Sunday, July 03, 2005

For those of you having problems with DCF:

(Is this a pediatric prison conspiracy to defraud taxpayers? Is there still more to Rowlandgate that is yet unpunished?)

Mistreatment Videos post (Rowlandgate "Juvey Jails")

Link to below


Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today sued seven people, including five former high state officials, and four companies for illegally steering contracts to construct two juvenile training schools to companies operated by William A. Tomasso.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell expressed strong support for Blumenthal's lawsuit.

Defendants in the suit are: Tomasso, former Gov. John G. Rowland's Co-Chief of Staff Peter N. Ellef, his son Peter N. Ellef II, former Rowland Deputy Chief of Staff Lawrence E. Alibozek, former Department of Public Works (DPW) Commissioner Theodore R. Anson, former Department of Children and Families (DCF) Commissioner Kristine D. Ragaglia and former Chief Deputy Commissioner of Public Works Patrick J. Delahunty Jr. The suit makes no claim that Ragaglia received anything of value.

The companies charged in the action are: Tomasso Brothers Inc., Tomasso Brothers Construction Company Inc., Tomasso-owned Tunxis Management Company Inc. and LF Design, LLC, a landscaping firm owned by Peter N. Ellef II.

Blumenthal charges in the suit that the seven corrupted the bidding process to assure that Tomasso's companies won contracts to build the Connecticut Juvenile Training School (CJTS) in Middletown and a similar girls facility. Tomasso constructed CJTS at a cost of $57 million. The girls facility was canceled.

"This action sends a powerful message to corrupt public officials and their cohorts: We will uncover your corruption and make you pay dearly," Blumenthal said. “This lawsuit marks a milestone in our multi-year investigation – conducted separately, but cooperatively with federal authorities.

"My investigation is active and ongoing, in cooperation with federal authorities. Further action will be taken, as appropriate."

"We charge that public officials and powerful contractors engaged in a wide-ranging scheme to skew and subvert competitive bidding in major state projects. These officials allegedly sacrificed and sabotaged the public interest, causing taxpayer moneys to be misused and diverted. They allegedly favored one contractor with insider information and other advantages that made a mockery of fair, effective contracting. Our goal is money back for taxpayers – to recover for harm done through self-dealing and self-enrichment.

"Our legal action will pursue goals that the criminal process cannot alone fully accomplish. Some of these defendants, if convicted, should receive prison time and criminal penalties, but we will also seek to compel them to pay restitution – dollars that compensate for the claimed damage. Our action will set forth details of the scheme showing the need for broader reforms – including specific measures that my office has advocated."

Rell said, "Anyone who violated the public trust must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. This includes both criminal charges being pursued by federal officials and civil action seeking to recover monetary damages for the state.

"It is important for the legal system to bring this sad chapter of our state's history to a close. My focus is on restoring faith, trust and integrity to our state government. I am determined to enact reforms and create an environment that will help make certain we never see allegations of this type of illegal behavior again."

Blumenthal's action alleges that Tomasso and his companies provided benefits, including cash, gold coins, and other items or services of value, to Peter N. Ellef and Alibozek. Tomasso channeled a significant portion of those benefits to Peter N. Ellef through LF Design LLC, owned by Peter N. Ellef II, the action charges. Peter N. Ellef and Alibozek allegedly directed state officials to award state contracts to Tomasso's companies, the suit charges.

The suit also charges that Anson received free architectural services from Kaestle Boos Associates, Inc. for an addition to his home.

Anson, acting at the behest of Ellef and Tomasso, unsuccessfully tried to fire a DPW employee who questioned the awarding of the CJTS contract to a Tomasso firm, the action alleges.

In September 1998, the state decided to replace Long Lane School after a student committed suicide at the school. The DCF chose a facility in Marion, Ohio as the model for the new school. DPW and DCF officials visited the facility between November 17 and 19, 1998.

Blumenthal's lawsuit charges:

Later that month, Tomasso, Ellef, Alibozek and Ragaglia paid a second visit to the Marion facility during which Tomasso received inside information about the state's plans for the new facility. No other bidder had that information or knew that the Marion facility was the model for CJTS.

The state later hired Marion project manager Kendal L. Ball as a consultant in the development of CJTS. Tomasso used the inside information provided by state officials to hire Ball and Marion architect KZF, Incorporated before submitting its proposal to the state. Anson and Delahunty knew that Tomasso hired Ball after Ball had drawn up the specifications, but nonetheless allowed the selection process to go forward.

DPW employee Bruce Bockstael raised concerns about Tomasso and his companies, prompting Tomasso to ask Ellef to fire Bockstael. Ellef instructed Anson to terminate Bockstael. Anson ordered Bockstael fired, but other DPW personnel eventually convinced Anson not to go through with the termination, and Bockstael kept his job.

