Poising Political Fireworks

When former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci was booted out of office the first time for extinguishing a cigarette in the eye of a guy he thought was having an affair with his wife, he took to the radio airwaves as part of his rehabilitation. His gift for connecting with the electorate paved the way for a comeback that started a city renaissance in the 1990s. In 2002 Buddy was convicted again, this time on federal racketeering charges, did five years and now is back on the airwaves.

Now pushing 70, Buddy says he’s done with public office, but you never know.

On Wednesday I listened to former Mayor John Fabrizi’s fill-in gig on WICC and wondered if this was the start of Fabs’ comeback. For sure, he wants his old job back after he was pushed aside by pols, in favor of Bill Finch, fearing a Chris Caruso mayoralty following revelations of drug use and testifying in court on behalf of a sexual offender. Fabs bleeds Bridgeport, and judging the early missteps of the Finch administration voters may be feeling nostalgic for Fabs’ optimism and focus on economic development. Fabs sounded peppy on his first radio gig, inviting his former Chief of Staff Charlie Carroll, the city’s parks director, in the studio to discuss the upcoming Gathering of Vibes concert at Seaside Park and good things happening at the city’s golf courses.

A screening of Larry Locke’s docudrama, The Accidental Mayor, was viewed by nearly 300 Monday night at the Fairfield Community Theater to benefit the Burroughs Community Center in Black Rock, according to Burroughs Director Kevin Simmons.

The best way for Fabs to immunize himself from voter angst over his past conduct is to stay visible and be heard. Radio gigs will help accomplish that. People like comeback stories.

It’s not beyond possibility that in 2011 Bridgeport will look at a Democratic primary field that includes Finch, Fabrizi and a Ganim. Joe Ganim, who’s served nearly five years (that’s a long time) following his corruption conviction in 2003, will be getting out of the joint that year, but it’s clear that younger brother Paul, the city’s judge of probate, is making the rounds in anticipation of a run.

So, I ask, if you had a vote would it be for Finch, Fabs or Ganim?

I’ve worked with all of them, in one form or another, so I’m titillated by the match-up possibilities. I can already imagine the fireworks!

Finch is in the process of fundraising to pay off legal bills as a result of Caruso’s court challenge of last September’s primary results. If Fabs is serious about staying in play, he should begin raising money right after the presidential election. Campaigns are all about MOM – money, organization and message. Raise money, stay visible and make friends (and hope the timing is right).

A Message From Mayor Finch

Mayor Bill Finch is wishing all the residents of Bridgeport a happy and very safe Independence Day.

“The Fourth of July is a joyous time. It marks the founding of our great country and I would like to wish everyone a very happy Fourth of July,” said the mayor. “However, it’s also a time when we sometimes become somewhat over-exuberant in our celebration. I urge everyone to be very careful this weekend. Pay close attention to any type of fireworks so that no one and no property gets burned. Stay alert while swimming or watching your children swim. And keep your cool even as the temperature gets hot.”

Bridgeport Fire Chief Brian Rooney agreed and urged parents to monitor their children closely.

“One of our largest concerns is not just for exploding fireworks, but for sparklers and smoke bombs. Sparks from these can easily come down on dry grass and start fires. Rockets are another problem. They can be shot skyward and land on someone’s roof, starting a fire,” said Chief Rooney. “We’ve had it happen before.”

Police Chief Bryan Norwood echoed Chief Rooney’s call that parents watch their children closely this weekend, particularly in city parks like Beardsley and Seaside Parks that have water.

“People should be mindful of the traffic. Bridgeport police will be on hand throughout the city to make sure everyone obeys the rules of the road,” said Chief Norwood. “And I would ask everyone to tolerate each other because the weather is supposed to get extremely hot, which could in turn cause tempers to also get hot.”



  1. Gossip of The Rialto!

    Buddy Cianci no longer in hot sauce. Now rolling in the dough.

    Finch a dud, Fabs a cherry bomb, Caruso a M-90 and Ganim a firecracker in 2011 fireworks. In the legendary words of Jiimmy J. Walker: “Dyno-Mite!”

  2. “So, I ask, if you had a vote would it be for Finch, Fabs or Ganim?”

