Less than one month before the Democratic primary, news that the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office visited Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez’s home Tuesday in search of information regarding work a city contractor did on his bathroom and kitchen surfaces.
In a press release he sent out this afternoon Perez said the work was “performed at fair value and paid for by my wife and me.” The work was done by Carlos Costa of USA Contractors. Costa’s company was hired by the city in 2003 to complete the Park Street Streetscape improvements. Perez was charged $20,217.00 for the work which began in the spring of 2005 and completed in 2006. Perez also said he would pay for the permits Costa’s failed to pull when he did the work prior to the recent citywide property revaluation. It’s unclear if the work would have increased the mayor’s taxes had the proper permits been pulled.
Campaign finance records through July 10 show that Costa has not made a contribution or purchased an ad for “Perez for Mayor 2007.”
Keep reading Perez’s full statement about the investigation below.
I am sharing with you some information I believe is important for the people of Hartford to hear. I am sharing this information in order to reassure the people of Hartford that my administration is transparent and committed to the highest standards of ethical conduct.
On Tuesday, Inspectors from the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office searched my house on Bloomfield Avenue in connection with an apparent allegation concerning work on my house performed by a contractor on a bathroom and the kitchen. This work was performed at fair value and paid for by my wife and me. I have turned over the records and cancelled checks showing the payment for the work. The contractor in question is Carlos Costa. He is a longtime friend and a capable contractor. In spring of 2005, he began the project to renovate the bathroom and install a new kitchen countertop in my house. In June of 2005, my life was turned upside down when my wife, Maria, collapsed at a community function and underwent surgery and treatment for multiple brain aneurysms. It was not clear she was going to live and I spent the better part of that year working to bring her back to health. During the period of Maria’s illness, the work was delayed. Mr. Costa completed most of the work in 2006 and he billed me $20,217.00 earlier this year. I had made inquiries for securing financing during the summer of 2006. After I received the invoice in early 2007, I made an additional inquiry. I obtained financing from the Hartford Federal Credit Union and then paid Mr. Costa in July of this year. I have those records for your review.
At various times, Carlos Costa has worked on city construction contracts. In 2003, he won a competitive bid for the Park Street Streetscape improvements and was the low bidder. The bid was awarded by the Department of Public Works.
With the primary less than four weeks away, it is always a concern that actions such as those taken on Tuesday could impact the electoral process. I also am concerned when allegations of this nature surface in an election year. That being said, the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office is doing its job and I will continue to provide assistance in their investigation.
Even though Mr. Costa was paid in full for the work he performed, it was a mistake on my part to retain a city contractor to perform work at my house. The perception in today’s environment has the potential to undermine public confidence in government. Additionally, it was my responsibility to ensure that the proper building permits were taken out for the work performed, and the failure of the contractor to obtain the necessary permits did not relieve me of this responsibility. I will ensure that the proper permits are paid for.