School Board To Discuss Vallas Case Legal Fees

The Board of Education Tuesday (today) is scheduled to meet to discuss legal fees associated with the court case involving Superintendent of Schools Paul Vallas. Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis, following a lawsuit filed by retired judge Carmen Lopez aligned with the Connecticut Working Families Party opposed to Vallas, ruled Vallas lacks the legal certification to serve. The Connecticut Supreme Court has agreed to decide the case under appeal. The city has hired appellate specialist Steven Ecker to represent Vallas.

The school board meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. in Room 305 of City Hall, 45 Lyon Terrace. Connecticut law obliges municipalities and/or school boards to cover legal fees of city employees and school board employees sued in the performance of their duties. Vallas is a contract employee approved by the Board of Educaton. OIB posters both pro and con to Vallas have debated the issue of the responsible party to absorb legal costs. Vallas would be covered, according to the city, under the following statute as a result of civil action:

Connecticut General Statutes > Title 10 > Chapter 170 > 10-235

(a) Each board of education shall protect and save harmless any member of such board or any teacher or other employee thereof or any member of its supervisory or administrative staff, and the State Board of Education, the Board of Regents for Higher Education, the board of trustees of each state institution and each state agency which employs any teacher, and the managing board of any public school, as defined in section 10-183b, including the governing council of any charter school, shall protect and save harmless any member of such boards, or any teacher or other employee thereof or any member of its supervisory or administrative staff employed by it, from financial loss and expense, including legal fees and costs, if any, arising out of any claim, demand, suit or judgment by reason of alleged negligence or other act resulting in accidental bodily injury to or death of any person, or in accidental damage to or destruction of property, within or without the school building, or any other acts, including but not limited to infringement of any person’s civil rights, resulting in any injury, which acts are not wanton, reckless or malicious, provided such teacher, member or employee, at the time of the acts resulting in such injury, damage or destruction, was acting in the discharge of his or her duties or within the scope of employment or under the direction of such board of education, the Board of Regents for Higher Education, board of trustees, state agency, department or managing board; provided that the provisions of this section shall not limit or otherwise affect application of section 4-165 concerning immunity from personal liability.

Meanwhile Dan Tepfer of the CT Post filed this story on the plight of School Board President Ken Moales’ church:



  1. When is Finch going to stop covering up for this guy?
    For years Moales’ church has been operated without a Certificate of Occupancy. For some period of time, Moales and his family have operated a K-6 school in the building!!! I guess Vallas will say it’s only a piece of paper.
    Here is the President of the BOE knowing children are attending a subsidized school in a building that does not have a COO.
    And when questioned abut it, the Reverend said “‘We have one. We have a temporary one,’ Moales contended. But when told there is no record of a certificate of occupancy on file with the city’s building office, he added: ‘It’s not a problem.'”
    This guy has got to go and he has got to go NOW!!! And if Finch keeps covering up for him, then Finch has got to go too. I thought it was all about the children.

    1. Bob,
      Mayor Finch and the DTC political machine in Bridgeport seems to ignore the City Charter, ordinances and even basic ethical principles. In addition, Mayor Finch is operating as if his proposed Charter revision was approved by the voters. News flash Mayor Finch, it FAILED and you are failing in your job, too. It’s time for real change in Bridgeport and this year’s elections are key in that regard.

  2. I am just waiting for the pro-Vallas people to defend Moales like they defend Vallas and say a Certificate of Occupancy is only a piece of paper.

    1. Different people, very different issues and believe it or not, the “pieces of paper” you mention are also very different. I doubt you will find anyone making the case you mention above. And the subject must be getting pretty tired for you to connect the two cases.

      How about focusing on the workflow in various City offices that allowed a construction and certain inspections to occur before a building was occupied and then slip off the radar for 48 months? Where is the use of technology to provide reminders to busy City workers (just assuming? The argument by the COO office was disingenuous, “wasn’t occupied when I was there,” sounds like a public safety officer parked in a stationary spot for several hours not seeing any crime in his sector, right? Isn’t that why patrolling is a fact of life? It is also why people get concerned when they see no police cars or presence otherwise for multiple hours.
      Meanwhile, how are things in Arizona? Stay hydrated. Who looks good to you coming out of conventions and why? Time will tell.

      1. Lame excuses, John.
        What happened before technology?
        No COOs were issued? BS.
        You had a manual tickler file.
        You had a Pending Final Approval file.
        You had a means of keeping track of important items.
        I do not even know if technology is an issue here or not but if you are going to try to blame that for a screw up like this, maybe you should apply for a job in the Finch Administration.
        No excuse for no action for four years.

        1. Bob Walsh,
          Are you so angry you cannot read words, put them together and make sense of them? Or ask a question of clarification?

