The City’s Bank Job, Plus: Don’t Lie To Big Daddy

The city’s placing the old Mechanics & Farmers building at Main and State for sale. Is it the right thing to do? Is it a fire sale? Has me wondering, though, what else can be sold.

As Barack poises the country for what may be the mightiest stimulus package in history focused on massive infrastructure improvements, Congressman-elect Jim Himes has asked the city to dust off its wishlist of potential projects that require funding. Perhaps something like the Congress Street bridge, antiquated schools, sewage treatment or flood-control projects.

All across the country, public works directors, police chiefs, fire chiefs, municipal engineers, you name it, are frothing over the possibilities and want to be in play. I hope the city has its act together. A lot of good can be done.

(By the way, what kind of assessment notices have you received in the mail? I hear it ain’t pretty.)

Speaking of infrastructure, I see where $2 million in bonding was approved by the state for the Lake Forest dam, a project Republican State Sen. Rob Russo had pressed Gov. Rell for approval. Let’s see now, in just nine months on the job Russo secured $250k for a comprehensive audit of the Bridgeport Board of Education, the Lake Forest loot and a multi-million loan for Lacey Manufacturing saving hundreds of jobs.

Amazes me how all those senior Democratic legislators in Hartford couldn’t get shit done, and then Russo comes along with a strong relationship with the governor and delivers. Then the electorate–led by low-information, first-time voters (inspired by Barack) paying no attention to the accomplishments of their state senator–blows him out of the water.

Well, you know what I say, let’s lift a glass to past, present and future public officials at the OIB party Wednesday, 5:30 at Two Boots. Let’s enjoy slices of gourmet pie and start a few (or many) rumors.

 Don’t Talk To Strangers (without a lawyer)

I hope Michael Sohn has a good lawyer. He’s gonna need one, and not just any lawyer. Congressman Christopher Shays’ former campaign manager is apparently riding high in the Himalayas, possibly Nepal, anticipating the emotional low he’ll face upon his expected return Dec. 26.

Federal investigators are looking into the misappropriation of a few hundred grand from the Shays campaign account and they think Sohn can help them understand where it went. The feds have been looking at this case since the campaign’s lawyer Stan Twardy, a former United States attorney for Connecticut, alerted them of the financial disconnect about three weeks ago.

It’s killing Shays that he had to turn his closest political advisor over to the feds, but he had no choice. When staffers learned of the discrepancy they alerted Shays who confronted Sohn who apparently didn’t have a satisfactory explanation. If the feds find out the boss knew something and didn’t come forward, well it puts him in a pickle.

What Sohn told the feds before he left I do not know, but hopefully he did not lie to them. Trap door number one is fibbing to the government. Investigators, in the beginning anyway, generally don’t ask a question to which they don’t know the answer. Sorta goes like this:

“Did you have access to a campaign debit card?”

“Yes, for campaign expenses.”

“You never used the card for personal expenditures?”


“You never used the card to access cash for your personal benefit.”


“You never used it at a gaming facility?”

“I don’t recall.”

“Okay, were you at (such and such as place) on this date?”

“Oh, yes, I was there that day.”

“So, who had the authority to use this card on this day when you were there?”

“Well …”

“Okay, you want us start all over from the top?”

That’s why when Big Daddy comes calling–and you’re in the crosshairs–you need an experienced defense lawyer. Don’t lie to the FBI. It’s a felony. Better to shout lawyer!



