Legal Bills Mount In Federal Probe Of Police Chief Selection Process–Cop House Leadership Riven By Personality Conflicts–Did Perez Receive Insider Test Advantage?

March 2, update: The city’s response to a summer 2019 federal subpoena centers on an investigation into the selection process that led to AJ Perez’s appointment to police chief in November 2018, according to multiple sources.

On Friday OIB reported that the city has retained a former federal prosecutor to serve as its point person in response to a federal subpoena issued last summer by the respective U.S. Attorneys for the Southern District of New York and Connecticut.

City Attorney R. Christopher Meyer would not disclose details of the subpoena other than confirming he authorized the hiring of New York lawyer James R. DeVita, whose practice area includes white-collar criminal defense, for an hourly rate up to $425 per hour to perform in conjunction with municipal consulting firm Guidepost “investigative and research services” in connection with the federal command.

DeVita served as a prosecutor in the Southern District of New York.

What would be the interest of the Southern District issuing the subpoena? A reason could be avoidance of a conflict of interest, according to former federal prosecutors who spoke to OIB on background. As Bridgeport’s top cop, Perez works with Connecticut federal agents on common cases. The Southern District could be brought in to lead the investigation to avoid a real or appearance of a conflict. For instance, federal investigators are probing allegations that Perez received an unfair advantage in the testing process such as advance help with questions. That contention places Perez directly in line with the federal investigation.

The city’s Police Department has become a powder keg of controversy over top-level promotions, bruised egos and even a claim by Police Captain Brian Fitzgerald accusing Perez of torpedoing an investigation of an alleged sexual assault of a minor at Vazzy’s Restaurant. An arrest was made in that matter Feb. 26.

The city has hired another law firm, Jackson Lewis. to untangle the matter. The city has racked up more than $300,000 in associated legal costs responding to federal probes and internal conflicts.

A number of city employees have lawyered up in response to the federal subpoena commanding documents and electronically stored information. In addition federal investigators have interviewed city personnel, including police officers.

DeVita is heading up the city’s response to the subpoena.

In November 2018, following a national search,  Mayor Joe Ganim announced the appointment of Perez, his long-time friend, as the city’s top cop after Perez had served in an acting capacity since early 2016.

The city recruited five professionals in the field of police and municipal government to serve on a panel that conducted interviews Oct. 19, 2018 from a list of seven semifinalists. Executive search consultant Randi Frank, who has represented the city in several national searches, assembled the police chief search panel: Hartford Police Chief David Rosado, Yale University Police Chief Ronnell Higgins, municipal human resource official Bernadette Welch, UConn Health Labor Relations Director Caroline Beitman, and former Hartford City Manager Lee Erdmann.

The panel short-listed the search to three: in order New Haven Assistant Chief Luiz Casanova, Perez and Bridgeport Captain Roderick Porter, the highest-ranking African American in the department.

The City Charter, authorized by voters more than 30 years ago, empowers the mayor to select a chief from the three recommended finalists.

Ganim announced then “Over the next few weeks I will review these candidates and seek out further input from the community and ultimately select and appoint our next police chief.”

The community group Bridgeport Generation Now pushed for a transparent process. Given their close relationship it was expected that Ganim would appoint Perez.

In the past year federal law enforcement has been probing the fairness of the selection process. Meanwhile, Porter last July filed a federal lawsuit declaring the police department a “racially hostile work environment” that also cost him the top job.

Ganim and Perez’s promotion of Rebeca Garcia to assistant chief last December, the second highest ranking officer, prompted a lawsuit a few days later asserting her unilateral appointment to assistant chief violates a necessary competitive process, something the city refutes. Captains Brian Fitzgerald, Steven Lougal and Roderick Porter, and Deputy Police Chief Anthony Armeno are challenging Garcia’s rank to number two top cop.

A few weeks ago Fitzgerald asserted in a complaint to Ganim (and who knows where else) that Perez interfered in an investigation into the sexual assault of a 16-year-old who is the daughter of a city police officer. Perez denies the charge.

OIB received an anonymous tip asserting “Chief Perez is attempting to squash a sexual assault complaint of a juvenile … Captain Fitzgerald was threatened by Chief Perez with removal from the detective bureau if he did not comply. Captain Fitzgerald refused to follow the illegal order … Assistant Chief Garcia and Deputy Chief Baraja are complicit in this matter as they are attempting to minimize Captain Fitzgerald for doing the right thing.”

The Police Department’s riven in personality disputes, lawsuits, promotional dissension as well as a federal probe.

