Transparency … What Transparency? Plus: The GOP Versus Dodd

Okay, now we’re talking. Retired Superior Court Judge Carmen Lopez is taking an interest in the case of the Bridgeport Civil Service Commission canning of Personnel Director Ralph Jacobs for something called breach of city loyalty.

Why is this issue important? It’s the first time the non-political personnel director has been fired–for a dubious charge at that–and it’s sending shivers through a number of city employees. If they can do that to him, what about us?

Jacobs has filed a legal complaint against the city claiming he was dumped essentially because he wouldn’t play ball with Mayor Bill Finch’s desire for Jacobs to accommodate him on some political hires. Lopez has asked City Attorney Mark Anastasi for a bunch of information including minutes of the meeting that led to Jacobs’ termination.

Lopez believes the commission action violated several state laws including a job execution against freedom of information regulations. She also wants to know how much this legal action is costing the city. The city has hired not one but two law firms in conjunction with the termination. I guess no one is qualified in the City Attorney’s Office to handle it.

A sidebar to the commission action includes the residency of Commission President Eleanor Guedes. The City Charter states members of boards and commissions must be residents and voters of the city. Guedes, as OIB reported on Monday, is using her business address as her place of voter registration and claims to have a number of residences, including a home on Teller Road in Trumbull.

I called Anastasi one week ago to ask about the Guedes residency issue. He did not return the call. When Lopez asked the Civil Service office for the information request she was directed to Anastasi. Lopez wanted to send the FOI request via email. Oh, no, she was told, that’s not acceptable. So all the email correspondence that races through city government is not official?

Anastasi sees himself as the dragon protecting the castle, the guy who barricades himself in front of the chief executive of the city. He has an interesting interpretation of law and has repeatedly gotten his ass kicked for it. Mark was the public lawyer who acted as Joe Ganim’s de facto criminal defense attorney, on the taxpayers’ dime, when Joe refused to turn over cell phone records to the Connecticut Post. The Post eventually got the records.

He’s the chief city lawyer who has pursued dubious legal actions costing taxpayers millions of dollars in outside attorney fees. His job, he believes, is to protect the mayor irrespective of who holds the office, irrespective of the oath he has taken to serve in the position. He is by charter the city attorney not the mayor’s attorney.

So Lopez, the first Latina appointed to the state bench, is not letting the issue drop. The Black Rock resident will pursue the FOI action and she’s expected to address the City Council next month about the roadblocks to city transparency. See update on this Monday.

One Banana, Two Banana …

What a hoot.

Here’s what Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sam Caligiuri’s spokesperson shared when Sam learned yet another GOP hopeful has jumped into the replace-Dodd sweepstakes.

As with Linda McMahon’s decision to enter the U.S. Senate race yesterday, State Senator Sam Caligiuri welcomes Peter Schiff to the competition. Sam believes that giving the people of Connecticut the chance to select the best candidate through a spirited primary is good for voters.

Translation: what’s good for Sam is as many Republicans as possible! Yes, jump in, the water is welcome. All you fat-pocketed Republicans should make the biggest splash possible.

Of all the candidates challenging Dodd–former Congressman Rob Simmons, former ambassador Tom Foley, WWE marketing maven Linda McMahon and the latest entry Peter Schiff–Sam is the only one in an elected capacity. He occupies a state senate district that includes Waterbury and neighbors. The patch slants conservative and provides Caligiuri with a homeboy base of support.

The other candidates are bulging with bucks. All of them will spend millions in the next 11 months that will include a party convention next summer and likely an August primary. I can’t wait! Sam has a tall task here because he’ll be financially outgunned. His hope is for the others to split up the GOP vote and his senate base helps lead the way. His senate base will not be enough, but it’s something to build on.

Simmons has a base in eastern Connecticut from his years in Congress. But most of the state’s GOP votes are in the 4th and 5th Congressional districts. Caligiuri must find a way to peel off GOP operatives in Fairfield County to keep him in play otherwise see ya Sam. The other guys have too much loot.

Now, if I’m Chris Dodd, don’t ya think at some point these Republicans are going to carve up one another to break away from the pack? Maybe. Maybe not. One thing’s for sure, they will direct a whole bunch of thunder at Dodd over the next six months, trying to keep his negatives up. It seems like Dodd has brought back Democrats than ran for cover following his mortgage mess, at least the latest Q poll shows that.

Dodd’s Democratic opponent Merrick Alpert hopes that’s not the case. But Merrick must unearth buried treasure to persuade Dems he’s the alternative. Dodd will have five, six million to spend, maybe more.

The trick for Dodd is to make Connecticut’s majority independent voters feel safe. I’m wondering what OIB friend Marlys, an indomitable Dodd supporter, thinks about all of this. Marlys … please?