    Well Lennie, if you put a gun to my head and forced me to choose from among those three, I guess I would ask you to just go ahead and shoot me.

  3. While a Caruso candidacy might save me from an untimely end, it may push some others over the edge. I’m sure we will be hearing from them shortly.

    Time for work – have a good day.

  4. Agents Halprin and Jensen get my vote. Because if a Ganim is involved, they will be dealing with the day-to-day operations of the city in a very detailed manner.
    If Fabrizi or Finch are serious contenders, my vote goes to the state of Connecticut because we will surely have a financial review team poised to take over the monetary operations of the city.
    After Himes cleans Shays’ clock, maybe you should include his name as a potential candidate too. After all, for Shays’ entire life, he has been collecting some kind of government-issued paycheck so why should it stop next January.

  5. Lennie, you forgot to mention Countdown; she seems to think she has all the answers to what ails the city. Let’s see her step out from the blog and take on the challenge head first. And let’s not forget Tom Sherwood. He’s been pretty much allowed to run the city as he sees fit. Do other people’s dirty work and doing his own when it is convenient.

  6. As soon as I heard on the radio yesterday: “American hostages in miracle rescue in Colombia…” I knew right away…

    This morning, I dug up in a file in my office marked “WOD (for War on Drugs) Colombia Hostages” and on the back of an envelope mailed to me by the Greater Bridgeport Bar Association postmarked October 1, 2003, I scribbled down the following:

    1. Thomas Howes

    2. Marc Goncalves, wife Shane, Bethany, Joey, Cody. Michael Goncalves, brother. George Goncalves, father. Jo Rosano, mother.

    3. Keith Stansell, ex-USMC, Nat’l Guard. Malia Phillips, fiancee.

    History Channel 47, 10/9/03 (Thursday) 10pm


    It’s a moment to be grateful for their safe return to their loved ones.


    And for Mrs. Ingrid Betancourt and the other members of the Colombian military and Police who were also rescued after years of captivity in the Colombian jungle…it’s a moment to be grateful for their safe return to their family and friends.


    To the many members of the Colombian and US military and civilian agencies (and others) who will never be known for what they did to carry out this successful “miracle” rescue…we should be grateful.

  7. Did anyone catch the F_CK up in yesterday’s CT Post? Page A5, the photo that accompanies the Skateboard demo story? Check out the young man’s skateboard that is second to the left. Upside down FUCK OFF! Dude. Kinda makes an old Reaper grin.
    No mention of the foul up in the Corrections and Clarifications in today’s paper. Did they not notice or are they trying to avoid admitting to their F_CK UP.

  8. I don’t know if it will be appreciated, but some said they didn’t have access to information regarding the real estate conveyance tax. I said that Russo and others voted to take away 1 million dollars to Bridgeport, 200k to Monroe and 350K to Trumbull. Here’s a little Legislative History. Just the facts.

    This is from the Office of Legislative Research by the State of Connecticut. Easy to find on the internet. The stamp tax the document refers to occured when selling real estate and dates back to the earliest history of our country. At that time a physical stamp was required on the deed the history below explains that.

    February 27, 2002


    By: John G. Rappa, Principal Analyst

    You wanted a brief history of the real estate conveyance tax, including changes the legislature made to the tax rates.


    The real estate conveyance tax is a state and local tax on documents conveying real property valued over $ 2,000, but the legislature initially instituted it in 1967 as a purely local tax. The legislature did so to supplant a similar federal tax that was due to expire at the end of that year. It set the rate at 55 cents for each $ 500 of value. One legislator hoped towns would use the revenue to acquire land for parks and open spaces.

    The legislature added the state tax in 1983 as part of a broader revenue-raising package. It set the state rate at 0. 5% of the purchase price and changed the local rate to $ 1. 10 for each $ 1,000. It has not subsequently change the local rate, but has varied the state rate based on the type of property being conveyed. It also increased the types of documents and conveyances exempted from the tax (see Attachment 1). The tax generated about $ 20 million for towns and about $ 110 million for the state in 2001, the Office of Fiscal Analysis estimates (see Attachment 2).

