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Let’s Eat! Fired By Voters, Finch Throws Exit Party With Taxpayer Money

January 11th, 2016 · 26 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Budget, City Politics

On his last day as mayor November 30, the very day he authorized himself a retroactive raise that direct deposited $17,000 of taxpayer money into his personal bank account after voters fired him in a September primary, Bill Finch threw a bye bye office party for 20 staffers and department heads and left the Ganim administration to pick up the $720.20 food tab. This is on top of the roughly $13,000 Finch received for unused vacation time. A majority of Democratic voters agreed that Finch was on vacation for the better part of eight years.

So much for the guy who proclaimed on a regular basis that “Together we are making Bridgeport the cleanest, greenest, safest, most affordable city with schools and neighborhoods that improve each year.”

According to a November 30 invoice from the popular Downtown restaurant Ralph ‘n’ Rich’s, the city was billed $720.20 to cover a “Mayor Finch” noon lunch for 20 people at $21.50 per head, as well as $140 for beverages, plus tax and tip.

Mayor Joe Ganim’s administration has been releasing copies of invoices, transactions, and dubious payouts from the final weeks of Finch’s lame duck mayoralty framing Finch as an Eddie Haskell phony when it came to protecting taxpayer money, particularly after Finch assailed Ganim’s past on the campaign trail.

Perhaps Finch’s final meal was a tribute to a fishy ending as mayor.

Ralph 'n' Rich's invoice

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26 Comments so far ↓

  • HansenMan

    Disgusting and disappointing. That piker didn’t have a grand to toss toward the tab? BS. Like a child who takes the ball and leaves the game they lost. Bad form Finch, but I expected no less from you. Ciao.

  • Harvey Weintraub

    No doubt there are a lot more things Finch hid, which will be uncovered little by little, and of course we the taxpayers will get the tab. “I love this city,” yeah right, Finch is a piece of shit.

  • Mojo

    *** Were the voters “wrong” to vote for someone other than Finch after being Mayor for eight years? As we slowly look back and see exactly what he and his Admin was able to accomplish or not, will it be a “good grade” political report card or a “failing grade” on his overall service as Mayor of Bpt? What grade do the OIB bloggers and readers give him on his eight years as Mayor? ***

  • Steven Auerbach

    That is pretty pathetic. I am disappointed if the bill is for real. Sad!

    • Mojo

      *** That was your can’t do nothing wrong “Boy” there, Stevie! The Mayor you always stuck up for on OIB, Mr. Green Jeans. ***

      • Steven Auerbach

        Mojo, a $720 party is not a major catastrophe. It certainly doesn’t compare to past abuses by a past administration in any way shape or form. I admire Mayor Finch’s commitment to the environment as most educated well-read individuals who care about future generations. I never thought Mayor Finch walked on water. I always believed this was only a two-man race. I totally support the new Mayor, but a $720 party bill will not diminish the positive development that happened under Finch. Ganim will be held accountable from this point forward. I wish everyone good luck. Mojo, I am not sure what your point was, so to be clear, I do not regret supporting Mayor Finch, I never thought Foster stood a chance and I never shared the mentality of anyone but Ganim. I believe Joe will do great things.

  • Steven Auerbach

    What were 20 people drinking that cost $140, or better yet, the lunch menu was $21.50 per person. Very questionable! Well at least the 20 staffers left with a nice Christmas bonus and a nice post-Thanksgiving party. All I know is I wasn’t invited! At the taxpayers’ expense, no less. I guess someone felt justified!

    • Harvey Weintraub

      Steve, you have to know Bill had “a few” drinks, and glasses of wine at R&R are about $6.50 I believe.

    • Jimfox

      Stevie A, I spoke with Bill Finch (MF) about not inviting you to the luncheon at Ralph ‘n’ Rich’s.
      He told me he was sorry, but Cornish Crow only comes 20 to a box.
      He also told me to thank you for all the hard work you did on OIB, working at the polls, door-to-door canvasing, the phone banks and please stop kissing Ganim’s ass on OIB!
      Mayor Finch also said he’ll need those lips when he runs for Governor, so keep puckered up!

      • Steven Auerbach

        Thanks, Jim Fox. I no longer publicly respond to nasty unnecessary comments even if they are intended to be funny. It is insulting and not necessary. As far as ass-kissing goes, I would assume in the real world it would be the other way around, no? The pen is mightier than the sword. I owe the Mayor nothing and he is not going to write a letter about me, if you get my drift! What you call ass-kissing is just being respectful.

