Torres’ Campaign Bus Totaled By Fire

Torres campaign bus
The burnt remains of Rick Torres' campaign transport in a Stratford lot.

The bus 2011 Republican mayoral candidate Rick Torres enlisted for a variety of campaign stops was totaled by a fire Tuesday afternoon in a Stratford lot where it was being stored with construction trailers. Torres says he had hoped to convert the bus into a remote vehicle for his popular Harborview Market in Black Rock.

Torres van prefire
Rick Torres fronts his campaign Eleganza in 2011.

Torres notfied OIB the lot in Stratford, owned by a friend, was locked and the only vehicle burned was the campaign bus he was planning to use for his November run for City Council in Black Rock. Torres says Stratford officials are investigating the cause. The lot has no surveillance camera, according to Torres.

“I spent many many thousands repairing it,” Torres wrote OIB in a text message. “It was a gorgeous GMC Eleganza … it was a classic. My hope was to convert this to a Harborview Market remote vehicle.”

Torres does not suspect political shenanigans from his campaign opponents, but that will not stop some of his campaign supporters from fanning flames of political underhandedness. Torres and Phil Blagys are the GOP-endorsed candidates taking on Democratic incumbents Sue Brannelly and Steven Stafstrom in what is a hotly contested November election.

The 1975 Eleganza is registered in Bridgeport and valued at $500, according to city records. The tax payment on the vehicle is $20.93. Torres is current on the tax payment.



  1. That was a great bus. Rick drove it during the Mayoral primary. Guess now he will have to do what everybody else does. Knocking on every door and making his case. I cannot imagine anyone going into a locked parking lot in Stratford to destroy his bus as a political message from a Black Rock district. I am sure the insurance will come in handy. Use it wisely. Good luck. Sorry for your loss.

    1. Spare me. Some kid probably torched it as a malicious prank. I really doubt anyone was going to go into a parking lot to torch it to make a political statement. Whoever did it should be punished but for Rick to make this out to be something it isn’t is just pathetic … like something Finch would do. Collect the insurance money Rick and buy another one, you will probably end up with a better one.

      1. BRG: Are you reading the same article as the rest of us? Where does Rick make any claims such as the one you are alluding to? It is curious timing, no doubt, but all I see is Torres stating facts and not pointing fingers. You, on the other hand, are a different story. Don’t put words in peoples’ mouths, it is BAD FORM even for you.

  2. This is abhorrent and so clearly a targeted act of destruction. So what, are we supposed to be intimidated now? I’m so f’ing disgusted and fed up with this bullsh!t. Bring it on, a-holes. Your tactics will only bring about change that much faster. Idiots. I am sorry for the Torres family in any event. They have done nothing but help this city and to be targeted like this is just beyond words.

  3. If Torres and his group were serious about political corruption they would be complaining about real fraud instead of making hay over what is a criminal act of arson but probably not political. This is a serious accusation and much as I dislike Finch I really don’t think even he is that stupid.
    There are numerous people listed on the voting lists who are registered to vote at nonexistent addresses … homes that have been boarded up for what looks like years, vacant lots and office buildings (several members of the Robles family are registered to vote at their offices on State street). There are more than enough real scandals in B’port without making a political scandal out of ordinary criminal vandalism. And even here … this is a quality of life issue that affects the whole region … why doesn’t Rick address that? It affects people besides himself.

    1. I don’t know why I even bother reading your posts, BRG. You don’t stand for anything or support anyone–and you don’t even live here anymore, so why don’t you harass people on a Tucson blog and leave us Bridgeporters alone with our troubles? You’ve already physically departed, why not take your mind out of CT, too?

      1. Really, TwoForOne. Your post is infantile. If I am against Finch and I don’t support Citizens Working for Dave Walker, I don’t stand for anything. I may end up moving home so I can still have a stake in this. And last I heard people still had free speech in this country and you didn’t need residency for that.

    2. BRG … you make bad posts here and on the CT Post (as bad a rag in the world as there is). Did you know during his first mayoral run someone cut the brakes on his wife’s car? You spout off without checking facts. And you don’t seem to understand information when it is presented.

