BRIDGEPORT — For nearly three years, senior Fairfield town officials, including former First Selectman Michael Tetreau, put on elaborate PowerPoint presentations before town residents assuring them that the contaminated waste dump was not only being cleaned up but was being dealt with in an economical manner.
But documents released this week in state Superior Court allege officials made the site more dangerous with a cost to taxpayers of between $5 and $10 million for cleanup.
Arrested earlier this week were Scott Bartlett, the former Fairfield public works superintendent; Brian Carey, the interim public works director and town conservation director; and Emmet Hibson, the town’s former human resources director.
All are charged with conspiracy and illegally disposing of PCBs and solid waste. They are free on promises to appear in court pending arraignment in state Superior Court Dec. 4.
“It would be premature to comment at this point,” said Michelangelo’s lawyer, Eugene Riccio.
Robert Mayer, who served as chief of staff under Tetreau, was previously charged with hiding evidence in the case and is awaiting trial.
This week marked the second arrest for Bartlett and Michelangelo in the case. The two men have been charged with conspiring with Jason Julian, owner of Julian Development, to allow the construction company to dump contaminated material on the site. Both Bartlett and Julian were arrested on bribery and kickback charges.
“The recent arrests of additional current and former Fairfield town officials, some of whom claimed no knowledge of the fill pile scandal, serves as a sad reminder of the rampant public corruption that plagued our town under Mike Tetreau’s administration,” said Fairfield Republican Town Committee Acting Chairman Alex Plitsas. “It is long past time for a reset of town government. We applaud the first selectwoman for her leadership and for cleaning up the corruption under a mandate she was given by the voters.”
Tetreau, a Democrat, did not return calls for comment.
In 2013, Julian Development was hired by the town to manage a pile of debris next to the public works garage with the prohibition that he was to accept no contaminated material there and was to eventually clean out the site.
But over the next three years, the site went from 40,000 cubic yards of material to approximately 120,000 cubic yards, covering nearly three acres. Neighbors came to call the site Mount Trashmore and subsequent tests found the pile contained high levels of PCBs, lead, and other hazardous materials, according to court documents.
The town was ordered by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to clean up the site.Read Full Article
In 2016, the town hired Robert Grabarek of Osprey Environmental in Clinton, who already was under investigation for alleged environmental wrongdoing, to do the cleanup and build a berm of clean soil around the site to prevent contaminates from spreading to neighboring properties and waterways, the documents state.
“Grabarek, in his capacity as a licensed environmental professional, together with town officials, conspired to bury contaminated materials into the berm, including soils containing PCBs in concentrations greater than (allowed) and then continued to conceal the act of doing so,” his arrest warrant affidavits state.
Grabarek is also charged with illegally disposing of PCBs and other waste.
During public meetings Michelangelo, Tetreau, Hibson, Bartlett and Carey assured residents that the cleanup was going well and that the berm, clearly visible to neighbors, contained only clean material, the affidavit states.
“Michelangelo, Bartlett and Carey, under the direction of Tetreau and Hibson, continually represented their decisions and actions as saving the town money,” the affidavit states.