John Christoffersen and Matt Apuzzo

Wed November 17, 2004 - Northeast Edition
John Christoffersen and Matt Apuzzo

STAMFORD, CT (AP) A contractor who coordinated construction on Mayor Dannel Malloy’s house was a top consultant for a firm that won approximately $10 million in city contracts, despite having the highest bid in its first contract with the city.

Records requested by state corruption investigators and obtained by The Associated Press Thursday, Oct. 28, show that Marc Lyons, a Malloy family friend, was a consultant for AFB Construction when the firm won one of its first bids for city work in 2000.

AFB officials and Lyons denied that they had worked together. But according to the company’s construction proposal, Lyons provided the company “management and construction expertise to larger scale activities.”

Those documents show the first tie, aside from campaign contributions, between Malloy and AFB, the firm at the center of a state corruption probe. Investigators are looking into whether contractors who worked on Malloy’s house in Stamford’s wealthy Shippan neighborhood received preferential treatment for city work.

Although one architect has said he provided free sketches for Malloy’s house, the mayor said he paid Lyons in full for the work on his house.

Malloy, a Democrat running for governor in 2006, has denied ever giving favoritism in city projects. Malloy said that he plans to meet with state investigators soon and will turn over any documents they want.

Considered an up-and-coming national politician, Malloy was among the Democratic Leadership Council’s 100 Democrats to Watch last year. A former prosecutor, Malloy has led Connecticut’s wealthiest city to record decreases in crime.

“I want this thing to move along as quickly as possible,” Malloy said. “There’s absolutely no relationship between me and AFB.”

Lyons denied he ever worked for AFB Construction, which won contracts to manage city facilities in the years after Malloy’s house was built in 1998. Alfonso Barbarotta, AFB’s president, also denied employing Lyons.

“No one that ever worked for me has ever worked on the mayor’s house,” Barbarotta said. “That’s absolutely, positively, unequivocally the truth.”

But asked Thursday, Oct. 28, about the documents showing Lyons worked for him, Barbarotta downplayed the consulting. He said Lyons, a friend since college, simply introduced him to the Stamford job after seeing AFB’s work in Trumbull.

Lyons, who also went to college with one of Malloy’s brothers, was AFB’s top consultant when AFB was winning its first city contracts. AFB won construction management work at Stamford High School in 2000, despite being the highest bidder.

“AFB was the dominating firm in the interview,” City Engineer Antonio Iadarola wrote in a 2000 letter defending the selection. “The unfortunate incidence was that AFB had submitted the highest fee request. We spent a considerable amount of time negotiating and successfully reducing their fee to a level comparable to the other firms.” The letter doesn’t specify AFB’s original bid or bids from other companies.

School officials at the time questioned why the city awarded the work to AFB.

“It’s almost like you were accommodating AFB. That was my concern,” said Ed Mathews, a former Republican school board member. “It kind of bothered me.”

Malloy said he was not involved in the contract awards to AFB and didn’t meet Barbarotta until after he was hired.

Lyons did not return calls made Oct. 28.