Divine intervention in Bridgeport….

Kenneth Moales’ church “Miraculously” gets certificate of occupancy and Board of Education votes to pay for Vallas’ legal fees.

According to the Connecticut Post, “Just hours after city officials conceded that the Rev. Kenneth Moales Jr. had been operating his East Side cathedral without a certificate of occupancy for the past four years, all the inspections and paperwork were completed –and he was given a temporary one.”

Later, at a Bridgeport Board of Education meeting this evening, Moales, who is chairman of Bridgeport’s Board of Education and served as Mayor Bill Finch’s campaign treasurer, was able to push through a resolution authorizing the Board of Education to pay for Paul Vallas’ legal fees despite the fact that the lawsuit that removed Vallas named him as an individual and the Board of Education was not a party to the lawsuit.

However rather than allow Vallas to take financial responsibility for his failure to acquire the necessary credentials to serve as Bridgeport’s superintendent, the members of the Bridgeport Board of Education members loyal to Mayor Finch and Kenneth Moales Jr. voted to allocate at least $50,000 to pay for Vallas’ mounting legal bills.

Of course, Bridgeport is the poorest school district in the state and 80% of the City’s $225 million school budget is funded with state taxpayer dollars.  In addition, although Paul Vallas brags that he “balanced” Bridgeport’s school budget last year, the gap was actually filled with a last-minute $3.5 million dollar forgivable loan from the State of Connecticut.

According to the loan agreement, which was orchestrated by Governor Malloy, Bridgeport won’t have to repay the loan if the funds were used for education purposes.

Meanwhile, controversy continues to surround this year’s Bridgeport school budget because Mayor Finch has refused, to date, to allocate sufficient dollars to meet the state’s minimum expenditure requirement which requires the City to spend a minimum amount on its schools in order to qualify for state aid.  Finch’s action has left the school budget about $3 million dollars short.

Despite these various financial problems, the Finch loyalists voted as a block to divert funds to pay for Vallas’ legal expenses.

As part of the evening’s festivities, it was announced that the outside attorney hired to defend Vallas would reduce his hourly fee from $425 to $275 per hour.

The Connecticut Post story on the certificate of occupancy can be found here: http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Miraculously-church-get-certificate-of-occupancy-4682085.php.  Links to stories related to the legal fees will be added as they become available.

  • 1987tsd

    Holy Effin’ Moly!

    Bridgeport…where the circus never left town.

  • jschmidt2

    Malloy and his crew treat this state like a banana republic. I believe the good rev is the one that has the uniform company and the board change the uniform to give him a new contract. The Board should be fired, as well as Finch and Malloy. THis is crony capitalism at its best.

  • Apratheid First

    Does the fact that the outside attorney decided to drop his fee constitute some type of in-kind service? Or is it just raining favors and miracles upon Bridgeport school reformers?
    So, Vallas gets almost a 2 hours/for one deal from the lawyer! I wonder if that lawyer has any political ambitions, designs on a judgeship, or something. Who knows, this case could go all the way to the Supreme Court–of the US! That would sure look impressive on one’s resume, win or lose!

    • MaryR

      Certainly appears to be an in-kind contribution. Guess the BoE could get credit for additional education expenditures to close their $3 million gap.

  • Linda174

    Did you see this?

    LETTER: Why Can’t Vallas Meet Requirements?

    7:13 PM EDT, July 23, 2013

    Regarding the editorial on Bridgeport Superintendent Paul Vallas, “Why Make It So Difficult?” [July 22]: A more accurate question might be, “Why Has Paul Vallas Made It So Hard For Himself?” True, the most significant issue here is improving the Bridgeport school system. However, the “overly strict certification requirements” referred to in the editorial were modified nearly two years ago to accommodate Vallas for his monumental charge and were miniaturized again as recently as April this year.

    If Vallas cared so much for the Bridgeport Public Schools, why did he place himself — and in effect the school system — in this avoidable jeopardy? As mentioned in the New York Times article to which your editorial refers, Vallas compares the state’s certification requirement to “saying Michael Jordan can’t coach basketball because he doesn’t have teacher certification.”

    Although the editorial advises against succession planning now, what happens if the Connecticut Supreme Court finds against Vallas? Would there be some harm now in asking every Bridgeport educator who has been recognized for their excellence by the Bridgeport Public Education Fund over the past five years to share their thoughts?

