Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Liar, Liar, Thief, Scumbag

Department of Transportation employee John Marchese, left, leaves the Connecticut Chief State's Attorney's office in Rocky Hill. Marchese was among six people to turn themselves in Tuesday in connection with corruption charges in the Connecticut State Department of Transportation. The man at right is unidentified.
Jan. 10, 2006
Copyright 2006 Associated Press

State Department of Transportation worker Mark Lalla leaves the Connecticut Chief State's Attorney's office in Rocky Hill. Lalla is one of several DOT workers facing perjury charges as the result of a state criminal investigation.
Jan. 10, 2006
Copyright 2006 Associated Press

Robert Mongillo, right, leaves the Connecticut Chief State's Attorney's office in Rocky Hill. Mongillo was among six people to turn themselves in Tuesday in connection with corruption charges in the DOT. The man at left is unidentified.
Jan. 10, 2006
Copyright 2006 Associated Press

State Department of Transportation employee Joseph Misbach leaves the Connecticut Chief State's Attorney's office in Rocky Hill. Misbach was among six people to turn themselves in Tuesday in connection with corruption charges in the DOT.
Jan. 10, 2006
Copyright 2006 Associated Press

State Department of Transportation worker Joseph Czarnecki leaves the Connecticut Chief State's Attorney's office in Rocky Hill. Czarnecki was among six people to turn themselves in Tuesday in connection with corruption charges in the Connecticut State Department of Transportation.
Jan. 10, 2006
Copyright 2006 Associated Press

Bids, Bribes And Lies Five DOT Workers And A State Contractor Charged

January 11, 2006 By DAVE ALTIMARI, Hartford Courant Staff Writer

State Department of Transportation employees lied about receiving free trips and baseball tickets from a company awarded a contract to patch roads while one of their bosses tailored a bid document to favor the contractor, records supporting the Tuesday arrests of five state workers said.

The workers, and contractor Robert Marino, were arrested by the chief state's attorney's office on charges ranging from bid-rigging and perjury to forgery. Marino and his company, Marino Brothers of New England Inc., which has offices in Middletown, were charged with bid-rigging and bribery.

Two of the DOT employees lied about getting free trips, including at least one to Las Vegas for a wedding celebration of another DOT employee, all paid for by Marino Brothers. Two others lied about getting tickets to a Red Sox game, authorities said.

Joseph Misbach, 54, of Wallingford, was charged with bid-rigging, attempted bid-rigging, conspiracy and perjury. The other four DOT employees - Robert Mongillo, 48, of Southington; Joseph Czarnecki, 56 of Naugatuck; Mark Lalla, 41, of Burlington; and John Marchese, 54, of Middletown - face perjury charges.Mongillo is the DOT's maintenance administrator.

He makes $129,205 a year, state records show.

Misbach and Czarnecki make at least $112,000, state records show.

The arrests come as a grand juror in New Haven, who has secretly been hearing evidence for more than a year, issued an interim report describing how mid-level DOT managers, most of whom work for the Bureau of Highways and Operations, made sure that Marino's company won a road sealant contract in April 2004.

Since 2001, Marino has received more than $3 million from the state for his "cold patch" sealant. The DOT's own internal tests done in 2000 showed that the product made the roads slippery.

The most serious allegations are against Marino, saying that he bribed DOT workers with either baseball tickets or airplane tickets and that he conspired with Misbach, a DOT maintenance manager, to rig the bid by writing specifications that excluded everyone but Marino's company.

But at least one former DOT employee, whom the grand juror, Judge Joseph Licari Jr., identified as forging documents to help Marino get business in other states, was not arrested Tuesday.

Licari wrote that there was enough evidence to charge Louis Malerba, the former maintenance administrator, with forgery for taking a study about the cold patch process that was intended for DOT use only and putting a new cover sheet with an official seal of the state of Connecticut on it - to make it appear to be an official state document. Marino and Malerba then used that document to get Marino business in other states, including Rhode Island and Virginia, the grand jury report said.

Chief State's Attorney Christopher Morano would not comment Tuesday on why Malerba was not arrested, but he did say that the investigation is continuing.

"We have seen in the past that corruption has been rooted out of the higher levels of government and we are now at the point of looking into the nooks and crannies of these agencies to root out corruption," Morano said.

Sources said that when Malerba was married a couple of years ago to a DOT employee, several co-workers went on a post-wedding trip to Las Vegas that was at least partially paid for by Marino. Both Marchese and Mongillo lied to the grand jury about receiving airline tickets or travel expenses from Marino, according to the report.

Sources familiar with the investigation said that several other higher-ranking DOT employees, including former Commissioner James Byrnes, went on the trip. Byrnes has testified before the grand jury, sources said.

The grand jury investigation was approved in November of 2004 after the public integrity unit of Morano's office received an allegation that DOT employees had steered a road sealant contract to Marino in exchange for gifts, including at least one free trip to the Foxy Lady, a strip club in Providence.

Sources said that investigators also videotaped free golf outings and several free meals that DOT employees received from Marino while the road sealant contract was still out to bid in 2004.

Sources said that the baseball tickets also were provided during that time frame. Lalla and Czarnecki were arrested and accused of lying to the grand juror about getting the baseball tickets, sources said.

The grand jury report shows that Misbach designated that the contract go only to companies on the Small Business Enterprise list maintained by the DOT. Marino Brothers was the only potential bidder for the sealant contract on that list.When some other companies complained to Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, the DOT decided to take the designation off and rebid the contract. Three companies bid on it: Marino Brothers, the Felix A. Marino Co. and Costello Industries.

