Blumenthal agrees to $4.6M payout‏

Ashley Stinnett Jun. 5, 2009, 3:18pm

Richard Blumenthal (D)

HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline)- Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has agreed to accept a $4.6 million settlement from three contracting firms after a two year lawsuit over faulty storm drains.

The settlement resolves a lawsuit filed in April 2007 by Blumenthal. L.G. DeFelice, Inc., FDR Construction, Maguire Group and their employees were the parties involved in the suit, which totaled more than $20 million in damages.

Although $17.5 million was paid in March 2007 from DeFelice's bonding company, the agreement forces all three companies to pay the remaining $2.6 million of money already owed to the state.

The settlement was reached in cooperation with Gov. M. Jodi Rell's office and the state Department of Transportation.

"From the beginning, I said that Connecticut taxpayers would not be stuck with the bill for repairing the shoddy work by these contractors -- and they have not. My concerns were -- first -- the safety of motorists, then ensuring that the work was redone properly and the interests of taxpayers were protected. The repairs were completed last year, funded by an earlier settlement payment in this case, and now the responsible companies have been fully held to account," Rell said.

Rell added because the DOT is an important agency and adds to the state's economy and quality of life, serious changes were needed to confront transportation issues and challenges.

Blumenthal said the settlement will compensate taxpayers, as a result of being "duped" by contractors receiving millions for substandard drains.

"This case provides even more evidence for a False Claims Act that would enable triple damages and other penalties against corrupt contractors. Using existing legal remedies, the message to crooked contractors is: We will make you pay back every penny you take illegally from taxpayers. My office will fight to aggressively hold accountable contractors who do defective work," he said.

The three miles of defective drains were repaired in November 2008, costing the state $21.98 million.

More News