The Frenzy Of Political Rumors

All day Thursday starting early morning and into the afternoon the phone calls, Facebook posts, blog comments, emails came at a pace faster than a California brush fire. The feds had entered the Margaret Morton Government Center, escorted city employees out, and isolated the second floor suites of the Mayor’s Office, Economic Development and City Attorney’s Office. FBI agents, the rumors circulated by political opponents of Mayor Bill Finch, were all over the place. Except no one actually saw the federals, according to what had been described, at least.

OIB spoke to several city employees during the day Thursday. If the feds were around it was news to them. And if they were around it certainly was not as described by the rumor mongers alleging the mayor and his staff were sequestered for questioning. For one thing, Finch is on vacation and for another mayoral staff reported it was all news to them. There are plenty of city employees, as well, in the building with no allegiance to Finch who would have shared with glee had the federals been around.

FBI agents can be as quiet as a cool breeze or noisy as a summer hurricane. The feds are definitely knocking on doors and asking questions about the airport land deal that led to the firing of Airport Manager John Ricci who disputes the city’s assertions he was not forthcoming about his relationship with Bridgeport-based developer Manny Moutinho whom city lawyers authorized (and mishandled) a $400,000 payment to build a driveway to his waterfront home in Stratford as part of a municipally owned  airport safety project.

As shared weeks ago, this story is not going away any time soon. The feds will likely seek records, correspondence, phone calls, emails, texts and anything else associated with the controversial land deal brought to light by the Connecticut Post. The federals will receive what they request, and if they think anyone’s tampering with what they want, they will act appropriately.

Thursday was a reminder of the frenzy from 2005 when John Fabrizi was mayor. News organizations were on alert Fabs would be charged criminally in a federal drug probe. A handful of reporters had even camped out in his office in anticipation of an arrest. The mayor was forced to confront the reporters: I’m not being charged with anything! Now Fabs would eventually admit he had used cocaine on the job, but he was never charged criminally, thanks to deft maneuvering by his attorney John Gulash who received a commitment from federal officials Fabs would not be charged.

Fabs would be forced from office when in the spring of 2007 he walked into a courtroom, without notifying political advisers, to seek leniency on behalf of a sexual offender who was a friend of his son. The electorate and political community were blindsided. It’s how Finch became mayor.

This land deal story is far from done. There will be lots of rumors. Will there be criminal charges? Depends. The feds still have a lot to sort out.



  1. Mojo, you took some poetic license there changing the moniker from “Driveway Gate” to “Gravel Driveway Gate.” It still seems a little top-heavy though. Perhaps we can change it to “Gravel Gate.” That’s my vote. Sound good to you? We can be just like a real taskforce like in a city department and have a series of meetings to decide what to name it, no? Here We Go!

    1. Throw that task force overboard and start a SWAT team instead. Don’t have silly meetings, storm the beach in Stratford and take ’em by surprise–hoist your flag and stake your claim!

    2. *** Bpteur: I like the sound of “GravelGate,” it’s got a sort of driveway-type sound that almost leaves you hearing Manny’s automobile entering or exiting down the long and winding road, no? *** ZOOM-ZOOM ***

  2. Two weeks away from electronic devices and OIB.

    Kind of frightening to read this set of entries and think BRG has the most reasonable comment above? Go figure.

    But leaving town and staying away while commenting from afar does not accomplish much either if your goal is to fight the machine. Maybe it’s just the need to be absurd, silly or comic for a moment or two so you can reconnect with the reigning insanity? Time will tell.

    1. JML … I probably do more good even from here while you are backing a bunch of people who despite the fact they oppose things like minimum wage laws took out a petition without asking to get on the line of a political party that is very pro-union. Two weeks away from electronic devices? Guess it would have interfered with the electroshock therapy …

      1. BRG,
        Keep repeating your mantra:
        “I do more good here than …”
        When you left town, you left renown. And you left the ability to have a true grip on what people are doing and why, it seems. Your decision. Time will tell.

  3. The reigning insanity has been treading water awaiting JML’s return. In your absence, all bloggers agree: you cannot be replaced. You are a blogospheric hero who has many friends but no peers.

    1. LE,
      Just finished scanning about two weeks of input. WOW.
      Joel G. gets the ribbon for self-revelation, and as he notes, that is not all there is to his story.
      Thankfully his YouTube failed to provide Scentorama although with Joel choking as he guided the tour at Green, I got the idea. Good reporting.
      Have not worn a bow tie in two weeks, at least. Lot of reading and chilling.

      Sad to read about the death of Dan Jacobs. Happy to see some sense while Paul Vallas has a well-reported “past, Jon Pelto has some items of historical note that provide a sense of why he barks the way he does.
      Elections and primaries coming.
      A moment of silence for the ‘driveway casualty,’ Mr. Ricci, but the facts have yet to settle into a real pattern rather than the massaged mess (or message) from the City Attorney’s office. Very interesting trying to connect all the facts and previously reported information, this late in the story, I suspect. Time will tell.


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