Update, includes Adams statement. One of the intriguing sidebars to the Joe Ganim comeback effort is the support he’s receiving from one of the lead federal investigators who put him away, retired FBI agent Ed Adams, now a private investigator. Ganim has often used Adams as cover on the campaign trail in an effort to rehabilitate his name following his 2003 conviction on federal corruption charges. Even the agent who investigated me is supporting me, Ganim will often say. Adams was by Ganim’s side when he proposed an Office of Public Integrity to assuage concerns of his possible return as mayor. Adams’ support of Ganim’s campaign, both financial and strategic, has rankled some former and active federal agents, among them Michael Wolf who was head of the Connecticut office of the FBI during the government’s “Operation Hardball” investigation. In a CT Post commentary blistering Ganim, Wolf, now retired from the bureau, devalues Adams’ contribution to the investigation describing him in a way no one had before, “a line investigator who assisted in the investigation, along with a number of others.” Adams has described himself as case agent.
In the commentary Wolf describes Ganim as the “Poster Boy,” having the distinction of the longest prison sentence ever given a public official for corruption in the state, and in the top tier nationally.”
Fair enough. Former Waterbury Mayor Joe Santopietro also received a nine-year sentence.
But later Wolf segues to the role of Adams. Rather than just condemning Adams for backing Ganim, he undervalues Adams actions in the case, as a way to create institutional distance for the FBI.
From Wolf’s commentary:
Post Ganim, Bridgeport was freed from the chokehold of corruption with the opportunity to prosper under new administrations managed by those driven to serve the best interests of the people and the community. While no administration is without flaw, honesty and integrity are non-negotiable for good and effective government. A number of news articles have inaccurately portrayed former FBI Agent Edward Adams as the lead investigator in the Ganim case. There was also speculation that Adams may be in consideration, in some capacity, for a “public integrity” role in the Ganim administration, in an apparent effort to allay public concerns that Ganim would return to his corrupt ways should he be elected.
To correct the record, Adams was a line investigator who assisted in the investigation, along with a number of others. He was not the lead investigator and did not bear responsibility for making strategic case decisions, and as such, heading a “public integrity” initiative may be better served with someone else.
Adams’ biography on his company website includes the following:
During his career, Mr. Adams successfully managed the FBI’s Bridgeport public corruption investigation which resulted in a dozen convictions, including that of the Mayor of Bridgeport.
Perhaps describing Adams as “the lead investigator” is a stretch, but calling him a lead investigator is not. Adams sat through more than two months of testimony in the winter of 2003 as more than 50 witnesses (full disclosure: I was one of them) were called to the New Haven courtroom of U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton. He also was the first FBI agent to testify about the Ganim investigation. Adams spent several years of his professional life probing Ganim and others, including innumerable hours with witnesses. He made strategic case decisions. For certain, many dedicated federal investigators such as prosecutors, FBI and IRS agents spent long hours in connection with the case. Adams was not the only one.
The Ganim investigation began as the result of the inquisitive work of FBI agent Bob Marston who supervised the Bridgeport office nearly 20 years ago. Controversy surrounding a zone change at the former Dewhirst Dairy site to allow the building of a Stop & Shop store for a connected Ganim developer caught his eye. Many North End residents, including former City Councilman Tom White, vehemently opposed the shoe-horning of the store in the heart of the neighborhood off Madison Avenue. In another ironic twist to the Ganim comeback, the Connecticut Post journalist who chronicled the zoning controversy that caught Marston’s attention was Michael Giannotti who serves as the Ganim campaign’s communications director. Marston developed the seeds to the case. Adams became a key investigator in the process.
Adams’ support of Ganim is certainly befuddling to many who know him. Some federal prosecutors become criminal defense attorneys. Some retired FBI agents become private investigators. In doing so they represent “the other side,” receiving work from defense attorneys and that includes Adams working on the legal team of trash hauler James Galante.
In the commentary Wolf goes out of his way to cheapen Adams’ role in the Ganim case rather than take him on directly for supporting Ganim. Wolf’s full commentary here.
Ed Adams statement:
I submit this in response to Mr. Wolf’s characterization of my role in the Bridgeport Public Corruption investigation as a “line investigator.”
I was the Case Agent of the Joint FBI-IRS Bridgeport Public Corruption Investigation. Over the period of several years working with many Special Agents of the FBI, IRS-CID, DCIS and other Federal Agencies including the New Haven United States Attorney’s Office and numerous Support Personnel from these agencies, we brought the investigation to a successful conclusion. I spent many hours over this period conducting witness interviews, review of records, witness preparation and report preparation including:
• Submission of twenty Applications & Affidavits as Case Agent for Court Ordered Wiretap Authorization over a period of twenty months to United States District Judge Burns.
• Submission of seven Applications & Affidavits as Case Agent for Search Warrant Authorization to United States District Judge Burns.
• Drafted and submitted the Operation Plans for the Execution of Court Authorized Surveillance Equipment.
• At trial participated daily with the Assistant United States Attorneys and the IRS-CID Case Agent and I was the first witness called to testify as Case Agent for the Governments’ case.
Mr. Wolf is entitled to express his opinion as to the upcoming Mayoral election, just as I am, in my support for Joe Ganim; however, I would like to correct his characterization of my service to the FBI and, in particular, the Bridgeport investigation.