is troubling. On the bottom of a CT Post article an anonymous individual posted a comment that Tiago was renting a building to the Vaz brothers for a huge sum of money.

      I decided to do a little research.Tiago owned a building on 649 Crescent Alvenue under an LLC named Citywide Properties. It was assessed at $218,000.

      He sold it to Yellow Mill Pond, LLC in 2014, which is owned by one of the Vaz brothers. He paid a whopping $845,000 for the property with an assessed value of $218,000.

      Can anyone think of a valid reason that you would buy a property from your good friend for over $600,000 more than its assessed value?

      1. “Can anyone think of a valid reason that you would buy a property from your good friend for over $600,000 more than its assessed value?”

        Gee, I dunno. Maybe the guy is well connected to Little Joe and Mario the dark lord.

      2. Vaz Construction is also doing the Black Rock “Streetscape” project. Supposedly through a bid process. I’m still looking for details. Considering the cost overrun at the Public Works Project,should Vaz be “trusted” by the taxpayers of Bridgeport. I believe there is significant funding from the State of Connecticut(whose revenue/comes from taxpayers). Question about the bidding process for the Black Rock Streetscape Project. How many bid? What were the amounts of any bids. If Vaz goes over budget with the Black Rock Project,WHO WILL PAY?

        1. State Representative Steve Stafstrom
          Page Liked · January 17 ·

          Black Rock Streetscape Update per the City: Final Design has been completed. Construction bid is complete and Vaz Quality Works, a Bridgeport contractor, was chosen. Purchase Order is in the process of being issued to Vaz. They are expected to begin applying for permits on February 1st at the latest. Construction will begin when weather permits. Construction end date is no later than June 15, 2019. This project is being managed by Bridgeport and paid for by the State.

          1. 17 hrs ·
            Black Rock NRZ Land Use committee will host a presentation by City of Bridgeport OPED on the pending Fairfield Ave-Brewster St streetscape and a discussion re: a land use policy proposal.

            Agenda
            I – Presentation by Bridgeport Office of Planning and Economic Development on the Streetscape/Fairfield Ave-Brewster St. project
            II – Review of Land Use policy proposal
            • Committee and board members will speak first; public to follow
            III – Review of application re: 3369 Fairfield Avenue, as included on the ZBA Agenda for Tuesday, February 12, 2019

            3369-3375 Fairfield Ave. Petition of 3369 Fairfield Avenue, LLC Appealing under Sec. 14-10 of the City of Bridgeport Zoning Regulations and Sec. 8-7 of the CT General State Statutes; whereby it is alleged the Zoning Official erred in his decision to not process an application for additional truck storage without Zoning Board of Appeals approval in an OR zone and coastal area.

            TOMORROW AT 6 PM
            Land Use Committee meeting, Streetscape presentation

            BLACK ROCK NRZ meeting
            Usually at Burroughs Community Center (but place was not cited)

      3. I had time to do a deep dive on the sale of the Crescent Ave. property Tiago sold to a Vaz brother.
        .
        Tiago actually so look d three adjacent lots to a Vaz brother in 2014.
        .
        640 Crexcent Ave was assessed at $270 000 in the 2010 reevaluation . After the 2015 reevaluation it was only assessed at $153,170.

        The next lot was on 1581 Crescent Ave. and was assessed at $142, 546 in 2010. After the 2015 reevaluation it was assessed at only $115,330.

        The last lot was 69 Crescent Avenue. It was assessed at $54, 600 in 2014. After the 2015 reevaluation it was assessed at $46,800.

        So all three properties were assessed at a combined value of $410,352. It’s total market value would have been $586, 217 when it was sold to a Vaz brother in 2014, yet he paid $845, 000 for all three lots. That is still well over $250,000 more than the full value of the three lots combined.

        After the 2015 reevaluation all three properties are now only valued at $450, 428. The Vaz brother lost $136,000 in property value only one year after he purchased all three lots.

        Any way you analyze this it just doesn’t make sense. Was the extra $250,000 part of a quid pro quo? Is it a bribe built into what is supposed to be a legitimate transaction on the surface?

        I have no idea, however it looks bad in my opinion.

  2. The “wrap” that canvassers are going to be able to use door-to-door on the campaign trail is going to be amazing.

    Can you just picture the campaign mailers?

    This certainly won’t help Joe Ganim’s re election bid.

