PORTLAND (AP) Police are investigating the death of a state public works official who handled contracts involving Tomasso Brothers Inc., a contractor subpoenaed in a federal investigation of Gov. John G. Rowland’s administration.
Theresa D. Supple, 59, a supervising project manager for the state Department of Public Works, was found dead May 5 at her home on Middle Haddam Road in Portland, The Hartford Courant reported.
The newspaper, citing sources it did not identify, reported that she was found in her car with her dog. The car was in the garage.
A note found at the scene indicated that she was despondent over the deaths of family members, police said.
Her husband, Middlesex County Deputy Sheriff Robert E. Supple Jr., and her father, Lionel A. Dube of Hartford, died during a three-month span in 2000. The Supples had no children.
Supple was among a number of state Department of Public Works (DPW) employees involved in awarding construction contracts to Tomasso. Those contracts have recently come under scrutiny by the FBI.
Supple’s death was “a setback” to investigators looking to public works insiders to provide information about pressure that may have been exerted by state officials to approve the Tomasso contracts, a source familiar with the case told the Courant.
She had a senior supervisory position in the construction of two state projects now under investigation by the FBI — a new juvenile courthouse-detention center-Superior Court in Bridgeport and the new Connecticut Juvenile Training School in Middletown.
She was one of five members of a DPW search committee that recommended awarding a $50-million juvenile-detention center project to Tomasso, a contract that figures prominently in the investigation.
State and federal authorities said Supple could have provided valuable assistance to the FBI by giving them a road map to how the contracts were awarded in both projects.
Last winter, Supple testified for the FBI as a government witness against former Bridgeport Mayor Joseph P. Ganim.
Initial plans for the complex were scuttled after Ganim and a political pal took more than $100,000 in payoffs to kill the city condemnation of land on which the complex was to be built. The state, with Supple as a public works team leader, had to start searching for a new site.
Supple also was the public works supervisor for construction of the University of Connecticut’s $24-million law library. The 7-year-old structure has been plagued with water leaks since the day it was built. Repairing the defects will cost an estimated $7 million.
In Portland, Supple had served as a Republican member of the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission since December 1999.
In August 2001, she was appointed to a building committee overseeing planning and construction of a $39-million public school project. Supple also served on the town’s water and sewer commission from 1993 to 1999.
Her death stunned town leaders and colleagues at public works.
“I’m shocked. I’ve known Terry for years,” said First Selectman Edward Kalinowski.
“I’m saddened,” said David Sundell, planning and zoning chairman. “She was a hard-working member. She was always prepared.”