  4. I’m fed up with the political machine and its tactics in Bridgeport. I will meet with the FBI in the near future and start exploring options. We need extra scrutiny for the upcoming elections.

      1. BRG, Mr. Torres’ campaign van gets torched to its chassis in the middle of the night, and you state it’s a case of “ordinary […] vandalism.” I for one don’t know. It sure looks suspicious, though.

        I for one would be grateful for a legal authority outside to look into this and other beyond-the-pale abnormalities, some of which you point to.

        And if David Walker can help make that happen, how can that be a bad thing?

        “Outside” … because I think the Mayor and City Council have very little credibility. Once you come to that conclusion, it’s not hard to volunteer to work together with others who share that belief. David Walker is one of us–except he knows a lot more than anyone I know does about governance best practices and government auditing, something we need desperately in Bridgeport. Your attempts at butting heads with him on OIB … is for your benefit only, I guess.

        I wish you were here to join the discussion in person … if you were willing to make it a two-way discussion. That’s all.

        I’ll finish with the words of an outstanding candidate from Black Rock running for City Council … unscripted … at last week’s public forum at the downtown library:
        “I’ve run this year because there are winds of change. … Keeping to our principles of openness, accountability, and transparency, we can win this time because … the tipping point has been reached with HB-5724 getting turned down. Basically, it would have made Bridgeport elected officials honor the city charter. Remember, people voted on that charter. And for elected people in this town to not stand up and enforce that … that’s the will of the people … that’s fundamental … it’s outrageous! Then the whole driveway-gate … the whole conflict there … the investigation. It makes your head spin. It’s all wrong. This is the season of change.”

        1. Pete Spain, the all-powerful Dave Walker will bring in the FBI to do what? What federal laws were broken? This was a arson fire thereby making it a local issue with the Town Of Stratford.

          1. RM, so confident in your conclusions, this is an isolated dot and there are no other dots to connect it with.

            No one can know that with any evidence-based confidence until more info is uncovered.

            Maybe you’ll be proven right.

            I interpret David Walker’s statement about the FBI to be a proactive one, in the context of the upcoming elections: “need extra scrutiny for the upcoming elections.”

            If this dot connects with other dots that involve the upcoming election … who knows where it ends … city, state, federal.

            And Ron, if you insist on referring to David as “all powerful,” then I humbly suggest you refer to yourself as “all knowing.” 🙂

        2. Pete Spain, you said, “I interpret David Walker’s statement about the FBI to be a proactive one, in the context of the upcoming elections: “need extra scrutiny for the upcoming elections,” well if he believes that then he should take it to State election officials. Don’t make waves by saying what you are going to do, just do it, unless you are trying to make a name for yourself.

  5. Where was the van registered with DMV and where was Rickie paying taxes?
    Where was the vehicle principally garaged on the insurance policy?
    Sorry folks, this reminds me too much of Vinnie Roberti’s HQ fire. Lennie will have to fill in the details but “Dirty Roberti” had one of his two mayoral headquarters burst into flames. FORTUNATELY his staff had removed all records shortly before the fire occurred. Can’t recall if it was labeled arson, electrical or unknown origin but of course the other guys did it.

        1. Vehicle was in storage and not being used. From the CT DMV:
          What if I don’t want to pay insurance while my car is inoperable or being stored?

          You may turn your marker plates into any DMV and request that they be placed on “hold.” At that time, you may then drop all insurance coverage on the vehicle. You may also cancel your plates and request a refund if a year or more remains unused.

          1. Where is my damn refund? Why don’t they fucking tell this when I turned the plates to my old van a few months ago? They sure as hell remembered when I turned the plates in late and had to pay them $200.00.

          2. Lennie, I have an inoperable vehicle and it’s insured. It’s a special insurance; I pay $13 a month and it’s registered. When the vehicle is drivable, I have to notify the insurance Co. so I can start paying the full cost of liability insurance.

    1. Bob, give it a fucking break with those bullshit questions. What are you looking to gain? Where were your questions when Marella was seated on the council?