    1967: LOCAL TAX


    PA 693 (1967) established the conveyance tax as a purely local tax, all revenue remained with the towns. It based the tax on the value of the property being conveyed: 55 cents on amounts between $ 100 and $ 500 plus 55 cents for each additional $ 500 or fraction of $ 500. It allowed town clerks to keep $ 1 from each conveyance in those towns where clerks are paid fees.

    The tax applied to any document used convey land except those used to convey land to specified parties (e. g. , government agencies or family members) or for specified purposes (e. g. , deeds releasing a property used to secure a loan). The act specified other administrative and procedural requirements towns had to follow in administering the tax. It took effect January 1, 1968.


    The legislature adopted the tax to supplant the federal Documentary Stamp Tax, which expired on December 31, 1967. It modeled the conveyance tax after the stamp tax, incorporating many of the federal law’s provisions. In doing so, the legislature understood that the tax would cease if the federal government decided to reinstate the stamp tax.

    The legislative record suggests several other reasons for the tax. During the House debate, Representative Weicker stated that the tax would “enable municipalities to have additional funds for whatever they see fit,” but hoped they would use the revenue to acquire open spaces. “The problem of gaining land now so that we’ll have it in the areas of open space and recreation is probably the most pressing problem with the state. With these funds in hand, it seems to me it offers a golden opportunity to the communities themselves to plow this back into the land for future generations” (House Proceedings, June 5, 1967, p. 4520).

    During the public hearing on H. B. 2080, Meriden mayor William T. Shea stated the tax would help tax assessors do their jobs. Until then, assessors relied on the federal stamp tax to determine how much people paid for the properties. Without the stamp, assessors would have to “hire another clerk to start checking with everybody as to what they paid for property. ” Substituting a conveyance tax for the soon-to-expire federal stamp tax is “a way that a practical imposition of the tax can also save each and every taxpayer … some money” (Finance Committee, March 8, 1967, p. 172).


    Sixteen years later, the legislature added the state component of the conveyance tax and fixed the rate for the towns and the state. It set the municipal rate at $ 1. 10 for every $ 1,000 and the state rate at 0. 5% of the purchase price. It required town clerks to collect the state share and send it to the revenue services commissioner within 10 days of receiving it for deposit in the General Fund. The legislature did this as part of a larger revenue-raising package that included a tax on interest income and a surtax on inheritances (PA 83-1, June Special Session).

    As Attachment 2 shows, the legislature changed the rate for the state tax several times since 1983. It also changed the types of documents (i. e. , the tax base) that are subject to the state and local tax.


    Attachment 1: 2000-01 Annual Report of the Department of Revenue Services, pp. 62-65.

    Attachment 2: Connecticut Revenue and Budget Data Book, May 2001, Office of Fiscal Analysis, pp. 152-153.

    JR: eh

  9. What are you trying to say, cliche?

    That Russo voted to cut property taxes? Then bravo…I’m up to my neck in bills and taxes.

    I’m also no republican shill – I’m quite the opposite (Obama! Gay marriage! Yeah!), but I hope Russo gets a full term to see what he can do. He’s not part of the D machine, he’s got the governor’s ear, and he’s not a MORON.

    Bridgeport is better off with him in office than someone from Trumbull.

    * * * * * * * *


    sometimes late at night, when all of you OIB’ers are sleeping, I press my ear to my windowpane and I can hear Nancy DiNardo’s wagons circling way up north in Trumbull…preparing retaliation for Marilyn Moore’s primary bid.

    I’d rather see Mario and Nancy wrestle in jell-o pudding for the primary. It would be a cleaner match.

    ba dum, bing! crash…

  10. The problem with the Bridgeport Political scene is that you have too many old-school hacks who can’t make any decisions on their own. They want decisions to be made for them.

    We need real leaders like Paul Ganim and Bob Curwen to stand up and fight greedy developers who want to have their taxes go away.

  11. Wind Breaking News!

    Bridgeport-Port Jeff Ferry Sails Over Bridgeport Port Authority In Federal Tariff Case!

    Decision will help company to set sales and “Cross the Sound Barrier”. Arbitrary and capricious tariff imposed by Port Authority led to sinking sales, hurt ferry company, and punished customers.

