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FBI investigating Bridgeport Public Facilities department

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BRIDGEPORT — The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into possible corruption in Bridgeport, as city officials confirm agents were there Thursday probing possible scrap metal sales in the Public Facilities office.

According to the Bridgeport Police Department, city employees were allegedly selling scrap metal off-the-books and using the profits for a secret petty cash fund.

The Public Facilities department oversees city entities such as parks, roads and buildings.

In November, the city received an anonymous letter alleging that Public Facilities employees were making these scrap metal sales. Any profits made from municipal property sales are supposed to be on-the-books, deposited through the Finance Department.

The Public Facilities department head, John Ricci, has been in his position for three years.

“[Ricci] is a good man and very respectful,” said Bridgeport Police Chief A.J. Perez.

Perez said he contacted the FBI as soon as he received the anonymous letter. After investigators arrived in Bridgeport Thursday, Perez said he did not know who they interviewed.

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim said the city did the right thing in taking action as soon as the letter was received.

“It’s public money,” said Ganim. “Anybody who’s mishandled it or has broken a law gets prosecuted and everyone who can hear my voice has to respond to it, not only cooperate, but assist to bring it to its conclusion.”

Ganim said he was not interviewed by the FBI Thursday.

Ganim served as mayor in the 1990s and early 2000s. He was then convicted on 16 charges of corruption and sent to federal prison for seven years. The democrat was elected mayor again in 2015, promising to do better.

When people hear corruption and Ganim’s name, his past comes up. When asked about that, Ganim said: “Anywhere, and I think what we’ve seen now and done and even demonstrated with this is this is gonna continue to be not only the most transparent but anybody that works for this administration, as they should for any city, know that we are gonna move swiftly on this.”

This is still an active and ongoing FBI investigation so no action has been taken against any city employees.

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