Where all this going is unclear. But it has a lot of people nervous.



    1. Don, everything with testing starts with David Dunn because that’s his job. It was Dunn who made the selection of Randi Frank’s testing company. Frank has not given a exam for police and fire chief that has the population of Bridgeport and the racial makeup of Bridgeport when the exam was given. Dunn is one who interviewed the testing company and makes it know what he wants. I’m sure that Hamilton Burger will look out for Dunn. The City does a nationwide search and the best they can do is to end up with those 3 final candidates.

  1. Come on Donald. Dub has got an air tight alibi.
    He is ignorant of the facts. I believe he doesn’t know anything about labor law or personal matters. Case closed.

    1. Bob, David Dunn has working for the City when John Mandanici going back to the late 1970’s and David Dunn has the “Acting” City Personnel Director for over 12 years and the City position that Dunn has is a tested position and by the City Charter it is a nationwide exsm just like the Police Chief that AJ Perez had to do.

  2. Can someone please make some popcorn 🍿, this movie is getting good!!!! I wonder if they can all go to the same federal prison together? Don’t worry, BPT will vote for Joe again when he gets out. Who is bringing the wine? 🍷

    1. Hey Frank! Mike Defilippo is bringing the wine. The good vintage stuff that’s been in his storefront window since he had to close up shop 4 years ago. It’s been aged by time and filtered sunshine. Mario told him to donate some.
      We all know that all of this would cost the city a bundle of bucks. But hey, this is just the cost of doing business to keep the best possible chief of police found in that nationwide search!!!
      But I bet morale is good though Ha Ha Ha Ha. The police department can function better now -with all the acrimony at the top. You just can’t make this shit up!!!!!

  3. “Probe Of Police Chief Selection Process” could be the reason why the taxpayers of Bridgeport have not heard anything about the Bridgeport Police Department study of how to improve the department by former Police Chief of Philadelphia and Washington D.C. Maybe the police study that Chief Ramsey could be evidence in the city’s response to a summer 2019 federal subpoena.

  4. We are fortunate that we have individual officers in BPD that are performing their duties in a conscience-bound manner, often heroically, or the people of Bridgeport would be beyond screwed, and we would be a totally drug-gang controlled city, as we essentially were during the tail-end of the 80’s and beginning of the 90’s… Much of the city wasn’t liberated form gang terrorism until the latter part of the 90’s. These same troubled areas are again under gang-terror control, the latter of which is surfacing sporadically throughout the city — including the “better” parts…

    Again: if it weren’t for the conscientious individual officers and a few supervisors and upper-echelon commanders, this city would be back in 1991. Just as then, there is a lack of conscientious, competent leadership at the top in BPD and City Hall. In the BPD, racial disharmony is being fueled by either a lack of leadership in the Chief’s Office — or just plain “bad,” incompetent leadership, with a lack of planning, discipline, and rational decision-making/decision-execution in the Chief’s Office, regarding policing strategy/tactics and assignments/deployment of officers… It seems that the only strategy/tactics being utilized by BPD is “Drive around, don’t run our of gas, and address situations that look like they might produce bodies (wait for back-up) — otherwise, keep things calm and on the low-down… Don’t look for too much trouble…”

    Fortunately, we have individual officers on the BPD that are willing to look a little harder and pay a little more attention on the street, otherwise, we’d be back in 1991…

    But the 1991 formula for chaos is still there: no strong, conscientious, focused, competent, stable leadership at the top of BPD or the City… Think Mayor Bucci, Chief Walsh, and the succession of interim Chiefs during Bridgeport’s bankrupt period of chaos and near dissolution… WE ARE THERE AGAIN FOLKS — ONLY THE NAMES HAVE BEEN CHANGED…

    We see big, crucially-needed $ being spent to address corrupt incompetence at a time when we are a city that has been red-lined for state and federal aid (but not federal investigation/oversight). We have had no net, grand-list GROWTH (after EVERYTHING has been honestly assessed…) in perhaps 50 years. Our biggest business, and perhaps biggest employer is the illegal-drug business (fueled, in no small way, by SHU-student presence in Bridgeport), with its “business leaders” out-smarting and/or probably paying-off critical persons in positions of law-enforcement authority/influence… (Perhaps that will be one of the investigative artifacts discovered by the present, on-going federal probe into Bridgeport’s affairs…)

    In any event; Bridgeport is a city that has been better positioned for collapse than right now. We have made no economic progress and are probably entering what could be a deep, protracted recession at a time when our city has no dedicated, capable, stable leadership in key municipal areas (especially public safety and City Hall), and we have no effective advocacy at the state or federal level, even as the state and federal government are essentially leaderless and rudderless…