  12. I feel this blog is getting too right. What happen to the days when this was only a Democrat blog well you know what I’m supporting Obama and Jim Himes. I’m just getting tired of reading these dumb people posting pro-Republican things on here.

  13. “We need real leaders like Paul Ganim and Bob Curwen to stand up and fight greedy developers who want to have their taxes go away.”

    APAJ – You’re joking of course.

  14. sometimes late at night, when all of you OIB’ers are sleeping, I press my ear to my windowpane and I can hear Nancy DiNardo’s wagons circling way up north in Trumbull…preparing retaliation for Marilyn Moore’s primary bid.

    Haha, that’s great. Maybe if Moore wins, her retaliation could come in the form of an “Adam Wood for State Senate” primary in 2010.

  15. Marlys, surely you jest. Wood’s work in Finch’s administration is so abysmal, that I don’t ever think he’ll work in this town again. Oh wait, this is Bridgeport. Beside Wood and Finch are doing nothing for Musto. Maybe they are afraid of Gomes.

  16. Just like Stafstrom et al let Mulligan tank to save the seat for McCarthy (and then he couldn’t run because of Finch’s budget) I think they are trying to tank Musto and hope to get the seat back in 2 years. With Democrats like Bridgeport has, who needs Republicans. Stafstrom is partial to Bridgeport people, like the ones they have are so great, I think the phrase was “over my dead body will someone from the suburbs get this seat.”

  17. Harry N.
    I really enjoy your posts, don’t get me wrong, but oft times I don’t know what you are refering to, please don’t be so obtuse, sometimes it appears like an “insiders” observation and we are not that. Thanks for the good posts, I’m not an insider.

  18. Marlys, surely you jest. Wood’s work in Finch’s administration is so abysmal, that I don’t ever think he’ll work in this town again. Oh wait, this is Bridgeport. Beside Wood and Finch are doing nothing for Musto. Maybe they are afraid of Gomes.

    I do jest. I fear Nancy DiNardo’s retaliation like I fear Plan 9 from Outer Space.

  19. Marlys what would lead someone to be an enthusiastic supporter of both Russo and Obama?

    The answer is Russo is not your typical Republican. He is doing a good job up there in Hartford and he is working hard on education in Bpt. On the other hand look at the democrat named Ed Gomes he is lazy and what the hell has he done for his district. His district looks like a dump and I sure don’t want a lazy democrat like that…so I’m going to vote for Russo and that will be the only republican I will vote for. I never voted for a republican but when November comes I will be voting for Obama Himes and Russo and that’s a split ticket. The reason I would not vote for Musto is he would not give a shit about Bpt. I am black but I sure as hell won’t vote for Moore the reason is she will make our district look like Gomes’ district (the dump). The other reason is she will do nothing for our district and she would be lazy just like Gomes so my vote goes to Russo and trust me I know a lot of people who are democrats in Bpt who like Russo.

  20. Oh, and as for Ed Gomes – I think Ed is an excellent state senator – a good friend of labor and a strong and honest advocate for the people of his district. Beyond that, he is a huge improvement over his predecessor, who in addition to being a crook, was an arrogant little twerp who is now residing in a federal prison just like that other arrogant little twerp Joe Ganim.

  21. DiNardo dodging car tax at dealership
    Article Last Updated: 07/04/2008 11:18:27 PM EDT

    BRIDGEPORT — As the saying goes, two things are certain in life: death and taxes.
    Now, add a third: real estate developer Sal DiNardo never met a tax he didn’t dislike, big or small.

    DiNardo, whose Remgrit Realty Inc. recently filed for bankruptcy to block the city from foreclosing on its Barnum Avenue property over an unpaid tax bill of roughly $10 million, apparently also avoids paying motor vehicle taxes by using dealer license plates reserved for auto sales businesses.

    Fairfield Assessor Thomas Browne said DiNardo, who lives on Fairfield Beach Road, does not have any motor vehicles registered under his name in Fairfield. “I’m not showing anything registered under his name,” he said.

    DiNardo also has no vehicles registered under his name in Bridgeport, where his business holdings are based.

