Mayor Perez's Statement About Corruption Case

Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez's statement, provided to The Hartford Courant, on criminal charges he is facing in a state corruption investigation:

"My attorney has been informed by the Chief State's Attorney office that they have obtained a warrant for my arrest in connection with work done by a city contractor at my home. Seventeen months ago, I revealed the facts surrounding this situation to the public and these facts appear to be the basis for action by the Chief State's Attorney tomorrow.

"First, I wish to apologize to the people of Hartford. My lapse in judgment in using a city contractor to perform work on my house was inexcusable. Though I firmly believe that I have not committed a crime, I have allowed the appearance of impropriety to color how those may view my administration. For this, I am truly sorry and take full responsibility.

"As you know, I turned over records and cancelled checks showing the payment for the work performed by the contractor in question, Carlos Costa. Costa is a longtime friend and a capable contractor. In spring of 2005, he began the project to renovate my bathroom and install a new kitchen countertop in my house.

"In June of 2005, my life was turned upside down when my wife, Marie, collapsed at a community function and underwent surgery and treatment for multiple brain aneurysms. It was not clear she was going to live and I spent the better part of that year working to bring her back to health. During the period of Maria's illness, the work was delayed.

"Mr. Costa completed most of the work in 2006 and he billed me $20,217 in early 2007. I had made inquiries for securing financing during the summer of 2006. After I received the invoice in early 2007, I made an additional inquiry. I obtained financing from the Hartford Federal Credit Union and then paid Mr. Costa in July of 2007. I have previously released those records and paid for all permitting and inspections of the property.

"At various times, Carlos Costa has worked on city construction contracts. In 2003, he won a competitive bid for the Park Street Streetscape improvements and was the low bidder. The bid was awarded by the Department of Public Works, the project is complete and as of this date, the city has spent less than the original $7.3 million estimate of the cost of the project.

"Even though Mr. Costa was paid for the work he completed at my house, it was a mistake on my part to retain a city contractor to perform work at my house. Further, I should have ensured the proper permits were obtained. The perception in today's environment has the potential to undermine public confidence in government.

"That being said, I firmly believe that I did not commit a criminal act. Anyone who has followed my decades of community and public service knows that there was never even been an allegation that I have betrayed the public trust. The voters of Hartford have voted for me twice since these facts have become public and with humility, I will continue to do the job that they have elected me to do.

"I look forward to a quick trial on these allegations and look forward to a vindication in court."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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