Come November 2010 little ol’ Bridgeport, the state’s largest city, will be a major GOTV target for Dodd. Why do I get the feeling Dodd and Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa will be sharing more than a few cups of espresso in the coming months?

From The NRCC

Jim Himes Silenced as Connecticut Unemployment Skyrockets to 8.1%

August Unemployment Numbers Confirm Jobless Recovery, Connecticut Families Strapped for Cash and Jobs

Washington- As unemployment in Connecticut continues to climb to 8.1% for August, Democrats’ promise seven months ago to revitalize the economy seems to be a fading memory. Connecticut taxpayers are only left to wonder why Jim Himes voted for a massive $787 billion “stimulus” plan which seems to have done nothing for their ailing state.

Democrats failed economic policies and empty promises have only brought to light that members like Jim Himes are out of touch with the needs of their districts. Yet Democrat leaders continue to make excuses:

“Rising joblessness underscores Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s judgment that it’s “too early” to start exiting from the unprecedented stimulus measures helping stabilize the economy. AMR Corp. and Whirlpool Corp. are among the companies continuing to cut staff to lower costs and revive profits in the aftermath of the deepest recession since the 1930s.” (Timothy Homan, “U.S. Economy: Payroll Losses Slow, Jobless Rate Up,” Bloomberg, 9/04/2009)

“Jim Himes made a promise of economic recovery when he voted for the Democrats $787 billion ‘stimulus’ plan,” said NRCC Communications Director Ken Spain. “But the stimulus has yet to yield real results, leaving Connecticut families having to once again stretch their next pay checks while wondering: where are the jobs? Himes’ careless use of taxpayer money is indication enough that he is incapable of leading Connecticut out of this jobless recovery.”

With 216,000 jobs lost nationally in August alone, the uphill battle towards economic recovery has left middle-class families doubting that Democrats and their failed policies will be able to lead America out of financial turmoil:

“A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll found 57% of adults say the stimulus package is having no impact on the economy or making it worse. Even more–60%–doubt that the stimulus plan will help the economy in the years ahead, and only 18% say it has done anything to help improve their personal situation.” (Brad Heath, “Poll: 57% Don’t See Stimulus Working,” USA Today, 8/17/09)

Support The Fish, Final Weekend

Come join the Bluefish at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard during their final homestand of the 2009 regular season. Tickets for all games are available by visiting the Harbor Yard box office, calling 203-345-4800, or by visiting and clicking the tickets icon. Here is the fun and excitement the Bluefish have in store:

Friday, September 18 – 7:05 p.m. vs. Newark- buy tickets

– “Freebie Friday” is always a fun night at the ballpark. The first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a Bluefish Logo Baseball. Friday will also be “Unused Ticket Day.” Any fans holding unused tickets from this season will have the opportunity to exchange those tickets for a ticket of equal or lesser value at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard Box Office.

Saturday, September 19 – 6:05 p.m. vs. Newark- buy tickets

– The Bluefish and Bears will play game three of their four-game series. Come out and enjoy a nice Saturday evening at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard and following the contest all fans will be treated to a special fireworks extravaganza!

Sunday, September 20 – 2:05 p.m. vs. Newark- buy tickets
– Help the ‘Fish go out with a bang this year as they tangle with the Newark Bears. As a thank you to all of the fans, the Bluefish have announced that a limited amount of tickets for Sunday, September 20 that are located on the lower level (field box, loge and reserved) will be available for only $5. The fun and excitement doesn’t stop their as the Bluefish have also announced that September 20 will be “Fan Appreciation Day.” All fans in attendance will have the opportunity to win great Bluefish prizes throughout the game.As always, Sunday is Family Fun Day and all B.B.’s Baseball Bunch members receive free admission to the game. All fans will be treated to a pre-game autograph session starting at 1:20 p.m. and following the contest, all kids will be able to run the bases like their favorite Bluefish players.



  1. Lennie, great article, this is one of the biggest stories in Bridgeport and there is NO investigative reporting from the media. The main structure of hiring has been changed and now the mayor will have “free will” in hiring with his back being protected by the City Attorney.

    The article said, “Why is this issue important? It’s the first time the non-political personnel director has been fired–for a dubious charge at that–and it’s sending shivers through a number of city employees. If they can do that to him, what about us?” BINGO!!!

    Now retired Superior Court Judge Carmen Lopez is taking an interest in the case of the Bridgeport Civil Service Commission canning of Personnel Director Ralph Jacobs, WOW!!! that’s deep, what courage to take on but in doing so Judge Lopez is the only one who is trying to protect the system of Civil Service outside of Mr. Jacobs. Lennie, maybe you know but I don’t recall of anyone who has taken on such a job by themselves in challenging any Bridgeport mayor. Judge Lopez, you have my prayers and support.

