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O&G’s Stones Crushed, Judge Radcliffe Rules Company Operating Illegally In East End, Activists Praise Decision

March 17th, 2017 · 22 Comments · Analysis and Comment, Development and Zoning, News and Events

Ganim, O&G

Ganim reads passage from judge’s decision. Behind Ganim former State Senator Ernie Newton. At right, City Councilwoman Eneida Martinez who represents East End.

Update: video, news conference. Mayor Joe Ganim, flanked by neighborhood activists and elected officials, hailed Superior Court Judge Dale Radcliffe’s order for O&G Industries to “immediately cease and desist from the use and maintenance of a recycling, concrete crushing, storage and stockpiling facility at 1225 Seaview Avenue” in the East End. See court decision here. O&G’s blighted plant covers more than five acres of waterfront property.

Radcliffe also ruled that “compliance with the Order to Comply, and this court’s decision, is in no way contingent upon any relocation of the O & G operation, or the approval of one or more municipal land use bodies, concerning that relocation.”

O&G is seeking to relocate its operation to the West End, spawning the Facebook page No To O&G.

Several members of the neighborhood-led No To O&G, including activists from the East End, West End, South End and Black Rock, were in attendance as Ganim read passages from Radcliffe’s ruling at an afternoon news conference next to the blighted property.

The decision stems from O&G appealing a city zoning enforcement officer’s citation for running an illegal operation.

O&G East End facility. Photo Ned Gerard CT Post.

O&G East End facility. Photo Ned Gerard CT Post.

Ganim and city lawyers in attendance said the judge’s decision is immediate and if the company doesn’t shut down they will seek to hold the company in contempt. They also stated the decision impales the company’s leverage to move its facility to the West End.

Ganim described the company as a poor corporate citizen who must clean up its act immediately declaring “It’s an affront to the residents of the city, it is a clear violation of the laws … it’s gonna stop and it’s gonna stop now … they move it or we’ll move it and we’ll charge them.” Ganim suggested Seymour might be a good place.

One by one, Ganim called on activists and city elected officials frustrated by two decades of the eyesore to address the judge’s decision. City Councilwoman Eneida Martinez, who represents the East End, praised the judge and city lawyers who defended the city’s position. The City Attorney’s Office hired the law firm Berchem, Moses & Devlin, a land use specialist, to represent the city in the matter.

Former State Senator Ernie Newton declared “The East End is no longer the dumping ground of the city,” adding cleaning up the site will pave the way for other neighborhood improvements.

Others pointed out the facility has been an emotional, physical and health drain on the neighborhood. It is located around the corner from the Steel Point redevelopment area that features Bass Pro Shops as the anchor tenant, with close access to I-95.

No to O&G

Several activists showed up to news conference.

Radcliffe decision

Ganim described the East End facility as Mount Trashmore II, referencing the illegal demolition pile in the East End known as Mount Trashmore that was cleaned up with state assistance during JG1.

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22 Comments so far ↓

  • Bob Walsh

    There you go!
    Thank you, Judge Radcliffe.
    Now let’s see where the mayor and Mario come down on this ruling.

  • Bob Walsh

    Now we really have something to celebrate on St. Paddy’s Day!

  • Ron Mackey

    Thank you Judge Radcliffe, but now let’s watch Mayor Ganim put a spin on this move. Mayor Ganim was a no-show when the illegal demolition pile in the East End known as Mount Trashmore was getting larger and larger. He didn’t come out of the closet until Rev. Jessie Jackson got interested in Mount Trashmore. Mayor Ganim acted the exact same way when two asphalt plants were being proposed for the South End and the East End at the foot of the Pleasure Beach Bridge but it was the residents of those two areas who rose up and fought having those asphalt plants with the help of then-State Representative Chris Caruso, who by the way was NOT their elected State Representative but he knew it was the right thing to do for the health of living in the South End and the East End and where NO elected officials cared.

    Remember, always follow the money, including the money that is given in elections to candidates including candidate for governor Joe Ganim as he goes around the state looking for support but he won’t support those who are fighting to have clean air for their children to breathe.

    • John Marshall Lee

      “Follow the money” Ron tells us and I certainly agree. I also suggest you place a calendar next to whatever financial report or evidence you consider.

