Great to have friends in high places. Two lawyers and friends of Mayor Bill Finch have quietly emerged as key to his reelection in 2011. This is some good shit in more ways than one.
Ed Maley and Bill Beccaro, two veteran state legislative operatives, are spearheading an effort on the mayor’s behalf to shepherd a regional wastewater treatment authority between Trumbull and Monroe that could generate one-shot revenue of up to $40 million rescuing the mayor from an election-year tax increase. Both Maley and Beccaro have been working as outside legal counsel hired by City Attorney Mark Anastasi at Finch’s command. No one in-house can handle this? Maley has already earned in excess of $200,000 since Finch took office. Awaiting word on Beccaro’s fee as well, as the city lays off little people.
Beccaro recently represented the mayor’s son Pete Finch who was pinched by city cops on a citation theft charge after he picked up a wind-blown street sign from the June tornado and walked into a city bar with it. The state prosecutor in the case declared the state could not prove criminal intent and tossed out the charges.
Beccaro is also treasurer of People For Excellence In Government, a political action committee key to the mayor’s reelection effort. A “wine tasting” fundraiser from last December 2 at Épernay Bistro downtown featured a who’s who of city politicians, government officials and developers. You can review the State Elections Enforcement Commission filing here: People For Excellence In Government.
Beccaro’s PAC is not a revelation. Lots of public officials have friends fronting PACs to raise money to help finance reelection. But Beccaro has flown under the radar and his presence along with Maley at the regionalization meetings make them both critical liaisons to a deal Finch desperately wants with Trumbull and Monroe. There’s a lot of moolah in sludge and this deal could make or break Finch’s reelection.
State law allows two or more municipalities to create a regional wastewater authority, basically a mini-municipality that would purchase the assets of municipal sewage treatment systems providing a royal flush revenue source. Monroe has no sewers and wants to open up the town for development. The fastest way there is to connect into the Town of Trumbull which has sewers but no treatment plant. That’s where Bridgeport comes in. The state’s largest city becomes the mothership in the deal, already processing sludge from Trumbull sewers.
If Finch and company can pull this off–the deal would require approval of the respective water pollution control authorities, Department of Environmental Protection and presumably associated legislative bodies–the city would receive a major infusion of dough. But would it be one of those hide the sausage deals? How would it impact sewer fees as the city upgrades its antiquated treatment system?
This will play out over the next several months. Representatives of the three towns are meeting on a regular basis. Stay tuned.
It figures, 2 outside attorneys making decisions for Bridgeport. That’s just great. Now that I know this I think it’s time to disband the common council and just let these 2 attorneys do what they have been doing for the past 2 years and that is screwing the city. The council seems to have turned a blind eye to this.
I have 2 QUESTIONS for OIB readers & posters, JUST WHAT PURPOSE DOES THE COMMON COUNCIL SERVE? DO WE NEED THE COUNCIL AS A GOVERNING BODY IN THIS CITY?
This is just the tip of the iceberg. John Bohannon alone has been paid nearly $600K in the last 5 years! There are many outside attorneys on the payroll. The ethics committee will do absolutely nothing. The purchasing ordinance is violated repeatedly.
Barf, the difference here is Maley and Beccaro were specifically brought in by Finch. Bohannon, a good lawyer, has worked within the city system for nearly 20 years.
John Bohannon had to leave the city because he was working so hard. Finch kept saying how much the Caruso case was costing the city. City of Bridgeport pays John King about $100k and John Bohannon, Finch’s personal lawyer, did a big chunk of the case. Laske and Mount too!
Bill has a fundraiser to retire his personal legal costs of $20k to John Bohannon and takes the balance of about $60k and gives it to guess what PAC?
And they used a Stamford Caterer!!!
What is Bill Finch’s favorite video game?
Maley and Beccaro are running a Sludge Fund for the Mayor!!!
Surprise It’s Bridgeport! did not feature a sub-ground map of the area and the antiquated storm/sanitation sewer system or the treatment plants that thanks to a summer of slight precipitation have not caused overflows into Long Island Sound and subsequent heightened coliform counts!!!
But surprise it is! Because what we are learning is finally we have a valuable asset, that is currently worth someone figuring out how to do a deal and pay for it!!!
We know our waterfront is prime, but our timing for development in the last run-up seems to have come and gone, and our location in proximity to NY and I-95 and Route 8 corridors, so we are still waiting for the BIG WIN. Right before our eyes is the Derektor Shipyard, taxpaying, providing jobs, good corporate citizen. Came in kind of low on the radar but good results as a reasonable win.
About 25 years ago Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority was formed as a quasi private-government solution to solid waste issues around the State. We got a local plant on our waterfront, trucks flowing to it from region’s roads and yet had to wait many years to have the value end up on our grand list paying taxes in a meaningful way rather than a reduced PILOT.
