Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bid Rigging 101

There is so much corruption in Connecticut. For the very few that are actually investigated, the sentences are often "too light" in my opinion.

A citizen that steals a candy bar from a corner store may suffer more in court than an official or official's friend that steals thousands or even millions of taxpayers' money.


Ex-DOT Worker Gets 3 Years Of Probation

Guilty Of Theft, He Is Fined, Ordered To Do Community Service
December 14, 2006
Hartford Courant Staff Report
NEW HAVEN -- A former state Department of Transportation employee was sentenced in federal court Wednesday to three years of probation in connection with an investigation of corruption in a government-funded renovation project at Union Station in New Haven.

Saverio Sereno, 59, of Coventry, was also fined $2,000 by U.S. District Judge Mark R. Kravitz and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.

U.S. Attorney Kevin J. O'Connor said in a release that Sereno waived indictment on July 5 and pleaded guilty to one count of theft concerning programs that receive federal funds.

As a DOT employee in 2003, Sereno helped to coordinate the renovation of department offices on the fourth floor of Union Station, O'Connor said. The renovations were performed by Merritt Builders.

Sereno admitted helping Raymond Cox, his supervisor, arrange for Merritt Builders to provide money and items of value to people for their personal use, with an understanding those expenses would be billed to the DOT as part of the station project, O'Connor said.

Sereno participated in providing cash from Merritt Builders to Frederick Kelly, who had prepared fake bids on the renovation project at the behest of Cox, so it would appear that the renovation project had been subject to competitive bidding, O'Connor said.

Sereno also helped Cox arrange for Merritt to provide a DOT employee with a television, personally obtained a trash compactor from Merritt Builders and received $2,000 from Cox, O'Connor said.

After the contract was awarded to Merritt Builders, Cox asked Kelly to prepare two fake bids proposing amounts in excess of the bid submitted by Merritt Builders, O'Connor said. Later, Cox and Sereno asked Kelly, and Kelly agreed, to revise the fake bids so they would exceed the amount that would be charged by Merritt Builders in light of subsequent changes to the project, O'Connor said. Kelly received a total of $3,000 for preparing the fake bids, O'Connor said.

During the investigation, Kelly was twice interviewed by federal law enforcement agents, in February and August 2005. While Kelly acknowledged that he had prepared the fake bids, he falsely stated on both occasions that he had not received anything of value in return, and that he had done so simply as a favor, O'Connor said.

Kravitz also ordered Sereno to pay $6,403 in restitution to the state.

On June 19, Cox pleaded guilty to one count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds and one count of obstructing justice. He was sentenced on Oct. 19, to two months in prison and seven months of home confinement. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $3,000.

Kelly pleaded guilty on July 5 to one count of making false statements to federal law enforcement investigators. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 1.

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, the Office of the Inspector General, the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Division and the Connecticut Department of Transportation. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Nardini.

* * * *

Connecticut corruption cost me my home, business, retirement and the sum total of my life just for speaking out about it in newspapers and proposing legislation to elected officials to help fix the police and the courts to make them work in the public's best interest. Taxpayers should be the boss, officials have a whole other idea.

Click Here for the crux of my argument.

Click Here for the complaints I lodged against Connecticut State Police Officers for miscoduct.

Click Here for the story on how cops falsely arrest citizens for DUI for fun to belong to the "100 Club"


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