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Friday, August 17, 2007

Is Lieberman's favorite mayor in a bit of trouble


Seems like Hartford Mayor and fellow Liebercrat Eddie Perez is taking a note from John Rowland's playbook


State criminal investigators searched the house of Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez and the office of a Hartford contractor Tuesday, seeking information regarding kitchen and bathroom renovations at Perez's house done by the contractor, who had gotten millions of dollars in work from the city.


The exact nature of the investigation is unclear, but Perez confirmed the search in a statement issued Thursday in response to questions from The Courant. The mayor said the work on his house was done by Carlos Costa, president of USA Contractors, and that Perez had paid for the work himself.


"Even though Mr. Costa was paid in full for the work he performed, it was a mistake on my part to retain a city contractor to perform work at my house," Perez said in a statement. "The perception in today's environment has the potential to undermine public confidence in government."


[...]


Costa has done construction projects for the city, and his company was the low bidder for a Park Street streetscape improvement project in 2003. Investigators took boxes of documents and copies of computer hard drives from his office Tuesday. State investigators have been asking questions and collecting documents at City Hall since at least late April, when questions surfaced about two deals involving political operative and former State Rep. Abraham L. Giles.


In one situation uncovered by The Courant in February, Perez awarded Giles a no-bid contract in November 2006 to run a downtown, city-owned parking lot.


The Courant later reported on April 21 that Giles was on the verge of getting $100,000 from a private developer to walk away from another city-owned parking lot he operated without a contract. That deal collapsed before Giles got the fee.


Two days later, Perez sent a letter to Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane asking him to look into the matter, explaining that he was concerned that "one or more individuals may have intended to use city funds from the project to unjustly enrich one or more parties."