Top Stories July/August 2013, Grounded Airport Manager: I Recused Myself At All Levels, Acted Only As Directed

A new bishop for Diocese of Bridgeport, Downtown housing, a fired airport manager, a $400,000 land improvement a judge rules taxpayers were not obligated to pay, were among lead stories for July/August 2013. Other headlines:

City demolishes blighted building in East End.

School board member Bobby Simmons claims that Bridgeport’s city government “exhibits a plantation mentality.”

Pope Francis names Frank Caggiano bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport.

City officials announce beefed-up security measures at city housing projects for summer months including police patrols in hallways and common areas.

Former City Councilman Joel “Speedy” Gonzalez produces video of housing project conditions.

The Connecticut Supreme Court overrules Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis’ order blocking Superintendent of Schools Paul Vallas from remaining on the job pending appeal of his certification issue.

Black Rock neighborhood leader Phil Blagys agrees to serve as the City Council running partner of two-time Republican mayoral candidate Rick Torres against Democratic incumbents Sue Brannelly and Steve Stafstrom.

City Democrats endorse three newcomers for Board of Education at a party convention at Testo’s Restaurant. A challenge slate plans primary.

Foreclosure action against the church of school board President Ken Moales. “No problem: my dad left me a millionaire.”

Angie MacLean, 98, tends bar at Panama Joe’s.

West Side City Council incumbents Evette Brantley and John Olson face a Democratic primary challenge in September from Bob Halstead and Trish Swain as all 20 seats on the city’s all-Democratic legislative body come before voters in November.

Jason Riley, a member of the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, writes in a commentary Bridgeport school chief “Paul Vallas is one of the country’s premier education reformers, with a track record to prove it. So it’s only natural that the teachers unions and their political supporters in Bridgeport, Conn., want to run him out.”

Superior Court Judge Dale Radcliffe rules that Bridgeport-based developer Manny Moutinho did not prove he had a hardship necessary that led to the controversial $400,000 taxpayer-paid driveway to his Stratford mansion, overturning a decision by the Stratford zoning commission, as part of an airport improvement project. Judge rules Bridgeport taxpayers were not obligated to pay it.

Developer Phil Kuchma and Mayor Bill Finch host a ribbon cutting for 1208 Broad Street, a new 12-unit apartment building adjacent to the Broad Street steps Downtown.

60 Minutes piece: “Bridgeport, Conn., is where researchers say Gustave Whitehead, a German immigrant, first flew his aircraft two years ahead of the Wrights. Now, based on new evidence, the authoritative aeronautical journal “Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft”–the bible of aviation–has officially recognized Whitehead as first in flight.”

The bus 2011 Republican mayoral candidate Rick Torres enlisted for a variety of campaign stops is totaled by a fire in a Stratford lot where it was being stored with construction trailers.

The University of Bridgeport receives $192,347 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a program to recruit and train teachers in high-need urban schools throughout Southwestern Connecticut and train them to teach physical science with the aim of increasing student performance and interest in the physical sciences.

Some South End neighbors oppose the Bridgeport Housing Authority demolition plan for Marina Village apartments, a “comprehensive plan to revitalize significant areas of the South End and East Side neighborhoods.”

The Federal Environmental Protection Agency announces roughly $750,000 in funding to help Bridgeport revitalize industrial and commercial sites “transforming them from problem properties into community assets.”

Two school employees testify at termination hearing Tisdale Principal Carmen Perez Dickson “popped” one student in the head and dragged another across the floor like she was “a sack of potatoes.”

After years of squabbling over location, the city and Captain Brian McAllister, president of the Bridgeport and Port Jefferson Steamboat Company, move in the same direction regarding the ferry company’s proposal to relocate from Downtown to a new terminal across the harbor in the East End.

Governor Dan Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, U.S. Senators Dick Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, Connecticut Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor and Superintendent of Schools Paul Vallas among the public officials that attended the ribbon cutting for the Fairchild Wheeler Interdistrict Magnet Campus, the city’s first high school in 50 years.

Black Rockers Madeline Dennis Raleigh and Michael Raleigh launch new Facebook page Black Rock Bitches.

School board member Maria Pereira will not seek reelection, becomes local chair of Connecticut Working Families Party.

John Ricci, terminated by the city as airport manager, issues exclusive statement to OIB explaining, “By revealing that I had a long history and close friendship with Manny (Moutinho) to everyone involved, in effect, I recused myself at all levels of my participation and acted only as directed by the City Attorneys’ Office.” Ricci announces retirement, collects pension.


One comment

  1. Legal counsel, at least in fiction (movies and novels), when facing an opportunity to represent a person in an action, reflect on whether they have any current or past representations that may cause them a conflict of interest were they to take on a new case.
    Apologies if I fail to state the ethical concern clearly. I am not an attorney. However, when I think of the several people including Mayor Bill Finch, City Council President and Labor Department employee (and while a member of the CT Bar, not practicing law in his current City job) Tom McCarthy, Airport Manager John Ricci, and Manny Moutinho who form the nucleus for the “Greatest Story Yet to Be Told,” there is one other, City Attorney, Mark Anastasi who appears wearing at least one hat, but for whom? And are there other representational hats present also? With $40 Million of Federal funds in play and State and local contributions of about 5% each, shouldn’t a full story be coming? Will it include price tags for all activities and from where the funds spent come? Has anyone been successful with FOI requests? Isn’t this the trouble when too many hats get on too few heads? Or is it what is in the heads and hearts that really matters? Perhaps it’s a story for a New Year. Happiness to those who read, reflect, connect, remember and act, at least get out to vote. Time will tell.


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