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As Tolland receives federal subpoena, Diamantis denies allegations in TV appearance

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Front street view of the Hicks Memorial Municipal Center and Library, Tolland, Connecticut

Kosta Diamantis made his first public appearance over the weekend, denying accusations that he coerced Connecticut cities and towns to sidestep rules for contracting school construction projects. The former top state budget official is being investigated by a federal grand jury.

This comes after local officials told the state’s finance committee that they were pressured by Diamantis, who served as the director of the state’s school construction grant program. Local lawmakers have refuted Diamantis’s story that local governments bear responsibility for compliance with contract bidding laws.

“The final decision is not made by me or the school construction team,” Diamantis told FOX61.

Republican State Representative Tammy Nuccio said the town of Tolland was forced to hire contractors of his choice to rebuild their primary school.

“At a critical point in the project, they were found to have some unsuitable soils and instead of that project being stopped and brought back to the Town Council to say, 'hey we’ve found an issue, how do we want to look at this,’ somebody, somewhere along the way decided to keep going, not contacting the Town Council until they were well down the way, so all of a sudden, we had another $2 million worth of expenses for that.” Nuccio told the state committee separately investigating the allegations against Diamantis.

Birch Grove Primary School in Tolland had to be demolished back in 2018 and rebuilt due to crumbling concrete in its foundation. The town hired Construction Advocacy Professionals to complete the $46 million. It ended up costing almost $10 million more.

Diamantis denies responsibility. He said the work was requested by the superintendent of schools in Tolland based on a report the town commissioned and submitted to the state school construction grant program.

The town of Tolland is the latest to receive a federal subpoena as part of a wider ranging FBI investigation into Diamantis at the helm of Connecticut’s school construction grant program.

“Refocusing on the memories of people — remember they met for the first time two years ago — and using that for the basis of credibility, I think for me is telling,” Diamantis told FOX61.

Diamantis, a former state deputy budget director, was fired last October. He has not been charged with any crime.

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.