  2. That’s okay Grin. Some may see this story as inside baseball, but to me it’s one of the most important stories since I started covering the city (before you were born) more than 30 years ago. That’s an ouch! The Jacobs termination is the mayor’s biggest political win. It allows him to take care of his peeps in an area where political peeps had not been allowed.

  3. On the contrary, Lennie is the ONLY person in the media who is providing any insight into what is going on politically in Bridgeport. The reference of media that I was referring to was the print, radio and television, and “Grin Reaper,” thanks for pointing that out to me.

  4. Lennie, how do you call something that could bring the Mayor down a big political win? This is going to blow up right around election time to the tune of millions of taxpayer $$$s. He will be run over if he says “no” to anyone in the future now that he has full reign. Also, this comes across to most people I speak with in and out of the city as a misplaced priority at best when the city is on the verge of bankruptcy and has double-digit unemployment?????????

  5. RW&B, I agree with you. Political win doesn’t necessarily mean governmental win. I think it’s a short-term political win because he can satisfy political operatives screaming for jobs. And when a mayor is not popular with the electorate he needs the politicians that much more. But what happens if the city is successful in buying off Jacobs? Then the mayor, unless CC commissioners put their foot down, will have control over CC jobs. If Jacobs says screw it, I want my job back, that’s a different story, assuming he wins in court.

  6. I agree Lennie: It’s the mayor’s political win until Jacobs’ lawyer Tom Bucci unwins it for Jacobs and city employees. When that happens the fish guts hit the fan. It’s always fascinating to watch a mayor bet the house money on a case that the taxpayers will lose.

    1. Bill Finch doesn’t “win” anything. He simply takes what he feels he’s entitled to. With Adam “Pecker” Wood and Mark Anastasi running interference and kissing his ass (probably for fear of losing their own jobs) and giving him bad legal, political and professional advice, he appears to be more concerned with power.

      Mr. Mayor, let me tell you something: YOU CAN’T RUN THE WORLD FROM CITY HALL. So knock off the control freak bullshit. The citizens are tired of it, we’re tired of it, and sooner or later the voters’ll get tired of it. And that’ll be the end of your political career. Maybe good friend and golfing partner Paul “the Pimp” Timpanelli can get you a gig selling insurance or used cars. Adam “Pecker” Wood can do the detailing. Anastasi? Forget about it. If the Office of Professional Conduct gets onto him ol’ Markie Mark won’t be able to practice the Law of Gravity.

    2. Only in Bridgeport does the house money lose. Finch is going to blow this one and it won’t be the Shofar.

      Have a sweet Happy New Year to all those celebrating their religious holiday the next 8 days.

      Finch is going to have to do some major atonement.

  7. Why is Mark Anastasi still practicing law? And why is he working for the city of Bridgeport? This town has a certain reputation for corruption, double-dealing, and city officials taking the sleazy route instead of the high road. This clown has cost the taxpayers literally millions of dollars; the Jacobs court action will cost millions more in legal costs, and damages should Mr. Jacobs and his attorney prevail.

    It pisses me off that assholes like Mark Anastasi are members of the bar.

  8. Ron Mackey can fill you in on the details but there was a discrimination lawsuit that the city spent a million dollars in legal fees to Pullman and Comley to win a suit seeking a million dollars in damages.
    Go figure.

  9. KID:
    You’re lunging like Jason Giambi at a bad fastball. You can see the ball all right, but your timing is off and you are allowing the crowd noise to distract you.
    Mayors historically have blown millions in legal fees because they get ticked off and want something to be done no matter what the rules are. The old-timers used to call it “201 Disease” when the mayor’s office was in City Hall. Normally placid, soft-spoken guys go bonkers after awhile. Guys who already have a bad temper seem to get worse. Sometimes, all don’t act exactly rationally. “I don’t know what happens to these guys once they go into that office,” one guy explained, shaking his head. “They sit down in that chair, and they change.”
    Sometimes WE even praise mayors for bad behavior for “cutting through the red tape.”
    None of these guys are/were crooks. They may do ethically questionable stuff, but that goes with being a politician, I guess. If crooks are on the mind, maybe you WOULD want Joe Ganim back. If you tallied everything up on a blackboard, Ganim might have been the most effective mayor since Jasper.
    The fact that Anastasi is driving you nuts goes to show what an effective advocate he is for his boss, the mayor. Sure, what Mark is saying is crazy. But think it out. Mark is not crazy. He is saying stuff that is crazy. Mark is the city attorney. He works for the chief executive officer of the city. The chief executive officer of the city is the mayor. The mayor is Bill Finch. Hence the mayor is crazy.
    Rather than say crazy things himself, Finch has Anastasi say crazy stuff.
    Let’s look at Anastasi: Mark is a nice guy. He’s proven to be a good lawyer for over 25 years for the city. Maybe he knows Finch is crazy. But Finch is his boss. And it isn’t as if Finch has ordered the Bridgeport Civil Defense Militia to attack the Trumbull Shopping Park. So Finch does stuff that gets the city sued. What do lawyers do? They go to court. So Anastasi goes to court and spends millions of dollars for Finch so that Finch can pay millions of dollars in fines. There is nothing unethical about that from a lawyer’s point of view. The lawyer is doing his job for his client. No one is physically hurt. The taxpayer is just socked until a judge tells Finch he can’t do what he is doing anymore, and the mayor has to come up with a new reason for the city attorney to go to court.
    The legal process starts over again.
    This is really the American Way made easy. The U.S. Constitution and state constitution were written by lawyers. It is interpreted by lawyers. All we do is do what the lawyers tell us to do. In gratitude, we pay them. If we don’t pay them, they sic the cops on us. If we don’t surrender, the cops shoot us. Because most cops are fortunately lousy shots, we live.
    Now, we get into doctors. I don’t even want to get started.

