Theater Development Deal, Meter Maelstrom On Council Agenda

The city’s “memorandum of understanding” with Manhattan-based Exact Capitol Group to redevelop the shuttered Poli-Majestic Theaters will be referred to the City Council’s Contracts Committee Monday night. Also scheduled for referral to contracts is a resolution presented by several councilors to terminate the contract with LAZ Parking LTD following controversy involving Downtown parking meters. Full council agenda here.

Mayor Joe Ganim’s administration is playing catch-up with a messy rollout of the modern, electronic parking meters. What should have been a welcomed marketing move months ago has come under fire by some visitors, property owners and Downtown merchants lamenting meter logistics, heavy fines and lack of public awareness. On that front retired Superior Court Judge Carmen Lopez and Downtown manager Kelvin Ayala are among those leading the charge. Against a backdrop of public outcry, city officials are playing catch-up announcing new meter policies to commence Monday morning. Ayala, for one, isn’t buying it. He’s scheduled to address the council during the public speaking portion of the meeting.

A post Ayala shared in the OIB comments section provides insight into his position:

Let’s be 100% clear, the mayor’s office has no authority whatsoever to implement these changes on Monday. The 3 major sticking points outside of the mobile app all require city council approval per changes of the town’s ordinance. Those ordinance changes were not filed in time with the city clerk’s office on Wednesday. This entire sham is in direct response to more meaningful resolutions to really solve our parking problem.

Today, several top mayoral aides spent all day chasing down our council men and woman asking them to consider a “Special Executive Action” to push these action items on Monday’s meeting and asking them to vote for and approve these “Fixes” that they never asked city council to discuss prior, but now realize they jumped the gun on by issuing a press release. They never consulted the city attorney’s office which could have let them know in advance they do not have the power to implement this without council knowledge and approval.

The question is, is it legal or is their precedence for the mayor to take such action and avoid due process of ordinance changes going before committees before moving back to the council for any actions are taken.

(Mayoral aide) Ed Adams should be ashamed. Our once Accountability and Ethics director turned Meter Guru, is now the ringleader of these unethical meetings and actions, all to save face and look like heroes. The administration still doesn’t understand that the Meters are just a “Symbol” of everything that’s wrong with wanting to do business in Bridgeport or attracting visitors, keeping residents, and giving Business a real shot at creating synergy to improve our non-thriving Downtown.



  1. Why is Joe Ganim rushing like a madman to get the City and The People of Bridgeport to sign off and be legally obligated with this 300-350 million dollar contract with Exact Capitol Group? The plan is to give the public no information until after the deal is signed. The opposite should be happening. It is now on the CC Agenda to send this to a CC sub-committee where the public has no right to make comments. As it stands,the People of Bridgeport are not going to see the proposed contract before it will be signed. This is a major case of bad governance.

  2. First of all, I would like to say that I am over joyed that Bridgeport may have found a developer who may be willing to take on the project of restoring and developing the Downtown Theaters. If you want to see the potential,all you have to do is look at info/interior of the Waterbury Palace Theater which has similar lineage and design with the Bridgeport Theaters. However, the approach and selection of a developer needs to be done in the right way;aka GOOD GOVERNANCE.The approach,so far,from Mayor Joe Ganim is far from good governance. In fact,this is a poster for BAD GOVERNANCE.

  3. I have signed up for public comments before the City Council for City Council meeting on July 3 and I will make comments concerning this situation. I intend to go to OPED/Office of Planning and Economic Development this coming MondayJune 19th and ask for contact and all details of this arrangement available for public viewing. Maybe I am a cynic,but I doubt OPED will share details. I will contact the Connecticut Post and see if they can do any follow-up and get details of this BPT/Exact Capitol plan. I am wondering if any other Bridgeport journalists are willing to dig deeper and find out the details. If OPED refuses to inform the public about the details of the contract and plans,is this an FOI request? I will update here on OIB the response of OPED on Monday,June 19th. If this matter goes to the City Council Contract Subcommittee, the next meeting will be July 11th. I will ask all members of the City Council to slow down this process and make sure that the People of Bridgeport receive the information about this deal and that the entire City Council also has as much information presented to them to make an educated decision.


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