    Great teachers might not be Michael Jordan, but they sure know how to fulfill certification requirements while educating and inspiring our children.

    Pete Spain, Bridgeport

    http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/letters/hcrs-15872–20130722,0,3234163.story

    • Apartheid First

      Great, thanks for sharing. The Hartford Courant/Chicago Tribune pro-reform newspaper service is hardly going to be critical of Paul Vallas or Steven Adamowski. The Courant still can’t bring itself to publish documented facts about the disastrous–not deleterious–policies of Vallas and Adamowski and the fates of the districts they once led.

      • Linda174

        This should be stamped on the bottom of each HC article:

    • Pete Spain

      Let’s keep up the pressure and try to engage the local educators who really know what works and what they need for the students.

      At the very least, the B-port Board of Ed should convene its meetings in a hall that would comfortably fit hundreds of citizens.

      The indemnity coverage in Vallas’ contract … might not be there … otherwise, why would the B-port Board of Ed last night have had a vote on whether to pay for Vallas’ lawyer?

      $50,000 on Vallas’ defense … when the whole situation was self-created? To us mere mortals, that’s another new teacher for the children of Bridgeport!

      Has CT State Supreme Court Judge McDonald recused himself yet?

      Anyone have a contact at Bill Moyers or at 60 Minutes?

      • Castles Burning

        It is challenging to engage local educators with this regime in power. From what I have seen, we overall have a strong and dedicated faculty who are not being treated as professionals (which is happening across the “reform” movement).

        A larger meeting place is certainly appropriate for this issue.

        The support for Vallas immediately after the first court decision has been “total and complete” from Finch and the loyal BOEers. They have seemingly purposefully misled the public about the nature of the lawsuit and have responded with defense of Vallas’ defenseless actions as a superintendent or have belittled the law regarding certification.

  • Apratheid First

    In the old days of Bridgeport graft, we had a mayor–Ganim–who liked hand-tailored shirts, nice cigars, and Oriental carpets. Bribery was easy in those days. Now it’s certificates, hasty inspections, school charters, consultant’s fees, exclusive private school tuitions in Fairfield, etc. But it’s nice when there’s a compliant board and a strong-armed Mayor.
    Looking the other way when it comes to certificates of qualifications or certificates of occupancy lubricates the gears of the political machine. Amen!

    • jschmidt2

      It is tough when bureaucracy comes to corrupt govt. Slows down the bribes and political favors.

    • Sleepless in Bridgeport

      Or paying non paid BOE participants like Holy Moly and Illingsworth with out and out bribery. Ganim’s dollar a square foot and Rowland’s porch are chicken feed compared to what this gang of thieves is pulling in. Don’t forget where the real prize lies……the construction money tree that springs from the building of new schools. When Vallas is long gone reforming the schools of hell itself this will rise to the surface like a corpse in a river.

  • cindy

    State-sanctioned child abuse.

    Malloy and Vallas, surely you read this blog. What is the deal? How does it feel to take advantage of poor and disenfranchised citizens, to use their children to further your greedy agenda? You make us all want to puke.

  • Apartheid First

    If Vallas were getting a divorce, would the BoE be able to pay for his lawyer’s fees? Vallas is being sued as an individual, as Jonathan has stressed and as the specific charges of Quo Warranto make clear. It is surely wrong for the BoE to vote funds for the payment of Vallas’s legal team. Especially after Vallas played truant in completing the watered-down requirements of his certification waiver.

  • TWISM

    Words can not begin to describe how inappropriate these people are behaving. At what point does this stop. Simple question, how has Vallas improved education for the Bridgeport students????

  • Equally Concerned

    What is happening in Bridgeport is a shame. However to be fair there is a lot of nonesense that is going on in other places as well. For example, CREC. Jonathan, I think you should begin looking at some of the things that Bruce Douglas and CREC have been able to get away with for years.

    • Apartheid First

      I’m sure Jonathan would love to dig into this scandal–and the public needs to know. Any further hints/clues/leads?
      One man, even Jonathan, can’t do it all!

  • buygoldandprosper

    $425 per hour in Bridgeport? Partner rates for the top tier NYC firms are frequently way less than that! Even $275 per hour in Bridgeport?…Hard to make that kind of money without swallowing in The Park City!
    Attorney in Bridgeport…one of Dan Malloy’s jobs of the future.