Bpt taxpayers pay bigger bill for driveway
Posted in the Trumbull Forum
#1 May 1, 2014
BRIDGEPORT – Who is better than millionaire developer Manuel “Manny” Moutinho?
On Thursday A Superior Court judge approved a settlement that will add $122,302 of city tax payer money to the nearly $400,000 the city has already paid Moutinho to build the 1,200-foot gravel driveway across city airport property in Stratford to Moutinho’s seaside mansion.
“I don’t blame Manny Moutinho,” said city activist Maria Pereira, who sat wide-eyed in the back of the courtroom during the hearing Thursday.“I blame the people who are responsible for spending taxpayer dollars for this, City Attorney Mark Anastasi and certainly this falls at the feet of Mayor Bill Finch.”
And as Judge Dale Radcliffe pointed out several times during the hearing, it all could have been avoided if the city had gone to the Stratford Zoning Board of Appeals in 2012 before the driveway was constructed and told the commission the driveway needed to be rerouted from its old location because the federal government was ordering the city to expand the airport’s safety zone.
Instead, a representative of Moutinho told the zoning board the new driveway needed to be built because of flooding issues on the old dirt one that went from Moutinho’s mansion to Stratford’s Main Street. The residents of Breakwater Key, an adjoining condo complex, sued to block the new driveway which goes out to Sniffen’s Lane and last year Radcliffe ruled in the condo’s favor, finding there was no evidence to support the flooding claim.
“I don’t blame him (Moutinho) said Assistant City Attorney Edmund Schmidt after the hearing.“He went before the (zoning) board as a homeowner.” Schmidt only shrugged when asked why the city neither went before the zoning board in 2012 or intervened in the lawsuit filed by Breakwater Key to explain its need to build the driveway.
Since that time the city did go before the Stratford Zoning Board of Appeals and convinced the board to grant it a variance to move the driveway based on the airport safety issue.
But in the meantime the city entered in a settlement agreement with Breakwater and Moutinho.
Under the term of the settlement the city is paying Breakwater $75,000 –$10,000 more than just two weeks ago –$17,302 to survey the site of the new driveway and $30,000 for Moutinho’s legal fees.
“It was our understanding that the city would step in and accept financial responsibility,” Schmidt told the judge.
“And of course MTM Home Builders (Moutinho) was not going to look a gift horse in the mouth,” the judge retorted.
Schmidt continued that the settlement opens the door for the city to get $43 million from the federal government to expand Sikorsky Airport.
“I’m not going to decide this case based on political spin,” the judge snapped.
Moutinho’s lawyer, Danielle Bercury told the judge she agreed with everything Schmidt had said there were still two points that had to be settled.
First, Mountinho would like to be able to tie in the water main and second he doesn’t want any liability as to the old driveway. Fortunetly, both will not cost city taxpayers any additional money.
“I’m glad the parties were able to work together and do what is best for everyone,” Breakwater’s lawyer, Richard Saxl, said later.“Good judge, good result,” added Schmidt.
Bercury declined comment.
Since: Aug 10
#2 May 1, 2014
Another story that prove that there is still Corruption in Bridgeport. Shame on Finch.
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