Who’s Doing The Demolition Work?

blighted building Stratford Avenue
In December city prepares this blighted building on Stratford Avenue for demolition.

John Marshall Lee has waged war on fiscal blight for years. In his latest commentary, the spending watchdog raises questions about the process to remove blighted buildings. From Lee:

Many of us who profess love for our nitty-gritty municipality long for governance delivered from the dark side of days past. We suffer a blighted history of Bridgeport practice and process. We also have blighted buildings that may never get a second chance. And as a City we spend taxpayer dollars to remove those properties, which offend the quality of life of neighbors, seem an open door to fire or added damage, and create physical danger as well as they deteriorate.

One observer has said that Mayor Ganim looks to remove such properties “yesterday” and has given this “demolition mission” to Tom Coble, a one-time Finch administration worker, who worked for Joe Ganim’s “second chance” Mayoral opportunity.

When a property is identified as “blighted” by City definition and all remedies are exhausted, demolition using outside vendors is a course of action. Normally the property is identified and bids would be solicited through the BidSync system operated by the Purchasing Department. However, on occasion, exceptions to this routine are approved for “qualified” situations where unique skills are required, or rapid work is called for, as in a desire to remove all blighted sites “yesterday.”

This places weighty responsibility in the hands of a City “demolitions” director. If he limits the firms he personally reaches to offer such opportunities, but he fails to offer such work to all qualified local taxpaying contractors, why is this being done this way? If such a director indicates that he is operating an informal bidding process, but offers no evidence of such, don’t you want to ask why it is being done this way? Questions, without answers?

When unit expenses may run $25,000 to $50,000 or more and larger sites like some in the East End of the City may command a significant multiple, why is this “demolition activity” not brought back into normal process to assure that the expense to the City is reasonable and that all vendors are considered and treated equally? Is that a fair way to offer work to taxpaying City businesses? Time will tell.



  1. After waiting so long to get some of these blighted buildings down, who cares who’s doing the demo at this time! If anything is shady between the city and the construction company it will come out, no doubt.

    1. Mojo,
      Was removing blighted properties a Mayoral priority? If it was, where did the Mayor indicate it was so? Where did he budget funds and from what sources in total? Can we follow City process with BidSync or do we want to return to a former time where deals could be made depending on who you knew and what was in it for them?
      We were asked on some level to “trust” Ganim2 because of how his faulty and selfish choices caused harm to the reputation and future of the City, and we looked to “verify” and in a short period of time we have a City employee behaving as if rules do not apply to him; and the Mayor’s office gets the info but he turns a deaf ear to more than one reporting; and what does all this signify? In a week when US Attorney Deirdre Daly resigns while she was leading initiatives against public corruption? And this Mayor judged himself to be okay in bridging from his first term that ended in Federal Court and connecting with a new term where he spends no effort on VERIFYING his choices and behavior are above reproach?? Time will tell.

  2. The city should be doing its own demolition, it’s not rocket science. We have the construction equipment, the dumpsters and if we need laborers we can hire summer help.
    My son and I took down a two-story house in Milford with two sawzalls and got rid of the debris using a rack body dump truck.

  3. Here is how they are going to make money on this. The contractor will bid on demolishing a building. He will state in his bid that it will take X number of dumpsters to remove the building. Now the foot-dragging occurs and this building has three or four arson fires and now the number of dumpsters is less than the bid amount and everyone makes money. I guess I answered what I wrote in the above blog.

  4. Under the first Ganim Administration in the early ’90s I did a paper discussing the possibility of deconstructing the scores of buildings being demo’ed using inmates and creating a salvage recycling business but it hit a wall with that demo meister Patrick Coyne who had his own plan with asbestos kickbacks.

  5. Why is it all the idiots making $100K-plus can’t figure how to put our unemployed residents to work?
    Why can’t they figure out we can demolish blighted houses with city employees and city equipment?
    Why can’t we go back to having our own tree cutters like we did in the past?
    Here is how to get money to fund these employees:
    1. Fire Chapman $100,000
    2. Fire Adams $100,000
    3. Fire John Gomes $100,000
    4. Fire Stallworth $100,000
    5. Fire Tiago $100,000
    That’s a quick $6 million in savings and I am sure there is much, much more. If we pay these employees $500 per week we can keep them on the job for 600 weeks.
    There is one problem; where does the graft come from?

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