Hope this is not the model on the drawing Board. Lump-sum payments for service that must be provided indefinitely into the future is not a good deal, because in a few years the money is gone, the people who sat around the table making the deal are gone, and Bridgeport still has to handle the dirty stuff.
When Lennie mentioned hiding the sausage, I thought he was back with the hot dog vendor again. But his point is well taken. The economics of a deal must make sense long term and not just provide an immediate benefit. When the Common Council cannot get basic requested City Documents to their members, are not on top of what is going on in the City Attorney’s operation, and provide no group pushback to the Executive, how the heck are they going to slog through the sludge and come to a wise decision/agreement for the City in this case?
So what will the new bumper sticker read for Bridgeport cars: WE DON’T TAKE S__T FROM ANYBODY (EXCEPT TRUMBULL AND MONROE)! Only a very good deal for the City should make us pleased with the deal or the decal!
BEACON2 // Sep 15, 2010 at 4:01 pm
May I add to your posting above.
There is no BIG WIN for anybody in Bridgeport with this kind of marketing of City resources.
New city seal to read, “Industriass Shitonus.”
Could that be why I saw (and smelled) a more than usual amount of sh*t trucks (one of them had “STOOL BUS” emblazoned on its side) in front of the sewage treatment plant on the West Side (next to Captain’s Cove) this morning?
If I were Mayor Finch I’d be nervous about having to debate John Gomes in public. Even with Mr. Wood whispering answers in the mayor’s earpiece they can’t match wits or speak as well as Mr. Gomes.
Maybe Finch will get the questions ahead of time. Finch is not above cheating.
I do agree Finch is not at his best in remembering things and Wood would have to play the puppet master.
Would not surprise me at all if he came down with the Lamont flu the night of a debate with Gomes.
I’ve heard Gomes speak on a few occasions and a debate is the last thing any of the possible mayoral candidates would want to enter into with Gomes.
Finch is a liar and a cheat. He has an overpaid “acting” executive assistant, two administrative assistants and a receptionist. He has given every one of his friends jobs for them, their kids and lovers; while the city is negative in funds he starts a new recycling program. How much did that cost?
NotSuprised // Sep 15, 2010 at 8:53 pm
If the Mayor wants something, be it a toy or a town (perhaps Trumbull and Monroe), Tom Sherwood finds the money. Tom serves as the funnel through which thousands (no, millions) of dollars are served to satisfy the indulgences of this current administration and previous ones.
Time to start thinking of a clean break from all this City suffers each day.
I know having fired John Gomes, the Mayor was admitting to Bridgeport’s voters and taxpayers that as Mayor, he was not going to reform the way City government operates in Bridgeport.
We can reply on September 13, 2011
*** Are voters too blind to see or just too ignorant to understand the debacle city government is leading its citizens to? *** Why is there no real public outcry on anything that really affects the city of Bpt? *** Inquiring minds would like to know. ***
Lennie, any skinny on the layoffs this Friday?
Mojo: There is no public outcry because most of the public doesn’t know what is going on in this city. Why is that? We have a thing that passes for a newspaper that reports more suburban news than it does Bridgeport news. This paper thinks investigative reporting is a waste of time and effort.
The local radio station plays mostly out-of-state talk shows and anything that happens in Bridgeport is ignored. I wonder why this radio station is even here.
We have no television station here, we are covered by cable news but they do no investigative reporting; besides it’s more fun to report on the swell crowd in Greenwich.
Sorry to report I will not be able to attend the $1,000 a plate fundraiser for tricky Dickie being held today in Greenwich. President Obama will be attending. I am scheduled for a sharp stick in the eye. Dick must be getting nervous as those poll number start to get close.
In today’s CT Post page A-5 there’s an article on some city planners who visited the city. “The group outlined outlined several deterrents to downtown growth including high parking cost, A PERCEIVED LACK OF ENTHUSIASM FROM STAKEHOLDERS THERE …”. Are these stakeholders members of d.s.s.d., b.r.b.c. or the business owners? I’m wondering who gave the tour and if they included our “GREATEST” gem SEASIDE park. I don’t remember the paper or anyone mentioning the visit or the unveiling of their observations. Was it invitation only? Finally was this study done at no cost?
Hector A. Diaz // Sep 16, 2010 at 10:14 am
To your posting
Yes the team visited and using the experience they’ve gained from visits to cities all over America, they brought some fresh eyes.
And the beauty you see is the beauty they saw.
The Mayor’s office claims no money to publicize the fact the City was one of 7 in the country to receive the visit, sponsored by the American Institute of Architecture, a national non-profit.
The program they sponsored was especially to look at the strengths, acknowledge the weaknesses and go short term and long term with the visions.
