After Perez’s Arrest, Back to Work

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Hours after being arrested Tuesday, Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez was carrying on with his work schedule.
 
Tuesday night, he attended a ceremony for Hartford Public Schools, where he handed out awards for character, good behavior and leadership.
 
Perez was charged with bribery and other charges related to home renovations done by a contractor who has performed millions of dollars of work for the city. 
 
Tuesday afternoon, three hours after turning himself in to State Police on corruption, he held a news conference to address the allegations.
 
"I never traded my office for public benefit," he said, adding he intends to carry out his term in office. "At no point have I used my position to benefit any individual or business," said Perez.
 
His attorney, Hubert Santos, called the state's a "pretty thin case".
 
Edward Lazu, an employee at Hartford City Hall, was arrested and charged with similar charges.

City residents say they are disappointed. Read more here.
The charges:
Eddie Perez: charged with one count each of bribe receiving, fabricating physical evidence and conspiracy to fabricate physical evidence.
Edward Lazu: charged with one count of bribe receiving, three counts of forgery in the second degree and one count of criminal attempt to fabricate physical evidence.
Carlos Costa, of West Hartford, who owns and operates USA Contractors, Inc.: charged with two counts of bribery, and one count each of fabricating physical evidence and conspiracy to fabricate physical evidence. He was arrested on Monday.

 
The Investigation:
 
State investigators began looking into Hartford government in early 2007, reviewing a $1 billion school construction project, deals with a city politician involving parking lots and other city business.
 
Authorities searched Perez's home in August 2007. Two months later, the state put together an investigatory grand jury to looking into possible wrongdoing in Perez's administration. Although the investigation was revealed before the 2007 mayoral election in November, Perez easily won another term.
 
Santos said he and Perez want to avoid a long wait for a trial, which he said would affect Perez's ability to govern.
 
Santos said he would request a speedy trial, hoping that Perez would appear before a jury within two to three months.
 
Perez is asking the public to be patient for a few months while he prepares his defense.
 
Perez, a Democrat who's been Mayor of Hartford since 2001, has said that he was wrong to hire Costa.
 
"The perception in today's environment has the potential to undermine public confidence in government," Perez said. "That being said, I firmly believe that I did not commit a criminal act."
 
City Councilor Matt Ritter, also a Democrat, said he expects to the council to take "some immediate steps" in response to Perez's arrest.
 
"This is a very sad day for the city of Hartford," Ritter told the Courant.
 
The investigation is continuing and additional arrests are expected, according to a news release from the state Division of Criminal Justice.
 
 
 
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