NOV. 2, 2011: Patrick Castagna, a part owner in some Connecticut smoke shops, is present for a meeting with Waterbury shop owners Paul Rogers, Ben Hogan, George Tirado, and retired correction officer Dave “Buffalo” Moffa (pictured at left), who called Harry “Ray” Soucy, a fellow correction officer with political connections. Moffa was linked to the group through Rogers, who – according to a sentencing document filed later – also ran a gambling operation aside from the smoke shop. According to the sentencing document, Moffa accepted bets and handled some collection activities for Rogers.
What the group doesn’t know is that Castagna is a cooperating witness who had previously found himself facing federal authorities in New York in an investigation of financial fraud. Castagna had become an informant to save himself a possible prison sentence and happened to be at the meeting with the group at Smoke House Tobacco in Waterbury on Nov. 2, 2011.
After that meeting, Castagna told prosecutors that Soucy had suggested that the smoke shop owners make $10,000 in conduit contributions to House Speaker Chris Donovan’s congressional campaign. According to both Soucy and Rogers – each of whom would later enter guilty pleas and provide testimony – Soucy made two phone calls from the meeting and left voicemails for Donovan and his campaign manager, Josh Nassi. Both returned calls to Soucy within minutes, and during each conversation Soucy advised them that he wanted to set up a meeting with the smoke shop owners, and that the owners understood that “campaigns cost money.” Exhibit 125 is verification of those calls through phone records.
A breakfast meeting with Donovan was scheduled for Nov. 16 at Huxley’s in Meriden. But as it turned out, Soucy and Rogers would also attend a fundraiser on Nov. 15 at City Hall Café in Waterbury.
Provided as evidence by federal prosecutors in the trial of Robert Braddock Jr.