    Lots and lots of “For Sale” signs will be going up during fiscal 20-21 in Bridgeport — even as the BFD has a particularly busy year putting out fires of suspicious origin (just like 1989…). There’s plenty of chaos brewing in this city even as the coffers are set t come-up way short in the next fiscal year…

    If we’re really lucky, we’ll have a new POTUS in November (named Bernie) and perhaps voluntary vacancies in certain mayoral and gubernatorial seats important to Bridgeport that will be filled by competent, committed, stable leadership that gives a shit and has a clue (regarding Bridgeport, in particular, and society, in general…).

    Time to sign off and watch Joe Biden enjoy his only victory as he prepares to gracefully exit the race for POTUS after Super Tuesday…

  5. Jeff
    I’m falling asleep.
    We are controlled by a drug gang. Although the drug is a fine wine and the gang boss is Joe Ganim.
    You don’t have too look any further than that.

  6. Meanwhile, Tom Gill says : “there is no interest” from City Hall in preserving a dozen structurally stable historically significant buildings (thank you Lynn Haig and Bill Coleman!) at the Remington site, and we’ll be getting $6 million government grants to destroy Bridgeport, rather than build Bridgeport as the “Preservation Block” Downtown gets razed as we speak!
    Way to go City Hall and Wrecking Ball Joe!!

    1. My question about the 5 million Remington Arm demo is ;WHO WON THE BID AND WHO WERE THE OTHER BIDDERS? OPED would not tell the CT Post. What is the big secret. Do we have to go through FOIA to get that info?

  7. There is a common trend here, Mr. Newton and his council folks are always quiet on here when something like this happens….. Poor guy caught between a rock (His Constituents) and a hard place (AJ and Ganim). What can I say, I guess the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

  8. CT Post reported today that a second subpoena has been issued to Bridgeport. Possibly it would be wrong for me to say that City leaders (wherever the USPS drops legal papers like Federal subpoenas) ignored the call. What they did do when they received the Federal papers is to perhaps re-direct Guidepost to tackle new issues? But they certainly did not tell the City Council, the voting citizens of Bridgeport or any media (friends or foe) of what they were (or might be) facing. Why not?

    That’s right, there was a campaign going on. My goodness, I almost forgot. What would the fallout from hearing about a Federal subpoena be in such a case where the primary election was as close? Or even after the primary, what would AB response be in the midst of knowing that certain City departments, employees, or elected leaders were under investigation, or at least called to testify? Hasn’t Ganim2 answered that question by keeping it all quiet, though doubtful if under control, until now?

    Wait a minute. The DTC election,if only one of ten districts with competition this year, will be an opportunity for Mario Testa to answer questions from the CT Post, Mirror, and likely the NYTimes about how the Democratic Party under his direction keeps governance secret, minimally accountable, certainly opaque and less than fully honest especially regarding fiscal resources? Wait for answers? Time will tell.

  9. “Jeff
    I’m falling asleep.
    We are controlled by a drug gang. Although the drug is a fine wine and the gang boss is Joe Ganim.
    You don’t have too look any further than that.”

    Bob: So, from your rocking chair in Branford, even as you dose and dream of being in Bridgeport, you would deny/minimize the drug-gang activity/violence jeopardizing the people who actually live in Bridgeport — all so you can continue your personal, 30-year, losing political vendetta with Mario Testa and Joe Ganim?! Of course, it’s all about the CORRUPTION!! nothing to do with state-/regional-level economics/socioeconomic policy, which is why there are plenty of jobs, low taxes and city coffers flush with cash in Bridgeport… And of course there isn’t any corruption in Fairfield, Stamford, Greenwich, or Trumbull, et al…. (No dirty sewer deals in Trumbull or illegal, toxic-waste dumping Fairfield…) And they have absolutely no dependence on Bridgeport infrastructure, services, or labor… Lot’s of simple, poor white folks living in those squeaky-clean towns, with only time for the struggle to keep bread on the table and the roof from leaking. No time for any political shenanigans in those towns… No reason to influence development/social policy in Bridgeport, because, of course Stamford is not our rival in any way, and none -of the Fairfield County towns use any non-resident , lower-scale labor that might come from Bridgeport…

    And there are no drug gangs in Bridgeport, which is why you see lots of older people, such as yourself, strolling about in our neighborhoods at night, casually, with no concern for personal safety… Ditto for weekend nights in our bustling Downtown… Our only public-safety problem here is the Testa-Ganim stick-up gang, working for Mario and Joe, that jack-up all of the rich folks leaving our bevy of up-scale restaurants and night clubs at gun-point on weekend nights — a problem that has cost us significant tourist traffic in recent months… (With the Corona Virus problem, Bridgeport’s tourist industry could be wiped out!)