  10. It’s official; City Employees on Drugs Ripped form the headlines of the CT Post.

    City worker charged with drug possession
    By Daniel Tepfer
    Staff writer
    Updated: 09/18/2009 11:15:59 AM EDT

    BRIDGEPORT — A city public works employee has been charged with buying heroin during working hours.

    Chester Chambers, 59, of Stratford, a carpenter in the Department of Public Facilities, was arrested on a charge of possession of narcotics. He was released after posting a $2,500 bond.

    The arrest took place Wednesday when officers from the Police Department’s Narcotics and Vice Division, acting on information from Capt. Brian McCarthy, set up surveillance of Chambers and followed him as he drove from City Hall Annex in a city-owned van.

    Chambers parked on Chapel Street, a short distance from police headquarters, and a short time later, a black sedan pulled alongside, police said. A man, later identified as Gilbert Torres, got in the van’s passenger seat, handed something to Chambers and then left, police said.

    Officers moved in and arrested Chambers, and in the van’s console, allegedly found a small glassine packet containing heroin. Officers also searched Chambers and allegedly found a small plastic bottle containing two vials of a powder that the defendant said he used to taint drug tests.

    Chambers also allegedly admitted using more than one bag of heroin a day.

    Torres, 45, of Oman Street, was later arrested and charged with sale of narcotics.

    Let’s see how long it takes for the city to suspend him WITH pay.

  11. Another very fishy story (below) in the Connecticut Post from the murky waters of the Inland Wetlands and Waterways tentacle of the Planning and (Re)Zoning Commission.

    Apparently, wetlands property located on the Roger’s Park wetlands was suddenly deemed appropriate for development after several other owners, over a period of more than 50 years, were told that it couldn’t be developed because of wetlands issues. The present owners clearcut the land before they had permits or approval for development and after they had been warned to not touch the land by the city’s wetlands consultant. There is apparently much more to this story.
    Read on.

    Neighborhood upset over building lot plans
    By Keila Torres
    Updated: 09/17/2009 11:10:51 PM EDT

    BRIDGEPORT — Plans to build on a Moss Street property across the street from Elton Rogers Park continue to spark concerns among Lake Forest area residents about the possible impact of construction on the park wetlands.

    The problems began in the spring when property owners Jennifer Lestrange and Daniel Scinto cut down about 14 trees on the otherwise-empty lot at 74 Moss St., a road that exists only on paper. Lestrange said she received the green light from several city departments to cut down the trees, which she contended were diseased.

    “All the trees cut down were rotten and they were hanging over the wires,” she said.

    Once the city discovered the tree clearing, a cease-and-desist order was issued to the developers. In a recent hearing before the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency, the developers were admonished for cutting down the trees, but were ultimately granted approval for plans to build a single-family home on the property.

    “It was an incorrect vote. It was also an unenlightened vote because of the location of the Rogers Park wetlands,” said Jeff Kohut, a Lake Forest resident who spoke out strongly against the development.

    Michael Voytek, leader of the Ungag the People Committee, also spoke against the proposal, citing the need to protect neighboring wetlands. City Council members AmyMarie Vizzo-Paniccia and Michelle Lyons also sent a letter to the wetlands agency opposing the development.

    Kohut said he had even met with Mayor Bill Finch and state Rep. Christopher Caruso to express his concerns.

    In an interview last week, Finch said after going on a recent tour of Rogers Park with Kohut and members of the Lake Forest Association, he decided to pursue funding to acquire the Moss Street property for open space.

