It seemed like it was just a matter of time before the Federals would take a look at the land deal that has led to the termination of John Ricci as manager of Bridgeport’s Sikorsky Airport. The $400,000 (and climbing) that a state judge ruled taxpayers were not obligated to cover caused embarrassment to city lawyers when radioactive developer Manny Moutinho did the driveway work to improve his waterfront property in Stratford under the guise of an airport safety plan. Now they’re here.
FBI agents have been knocking on doors the past few days and asking questions. An interview high on their list is Ricci, who was fired from his position last week by Mayor Bill Finch for what the Mayor claims is “reckless and intentional misconduct in regard to the construction of an access way on airport property.” City officials say Ricci did not disclose his past business relationship with Moutinho. Ricci is contesting the termination, saying he notified city officials of the relationship and worked only at the direction of city officials and city lawyers who approved the land deal.
Federal investigators want to know if federal money was used in the transaction with Moutinho, what exactly the relationship between Moutinho and Ricci is, and the culpability of the city’s decision making. Ricci may very well sit down with FBI agents within the next few days to answer questions and share his perspective on the process. Judging by the statement Ricci issued to Only in Bridgeport last week, he’s feeling like the city’s made him the scapegoat.