  1. *** You can bet that when this Fed. stimulus incentive comes to Conn. Bpt. will probably not be ready with anything practical in a long-term sense that the city really needs. And B.R.B.C will want to influence the Mayor to spend part of the money first on some type of downtown business idea or bailout that’s not going to benefit the city in the long term. Long term is something like fixing the #100-yr. sewage system, flooding problems & repairing the Congress Street bridge. Cosmetic-type work & clean-up on the city’s golf course & city parks to draw more public in the spring, summer & fall seasons. With 21st-century sewage pipes, less flooding areas & better access to & from the downtown area, along with more resturants & activities for the public in our parks, zoo, golf course, etc. we can attract much more interest in the city! Then the city can sit down with BRBC and talk downtown business. *** In ending, there is a city appeal process, if you feel that the city real estate assessment on your property is too high, especially if you’ve done “no” or “minor” improvements period! They have been known to make mistakes in the past & the more taxpayers that appeal, the chance that the whole process could be improved for the better, maybe? Example, my next door neighbor’s house was asessed as a #3-family house, however its always been a #2-family house? His improvements in the last 4yrs. was to rebuilt his #1-car garage & storage area combined. Far from the house turning to a #3-family house! After all it’s your money & property so citizens should check & ask questions. ***

  2. Too bad Shays doesn’t work for the City–he could’ve had a Pre-Paid Legal “Dog & Pony Show” shoved down his throat during work hours.

    “No thanks” you say? Well, you HAVE TO. So shut up, sit here and listen. Have work to do? Too bad. This won’t take long …

    Then a little soft-pressure, sign-on-the-line mumbo-jumbo. It’s easy–really, just a weekly payroll deduction. You can use it for anything–well, almost anything, just not wrongful termination, well–not until you’re actually fired, anyway. Oh, and who’s the local firm that represents Pre-Paid Legal in our area? Some group called Willinger, Willinger and Bucci. Ever heard of those guys?

    I wonder how they were able to get exposure to such a captive audience?

  3. Are you kidding me or is this more BLOG bullshit? Willinger’s firm has a deal with the city to provide pre-paid legal services paid for by payroll deduction? Does the city subsidize this “benefit” too? What brilliant labor group got this mallard into play? Give me a break!!! When the hell are the people of Bridgeport going to wake up?

  4. OIB Rumor Mill enters hyperdrive:

    ALL defined-benefit programs will soon vaporize, period. Doing this will force the required people to think correctly and do what’s right. Prosperity will result, children will sing together and traffic will flow smoothly …

    HOT NEW TREND: borrowing beaucoup bucks and investing in Bridgeport.


    No one wants to and even fewer can.

  5. What a difference a day makes …

    I guess the bellies got full so no more nasty talk about the employee lunch.

    What about the NAGE layoffs? There’s a bunch of workers waiting for their gift from Finch and the council of cronies.

  6. I am not sure if we will be ready if the stimulus package becomes a fact. We do not seem to have the brainpower in place to figure out what the city needs.
    My one hope is that Timpanelli has no say in this matter (Yeah I know I am dreaming).
    I say this as the city gets ready to auction off the Mechanics and Farmers building despite the fact that there is $22 million in Federal Money to be used there and at the BOE building. I am sure no one in the mayor’s office is aware of this; if they were why is the only plan on deck to auction this building starting at $300K?
    My wish list is as follows:
    1. Replace the Congress St. bridge
    2. Expand both sewer treatment plants
    3. Seperate the storm and sanitary sewers
    4. Monies for downtown development
    5. Replace the bridge to Pleasure Beach

  7. Lennie, credit should also be given to Sue Kohut and the Lake Forest Association. They’ve pursued that funding for a while and luckily found a good partner in Sen. Russo. Not many people realize how important that funding was from averting a total disaster. If they didn’t get funding that dam should have been near the top of the list for desired infrastructure improvements.

  8. Just a brief note. The Sale of the CITY begins tonight with the sale of the Mechanics & Farmers Bank. I can’t wait to see who these dumb asses on the council sell it to. You can bet your ass it’s a friend of the Administration. Does anyone think the council is bright enough to know you don’t sell a building 1 block from the rail station for $300K?
    Does anyone on the council know about the $22 Million in Federal Funding out there for this area of downtown?
    Time for the Feds to get off their asses and look into what is going on here in Bpt.


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