    So, Bob, We should all be grateful that Bridgeport’s salvation lies simply in ridding Bridgeport of the $billion Testa-Ganim corruption drain on the Bridgeport budget and the election of your incompetent choices for Bridgeport political office — which are powerfully furthered by your mighty voice emanating from your Branford rocking chair…

    So, Old Timer, it’s time for you to apply the linament and get to bed. Tomorrow’s another day for saving Bridgeport by fighting scrap-metal theft and ending the $billion corruption-drain on Bridgeport’s enormous economy and overflowing municipal coffers. And just think; if you end the enormous corruption in Bridgeport, you’ll make Fairfield County and the rest of Connecticut as sin- and corruption as the Vatican!!

    Pleasant (Bridgeport) dreams! 🙂

  10. Thanks Jeff. With late night posts like that I don’t need any sleeping aids. That one put me to sleep without any help and slept the whole night through.
    Keep them up!!?

  11. Bob, if you Google the word bloviate you’ll see this meaning, “To bloviate means to go on and on and on and on, usually in a pompous way and a picture of Jeff will show up. Jeff constantly complains about Mayor Ganim and Mario yet he decided to run for mayor instead of trying to get rid of the people that are the subject of his disdain by supporting the only person that could have made that a possibility. I hope those 27 votes that you received are worth another four years of the status quo.

    1. Don, it’s the same thing that the Democrats are doing on the national level with their primary for President, they want 45 out of office but they are ready to give up the power that they already have with the House of Representatives with a chance to take over the Senate and have real power but they are about to do what Bridgeport did.

  12. Ron and Don:

    Bridgeport needs Bernie… There hasn’t been any progress in Bridgeport by way of major, meaningful, federal, urban revitalization programs/$-assistance since Lyndon Johnson… Clinton screwed Bridgeport with his dog-fight-baiting, $100 million “urban plan” competition in which he effectively put city against city and neighborhood against neighborhood in distressed, urban America. He did make some progress in gun control and urban policing — but on a background of “workfare” and the racist Crime Bill (supported by Joe Biden…). And this was following the racist, caste-system-embracing Reagan and Bush Administrations in which cities were abandoned and abused as policy. AND then we have BUSH II — who finished the job on the cities, killed hundreds of thousands of civilians in the irrational contraindicated Iraq War even as he drove our treasury toward bankruptcy and nearly destroyed the world economy via his hyper-deregulation per a continuation of the policies of his predecessors (including Clinton…).

    Then we have Barack Obama; circumspect/wise, eminently rational, cautious, and calm… What we needed to allow the abatement of the destructive polices, and their effects, of his three predecessors… Because he had to use calming political behavior and political “kid gloves” in dealing with Congress and the country’s political factions to allow some socioeconomic healing and smoke-clearing in America and the rest of the world, he had to think of terms of scaling his “reform” policies and programs to workable, politically-palatable levels. He was what the “doctor ordered” for America in the wake of the destructive policies of his predecessors…

    And then we were punished for some (?) past sins by the election of Donald Trump, which has left the US in worse turmoil than BUSH-II (Trump and Bush-II are certainly the worst POTUSes in the history of the US).

    If we get a replacement that can’t renew the hope of the majority of Americans, we’re screwed… Joe Biden is not an agent of change, he has a checkered policy-/legislative-past (workfare, Crime Bill, Iraq War supporter…) and has never displayed any leadership prowess, nor any policy innovation/effectiveness as an independent, political entity. He was a well-liked, but lackluster US Senator. His claim to fame is as a supportive VP for Obama…

    This country needs a president that is determined and capable of reversing 40+ years of negative foreign and domestic political and economic policy for the US. Steady-Joe Biden is not the type of POTUS we need now. His “run-in-place” policy plans will not repair the socioeconomic damage of the WORST-4 POTUSes in American history that we’ve had during these past 40 years…

    Only Bernie Sanders is willing and capable of addressing the socioeconomic problems of this country’s urban centers (its Bridgeports) and areas of rural distress… Biden is a nice guy, but he is not CHANGE, much less the monumental change that we need. Only Bernie Sanders comes close to fitting this bill.



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