Mayor And Max Strike A Deal, Plus: This Is Nuts! And Sarah’s Loaded Speech

After the charges, counter charges, letter war and turf protection, Mayor Bill Finch and Board of Education President Max Medina have reached common ground on the BOE easing the city’s deficit.

The mayor had requested $7 million or so, Max and company said way too much. The agreed upon figure is $2.5 million. Every little bit helps and the mayor needs all he can get to plug his fragile budget year that ends June 30 with the budget to follow just as shaky, depending on what the state legislature does in its special session to approve a budget.

The mayor and Max, neighbors on the East Side, have never been buds as evidenced in their recent flame-throwing letters, but as the clock ticks toward the end of the budget year it’s nice to see that they’ve come to some resolution publicly. (Now what they say privately are two different things.)

Max is filling out his final term on the BOE and he wants to go out knowing that he did his part in the city’s hour of need. For the mayor, he’s happy to be that much closer to closing out a deficit that the city had pegged at $20 million. Finch achieved major union concessions to bite deep into the deficit.

And as this budget year closes out the financial whiplash continues into the next cycle.

You Can’t Be Serious

Let’s see now, the city pays out nearly $3,000 for an outside lawyer (former State Representative Lee Samowitz) to handle a $50 tax collection. Brilliant. Outstanding. An OIB classic. That’s like the IRS seizing a bank account for a penny owed.

How many other cases like this are out there? An excerpt from Dan Tepfer of the Connecticut Post.

BRIDGEPORT – Ever since he came to this country from Haiti Jean Castro just wanted to live the American dream.

He worked as a mechanic in Stamford before finally saving enough money to buy a house here for himself, his wife and three children.

Now, three years later the city is foreclosing on the single-family home on Harral Avenue because Castro owes $51.69 in back taxes.

“It’s unbelievable,” exclaimed the 49-year-old Castro as he stood beneath the large grape arbor alongside his home. “I pay my mortgage every month, I do everything I’m supposed to do and now you tell me the city is taking my home. “I’m shocked.”

Last week a Superior Court judge granted the city’s foreclosure action and ordered the home to be sold in December to satisfy the back taxes as well as the $2,705 in attorneys fees and foreclosure costs.

According to court records, Castro did not appear to contest the action.

But Castro maintains he didn’t know his house was in foreclosure. He said he received a letter from the city stating he had back taxes and he turned the letter over to his mortgage company which pays his taxes.

“The bank said it was going to take care of the back taxes and that’s the last I knew of it,” he said.

In fact court records show that nearly $3,000 in back taxes were paid on the house leaving a balance of $51.69.

“Now they are using the money I paid in taxes to attack me,” Castro complained.

Know what I say? Let the guy keep his house.

My Girl Sarah

My new best friend is Sarah Palin. I take back everything I’ve ever written about the Snow Queen, Ice Lady, Polar Palin. Why? Okay, here’s the deal. The latest episode of Soap Sarah involves her allegedly lifting language for a recent speech from Newt Gingrich, one of her rivals for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012.

This alleged indiscretion infused OIB with more than 500 additional direct referral hits on Monday. What the hell is that? Well, the intrigue with Sarah’s speeches means that if you typed in “Sarah Palin speech” or “Sarah Palin photos” on Google it led curiosity seekers to OIB simply because of a few posts I wrote following her GOP convention speech last summer.

I’ve examined the evidence and Sarah gave proper attribution to Fig Newt. No harm, no foul. So, thank you Sarah, I’m now firmly in your corner with unimpeachable commitment. Just in case anyone’s forgotten, remember these?



  1. Seventeen new businesses were started in Bridgeport two weeks ago, thirty-five in Fairfield County all together. Sure, some of this is “involuntary entrepreneurship” but it means people aren’t discouraged, they’re determined!

    www < --Fairfield County Business Journal The same guy who dissed the Mayor of Bridgeport in yesterday's blog is the same guy who went from homeless in Bridgeport to homeless in Fairfield. Is that called upward social mobility? He's homeless by design not default. My suggestion: if you can't pull yourself up by your bootstraps, try your guitar strap. He’s also a self-described expert on Bridgeport politics and the stench of low tide. I offered him a chance to make money at the last OIB meeting. Now the happiest guy in Bridgeport is the one who accepted what he refused! Lest anyone think I’m hiding behind a screen name, here’s my 411: www

    Tale of Two Cities: www

    Braddock, Pa. is a decrepit town whose Mayor is a Harvard grad and makes $150 a month with no health insurance. He has his town’s zip code tattooed on his forearm and is the darling of the media. He’s an urban pioneer. 700 people work at a local steel plant while Bridgeport has a failed development called Steel Point. Go figure.

    1. Hey Local Eyes

      Leave the Kid alone or you’ll be wearing a couple of Local Black Eyes.