    “I would love to be able to do it. Right now money is the obstacle on that one. We want to get people back there. It’s the park city for crying out loud,” the mayor said.

    Finch said he recently toured the park with Kohut. “It’s very beautiful. You wouldn’t know some of that land that’s wooded is not part of Rogers Park. We’re looking at these kind of creative deals wherever we can. The trick is always money,” said Finch.

    The mayor said after state officials told him there would be no money available to purchase the land, his staff approached Scinto and Lestrange about a possible land swap.

    Lestrange, reached by phone at her Trumbull home, said the properties the city offered to swap “is land you can’t build on.” She said she felt “bullied” by Kohut and other neighborhood residents to drop her plans to build on the property.

    Lestrange said although she felt they “made it more difficult for me to get approved,” her plans would move forward. “We’re going to build on that property. It’s always been a building lot,” she said.

  12. I don’t buy your argument that Anastasi is “only doing his job.” Ain’t that the same defense the Nazis used unsuccessfully at the Nuremberg trials? Merely doing one’s job is what we’re all expected to do. And we do our jobs to the best of our abilities. Holding city officials accountable for their actions is not an alien concept. Taxes are to be spent for the benefit of the people that pay them. If the actions of Messrs. Finch, Wood, Anastasi, et al. are costing the city a lot of money, how are the people of the city of Bridgeport benefiting? Seems to me that a few suits from the area’s blue-chip law firms are making money, but there’s no trickle-down economic effect. Millions of dollars being spent, not on infrastructure improvements, not on improving the woefully inadequate public education system, nothing positive. No, millions of dollars being spent to defend the city against the bad decisions of a bad mayor.

    From the outside it looks as if Mr. Finch is a hands-off manager. Ronald Reagan did it this way: he’d have his morning meetings, voice his concerns on a number of issues, then toss it off to whichever department head or cabinet member had jurisdiction. George W. Bush did it this way too. How much time did he spend down on the ranch in Crawford? (As I remember, he spent a lot of time on the golf course too.) Whenever he was down to the ranch he left Dick Cheney in charge. Bush’d hear about a particular issue and tell his staff to handle it.

    If it is true that Mr. Finch doesn’t show up for work until mid- to late-morning, I would interpret that as a sign the man doesn’t take the job very seriously. If Mr. Wood is the one making the majority of the Mayor’s decisions …

  13. KID:
    You’ve got it, you just got to zone in on it. It is

    If I’m the mayor, I want all the citizens to be grumpy at somebody else whether it be the city attorney or chief of staff. It is almost to be in the job description of a chief of staff to be hated. The more you hate Wood the more exhausted you are to zero in on Finch.
    Who cares about Ronald Reagan? Ya got Bill Finch. Who cares when he shows up for work? He either makes the decisions a few hours later, or someone else is making them for him. It is all Finch. He is responsible. He might try to juke. That’s jive. He is DA MARE. The cheese. It’s his watch. If he broke it he owns it. It is FINCH.
    The next secretary of state.

  14. Time for Bridgeport to catch up to the rest of the world; next mayor will be of Latino descent. No one ever imagined an African American president, no one would believe a Latino will be Bridgeport mayor. The ol’ boy network is done. THE EAST SIDE will produce the next mayor in 2011.

    1. Any chance you have a Latino in mind that is as qualified for mayor as Obama is for President? Or are you just interested in putting a Latino in office regardless of ability? We lucked out with Obama. I’d like to see an eminently qualified Latino in office. “Qualified” is the operative word. I’m certain there are an abundance of Latinos who would make an exceptionally strong mayor. I hope at least one will step up and run.

  15. Grin Reaper // Sep 18, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Ron Mackey can fill you in on the details but there was a discrimination lawsuit that the city spent a million dollars in legal fees to Pullman and Comley to win a suit seeking a million dollars in damages.
    Go figure.

    It was a lawsuit in the Bridgeport Fire Department involving two female firefighters.

  16. “town committee,” Now that the primary is over you and Ann should know that DTC are going to move on replacing the both of you as committee members. You and Ann need to put together a full slate of nine candidates for the DTC primary in March 2010. All you need is the both you and three others and you are in control of your district and it will take less voters to win this time.

    1. Ron if there was a positive thing that came out of this process it was meeting the Rev Morton and Ty Bird. Time will tell on the DTC. In the end when you add our totals together the DTC should think twice before running a slate of 9 candidates. The question also becomes do they want to put long-time loyal TC members in jeopardy of losing their seats. That’s a fight for another day and time. Right now there is an election in November. There is one other thing they need to remember, the last TC primary results.