  • Bob Walsh

    Stevie A must be a cheap date if he can’t figure out how 20 people can drink $140. The only remaining question is who would want to date him?

    • Steven Auerbach

      Bob Walsh, I am a cheap date. I rarely have more than one drink and as much as I love Ralph ‘n’ Richie’s, $21.50 for lunch is a rip off. Must have been a “special” menu. I can name 40 restaurants in Bridgeport that have excellent food for lunch under $12 a head. Bob, you don’t get out much, you just complain a lot!

  • Ron Mackey

    That’s a very cheap bill for 20 people.

    • Ron Mackey

      The sad thing about this story is not the cost but the act of not paying for the meals for a man who was the mayor of the biggest city in Connecticut had the nerve not to pay for his meal and his guests, what a disgrace. Things are getting better.

  • Bob Walsh

    I don’t know which is more embarrassing.
    Bill Finch taking tens of thousands of taxpayers dollars in retro pay raises and unused vacation time and being too cheap to pick up this lunch tab
    OR
    Joe Ganim running around and showing this bill to anyone and everyone as if this is the reason for a $20 million budget problem.

    • Harvey Weintraub

      At this point, it seems like most things Joe does is to “get back” at Finch, it’s definitely personal.

    • John Marshall Lee

      What is worse is having people with their “trigger fingers” on spending public money who show no concern for being “accountable” for using OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY.
      Whether you are talking about City Councils in recent years not looking at all budgets and just giving them a pass; or allowing Tom Sherwood to plug in large increases in revenue assumptions (that at the time were erroneous or were devoid of a rationale); or administrations failing to follow City Charter language for annual public input solicited for Capital budgeting; it has been so below “best practices” anyone can brag about, it fits the title ONLY IN BRIDGEPORT. Anyone disagree? The details are starting to leak out. Who will plug them? Who has called on their own Council person yet? When will they secure assistance from their existing budget to maintain some type of independence from the administration? How will they move to ‘check and balance land?’ Time will tell.

      • Ron Mackey

        JML, I agree and understand your point, but John really, what you expect from council members who don’t know and who won’t ask questions? They’re going to listen to the person who put everything together, Tom Sherwood. That’s why Rick Torres did a disservice to his district by running for mayor instead of just running for the City Council seat he held, his voice is missing on the council.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Ron,
    Rick will be happy to know you miss his voice on the Council. His voice was not specific to raising issues about the 130th, but rather saw the broader issues facing the City today and into the future. However, you are not in the 130th, are you, so why worry about Torres’ disservice, unless what you are really saying is no one but Rick Torres, recently, continued to raise vital issues to all City taxpayers? Is that what you are saying? Are you lamenting the loss of a single voice on the Council, a Republican voice for that matter? After McCarthy rid himself of the only legislative assistant (which did nothing to help the City budget because of a simultaneous move to hire a person in the City Clerk’s office whom he then began to work with exclusively), there was no one for the average Council member to turn to for answers, or just plain sense. The TOM (McCarthy)-TOM (Sherwood) beat steadily and the Council followed the rhythm, and the taxpayers lost out big-time. Well Tom White, the jettisoned legislative employee has been in court seeking redress, another victim of the TOM-TOM. How much has and will this action cost the City? Time will tell.

    • Ron Mackey

      JML, are you playing the role of a professor or are you trying to be a politician? As a politician your concern is the entire City because the budget is more than one district. I mentioned Torres because he was the lone Republican who had nothing to do with the DTC.

  • Edith Bicknell

    I don’t think a farewell luncheon under $1,000 is a big deal. Joe G has plenty of better ammo to use. This makes him seem small. And Jesus, has he forgotten why he went to jail?

  • John Marshall Lee

    Edith,
    Have not had the opportunity to meet or greet yet, but welcome. You bring a different yardstick to the table for sure. When you consider the amount of money covered by City Purchase orders in years past we have reported in the hundreds of thousands, I understand your opinion the R&R bill is “small potatoes” or in this case perhaps a single gnocco relative to the plural gnocchi we are used to. Problem is most writing was not there and so feel it opportune to fire away with both barrels. Actually, I am surprised to find Tiago’s did not get the “final nod” in this case. Is there any import to that observation? Anybody find out what City business was covered, and whose CREDIT CARD took the hit? Time will tell.

  • Harvey Weintraub

    Speaking of Tiago’s, how in hell does Joe Tiago still have his $96,000 a year job checking potholes??? This job was created by Finch specifically for Joe, a way of “thanking” him for his support and booze over the years. Time to go, Joe.

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