For months, Department of Public Works Project Manager David Wlodkowski has been the subject of a whistleblower investigation by the attorney general’s office. The controversy: how he ran a construction project at the American School for the Deaf.But documents recently obtained by ctnewsjunkie.com paint a positive picture of Wlodkowski’s stewardship at ASD, which raises the question: Just what did happen at that job site?
From one contractor’s point of view, July 3, 2002 was a key date for the construction project at the American School for the Deaf. That was when the Department of Public Works removed its Project Manager David Wlodkowski from control of the job, according to a demand for arbitration filed by Conn-Strux, one of the ASD contractors.But Wlodkowski’s replacement soon stopped certain aspects of the project, such as the relocation of a large statue on campus, the arbitration demand claims. The delays added time and money to the project, forcing Conn-Strux to work in winter conditions, for which it had not planned.Conn-Strux claims it incurred over $87,000 in extra costs on the ASD project.Regarding DPW’s decision to replace Wlodkowski, “this managerial change had a direct impact on the timely completion of the Project,” Conn-Strux’s arbitration demand says.Wlodkowski has been under a cloud since Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s office subpoenaed a range of documents last May from the DPW manager and his wife, architect Ira Hessmer, in the course of a whistleblower investigation. The couple’s legal counsel, William Sweeney of Sweeney & Griffen in New Britain, has filed a motion to quash that subpoena.According to court documents filed by Blumenthal’s office, the whistleblower alleged that a third contractor, A-N Consulting, submitted bid proposals directly to a company controlled by Wlodkowski and Hessmer, and not to the DPW. Certain documents regarding the selection of A-N and Conn-Strux may have been recreated or falsified, the whistleblower also alleged in court documents. Thus two versions of the project history appear to have emerged. The whistleblower alleges Wlodkowski may have committed wrongdoing, while Conn-Strux portrays his replacement as the reason the project took longer than expected.Asked why the department removed Wlodkowski from the job, DPW spokesman Jeffrey Beckham defended him.“That reassignment was a routine administrative decision based on work flow and work loads among the project managers,” Beckham said. “No reason related to performance. Within our agency, David enjoys a good reputation as a project manager.“However, Beckham denied the charge that the project finished late due to Wlodkowski’s removal. “We have a number of counterclaims and offsets that significantly reduce Conn-Strux’s claim,” Beckham said. “Because we may be able to settle this claim at some point we are not inclined to trade charges in the press.”