Republican lawmakers call for bi-partisan investigation into school construction contracts

State Republicans are calling for a formal investigation into school construction projects.
Published: Feb. 25, 2022 at 12:45 PM EST
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - State Republicans are calling for a formal investigation into school construction projects after pushing for public hearings on how the contracts were awarded.

They want a bi-partisan investigation like the state hasn’t seen since Governor Rowland.

There are a lot more questions than answers in an unfolding scandal over school construction contracts.

“We are calling for a bi-partisan commission,” said Representative Vincent Candelora (R – Minority Leader).

There’s already a federal investigation but Republicans want lawmakers to weigh in on how school projects were awarded by Governor Lamont’s top administrators.

At the center is Kostas Diamantis. He was fired and his boss OPM Secretary Melissa McCaw is on the hot seat for what she knew.

House republicans say there are more than 50 school projects totaling well over a billion dollars that go back to 2018.

The Feds are investigating whether any of these no bid contracts involve corruption or favoritism.

In public Governor Lamont supported McCaw and has said if Republicans want public hearings that’s fine.

It’s all unraveling in an election year.

Lamont’s Republican challenger Bob Stefanowski has not yet gone on the attack but New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart, who could be on Stefanowski’s ticket for Lt. Governor, has plenty to say.

“There’s a lot of corruption in our government and things need to change,” Stewart said.

A bi-partisan investigation could look like what the state saw with Governor Rowland before he eventually resigned.

Senate Democrats say: “the notion that the General Assembly can launch a criminal investigation parallel to and superior to the ongoing federal investigation is naïve and/or deliberately misleading.”

House leadership supports more scrutiny, saying: “It absolutely makes sense for the Executive Branch to come before our legislative committees and talk about where the school construction program stands now.”

Max Reiss with Lamont’s office released a statement on calls for a bi-partisan investigation:

“The Lamont administration would welcome public hearings into the school construction program by the General Assembly’s committees of cognizance. Additionally, the Lamont administration has and will continue to be cooperative with federal authorities in a separate investigation. Governor Lamont took swift action to remove Mr. Diamantis when ethical improprieties were brought to his attention. It was also Gov. Lamont’s initiation of an independent review which led to additional accountability. Gov. Lamont has zero tolerance for the types of actions which have been exposed.”