      How long has O&G as a Bridgeport landowner persisted in this behavior? And had it not been for Steel Point and water-based opportunities coming to completion, would the City have pushed the status quo envelope? Just like the Wheelabrator announcement some weeks ago where the first assessment by the City in 2007 was challenged and it has taken 10 years to settle. In that case the City seemed happy the settlement did not force the City to come up with the dollars today. And Ganim2 is happy? But what is the penalty in terms of foregone annual tax payments for the next 10 years or so? And what is the reduction in the taxpaying Grand List that must be recognized by the case settling? How about placing those numbers in a news release, Joe? Time and money march hand in hand.

      Once again the City resorts to outside attorneys to represent our interests against O&G. Good deal, but at what expense? And how many such assignments have been part of the reason for the rate of expense increase in the City Attorney’s office in the past 3-4 years? All in favor? Time will tell.

  • Mojo

    Leave it to beaver, Radcliffe to always rule in favor of the people and against the greedy businessmen, etc.

  • Frank Gyure

    The big question is whether or not Joe Ganim said anything about O&G’s plan to open an identical facility on the West Side (West End) on Howard Ave. Same toxic air, toxic water runoff into Cedar Creek/Black Rock Harbor/noise pollution issues. If you read Judge Radcliffe’s decision, O&G has shown itself to be an irresponsible member of the Bridgeport business community. CAN WE GET VIDEO or a recap of the PR news conference?

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    Not that it matters. O & G will still make financial campaign “donations” to Ganim’s re-election campaign.

  • Lisa Parziale

    Ron, thank you for pointing out how Chris Caruso always went above and beyond his district constituents when there was a cry or need for action in other areas of the City. That work ethic hasn’t been seen since Chris Caruso took a temporary respite from public office. As Chris and I were growing in our individual roles as elected officials we had the usual disagreements. I have come to realize how important it was to disagree when necessary, it’s the only way to learn and listen to the views of others. Most importantly, it perfects the art of compromise and admitting when another view is better than yours. I’m proud to say I supported Chris in his last run for Mayor, I still hope someday I’ll have the opportunity of a replay.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Rotary International has a set of questions that is called the Four Way Test by which something can be reviewed when things get confused.
    1) Is it the Truth?
    2) Is it fair to all concerned?
    3) Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
    4) Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

    Those of us who read and write for readers of Only In Bridgeport know matters in this City are often confusing. Laws, regulations, statutes, ordinances or just plain common sense point in one direction and people responsible for carrying out public policy and serving the people, often go off in another direction. What do you do? I have often called for a SHERIFF, the way things worked in movies from my youth. Too often there is no SHERIFF who will answer such a call.

    Whether on the national scene at this moment in time or locally, the power to call a halt to behavior negative to the community has depended on the Court system, as in “tell it to the Judge” so that he or she can provide a ruling, that resonates with the law and with reason.

    Thank you Judge Radcliffe for the several decisions you have made in recent years to cause bad behavior to have reason to terminate when it previously had acted as if “What, me worry?” The rule of law sets the US apart from many places in the world. It is up to us to understand it works with the consent of the governed and we need to keep reporting or protesting when it is not working. Time will tell.

  • Pete Spain

    Here’s to a new chapter for cleaner economic development and a growing grand list for our city.

    Thanks to: Neil Bonney for enforcing the zoning regulations in 2016 for this property, Judge Radcliffe for his decision, and to the citizens and elected officials who took a stand against O&G in this matter.

    That the City of Bridgeport hired Bryan LeClerc to represent it in this case
    www .bmdlaw.com/Attorneys/Bryan-L-Leclerc.shtml

    signaled a serious commitment to overcoming the O&G legal smoke-and-mirrors that unfortunately seemed to be the norm for years in Bridgeport.

    Let’s hope O&G’s half-baked environmentally atrocious Howard Ave proposal is now dead in the water too, and the Waterfront Bridgeport Plan can be pursued in earnest, in a way that builds real momentum and measurable progress for the greater good of our city and region for the long term.

  • Bob Walsh

    Don’t bet on it.
    It just makes Joe that much more of a player in putting together the deal. And by being that important, it makes Joe’s help that much more expensive.

  • Jeff Kohut

    Amazing! Finally a ruling that favors the residents of Bridgeport over the callous indifference of a corporate bully!!!

    Bully(!!!), Judge Radcliffe!!!

    Dale Radcliffe for Governor!!!

  • Steven Auerbach

    Congratulations and thank you to all the activists who stood firm. This is a great day. A win for the city. Let’s get some tax-producing economic development there!

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