On April 23, 1999, a selection panel that included Ragaglia chose Tomasso Brothers Construction Company and/or Tomasso Brothers, Inc. from five finalists to build the school. Anson gave final approval to the selection on May 7, 1999. The company subsequently constructed CJTS.

The state also decided as a result of the September 1998 suicide at Long Lane School to build a girls training school. In 2001, the DPW utilized Ball and Linda Albrecht of Children's Comprehensive Services, Inc. to help write the bid specifications for the new school. Similar to the pattern with the boys facility, Tomasso later hired both consultants before submitting its proposal, a fact known by Anson and Delahunty.

None of the other bidders enjoyed a similar advantage, but Anson and Delahunty again allowed the process to continue.

On May 2, 2001, a selection committee chose Tomasso to construct the school. Anson approved the decision the next day.

The school was never built.

By their actions, Peter N. Ellef, Alibozek, Ragaglia, Anson and Delahunty, along with the three Tomasso companies, allegedly violated the following public policies of the state of Connecticut:

State real estate needs must be kept confidential
Integrity and objectivity must rule the state contracting process.
All bidders must compete on a level playing field
No bidder may be favored over another.
No bidder may have inside information.
State officials must act in good faith when awarding contracts.
In addition, the action charges that Tomasso, his companies, Peter N. Ellef, Peter N. Ellef II, LF Design, LLC and Alibozek violated the following state public policies prohibiting:
Acceptance or payment of bribes

Racketeering

Mail or wire fraud to deny the state of honest services.

"The individuals charged in this case are charged with corrupting the bidding process for CJTS, the proposed girls training school and other projects – shamelessly exploiting positions of public trust or access to power," Blumenthal said.

"Instead of serving the public interest, these former state officials are charged with favoring a powerful insider and subverting the competitive bidding process designed to build the most effective facility. When a courageous state employee protested, some sought to silence the whistleblower.

"My office will pursue this case to assure that these individuals and companies pay back for the harm caused by their alleged wrongdoing. Their actions stuck the state with an unsuitable, outrageously expensive facility for treating at risk youth. They betrayed taxpayers, DCF employees and juvenile offenders, undermining the central mission of helping troubled youth."

The suit charges each defendant with multiple violations of the state Unfair Trade Practices Act and seeks restitution, plus a civil penalty of up to $5,000 for each violation of the law.

Click here to view the Complaint.

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Careening Toward Crisis: (website)

State and Federal Funding of Child Welfare Services in Connecticut

Shelley Geballe, JD, MPH & Judith Solomon, JD

Rigid federal funding rules and counterproductive state budget choices have resulted in a foster care system that is “careening toward crisis,” this report finds.

Reviewing trends in state and federal spending on Connecticut’s child welfare system, the report finds that Connecticut is spending far too little on the home and community-based services that can prevent child abuse and can avert costly out-of-home placements once a child is referred to the Department of Children and Families (DCF).

Instead, families are helped primarily when crises erupt, children are harmed, and the problems have become more difficult and costly to address. Among the key findings: 40% of federal TANF funds are now being used in DCF’s budget, rather than to help low-wage families get on their feet economically. (December 2004)

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States Paid Federal Dollars to remove children from their families?

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Dummies´ Guide to Corruption

Guide to Corruption
by Carole Bass - November 13, 2003

Also see cover art

INTRODUCTION

Mayor Joe did it. So did his friends Lennie & Paul, Sonny & Junior. Treasurer Paul did it. So did his friends Lisa & Chris, Charlie & Ben. Now you can do it, too.

No, you can't stick your hand in the government cookie jar and pull out an expense-paid trip to a federal penitentiary. You gotta know somebody to do that.

But now, by reading this easy guide, you can understand what Ganim & Co. did in Bridgeport. What Silvester & Co. did in the state treasurer's office. What Giordano did in Waterbury when he wasn't molesting young girls.

Call it the Dummies' Guide to Corruption: an easy-to-read tour through all those scandals in all those headlines -- including the ones that have not (yet) produced indictments or guilty pleas. This handy guide will help you understand what they all mean. And why they matter.

In clear laymen's terms, it will reveal the hidden meaning of code words like "CRRA" and "RGA." It will untangle highly technical concepts, such as the difference between an illegal bribe ("You raise money for my campaign, I'll steer government money to you, and you'll share the dough with my friends, who'll share it with me") and a perfectly legal transaction ("You raise money for my campaign, and I'll be inclined to steer government money to you. By the way, have you got any work for my friend?").

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