Marino Brothers, whose headquarters is in Peabody, Mass., was the high bidder. Marino Brothers and Felix A. Marino are separate companies, both originally from Massachusetts and owned by feuding brothers.

The three bids were reviewed by employees of the DOT's Office of Maintenance and Highway Operations, which determined that the Felix A. Marino Co. equipment did not meet the specifications designed by the DOT workers. Costello Industries was eliminated because it was going to lease the equipment from the Felix A. Marino Co.

The only company whose equipment met DOT requirements was Marino Brothers. Sources said the DOT employees knew that the bid specifications they were placing on the equipment could only be met by Marino Brothers.

All five DOT employees and Marino are scheduled to appear Jan. 18 at Superior Court in New Britain. Each charge carries a possible five-year prison sentence.

DOT Commissioner Stephen E. Korta II said Tuesday that all the DOT employees were placed on administrative leave."These charges are disturbing," Korta said.

"These allegations date back to 1997. Over the last 18 months, DOT's leadership team has made contract standards and ethical conduct a focus throughout the agency."

When The Courant first wrote about the road sealant contract in 2004, Gov. M. Jodi Rell ordered DOT to devise a new method of handing out contracts. Rell issued a statement Tuesday expressing her disappointment in yet another corruption case within a state department.

"The Department of Transportation is entrusted with billions of dollars in taxpayer money, and there simply is no room for irregularities or mismanagement of contracts with private companies doing business with the state," Rell said.

"If the charges are proven true, these workers have betrayed their fellow state employees - the overwhelming majority of whom are hard-working, dedicated men and women - and must face the consequences of their actions," the governor said.

The $250,000 contract with Marino Brothers of New England was rescinded in 2004.

The Felix A. Marino Co. filed a bid protest with the state and a complaint with Blumenthal's office. The state Department of Administrative Services held a hearing and took the unusual step of rescinding the contract based also on Blumenthal's charge that the bid specifications were written specifically for Marino Brothers.

DOT officials did not put the contract back out to bid because they said they had concerns about the safety and performance of the cold sealing process.

These concerns were first raised by their own tests, done in 2000, in which skid tests on the road-patching product produced by Marino Brothers showed that it actually made roads more slippery.


Anonymous Rich Murzin said...


I sure feel protected getting these vicious criminals off the street.
Imagine getting a free trip to Las Vegas and risking your six figure salary over something that anyone can get for free with all of the promotional tours available.

I'll sleep alot better knowing that people who lie,and get free baseball tickets will be locked up away from society where they could do more harm.
I'm wondering will they still collect $50,000 + a year and free medical when they collect their pensions?
This looks like a smokescreen so that the con men in government look like they are taking care of business,while they rip us off some more and violate what is left of our rights.
What's more serious stealing a skidoo or getting a free meal?

Rich Murzin

Thursday, January 12, 2006 12:46:00 AM  
Blogger The Stark Raving Viking said...

I had a different opinion of authorities and of America when I lived in Connecticut.

I would have gladly joined the ranks of the Massachusetts or Vermont State Police.

I would now gladly join the ranks of the Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, or Louisiana law enforcement. I have nothing but the deepest respect for these fine individuals. I have seen a lot since Katrina hit down here. I can't say that I have seen or heard of anything down here I would question regarding the fine job that is being done down here.

I, like many small business and downtown property investors, coming into Connecticut from somewhere else, or the long time residents that got in the way of 'somebody more important' had their lives, families, and financial life just plain ruined by bad apples in the judiciary and law enforcement in Connecticut.

Until there is quality control in Connecticut's judiciary and law enforcement, the mostly good people in this profession in Connecticut will be ruled and fear the bad apples.

Connecticut is an example of what happens when a government and revenue collection has grown into a monster where the good people are targets for revenue and citizens are fleeing and not moving to cesspools of despair like Connecticut.

Those that are corporate workers or for the government in Connecticut have a different take until they get divorced or try to report a corrupt official.

The word is getting out about the 'special abuse' in Connecticut.

Sunday, January 15, 2006 12:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rich i just wanted to note how gay and retarded u r. You do not know half the story and u should be shot and killed.

Friday, February 17, 2006 3:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Viscious criminals Rich? C'mon r u kidding me? You should go out into the real world and see what a viscious criminal is and figure out that a plane ticket should not be this big of a deal. These guys are innnocent and your money is going towards an investigation that costs millions of dollars to keep these guys at home and not work. I think you need some classes cause you might be menatally challenged. Get that checked out asap!!!!!!!!!1

Friday, February 17, 2006 3:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every time i read your article rich i hate you more and more. U must be a real piece of shit. Ive never met you before and i never want to because i will probably hate you immensly. You are as dumb as they come and i hope the worst for you!!!!1

Friday, February 17, 2006 3:14:00 AM  
Blogger The Stark Raving Viking said...

I'm glad I started moderating comments.

Friday, November 21, 2008 7:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Steve,

How come you never reported the outcomes of this whole mess? Maybe because, like everything you rail against, you are equally guilty of assuming the worst. Having read many of your posts and what you claim the state police and the CT judiciary did to you, one would think you would be the last person to jump to conclusions about the people involved with this mess. This blog just makes you a hypocrit.

Friday, June 26, 2009 6:38:00 PM  
Blogger The Stark Raving Viking said...

Mr. or Ms. Anonymous Anonymous:

Please give me some more facts, or just shut up.

If you want to remain anonymous and have something that needs to be addressed or exposed ... or if you just want to set me straight, why don't you email me at:

Monday, June 29, 2009 9:29:00 PM  

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