      1. “… if there was a positive thing that came out of this process it was …”

        Tell us about the negative things that came out of the primary. Ron Mackey hit a grand slam when he said “… DTC are going to move on replacing the both of you …” The fans are going wild!!!

        I had the opportunity to chat and tease Rich Paoletto about the primary. Rich, based on what I was reading on OIB, I was convinced that you were going down. Rich responded by saying, “Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.”

        Come on Rich, you are going to tell me you weren’t a little nervous? “No, more like apprehensive, I almost got arrested at the school where I was campaigning. Fardy’s wife went to the Moderator and told them that I was blocking the entrance to the polls. I have been doing this since 19 years old–I know the rules of campaigning. I had lots of supporters helping to get out the vote and I was just giving handouts materials and greeting my constituents.”
        How was the reception by voters when you introduced yourself, I mean did you say, “I’m the guy that raised your taxes.” Funny Joel, what I heard from some was all the negative stuff that was being said about me and Curwen. We felt confident that our constituents feel that they have been served as best as we could. Lots of damage was unfairly done to our reputation.

      2. I think you know I am genuinely sorry you and Ann did not win your primaries. The DTC has got a real hold on getting their own people out to vote. The apathetic Bridgeport voter has got to realize that so long as they stay home, the Calamarians stay in office and we go nowhere but down.

        You both would have been the type of council people this town deserves. Hang in there and keep running. I’d be proud to have you both represent us.

    1. Maria Valle deserves to win. She is honest and does what is in the best interests of her people on the East Side. Lydia is a scumbag. Is anyone looking into all those phony absentee ballots? How about the corrupt union closer who was brought in at the end of the campaign to make sure Lydia won at any cost? Not to get personal, but how many times has Lydia been married, 7 or 8? She made a career of marrying young Latinos so that they could stay in the USA. Yeah that’s what we need on the council all right. Another stand-up councilperson! Go Maria!

  17. City Attorney Mark Anastasi’s office doesn’t just throw money away defending the city from lawsuits. The city also spends money suing other parties. One that comes to mind is the lawsuit that Joe Ganim ordered Mark A. to file against several gun manufacturers.

    At the time, Ganim attended a Conference of Mayors where he met some mayors from major cities. During his discussions with them, they told Ganim that their cities had filed suits against the gun manufacturing industry, seeking to recover money that the cities spent due to crimes committed with guns sold by the gun manufacturers.

    Ganim approached members of the City Council to try and get support for his plan to file a lawsuit against the gun manufacturers. Ganim approached me at a council meeting. “Joel, I plan to file a lawsuit against the gun manufacturers and seek restitution for money we have spent due to the gun crime in our city. I know how strong you feel about gun violence and it would be good if you signed on to file the lawsuit.” I responded, “Joe, the last people that I would blame for the gun violence in our city are the gun manufacturers. Are you going to file lawsuits against the Screwdriver and Dent-puller manufacturers for all money we spend due to auto-theft in our city? Will you also file lawsuits against the makers of knives, and blame them for crimes committed with knives? If you want to crack down and reduce gun violence, support a bill that would do this–showing him my missing finger–to those who commit gun crimes.” Joe walked away and continued to lobby other council members. Joe Ganim could not muster enough support from council members.

    Still, Joe Ganim went ahead and ordered Mark to file the lawsuit. Mark hired an outside law firm (from New Haven I believe) to handle the matter. By the time the City of Bridgeport filed the lawsuit, the lawsuits filed by other cities were getting dropped (thrown out) by the courts. I checked up on the claims and arguments from those cities suing the gun manufacturers and dropped by the courts. All the lawsuits filed had very similar claims and arguments. It looked like all the Attorneys who filed the lawsuits plagiarized the language in the lawsuits.

    The city lost the lawsuit against the gun manufacturers; the gun manufacturers spent millions defending themselves. I’m still waiting for the City Attorney’s Office to tell me how much exactly was paid to the Attorneys hired by the city to handle the gun manufacturers lawsuit.

    I never filed an FOI violation complaint. A request for expenditure information from an elected councilperson should never be delayed or ignored. Just because I didn’t file an FOI complaint back then, it doesn’t mean I couldn’t one day file an OIB complaint.

  18. Joel: Surely you jest, sir! Passing up an opportunity to file a lawsuit against the city? It’s almost uncivic-minded!
    I’ve consulted with Prof. Wilbur Whateley of Miskatonic University who says that according to his careful studies the city spent approximately $2 million in legal fees on the gun caper, err, case. Records could not determine if the Finch administration signed off on the last of these bills. Maybe if you ask the nice staff they will tell you. I have trouble believing any Bridgeport administration would blow off like so much dandruff a budget inquiry from a significant municipal official such as an alderman.