    2. Take it easy Bob, I make no claims against anyone. The van was properly registered in Bridgeport and it was not insured as it was in storage. The area was secure and out of 10 easy targets my van was the only thing to burn. Still I accuse no one. Most Dems in Bpt are honorable people, too many in gov and related to gov are not honorable. I remember when you nearly singlehandedly were the only voice of challenge. Those are facts as I know them, if my claims are wrong then please teach me.

  6. First, thinking Mayor Finch had anything to do with this is a joke. Elevating Torres to Finch is a joke. Finch is the Mayor, Torres is running for council. Torres and his squad need to walk the streets. Bob Walsh brings up some very interesting points. Blaming the machine for this issue is just so typical of Republicans. Who is supposed to be fired up with this banter? The Republicans? Better stick to the issues. Rick is a likeable man. Better he introduce himself to his district with his sincerity than waste time on silly speculative incrimination. The Republican party has an uphill battle everywhere. Especially in Bridgeport. It is going to be difficult to reinvent an obsolete party on a national level. If Rick Torres can not take Black Rock it will be a very sad situation as it is a very heavily Republican area of actual voters. It would be nice to have checks and balances on the council. A REPUBLICAN these days, not so confident.

    1. First, thinking Finch is anything but a pawn in this city is a joke. Testa calls the shots. He and his thugs are the ones who terrorize, intimidate and keep Bridgeport under the Democratic yoke.

      Finally, Rick has not blamed anyone in this attack. However, isn’t it peculiar he announces a political campaign and this happens? Just like all the other times. No evidence, no leads, just speculation. And in this filthy, corrupt city, let’s be honest with ourselves. The only way to fight back is at the polls.

      1. Not as much as he used to. Finch is more Paul Timpanelli’s boy. He still has a lot of pull but not like he used to. Mario never would have pulled that stunt with the Board of Ed. There are at least two factions within the machine and maybe a third one with the Ayalas, who I think would love to be the Daleys of Bridgeport.

      2. For those missing the big picture:
        It is not Bill Finch running the city, true
        It is not Mario Testa running the city, true
        Paul Timpanelli running the city, FALSE
        Who has Finch’s ear and Malloy’s ear and runs Bpt?
        JOHN STAFSTROM, period.

        1. Remember all you geniuses who say Mario gave a damn about the BOE.
          Stafstrom put Barbara Bellinger in place, and is the only one SMART enough to hatch the BOE takeover.

      1. And there are a large number of Dems some of whom are conservative who often cross party lines and vote for Republicans … Heavily GOP certainly not … but even with the high Dem registration I would say Dem leaning but not a sure thing.

  7. Maybe these baseless claims might get one or two people off their respective asses and out to the polls. Calamarians are nothing more than cheap-shoe creeps who have a stranglehold on a tight bunch of voters who vote as they are told. As stupid as I think they are, burning Torres’ bus is way beyond their capacities.

  8. Now I’m certain I’ll catch some heat for what I’m about to post, but be assured I don’t even know Rick Torres, so this is just an observation. I can’t help but wonder why he would keep this uninsured vehicle on what appears to be in the photos a run-down shabby graveyard for abandoned vehicles. Along with the fact it is located in Stratford is also puzzling. Why wouldn’t he store it on his own property if it was of any value to him? To me, it would seem this vehicle was just begging to be targeted by vandals.

  9. I’m no fan of Rick Torres, but if he stored that beast on his property and I lived next door, I would be upset. I think he acted responsibly by storing it elsewhere. It seems suspicious to me it would be a random act of violence, but who knows?

  10. Some people on this blog just won’t stop the bullshit. Torres parks his van in Stratford because he can’t park it at his house per zoning. He registers it in Bridgeport like he should and it’s not insured yet we read all these lame-ass blogs about him and what people think he did or did not do.
    There are 10 vehicles parked here, the vehicle has not been used in a while and you can basically eliminate an accidental fire leaving just one thing, an arson fire. Who did it? Who stands to gain from the loss? Certainly not Torres. There are many other question that could be asked. Here is one more, is this fire related to the big fire in Stratford on the same night?