  3. These are the same games the city played back when JoeGanim was mayor. The first time that is.
    No bid contract on Morton Government Center interior demolition. It had to be no bid because you couldn’t tell what was inside until you started the work. Really?
    Painting contracts handed out a wall at at time.
    You would start with a small project, approve capital funds and then watch it grow exponentially.
    Demolish the East Side / East End to make way for a massive development and thus fad all you have open is a Baa Pro Shop, a cell shone store and a coffee shop. But we’ll be ready if they ever come
    And the list goes on and on and on.

  4. Speaking of the Margaret Morton Government Center, I’m aware that Marcus Brown has a lavish office on the second-floor legislative conference office. I also heard that the second-floor legislative conference room is being used by the Young Dems for the purpose of doing business as a political group. Tom Gaudette a member of the Young Dems in addition to holding a political patronage job is part of this group. Will this space will be permitted use for all political groups or candidates running for political office? The taxpayers of Bridgeport funded the renovation of this building, so are we now funding the aspirations of political candidates? I’m going to give Joey G. the benefit of the doubt on this one. I don’t think he’s aware of this. Marcus Brown and his beards are pretty sneaky kids and will push the envelope until they get caught and called to the principal’s office. Tom Gaudette had better be very careful because the Feds are all over the Annex, and his actions reflect directly on the Mayor. He’s way over his head hanging around with street people like Marcus Brown. The poor kid (Tom Gaudette), looks as if a strong wind will blow him over, what the heck is he going to do when the “gloves come off.” I intend to follow up on this. It sounds to me as if the taxpayers are being ripped off by nickel and dime characters operating under the guise of Young Dems. I know from their last visit to Bridgeport, the FBI agents are extremely open to speaking with any and all who might want to sit and share. Marcus Brown appears charming and respectful when convenient, however, he’s a thug in sheep’s clothing. I personally find him bearable, but the opinion of the voters have the last word. We’ll see!!!!!!!

    1. I believe Tom Gaudette and Marcus Brown are officers for the Bridgeport Young Democrats but that still does not give them permission to use public facilities for their own private work. The Bridgeport Young Democrats are NOT a part of the Government of The City of Bridgeport.

  5. John Weldon notice a Special Meeting late afternoon yesterday for tonight.

    What was so urgent on the very night the President delivered his State of the Union speech? Putting an end to the Community Conversations in each City Council district that the Board voted unanimously to approve and made it part of one of th here goals and objectives on Dr. Johnson’s evaluation. Why the need to meet tonight? The Community Conversation for the 137th District is scheduled for Luis Marin tomorrow night. That is Achievement First Charter School employee and City Council President Aidee Nieves and City employee Maria Valle’s district.
    We have had hundreds of students, parents and staff turnout at the last three out of four forums. We have explained our dire financial situation due to Mayor Ganin proposing three straight budgets without a $1 increase for our 20,000 students. Aidee Nieves voted to give us ZERO for 2016/2017 and voted to only give us $377,000 for 2017/2018. Both Aidee Nieves and Maria Valle only voted to give us $1.2 million last year when we requested $11,000,000.

    Mayor Ganim and these City Council members are so scared of parents and staff being informed of their record on education. I have an idea. Do the right thing for our 20,000 students and you won’t have to be embarrassed or concerned by your voting record.

    Chair John Weldon, Vice-Chair Jessics Martinez, Hernan Illingworth and Christopher Taylor all walked into Room 305 together. Sybll Allen was already there, but everyone knows that she does exactly what Mario Testa tells her to do.

    Dr. Johnson received her goals three months into the school year because of John Weldon and the majority. It is now seven months into the school year and they want to terminate a specific goal she is required to meet in her next evaluation. Jessica Martinez. made a motion to stop all Community Conversations which is in violation of Robert’s Rules of Order. John Weldon, Jessica Martinez, Hernan Illingworth, Chris Taylor and Sybll Allen voted to approve it although I repeatedly stated the motion was out-of-order and not binding.

    Ben Walker and I voted against it. Dennis Bradley was a no show and Joseph Sokolovic was absent which is highly unusual

    I kept stating on the record that once a motion is approved, a motion to rescind that specific vote has to be placed on the agenda and must pass by a two thirds vote. John Weldon and his cohort are so clueless they simply proceeded on a motion to end the Community Conversation which is not allowed under Robert’s Rules of Order.

    We simply have to attach every endorsed Democrat to Joe Ganim and the FBI on door after door.

  6. Charter Revision of 1992 allows for the creation of the “non-partisan Office of Legislative Services”. Use of the office space at City Hall Annex for any partisan political purpose would be a violation of the Charter.
    Now, will a member of the city council stand up and insist on compliance to the Charter?

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