Former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez will not serve prison time after pleading guilty in a corruption case.
Perez pleaded not guilty to bribe receiving and larceny by extortion Thursday in Hartford Superior Court. Judge Julia Dewey sentenced Perez to a suspended prison sentence and a conditional discharge.
Perez was convicted in 2010 and sentenced to three years in prison for taking a bribe from a contractor in the form of home improvements and attempting to extort $100,000 from a developer, both while he was mayor. But the state Supreme Court overturned the convictions last year, saying two cases were improperly combined into one trial.
In the bribery case, Perez was convicted of allowing city contractor Carlos Costa to perform free renovations to his Bloomfield Avenue home in Hartford in exchange for keeping Costa on the Park Street revitalization project which was plagued by delays and cost overruns. Perez eventually paid $20,000 for $40,000 for the work, but only after a grand jury questioned him about it.
In the extortion case, Perez was convicted of ordering developer Joseph Citino to pay $100,000 to political boss Abraham Giles to redevelop a Main Street parking lot that Giles ran that sat next to a vacant building. Citino planned to revitalize both properties. The deal fell through when he realized Giles was not leasing the lot from the city and had no lease termination fee.
Prosecutors said Perez allowed Giles to run the lot and ordered that payoff to get Giles to back his 2007 re-election bid.
Perez also allowed Giles to run another Main Street parking lot without a lease. This deal was not part of the criminal case, but jurors still heard testimony about it at trial. It's something the defense says should not have been allowed.
The Democrat was Hartford's first Hispanic mayor and served from 2001 to 2010, when he resigned after being convicted.