    If DiNardo leases, rather than owns, the vehicles he drives, his name wouldn’t appear on the tax rolls at the assessor’s office, Browne said. He added, however, “I’ve had people that have said there are dealer plates on his vehicles.”

    According to Ernie Bertothy, a spokesman for the state Department of Motor Vehicles, DiNardo has been issued 12 dealer license plates for one of his businesses, Norwalk Auto Sales Inc. The company is listed as a used car dealership by the DMV, and the plates expire in April 2010. Dealer plates must be renewed every two years.

    The DMV allows licensed dealers to have the special plates for use when test-driving vehicles that might not otherwise be legally registered.

    The address given to the DMV by DiNardo’s dealership is 323-325 North Ave. — the same address for DiNardo’s property investment and development firm, Peter DiNardo Enterprises. There is only one building, housing the firm’s offices, at that site.

    “I wasn’t even aware that there was a car lot there,” said Bridgeport Zoning Official Dennis Buckley. He said he believes the lot at 325 North Ave. is the “parking lot for that building.”

    A review of the zoning history of 325 North Ave., however, shows that in 1981 DiNardo went before the Zoning Board of Appeals for permission to establish a car dealership on the property.

    The only time a property owner has to go before zoning officials after the initial approval for a car dealership is if there is a change in the status of the property, said Buckley. Unless there was a transfer of ownership or there were changes made to the lot, the property does not require any zoning approvals after its initial hearing, he said.

    In this case, the last hearing on the property was in 1983, the same year Norwalk Auto Sales Inc. registered with the state, according to the Secretary of the State’s Web site.

    Bertothy said the DMV sends an inspector to a site only for a new application for a dealership. “We usually need something to trigger someone from the DMV to go out and inspect a business,” he said.

    If the ownership of a dealership changes or someone files a complaint against a licensed dealer, an inspector would be sent to the site, Bertothy said.

    But as of Thursday, there were no cars advertised “for sale” at DiNardo’s property. There were also no signs promoting the sales of used cars at the site except a small, white sign — posted in an enclosed portion of the parking lot — that read, “Norwalk Auto Sales Inc.”

    DiNardo did not return several calls to answer questions about the car dealership and its use of dealer license plates, and about the lease or ownership status of personal vehicles.

    Also unsuccessful were attempts to contact DiNardo through his publicist, Leonard Grimaldi, who was jailed in 2003 for his role in the federal corruption scandal that brought down former Mayor Joseph P. Ganim.

    Charles Willinger, a lawyer who has represented DiNardo before the city’s land-use boards, said last week that he didn’t know anything about Norwalk Auto Sales.

    “You know what you can do? You can put on one of those glasses with the nose and mustache, walk in there and ask to buy a car,” Willinger said, with a chuckle, when asked to explain the apparent phantom business. This year has been an eventful one for DiNardo.

    In January, DiNardo was forgiven $377,000 worth of unpaid taxes owed on property at 1095 South Ave. The City Council allowed DiNardo to buy old tax liens on the site for $1, after he promised to clean up the environmentally contaminated site and invest $1 million to build a new warehouse or manufacturing facility there.

    That same week, fire hit one of the Remgrit properties — the former Remington Arms manufacturing complex on Barnum Avenue — followed by another fire in April.

    DiNardo also lost a slip-and-fall lawsuit against the city last month. He claimed he had accumulated more than $20,000 in medical bills caused by a fall outside the clubhouse of the city-owned Fairchild Wheeler Golf Course in 2003. And the developer is also in the middle of a lawsuit against the Zoning Board of Appeals over its decision to uphold a cease-and-desist order citing him for operating an illegal storage yard at 14-16 West Ave. and 320 Railroad Ave.

    This low-life — Sal DiNardo — embodies everything that’s wrong with Bridgeport. His low-life sister embodies everything that’s wrong with Connecticut politics. She is corrupt as surely as she’s his sister.

    Low-life Sal must be relieved of all of his Bridgeport properties to pay for his back taxes, and low-life Nancy must be investigated for her role in his corrupt involvement with Bridgeport.

    Nice job with the article, Ms. Torres!