    1. “I have trouble believing any Bridgeport administration would blow off like so much dandruff a budget inquiry from a significant municipal official such as an alderman.”

      Just ask Bob Walsh. Did you read some of the Connecticut Post interviews with Bob Curwen? Curwen, the chairman of Budget and Appropriations, said several times that the Finch administration was not talking to him about the city’s finances.

  19. Joel, glad to see you can speak for Paoletto. Let me straighten you out and make clear what happened. Rich Paoletto and the guys from 1522 were blocking the sidewalks so the voters did not have access to our workers or to the Morton-Bird workers. They were forced to cut across the grass. When our workers went on the grass to hand literature to the voters Paoletto and Santiago started yelling about the 75 ft rule. Paoletto is full of it when he says he almost got arrested. He was told to stop blocking the sidewalk which he ignored, there were no police involved. BTW the complaint was not filed by my people. Paoletto had nothing to say when Santiago was walking people right up to the entry door. Paoletto is also full of it when he says there was a lot of negative stuff said about him and Curwen. It did not come from our people or from our literature. We did not bring up anything negative especially taxes in the JFK area as most there are renters. BTW he and Curwen did vote for furloughs for city employees and most people’s taxes were raised.
    Here is a question for you. How come there were no problems at Hooker where Ann and I spent most of the day with Bob Curwen? Could it be Paoletto was the problem? Could it be at 6am when he was there and thought no one heard him saying what a MF I am and why does he have to go through this BS after all these years?
    Look the contest is over, they won. We gave it a good try and ran a positive campaign. Congrats to the winners.

    1. I am not speaking for Paoletto. I’m a freelance OIB correspondent open to discussion with anyone who agrees to talk to me. All complaints should be addressed to Lennie Grimaldi. You hadn’t mentioned any of this until this OIB correspondent Pried Open The Juicy Stuff.

      1. *** Did not know Lennie was hiring freelance OIB correspondents, wow? During your OIB news rounds, you had started some investigative work on Bpt DTC actual district residencies. You seemed to be headed towards the right direction but then stopped! It may be a story worth finishing; if done right, that is. Good luck should you decide to continue. ***

        1. Lennie has always stated that he appreciates any help he can get–never said anything about hiring. Sometimes, correspondents or reporters need tips to follow up on. As for the residencies of elected or appointed officials, some may have to be followed home, because they will deny not living in the district. Lennie needs to put up and OIB tip line, so that those tips can come in.

    1. That’s good! But all that you and Barney blogged about the Democrats is in writing. Are you going to retract all that Fardy/Barney wrote about the Democrats? You both are now supporting two candidates who ignored the needs of the district? The Republican endorsed candidates in the 138th should quote all that Fardy/Barney wrote about the two (2) Democratic candidates for City Council and say, “Don’t take from me, take it from their party elected officials.”

      1. Joel give it a rest. If you are trying to stir the pot forget it. What I wrote was the truth. Joel you don’t even live here so why not mind your own business and stop trying to start something that is not there. It’s time to move on.

        1. The “pot” has already been stirred enough. It is time to serve up what was being cooked in the pot. If it’s “juicy,” the OIB readers will come back for seconds.

  20. I must say that I find the silence deafening from the 13 City union presidents. With retired Superior Court Judge Carmen Lopez taking an interest in the case of the Bridgeport Civil Service Commission canning of Personnel Director Ralph Jacobs and the involvement in their union with City Attorney Mark Anastasi and with David Dunn as the Personnel Director replacing Ralph Jacobs, I have NOT read or heard a single word from any of these presidents who are suppose to be the representative leaders of City workers. Are they all scared or is it that they just don’t care that the mayor has TAKEN control of Civil Service?

    1. Ron: these are not true union presidents or representatives. They are where they are because they are popular not because they put themselves out there for the membership. They do not know what that kind of fight is. Look one union that took givebacks and pay freezes campaigned for 2 people that voted for those concessions. That’s leadership???

    2. Also, David Dunn is still traveling to Wethersfield to the State Board of Labor and Mediation to work cases and hearings against Civil Service members??? I don’t understand why that isn’t a conflict. I do know that employees of Bridgeport are certainly scared of losing their jobs, or getting in the sights of their supervisors. Mayor Finch and Labor Relations is working hard to solidify their hold on the city, and it’s working.
      BTW another interesting item is fast approaching, and that is the case of GPS being used as a weapon against the members of the BFD without notice. The case is front of the Supreme Court on Tuesday. If the decision goes against the city, millions will have been lost. Thank you David Dunn.
      Yes Ron, the silence “IS” deafening … but it can’t be much longer. I too am shocked, but thankful, that all the important news is here, and here only … and still bloggers veer off to song lyrics?

