Bridgeport Spends Over $500,000 Responding To Federal Probe

AP
June 27, 2020 - 5:55 pm
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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — The city of Bridgeport has spent more than $500,000 responding to an ongoing federal criminal investigation into City Hall including hiring private lawyers for officials including Mayor Joe Ganim, a decade after Ganim finished a prison sentence for corruption in his previous tenure as mayor, the Connecticut Post reported.

The full scope of the investigation has not been made public. City officials, federal prosecutors and the FBI have declined to comment about the months-long probe.

Federal subpoenas issued last year, however, sought records of public facilities contracts and the sale of scrap metal, the newspaper reported. Investigators also have been looking into the city's 2018 search for a permanent police chief that ended with the hiring of Ganim friend Armando Perez, a 37-year veteran of the police department.

Lawyers J. Bruce Maffeo and Kerry Lawrence signed contracts last year to represent Ganim and his chief of staff, Daniel Shamas in connection with the investigation, according to documents provided recently to the City Council. Maffeo has been paid more than $20,000 so far, and Lawrence has received about $4,200.

Other attorneys have been hired to represent Perez and Personnel/Civil Service Director David Dunn, the Post reported.

Ganim said in a statement Thursday, "It’s public knowledge that months ago the U.S. Attorney’s office requested information from the city. ... I, like other city officials, were provided legal counsel to advise and ensure full and proper compliance.”

Ganim served nearly seven years in prison after he was convicted of corruption for steering city contracts in exchange for private gifts during his first tenure of Bridgeport mayor, which ran from 1991 to until his resignation in 2003. He was released from prison in 2010 but elected mayor again in 2015 after apologizing and asking residents for a second chance.

"After the history of the current administration in the ’90s and how it ended, it’s a little concerning that the FBI is back again,” said freshman City Council member Matthew McCarthy. “We still don’t know why, but they’re here.”