          My post was not written to excuse this failure. I was reasonably pleased some years ago to learn about CitiStat and the use of technology to provide redundancy to make sure work assignments were presented, and work completed, and management could keep track. So the Mayor got rid of a system that was working and substituted another one he talks about more than those who have tried to use it and it has not worked or been responsive, or made City services more efficient.

          And as far as Mayor Finch is concerned, I did inquire about the Charter Review Board by sending in a letter with resume. No response. And since I have appeared at more than one meeting with a snow shovel, after the sun removed the snow, the shovel is a distraction, and I am something not worth talking about publicly (by the Mayor). But some of the Council members are beginning to duck and cover with the upcoming election. Lots of time for their records of the past two years in league with the Mayor to be paraded by the voters. Where is your umbrage at the Council people you left to let their representation of the public lessen even further? Why are you angry at me, when your reading comprehension is at fault? Time will tell.

          1. John, this has nothing to do with CitiStat back then or today. This was another lamebrain idea that happened during Fabrizi’s years called one-stop shopping or one-stop permitting.
            The city departments moved from one building to another. They tore down walls to create a suite of offices. They custom designed and constructed work areas all to put zoning, building officials, fire marshal all in one office so this could be accomplished in the most efficient manner.
            Well guess what John, it didn’t work.
            So is it incompetence or corruption because sure as hell it has nothing to do with CitiStat.

  3. This is just a huge insidious circular conflict of interest. Moales is President of the BOE. Moales adjourns a meeting without voting on an agenda item that includes funding for his family-run business. Moales’ family has a school being operated in a building that does not have a Certificate of Occupancy.
    The city building inspector refuses to shut it down. Moales was Finch’s campaign treasurer. And all they seem to care about is saving Vallas’ ass.

  4. Moales was elected. Elected by many of the same people who elected you, Bob. Vallas’ relationship with Moales would be similar to the relationship Bob has with Finch. As far as their connection, I do not think PV chose to be connected with Moales. He was thrust into that relationship. In the same way we are all thrust into our relationship with our bosses. It is not a reflection on you that your boss is a jerk. Finch and Moales seem to have more of a give and give relationship. Too bad we can’t just appoint a BOE full of people who are not nitwits. I support Vallas but Moales, not so much.

    1. Vallas has no problem being connected to Rev. Moales when it is convenient for Paul Vallas.
      Paul Vallas gleefully attended a “We Love Paul Vallas” rally at Rev. Moales’ church.
      Paul Vallas had no problem accepting absurd praise from Rev. Moales. Moales called on a more recent example of heroism, describing the superintendent as a firefighter responding to a terrorist attack.
      “He runs to fires,” Moales said, likening the city’s school system to a burning building. “As he sees the building falling … rather than run away from the fire he runs into the heart of it.”
      Paul Vallas has no problem sucking up to Rev. Moales when it is beneficial to him.

      1. Bob? You think Vallas was sucking up to Moales because he thinks Moales is a swell guy or because the fort is under attack? This is a circle-the-wagons time for PV. It is not be the best time to burn bridges when the barbarians are at the gates. If PV has public support maybe he would do something different. Bob, there are no pictures of you smiling at a fund raiser or parade standing next to one of those guys? Maybe once in your exalted career you ‘put on a public face?’ But you’re right, Bob. Vallas should have listened to what Moales said, got up and kicked him right in the nuts. That is how you really get ahead in business and politics.
        I do not think Moales is long for BPT. I would guess his millions are tied up in the church. I would bet all his property and cars are owned by the church for tax reasons. He, his wife and kids draw modest stipends as clergy (just under the tax burden) and everything else is supplied by the church and everything is in church accounts. This way everything is tax free but under lien by the creditors. Moales has to find a way to get the money out of the church accounts and beat feet before the creditors get him or pay the bills (if he can).

  5. It’s time for Moales to go. How can we have someone who violates the law by not having a CO for his church? How can we have someone in financial trouble working on the school budget?
    Why is it some get away with multiple violations and nothing happens and others utter an indiscreet word and are fired?
    If something happens at that building we all know the city will be in trouble for not enforcing the law.
    The city building official should be fired for ignoring this problem and then coming up with a BS answer as to why the law is not being followed.

  6. This seems a bit troubling and raises a couple of questions.

    Assuming the building was built to code which I believe a safe assumption, why wouldn’t the Church go after a CO?

    If the building is under foreclosure, it seems likely they would not have paid contractors or sub-contractors who did construction as well. Would a mechanics’ lien be a reason not to get a CO?

    Lastly, this brings up a scenario that has bothered me previously. How does a pastor serving a lower-income congregation leave his son a millionaire?

    Cynically, it looks like another example of the sheep getting fleeced a la Al Sharpton.


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