  22. I had just read the article in the CT Post and was totally disgusted by the story when I came to the blog only to find that it has been quoted in its entirety here. This has to be one of the slimiest parasite-creeps to ever walk the face of the planet. He should be run out of town.
    And Lennie, what in hell are you doing having ANYTHING to do with this sub-species? He’s a disgrace to all humankind.
    Just the fact that he made a political contribution to Moonbeam’s candidacy should be enough to impeach him. Does the “thing” have no shame? It’s hard to believe that he would put his sister, Nancy DiNardo in such an embarrassing situation. And why she hasn’t issued some sort of a release indicating that he is not really her brother is beyond me.
    Is Bridgeport the dumping place of all degenerates? It sure seems that way.

  23. Con:

    Sal hired me to produce a radio and television campaign that 1. promotes city cultural attractions and 2. highlights the transformation of the old Brass site into the new home of United Rentals.

    My clients also include David Carson, retired chief executive of People’s Bank and Jack McGregor, founder of the Bluefish. I give the best advice I can give a client. Sometimes they listen, sometimes they don’t. I’m not involved with Sal’s business dealings, beyond promoting the Brass redevelopmnent which is a boost for the city. I’m as frank with him as posters on OIB.

  24. Browne’s daughter Betsy intends to be the Republican candidate for First Selectman of Fairfield in a future race, so that’s a factor in the DiNardo gossip that he’s peddling here.

    Is it too much to ask of Torres to drive on over and check if his car really does have dealer plates before committing 900 words to print on the issue? Seems like a provable assertion.

  25. Lennie:
    Thanks for the explanation but if I were you I’d divorce myself from that pragmatic parasitic sleaze-ball. He’s nothing but trouble.

  26. The blog is going after DiNardo but he did not do it alone. What about our elected officials who allowed this to happen? I don’t blame someone for trying to pay less or no taxes. I blame the elected officials who could have just voted NO. Why are they escaping scrutiny?

  27. You can put all the Chanel you want onto a pig but in the end you’re still dealing with a pig.

    Maybe Grimaldi can get Sal to hire him to publish the soil reports for The Brass site and the Remgrit site.

    I don’t begrudge Grimaldi for providing his services to anyone who can pay the freight, but I am tired of Lennie continually going to bat for this sleaze ball and his sleazy business practices. Me thinks you doth protest too much.

    I am going to watch with considerable interest how DiNardo reacts to the latest fraud he has perpetrated with respect to this “dealer plate” scam. I know a guy who did the same thing and was nearly bankrupted after the state came in. He had to cough up back taxes for every car that used the plates, plus interest. He was arrested for fraud and fined nearly $50,000.

    DiNardo thinks he can get away with anything he wants. He has hired Grimaldi to manage that nefarious perception. Watch yourself, Lennie because an awful lot of people (not me) expect you to slip back into your former ways. Hangin’ with Slick Sal isn’t going to help your rep.

  28. aboost

    So let me see. I’m an accountant and have a client and do his taxes. The client under reports income and gets caught. Is his accountant responsible for the return? Does the accountant drop his client? Or does the accountant redo the return? Same with a lawyer with a recidivist client.

    You can’t shine a sneaker and Lennie can’t tie Sal’s shoe laces. No matter how much he would like to.

    Lennie has paid his penance. Now I’m going to say 3 Hail Marys, an Our Father, Stations of the Cross, and make 3 Novenas for my penance.

    Saints Have Pasts and Sinners Have Futures.

  29. Lennie, you have the right to work for anyone you like. Why though, at this point in your professional career, you would want to continue to associate yourself in anyway with Sal DiNardo is beyond me.

  30. This DiNardo guy is something else!!! Hopefully this won’t get swept under any carpets! The Bpt Tax Offices are supposed to be diligently persuing tax cheats. Well here you guys go, the biggest cheat, DiNardo, right under your nose!

  31. Good analogy, Up on Bridgeport. I happen to be an accountant. Many of my clients run amok of the law. That’s their business. What I don’t do, is mount a soapbox and defend an errant client when people complain about their unethical behavior.

  32. And who the hell are you phony bastards to dictate how someone should earn a living! So that means anyone that works for Finch should resign? Anyone that’s a lawyer representing undesirables should quit the bar? A phony asshole like aboost should drop his clients and not provide for his family?


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