Nothing we don’t already know Hector, but to get that enthusiasm and energy infused into your City was a gift.
Report will be ready in about 90 days.
The Mayor probably won’t tout this visit too much as it calls for political will to implement as well as a moral compass.
Actually for the 60-70 people who came to the Klein last evening for the sharing of insights, it was worthwhile. The Mayor was there for awarding plaques and saying thank-you to the AIA leaders and the architect, city planner, landscape architect and human resource specialists who come from cities around the US to view and comment these past three days. The Mayor did not stay for the whole session (but had been observed by team members 5-6 times in their three-day touring and learning).
They came up big on the NRZ groupings as far as growing Bridgeport outside the downtown ‘teardrop’ or as one termed it ‘hangman’s loop.’ They challenged the audience to look out to 2060, 50 years from now, where high-speed transit and a rearranged I-95 might allow the downtown to grow to the water, changing visibly and for the good the financial opportunities and attractiveness of the City. Building more rental units in the downtown at the pricing required to attract the 25-34-year-old market who would enjoy the green, the bar scene and using public transport to work would be a next big step to build the Grand List. No schools and retail and service businesses will follow. Tax rate per square foot exceeds office buildings that are already vacant.
They said the City had good bones on which to build. When their report comes in, it is likely we will understand they also saw some of the reality of our governance system and a less-than-informed or involved citizenry.
But why wasn’t the event publicized weeks ago? Ted Grabarz had trouble fielding that one in a credible way. There was an application a year ago, somebody in the City made arrangements with the AIA for the group to get here, and they made certain rounds with public meetings (announced last week) Monday-Wednesday night.
Lots of OPED people present, maybe even one or two City Council members, and the rest of us were just older hopers and dreamers, for the most part?
Well, if you need to plan for the grandchildren of your grandchildren in 50 years (and not worry about the expenses) then this audience was the right one to be there!
Are you sure all these people hadn’t attended the “Boomers and Beyond Exp” at the Holiday Inn on Wed?
Another ULI hand job!
Hey “town committee,” you said, “It figures, 2 outside attorneys making decisions for Bridgeport. That’s just great. Now that I know this I think it’s time to disband the common council and just let these 2 attorneys do what they have been doing for the past 2 years and that is screwing the city.”
Andy, that might work plus the City can save money. Let me see, if I have it right, each council members get a $9,000 stipend every year and there 19 of the 20 council members who take the yearly stipend (Councilman Bob Walsh does not take the $9000 stipend) and that comes to $180,000 a year. Well we are already giving these two attorney $200,000 so … … …
Here’s the link to the AIA press release about its visit to Bridgeport.
There’s a line in the release saying the AIA will “work in conjunction with local stakeholders to help shape the community’s strategy to increase sustainability.”
(Please note someone here noted how it was said at the Klein the AIA “challenged the audience to look out to 2060, 50 years from now.” So don’t you go and die, now. Those good time are a-comin’!)
BEACON2, Carol: Thank you for the feedback on the AIA planners. I look forward to their observations. (I like the part about the hangnoose already.)
The last of the panel to address the audience (forgot his name) was termed a Philosopher by Finch and offered a job. (Well we all know where the jobs line begins, now.) He had some BIG IDEA observations you’ll have to look up in the document but acknowledged he was not offered a job as a Philosopher-King. We understand King Finch does not need any other royalty (City Council members) to handle decision-making, large or small. And as a member of a different ruling household once said of those outside the court, “Let them eat cake.”
So a Roman ruler fiddled while the City burned, and our ruler fishes for the video camera and hands out thank-yous to pro bono professionals from around the US, while ignoring comments in the form of a Sludge Report, layoff financial calculations, etc. And just think how the pros from out of town saluted our CitiStat system, assuming it tracks productivity gains as it does in their towns. But Surprise It’s Bridgeport!
Your observation of “other royalty” serving in the court of King Bill left me puzzled. I have trouble imagining city council members as royalty of the realm. Perhaps, I humbly acknowledge, I lack imagination.
Most aldermaniacs have filled, with a great deal of self-satisfaction, the role of court jesters to the Democrat kingdom of Bridgeport, so described. Truly none can be more aptly described than the leader of this college of clowns, Jolly McCarthy, the president tummler, himself a traveler to distant shores in search of exotica, as well as mind-expanding possibilities on shores as close as the Mummy Pond.
Surely, I am aware of Bridgeport surprises, but methinks ’tis not a fiddle that causes the East Side to burn, but a torch.
METHINKS THEY ARE ALL FULL OF IT from the top down.
Why T.C. I’m so disappointed for you.
To think of all the time and effort you have spent in all those anger management and sarcasm suppression classes. To say nothing of the pecuniary considerations, indeed.
You have my sincerest sympathy and salutations, sir.