© 2023 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Connecticut lawmakers to hold hearing on school construction scandal

The Connecticut state Capitol building in Hartford.
Lil Keller
WSHU Public Radio
The Connecticut state Capitol building in Hartford.

Connecticut lawmakers are scheduled to begin public hearings on school construction contracts at the center of an FBI investigation on Monday. Governor Ned Lamont’s administration has assured transparency.

“We are hiring external audit firms because of their independent expertise to get the job done. And to really be an independent checks and balances” said Michelle Gilman, Lamont’s nominee to head the Department of Administrative Services during her confirmation hearing.

The administration would hire outside auditors to review all school construction contracts awarded between 2018 and 2021, she assured lawmakers.

The external auditors should be allowed to question municipal school authorities, urged Senate Republican Minority leader Kevin Kelly.

“I believe that what we need is to look at these and drill down on all aspects of school construction because this is extraordinary,” he said.

The hearings have been prompted by the scandal involving Kosta Diamantis, the state’s former deputy budget director in charge of the Office of School Construction Grants and Review. He was fired last October after subpoenas were issued in a federal investigation of school construction contracts.

Lawmakers have yet to agree on how to proceed. The majority Democrats want the hearings to occur through regular committee work. Republicans would like a special committee to be set-up to investigate.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.