Scrap Heap–Tiago Terminated For Role In Scrap-metal Sales For Cash In Public Facilities

Joe Tiago behind bar of his closed Bare restaurant. CT Post photo

Deputy Director of Public Facilities Joe Tiago was fired on Friday for his accused role of turning scrap-metal sales into cash used purportedly as a sunshine fund account to cover goodies to boost department morale. That does not appear to be the case. Mayor Joe Ganim Friday night confirmed Tiago’s firing, as well as another department employee, Jose DeMoura.

“It is not acceptable in the city under this administration,” said Ganim.

The FBI is investigating the matter. City Hall sources say a full accounting of the money, that’s at least $35,000, has not been made. The feds are following the money, and it could be more than known. And some of it has apparently gone in someone’s pocket.

Tiago was fired following due process hearings before Labor Relations. Tiago and DeMoura, cousins, are unionized employees. Both received termination letters.

The city is handling the civil side. Now the larger question is will the feds charge those involved criminally.

The feds have interviewed Tiago. If Tiago lied it opens the door to larger issues. It’s a felony to provide false information to federal investigators.

Ganim announced last week that his appointed director of the department John Ricci will be 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 federal probe of department employees could determine otherwise as well as a potential trail of work wired to Tiago associates.

Documents obtained by Hearst in December showed more than $35,500 worth of cash-for-scrap transactions between municipal workers and Bridgeport-based P.C. Metals.

Tiago, who has a construction background, formerly owned two Downtown restaurants, both now closed. He joined city service under Bill Finch’s mayoral administration.

Tiago supported Finch’s reelection but the former zoning commissioner’s long-standing friendship with Ricci kept him on board. He was elevated to the deputy director’s position by Ricci.

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11 comments

    1. Maria,not surprised at all,it’s election year,Joe is desperate for this job.Joe’s past history has proven he will distance himself from anyone who makes him look bad.He would fire his father if he had to save himself.If it was last year at this time,Joe would “let the investigation run it’s course” before taking any action like this.Joe is loyal to himself.

  1. The Ill gotten gains, happen under Ganim’s administration!
    (Ct-Post) But recently, some council members and Hearst were given an eight-page printout of P.C. Metals’ transaction records from an anonymous source. Those documents show 90 individual sales of scrap metal-for-cash by the city totaling $35,482.55 between Oct. 18, 2016, and Oct. 27, 2018.
    * Will Ganim Fire Ricci next?
    *Did any of the money go into Joe’s Campaigns?
    * Will Flatto move back to Yonkers?
    “Inquiring minds want to know?”

  2. $35k. That’s a lot of birthday cakes! [The FBI should check with “Nice and Fresh” and find out who bought all of the cakes for the DPW BD parties… They should check closely and find out what names were written on the cakes! :)]

  3. C’mon Mayor Ganim, $35,000 is a helluva lot of money to pay for meals, cakes, event tickets and other morale-boosting activities. Why are others fired, rightfully so, and not the individual (Ricci) that was in charge of the department that stole, I meant spent the money to pay for meals, cakes, event tickets and other morale-boosting activities!
    Mayor Ganim offer your resignation and go spend time with your family before you go back to prison for another failure of the public trust.

    1. Don, Joe Ganim again is a ghost, he can’t be found to make a public statement and show leadership on the theft of money. Ganim needs Ricci to help him for the next election and he’s hiding behind Labor Relation and the City Attorney Office who are not going to anything to Ricci so Ricci can help Ganim for the election. How did this money starts out at $5,500 and now it’s $35,000, they must have some wild parties.

  4. “It is not acceptable in the city under this administration,” said Ganim. Sure it is, Joe. At least until the FBI comes knocking on the door with subpoenas in hand.

  5. *** Another political/business crony bites the dust yet Ricci is saved, wonder why? Though its nothing new when it comes to Bpt. city hall’s usual way of doing business, no? ***

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