      His post yesterday was probably one of the most cogent ever written on this blog.

    2. Sticks and stones, Mr. Local Eyes. When I met you at the last OIB soirée I was put off by your self-importance, pomposity and smug attitude. All of these dubious qualities were magnified by the state of advanced intoxication you were in.

      I’ve NEVER claimed to be an expert on Bridgeport politics, but if the air smells like shit there must be turds nearby. Or you, for that matter. Take a pill and get over yourself.

    3. *** Always straight up & to the point without the masquerade! *** A man who seems worthy of respect, regardless of his difference of opinions @ times. ***

      1. *** Earlier post @ 3:08pm *** That man is Local Eyes, just so there’s no mistaking, who? *** RESPECT *** You must live & give it, in order to receive it now & be remembered for it, when you’re gone! *** “The memory of the just is blessed”! ***

  2. The judge who entered the order of foreclosure with a $50 balance is a jerk too. The matter should have been continued so that the bank could resolve the issue with Samowitz’ fee.

    By the way Lee … you will never see another nickel in legal fees from me again.

    1. From what I read in this morning’s newspaper, Le Samowitz could care less about how much Mr. Castro actually owes the city. Fifty bucks and some change is an obscenely paltry sum of money. Mr. Samowitz sounded as though he is more interested in getting paid rather than sorting the whole mess out.

  3. Finch …

    Good luck in whatever you choose to do after you are summarily dismissed from office in the next election. I hope you leave the state.

    You should not let the politically connected skate on back taxes while you put hard-working citizens on the street.

  4. Nice picture of Lennie, color above-the-fold, in today’s Connecticut Post, regarding his new blog efforts with the paper. His lament about Shays is worth lamenting about while Shays is laminating his money.

  5. OIB Rumor Mill:

    Despite numerous attempts–including repeated phone calls, a handwritten note and a full-page ad in The Conncecticut Post–The Mayor of Bridgeport has graciously declined yahooy’s invitation to his upcoming birthday celebration where partygoers will enjoy ice cream cake, pony rides and endless games of pin the tail on the donkey.

    1. If you are the donkey in question I’d be glad to attend, provided the “tails” are affixed to knitting needles (all the better to hit you in a vital organ).

  6. Tuesday June 9th on “Bridgeport Now” LIVE
    Tuesdays at 8pm on Ch 77. No cable?

    Today’s topics
    1) Is Bishop Lori a lobbyist? CT Legislators are asking that question, after “urging” parish back in March to oppose proposed state law #1098 which seeks greater transparency with the church. “An Act Modifying Corporate Laws Relating to Certain Religious Corporations.” Will I cause outrage to discuss this in our free society?

    2) Does Black Rock have a say in fate of Black Rock Arts building? Special guest from NRZ and BRHA.

    3) Black Rocks arts emerging gallery, on par with New York?

    4) Be Green in Bridgeport: Update. Save on your bills.

    5) Bridgeport History: How did it get the name “Park City”?

    6) What recession? More condos going up on Fairfield Ave. You know what it’s gonna look like? Tune in.

    7) Sikorsky airport update: Broken buildings, unsafe airport, and Stratford preventing $30m in free GOV money for improvements for the airport Bridgeport owns.

    Congrats to Lennie with CT Post editorial. When you’ve had your fill of OIB, tune in to our live show (at least that’s how Lennie phrased it at online CT Post site).

    “Bridgeport Now”, live weekly show on raw, live, public access TV.

  7. Up On Bridgeport:

    I thought I was being clever when I wrote my post without mentioning his name. What you found cogent I found unconvincing and vile. However, we need not agree.

    But you threatened me. Sometimes I think Lennie encourages TBK to badmouth The Mayor but I know he tolerated your threats. Lennie, you still have time to rectify the situation. UOB, your post came out of sequence. I think you should upgrade your posting etiquette because you just discredited yourself.

    Up on Bridgeport, you need Manhood Training because you’re flunking adulthood.

    1. Sir,
      Lennie doesn’t “encourage” me to say anything; he compliments my writing skills. If I say that Mayor Finch is an asshole, it is because he’s quacking like one. Did you hear Hizzoner on WICC this morning, babbling on about the statue of an obscure baseball player being erected in Harbor Yard? WHERE ARE THE PRIORITIES HERE? The city can put up a billboard-length sign and block automobile access to Steelepointe but they can’t tear down a God-forsaken, butt-ugly house.

