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The AG is reviewing Connecticut Port Authority’s contracts flagged for questionable practices

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong
Office of Connecticut Attorney General William Tong
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong

The Connecticut Office of State Contracting Standards Board has faulted how state agencies have been conducting business to redevelop New London’s State Pier to support the state’s offshore wind industry.

Board chair Lawrence Fox said several issues had been identified in how the Connecticut Port Authority had awarded certain contracts, including paying an investment firm over half a million dollars for a success fee after closing a transaction for the state agency.

“There’s a whole section on the prohibition of finders fees in the state of Connecticut,” Fox said. “And one could make an argument that a success fee is a finder’s fee by another name. But we’re not the body that will determine that. It will be the attorney general that will determine that.”

The FBI has probed another flagged contract which hired the daughter of a former top state budget executive who had dealings with Connecticut Port Authority.

Fox also criticized the state government for failing to provide agencies with procurement training and underfunding his standards board.

“There’s an under investment by this state in the infrastructure for the agencies that have to do it and there’s certainly an underinvestment by our state in the watchdog that’s suppose to watch it. Now what possibly could go wrong?” he asked.

Other findings include skirting the contract approval process that are required of public-private partnerships by other quasi-state agencies.

The report will now go to the state Attorney General, Legislature and governor with recommendations for further action.

An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.