    1. Actually Torres is gaining a lot of publicity from this and seems to be playing this for all it’s worth. Should the perpetrators be caught and punished? Yes, they destroyed someone’s property. That it is Rick Torres’ property or Ish Kabibble’s is immaterial. I cannot imagine anyone in the machine being that stupid. And if I am not mistaken, if this vehicle has an active registration doesn’t it have to be insured according to state law?

      1. And therein, my friend, lies the rub. Lord knows why this van was torched, or who is responsible. Could be coincidental, maybe not. But the fact that IS clear is IF this act of vandalism was perpetrated with a political ulterior motive in mind, it backfired poetically. Guess what the difference is between a sympathy vote and a regular vote? Answer: NOTHING.

  11. canobeano,
    You probably know this but have forgotten property tax payments, for residences, business property or autos and trucks is based on VALUE rather than on whether you own a bus or a 2004 Honda. So from what you state (and to eliminate your confused closing question), your automobile has a value around $7,000 while the Torres bus was valued around $500. It is truly simple. Do the math. And look to the coming revaluation where the current mil rate, in the low 40s will make a very significant jump into the 60s or higher. (NB: If the approved budget does not call for increased City tax revenues next May when the new City Council deals with it, then property taxes will not increase.) But it will be an indication of the significant decrease in fair market values between October 1, 2008 and October 1, 2013.
    As it applies to automobiles, it is likely those taxes will increase, because car values decrease more slowly than a 50% increase in the mil rate would. Time will tell.

  12. Simply put … the Dems are afraid of Rick Torres this time. The machine will do anything it can to derail his campaign and disrupt his election to the city council. The timing of all this is quite suspicious to the point of accusing those in power (i.e. The Democratic Party) of, perhaps, being the next terrorist organization.

    1. I doubt it. He is a loudmouth who spouts out a lot of tea party idiocy. The only person who benefited from this is Torres who while saying he wasn’t pointing fingers in the next sentence started pointing fingers. All we know is what was revealed in the Post and on Lennie’s posting. Sounds like run-of-the-mill arson. If torching that was to send a “message,” who would that message be to if it were in a run-down parking lot that is probably not visited a lot. And I would be one of the first people to hammer Finch on this if I thought he were in any way involved … but it just doesn’t even make any sense …

  13. This is what I think happened to Rick’s van. (The Grand Old Party Mobile)

    I called up Mario Testa, a dear friend of mine and ordered Apizza. (Not pizza, Apizza!)
    That’s the right way to pronounce it, not the American way, pizza.
    I ask Mario if he could please deliver as fast as he can two large pies with anchovies, one large mushroom, five large with bacon, and four large, just plain.
    I told him I wanted them hot! And to deliver them within the hour.
    He said for this order they would be as hot as Sue Brannelly’s vote on driveway gate.
    I said great, and hung up.
    An hour and forty five minutes later my doorbell rings. Two baboons walk in with my 12 Apizza boxes.
    Cold as hell, like they came from the Antarctic.
    I told the two baboons to take the pies back to Mario and I want those fucking pies hot!
    Ten minutes later I get a call from Mario explaining he was having trouble with his ovens and if I can just hold o, he will deliver hot pies back to me ASAP, but first he has to go to Stratford to pick up his new brick oven van that some of the boys put together as a surprise for him.
    So with help from Marty McCarthy and his old brick oven, the one that came from his first brick oven pizza store, Mario was ready to deliver my pies.
    Two hours later I get a call from Mario that the van was on fire, and is okay if he can deliver my Apizza tomorrow night?

    So I called the Bridgeport Police Department and ordered the Apizza through 911, and told them Mario said it was alright, and had my pies in 45 minutes.

    1. No Jimmy, apizza is not the correct pronunciation of pizza. Apizza is a specific style of thin-crust Neapolitan pizza that you can only get in Connecticut. Started out in New Haven at Frank Pepe’s, but you’ve been able to get it in Bridgeport for some time now.


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