  21. 1522’s President & VP are in bed with Finch. Wake up and smell the coffee! Are any other Union VPs pulling in two paychecks in this City and are exempt for showing up for their city job? Used to be only the union Pres. were given these rights. The only people Anna and Rich D. care for are Anna and Rich. Talk to any members in 1522 the Union is a JOKE and in Finch’s pocket!!! HELLO!!!

    1. Why do you think Rich D. is a full-time union officer? Because he and Anna sold their souls to Finch. They kissed his ass all during the election and continue to do so. They are looking to get positions or more $$$ for themselves and fuck the members. You are absolutely right when you say the only people they care about are themselves.

  22. Joel: I’ll accept the administration has run over the council with the budget. But approval for the budget is supposed to come from the City Council. Why can’t council just refuse to pass it?

  23. What a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Some young children spent part of their day cleaning the shores of Ash Creek.

    Along comes the Mounted Police Unit for a photo opportunity. The money shot should have been the horses shitting all over Eames Blvd!

    I guess the horse patrol doesn’t know about the pony pooper scooper ordinance.

  24. Enlightened,
    I am not too sure what your point is but if the City Council fails to act on the mayor’s proposed budget within a prescribed period of time the mayor’s proposal becomes law.
    If you believe that the council will pretty much approve what the mayor requests, why would you think that they would consider not acting?

  25. Carpenters buying smack on city time in city vehicles?
    They say the BOE had a bricklayer who used to buy coke on city time and has a plumber who is drunk in a city vehicle more than sober?

    Damn glad I work in Stamford!!! I’m gettin’ the hell outa Bpt before I have kids; I’d be afraid they would get run over by one of those waste products!!!

    1. First of all he worked for public facilities so I don’t see a need to bring the BOE into this. Second, you seem to know too much about the BOE to be working in Stamford. I’ll bet my next paycheck that you work there too. Are you the mechanic who works out in a school basement gym while on city time or the one that drives the truck that’s parked on Ridgefield Ave every day for hours at a time?

  26. Way too many people in charge looking the other way so the blood is not on their hands around Bridgeport … I can see small stuff but how long did people know about the carpenter’s “problems” … and if it is true a BOE plumber is driving drunk … and people really do know this … when a school kid gets run down it will be the biggest lawsuit in BPT history.

  27. Anyone seriously interested in turning things around in this city should consider putting together a challenge slate for the March DTC elections in his/her district. Without exerting some control over that process we are all pissing into the wind. But as I’ve stated in previous posts, I’ve given it a game try several times to no avail. I’ll leave it to better folks than I to give it a try.

  28. There are many parties interested in changing the way the city of Bridgeport does business. I don’t know about the mayors before Joseph Ganim, but I’ll give him his due: he was civic-minded. Only to a point, unfortunately. If it benefited the city, okay, fine. “As long as I get a case of expensive French wine or some custom-tailored dress shirts, or maybe you could resurface my driveway?”

    Things will not improve in the mayor’s office or the City Council chambers until the Democratic Town Committee is dismantled and Mario Testa and the henchmen employed as district leaders are removed from their positions in the local party (and prohibited from ever holding a party position again).

    Bill Finch is drunk with power, too enthralled to a grossly inflated personal view of his own importance and impotence to govern effectively. A few seats of the City Council are pretty much controlled by La Calamara Chocha Grande; those holding the seats are serving at the pleasure of the district leaders that put them there. (Don’t ask who; we all know which ones are puppets.) They have to come running to Testo’s on Madison Avenue whenever Mario calls.

    Mr. Testa is like an angel that lied to mortal men by telling them he was a rival of the devil when he was actually in league with him.

  29. Hey Lennie, changing the subject(s) … do you know what is going on with the Bridgeport and other ACORN offices in CT? The Bridgeport office was very active in supporting Jim Himes last go around. If you have anything on this, please post.

  30. I’ve lived here for 5 years. I wouldn’t know Mario Testa if he walked into the room.

    But I’ll say this: He had it; he lost it; and he got it back!
    Isn’t that what the great ones do?

    Those who blame him for Bridgeport’s problems are looking for a scapegoat when they should be reorganizing their own lives.

    bonus: < -- nearby ad agency

  31. Talk about alcoholic public works employees, what about the supervisor/councilman who is drunk every day? You can smell it on his breath. Yet he drives his city car drunk, speaks to the public drunk and harasses his employees drunk. And his office is right downstairs from Osborne but you don’t see him getting a piss test. It’s right in front of Osborne’s face but he is too afraid to do his job. Big pussy.

  32. Bob, I’m a value-added blogger who likes to showcase local businesses–it’s how I got my name …

    Joel, if JG were to win an election even his critics would include him with the great ones.


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