  8. The following is a response from T.C. to a nerve touched by yours truly.

    town committee // Jun 9, 2009 at 6:01 am

    Joel as is your wont you are wrong again. Let me straighten you out on what you posted. If you want to bring my family into this bring it on.
    First I was not offered the seat to run with Bob Curwen by the district members before I was committed to Ann Barney. Could I have had that seat? Yes I could have. Once I committed to Ann Barney that was it. I am a man of my word.
    Now let’s get to the house transfer: You state the house was transferred to keep it away from the Feds. This arose because of my son’s well-reported troubles. If you knew one damn thing it would be even transferring ownership of a house would not keep it away from the feds if they decided that they wanted it. The house was transferred to me because my son could not keep up with the payments plus he knew he was going away. Believe it or not he did not want it foreclosed on. I sold it, paid off his mortgage debts and walked away with zero dollars. Joel if you want to throw dirt on this campaign have at it. I wonder who put you up to this.
    Joel let me give you another update: My son is a union ironworker in New York City. He is up at 3:30 every morning and returns home at 4 :30 PM every afternoon. He has paid his debt and is putting his life back together.
    Joel you want to come after me? Bring it on. Leave my family out of this race.
    Joel here is another surprise. I will answer any question that is asked if there is a public debate which by the way I welcome. I will answer any and all questions. I am not afraid of the truth and have lived my life that way. Joel you would not go to the public hearing if you were me because you don’t have the guts to do so.

  9. The Golden Rule is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If Local Eyes acts like an asshole he ought not be surprised if others respond accordingly and treat him as if he were an asshole.

  10. “First I was not offered the seat to run with Bob Curwen by the district members before I was committed to Ann Barney.”

    As I’ve been told, first you stated to the 138th T.C. that you and Ann were running for City Council (before they offered you the endorsement). The T.C. said to you that you have the right to do so. Your T.C. was waiting for Paoletto to make up his mind as to whether or not Rich was going to run. Since you had already told your T.C. that you and Ann were running, another member of your T.C. (Kevin Monks) expressed his interest in running in the event that Rich decided not to. Monks had the votes necessary to get the nomination. Despite having the votes, Monks agreed to yield to you and allow you to get the nomination. You turned it down and insisted that you and Ann be endorsed. A majority on your T.C. felt that it would not be fair to endorse a member with only 7 months on the T.C. (Ann) over someone with 11 years of dedicated service (Monks).

    “You could not understand that strong position. You state the house was transferred to keep it away from the Feds. This arose because of my son’s well-reported troubles. If you knew one damn thing it would be even transferring ownership of a house would not keep it away from the feds if they decided that they wanted it.”

    In my opinion, yes I believe that the intent of the transfers was to avoid forfeiture by the feds. You said it best by stating “well-reported”. I didn’t bring this up. I’m recalling an activity that you were mentioned to be involved in. I do happen to know a bit about forfeiture proceedings. The Justice Department policy in determining whether or not to proceed to confiscate real estate is based on the Equity on the real estate or vehicle. If there is $25,000 or more in equity in a home–$2,500 on a vehicle–the Justice Department will move forward with forfeiture proceedings. Since you sold the home and made no profit out of it–no equity–this may be the reason why.

    “I sold it, paid off his mortgage debts and walked away with zero dollars.”

    What’s wrong with the above statement? The house was transferred to you. It was then your house, but then you sold it and paid “his” meaning your son’s mortgage debts. Let’s get the story straight now.

    I don’t see how I’m bringing your family into any of this. You decided to enter the blog–not to mention politics. Years back, it was common practice for the Connecticut Post to mention Andres Ayala’s uncle every time they wrote an article regarding Andre. ‘Til this day, the Post hardly fails to mention Joe Ganim’s conviction when writing about Paul Ganim. You have decided to enter a political race, so don’t be so surprised when the Post writes an article about you and mentions things that you and/or family members were involved in. I commend your son for following a straight path and I really wish him the best. It was a good idea to start over in a different place, away from the old so-called friends who later sign statements against you. For the record, no one put me up to this.

  11. Joel here you go again, get it straight. I was asked by Curwen to run with him and that was before Paoletto made a decision one way or the other. I said No. I met with Paoletto and asked him to let me know if he were running or not. I told Rich if he is running I will not primary. I waited one month and heard nothing. That’s when I decided to run with Ann Barney. BTW the majority was one person Martha. We lost 4 to 3.
    I told Kevin in a call he made to me that I will remain loyal to Ann and I wished Kevin well. Does that surprise you? When Kevin made his offer it was a week before our meeting and BTW no one at least Ann and I knew that this was a nomination meeting.
    You dumb ass I never said the house was transferred to keep it away from the Feds. Read the post again, as usual you get things half right.
    Just so you know the 138th will have its primary and may the best two win. When it’s over win or lose Ann and I will still be friends with Bob & Kevin and work for the district.
    Joel if no one put you up to this then I am ready to buy the Brooklyn bridge. If you are so interested in the politics of the 138th move here and get involved. This is it Joel I can’t waste any more time on a person who is shilling for someone with no guts to blog on his own.


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