Report: As Many as 13 Indictments Possible by November

Wed September 17, 2003 - National Edition

MANCHESTER, NH (AP) As many as 13 people, including several officials in Gov. John G. Rowland’s administration, may face indictment in a federal investigation into alleged state contract steering, the Journal Inquirer reported Saturday, Sept. 13.

In a copyright story citing sources it did not identify the newspaper said Rowland was not a target of the probe, which has resulted in his former deputy chief of staff, Lawrence Alibozek, pleading guilty to charges of accepting bribes for helping people get state business.

But the Journal Inquirer said top appointees of the governor in at least two agencies — the state Department of Public Works (DPW) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) — could be indicted.

The newspaper said the indictments were expected by November.

Rowland spokeswoman Michele Sullivan told The Associated Press (AP) she had not heard of any possible indictments.

“I’ve not heard anything. I have nothing to comment on,” she said.

DOT Commissioner James F. Byrnes Jr. told the AP he had not heard of any possible indictments at his agency and would not comment.

DPW Commissioner Theodore R. Anson also said he was unaware of any possible indictments.

“I have not heard anything and I would be very surprised if there are indictments in this agency,” he told the AP.

Prosecutors are expected to allege that the bribery scheme involved several companies that have done business with the state, the Journal Inquirer reported. The sources — which the newspaper said included high-ranking law-enforcement authorities — also said two lobbyists, including one close to the governor, could be charged.

The newspaper said U.S. Attorney Kevin O’Connor declined to comment, as did Chief State’s Attorney Christopher Morano and state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

Alibozek pleaded guilty March 10 to conspiring to steer state contracts in exchange for cash and gold, some of which was found buried in his backyard. The recipients of the contracts have not been identified.

Investigators have subpoenaed documents from Rowland’s office, from DOT and from DPW, many of them involving the Tomasso Group, a construction company based in New Britain.

Prosecutors also have sought documents regarding Peter Ellef, Rowland’s former co-chief of staff and Alibozek’s boss.

The Tomasso Group also has received subpoenas. Members of the firm have denied any wrongdoing; its principal, William Tomasso, has transferred his managerial duties.

The group and its branches — TBI Construction, Tunxis Management and Tenergy Water — have long had contracts with the state.

Three major Tomasso projects — a parking garage at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks; the Juvenile Training School in Middletown; and the Bridgeport Superior Court for Juvenile Matters and Detention Center — are mentioned in the subpoenaed documents.