Witness in Mayor's Trial Says There Were Attempts to Crack Down on Costa | NBC Connecticut

Witness in Mayor's Trial Says There Were Attempts to Crack Down on Costa

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    AP
    Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez listens to his lawyer, Hubert Santos, not seen, talk to the judge during the opening minutes of his corruption trial May 12, in Hartford, Conn.

    Defense Attorney Hubert Santos started the day again requesting a mistrial in the case against Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez.

    The judge denied his request.

    With that, testimony began with John McGrane, an assistant director of Public Works for the City of Hartford.

    McGrane testified that work on the $5.3 million Park Street improvement project suffered two and a half years of delays, numerous quality control issues and cost overruns.


    Get background on the case and allegations here. 


    Carlos Costa, of USA Contractors, led the project.

    Mayor Perez is accused of getting free work on his home in exchange for Costa getting millions in contracts from the city. Costa is also facing charges in the case.

    "Right away, it was obvious he was way behind schedule," McGrane said.

    When Costa's work failed to improve, representatives from the Department of Public Works, Legal and other areas decided to try getting Costa off the project by notifying his bond company he defaulted on his contract, McGrane said.

    Eight days after McGrane sent a letter to the bond company asking it to take action, a direct report to the mayor, Charles Crocini, the Director of Capital Projects, stepped in to stop that, according to McGrane. Crocini was among those who initially decided to crack down on Costa, said McGrane.

    "The decision to notify the bonding company was a serious action. It's something we took a great deal of time contemplating and we felt it was the correct decision to make," said McGrane. "I was very surprised to see a letter come out within a week or so after mine was sent basically saying to disregard the letter that I had sent to them."

    McGrane's testimony continued into the afternoon with the defense cross-examining him.