Mayor says he didn't know about driveway deal
Posted in the Trumbull Forum
#1 Jan 9, 2014
BRIDGEPORT -- Mayor Bill Finch told the city's labor director he was unaware of his administration's deal to hire developer Manuel "Manny" Moutinho to build a $400,000 driveway to his own waterfront mansion.
The mayor pleaded ignorance in a June 14, 2013 signed letter to Lawrence Osborne, director of labor relations.
"I ... was not aware that Manny Moutinho had received a contract to conduct work on the road leading to his residence ... until I read it in the Connecticut Post," Finch wrote in a document that appears to be part of an internal probe into the scandal.
That document only just surfaced as part of the city's response to resident Jennifer Buchanan's Freedom of Information Act request seeking correspondence over the controversial project.
A frustrated Buchanan -- disappointed she received only 12 pages --forwarded the paperwork to the Connecticut Post, owned by Hearst Connecticut Newspapers.
Hearst first reported on the gravel driveway upon its completion last June.
The mayor and his staff have consistently argued the project was necessary to replace a dirt driveway in the way of a $40 million, mostly federally funded runway safety project at nearby Sikorsky Memorial Airport.
While City Council members have claimed they were in the dark over the $400,000 deal, the mayor has never publicly adopted that same position.
Instead Finch all along has specified he was unaware of the close friendship and the business relationship between Moutinho and Airport Manager John Ricci, who helped hire Moutinho, before it was reported by Hearst.
He assumed that same position in the letter to Osborne, writing, "I was not, at any time, made aware that John Ricci had a business relationship with Manny Moutinho until this was reported on by the Connecticut Post."
The mayor in early June suspended Ricci from his $94,000-a-year job with pay pending a probe.
Then in early July Finch fired Ricci for allegedly failing to reveal he had a conflict-of-interest.
Moutinho's original dirt driveway and the new gravel driveway run through airport property, which is located in Stratford. They also provide access to three other properties.
In 2012 Moutinho secured his own permits from Stratford to install the new driveway for himself and his neighbors because the dirt one flooded. But he never moved forward and by early 2013 the city had decided to assume those permits and hire Moutinho to do the work.
Ricci and the city's law and purchasing departments arranged to circumvent a competitive bidding process and hire Moutinho.
The project moved ahead despite the fact a neighboring condominium association filed a lawsuit alleging Stratford should not have issued Moutinho his permits.
Last summer a judge ruled in favor of the condominium association.
Wednesday evening a City Council committee will meet to consider voting on a settlement with the association that will likely include installing plantings and other buffers along the driveway.
Since: Aug 10
#2 Jan 9, 2014
Finch is a liar and a crook and full of manure. Shame on him.
Since: Mar 11
#3 Jan 10, 2014
....... and he doesn't know who knocked down the carousel at pleasure beach and he doesn't know Vallas didn't resign and he doesn't know Ayala is a skank from a family of cheaters and sleazes. To hell with him.
#4 Jan 10, 2014
is now the standard excuse used by the democratic party.......I DON'T KNOW..........
this was used in the nsa scandal, irs scandal, obamacare.
what's next? dog ate my home work, I ran out of gas, I had a flat tire.
this excuse shows one of two thing :
pick your poison..........
Since: Mar 11
#5 Jan 10, 2014
BPT, is that really you posting from Hicksville NY, at night? I just want to be sure its not an imposter.
#6 Jan 10, 2014
yes it is me. I got a new laptop for Christmas. so I went to topix to check it out. I guess you're stuck with me now ALL the time..........;)
still don't know why it says Hicksville ny though, I'm in Bridgeport, at home ,when I use it....
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