Paging Sergeant Schultz! What If City Officials Knew About Ricci’s Relationship With Moutinho?

Airport Manager John Ricci has been suspended with pay pending a city investigation into his business relationship with Bridgeport-based developer Manny Moutinho following news of a controversial $400,000 gravel driveway leading to his Lordship mansion as part of a municipal airport safety improvement. Moutinho’s company Mark IV Construction did the work. Ricci’s business relationship with Moutinho wasn’t exactly pried from a clam. OIB reported on it a few years ago. Connecticut Post scribes reviewed an assortment of records in City Hall connecting the two. It’s not something Ricci has kept secret.

After the Post broke the story about the driveway, city lawyers cavalierly dismissed the approval process questioned in articles. Basically City Attorney Mark Anastasi announced we’re smart and you’re stupid. Okay, one day later when Post scribe Brian Lockhart asked Mayor Bill Finch if he was aware of Ricci’s relationship with Moutinho Finch stated “Today is the first time we have been made aware of any such alleged association.” Just like that Ricci received a letter from the Labor Relations Department ordering him off the job. Give us your city phone too. The Post suddenly did not look so stupid.

That’s pretty much standard practice with the city’s labor office. They tend to suspend with pay and sort it out rather than say okay tell us about this and then decide, but they have their reasons. Sometimes when the heat’s turned up it’s better to act quickly to address the embarrassment. Ricci hasn’t said much publicly about his removal other than “I made that clear to the airport commission and city attorney’s office” about his relationship with Moutinho. He says he had informed city lawyers and airport commission members involved in the vetting process on behalf of the city. Associate City Attorney Lisa Trachtenburg, a full-time city lawyer, was the city’s legal point person on the driveway deal.

Ricci’s relationship with Manny is going to be lawyered to death. By the city, by Ricci’s lawyer and who knows whatever state and federal agencies that will take a look, if not already. Let’s take the mayor at his word that he didn’t know about Ricci’s long history with Moutinho. What if other municipal officials knew, be it lawyer or member of the airport commission, and didn’t tell Finch?



  1. American consumers have the right to expect the benefits of free and open competition–the best goods and services at the lowest prices. Public and private organizations often rely on a competitive bidding process to achieve that end. The competitive process only works, however, when competitors set prices honestly and independently. When competitors collude, prices are inflated and the customer is cheated. Price fixing, bid rigging and other forms of collusion are illegal and are subject to criminal prosecution by the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice.

  2. Bill Finch has to be the only person in Bridgeport who does not know about these two being friends.
    There is a small group of developers and land use attorneys who know each other and work deals together. This group including Ricci all contribute to political campaigns.
    This time the city and its band of robber barons got caught.

    1. I will pass on the opportunity to remark on all Bill Finch doesn’t know or his general disregard for the truth or his willingness to throw anyone he can under the bus to evade responsibility for his own actions. Still, you have to wonder who called in Labor Relations? By the way, who was in Labor Relations to answer the call? Must have been Osborne since it’s hard to be constantly available when you preside over the City Council, cover the Mayor’s absences at events all day long and then pick up the phone …
      I hope the Post follows up on the bidding process, the federal funds trail and all the rest of this. This administration is as politically corrupt as any that has ever been in Bridgeport. Let’s hope this is their swan song.

  3. *** These types of deals are really “nothing new” when it comes to the city’s dealings with the “same usual” construction companies and lawyers year after year with most of the players knowing each other in one way or another! Many behind-the-scenes type of deals or right up front quickie agreements with limited information pass through the city council every year without any real research done by committee members. *** IS IT ANY WONDER? ***

  4. John Marshall Lee has been asking for months aboutschool projects.
    Who’s on the building school committees?
    Who’s winning the bids for these school projects?
    No answers from the Finch Administration or BOE!
    No answers from B&A!
    How many more no-bid projects are out there?
    How many more of the Finch Team donors will be winning these overpriced special bids like Manuel “Manny” Moutino’s $400k gravel driveway, with underground utilities and fire hydrant?
    I remember when the Bridgeport DTC had over $300,000 in the bank.
    Here we go again, just like the city attorney said, “It’s a matter of trust.”

  5. I am amazed Bill Finch has survived all his underlings’ massive screw-ups.
    After all, the buck stops with the boss, who by the way still wants to rape city employees with givebacks while paying for $400,000 driveways and people like McCarthy’s raises.
    Now his storm screw-up public works boss will make $130,000 to play in the parks?

  6. Mayor Finch is the City’s CEO. He either knew or should have known. This is just another example of the conflicts and incompetence in City government. It’s also become clear the City Attorney is part of the problem rather than part of the solution. This issue will draw light. With light comes heat and with heat comes action!

    1. Isn’t this the same city attorney who had his son hired by the city back in 2009 when Finch was laying off other workers? If I recall there was some backpedaling yet again by the city on the hiring. What is old is new again. When will people learn?

    2. Doesn’t this mimic our Federal Government and the ongoing foibles and malfeasances? IRS, FBI, Benghazi, Fast and Furious. All on a much larger scale. TERM LIMITS and accountability at ALL levels of government would eliminate most of the corruption and shenanigans. You cannot have lifetime elected and appointed people in government and expect true representation. It ain’t possible.

  7. Now that I am finished with the Wizard of Oz aka Mr Potter … Finch has been a disaster for this city since he was State Senator and supported deregulation of electric utilities for starters. How many of you thought it was a terrible thing when in the name of Steelpointe a whole neighborhood was demolished … but did you care … oh excuse me, they didn’t hang out at Torres’ coffee shop.

  8. B&A Committee Co-Chair Sue Brannelly, The Mother of All Taxations.
    Her favorite quote, “I was out of the loop.”
    Sue, please resign! You just cost this city $400K.

  9. Hey Grin, will Ricci go deep throat if Finch throws him under the bus? Or maybe The Finch Team will keep him on ice, until after they primary Malloy. You always need a good bag man.


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