FAIRFIELD – The following is a statement from Chief Christopher Lyddy and the Fairfield Police Department regarding recent arrests in the continuing fill pile investigation.
Joseph Michelangelo, a former Director for the Department of Public Works for the Town of Fairfield, was arrested by Fairfield Police on 11/20/20 by arrest warrant and charged with Illegal Disposal of PCB’s, and Conspiracy to Commit Illegal Disposal of PCB’s. The charges stem from an investigation by the Fairfield Police and Inspectors from the Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney’s Office.
In July of 2019, several town officials were arrested and charged with multiple illegal dumping charges as well as Larceny and Forgery charges, stemming from a Fairfield Police investigation that began in 2017, into the Julian Development operated Construction Material Processing Facility on Fairfield Department of Public Works property. This investigation revealed that Julian Development had dumped and allowed dumping of a tremendous volume of material on the DPW site, some of which was found to contain PCB’s, Lead, and other contaminants. This material required remediation to a licensed hazardous waste facility at a cost of approx. $280,000 to the Town. Julian Development was removed from the site and was subsequently also charged, as was Scott Bartlett the then, Superintendent of Public Works. Those charges are currently pending in court, in the Fairfield Judicial District.
The tremendous volume of material that Julian Development was allowed to accept at the Construction Material Processing Facility during the time frame of 2013-2016, and thesubsequent discovery of contaminated material on the site, was the direct result of the failure ofScott Bartlett and Joseph Michelangelo to properly manage and monitor the activities of JulianDevelopment while they operated on Town DPW property. This failure resulted in the $280,000 cost of site remediation of contaminated material for the Town in 2017. After completion of the initial remediation, approximately 100,000 cubic yards of material remained on the Town of Fairfield Construction Material Processing Facility site. This remaining material would have cost millions of dollars to remove and properly remediate. Additionally, the remaining 100,000 cubic yards of suspected material left behind by Julian Development continued to create an esthetically undesirable view of the pile, and had been the topic of many Fairfield resident complaints.
The Fairfield Police and Inspectors from the Office of the Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney,learned that in 2017-2018, Town Officials devised a plan to dispose of the remaining material left by Julian Development on the site. Town Officials, including Michelangelo, devised a plan to create a berm on the perimeter of the site, shielding it from view of nearby resident, who had lodged numerous complaints regarding the site. The berm construction project created another unbudgeted expense to the Town, which was viewed to be a result of the mismanagement of the Julian Development activities on town property, which brought more public criticism and pressure onto Town Officials. This public criticism was intensified by the fact that Town Officials had accepted a fraudulent performance bond submitted by Julian Development, leaving the Town with no recourse to seek financial restitution for these unbudgeted Town expenses.
Investigation revealed that Town Officials, including Michelangelo, had the remaining material tested, and that test results showed the material contained various levels of PCB’s. Michelangelo, as well as other town Officials, authorized the use of the PCB contaminated material to be used to construct the berm, in violation of State Statute. According to the current Town Attorney, the recently estimated cost of remediation of contaminated material on the Site is $5-10 Million Dollars.
In addition, Joseph Michelangelo was arrested by the Fairfield Police on 11/20/20 by arrest warrant for additional felony charges of Receiving Solid Waste without a Permit, Illegal Disposal of Solid Waste, and Conspiracy to Dispose of Solid Waste without a Permit.
These additional charges stem from information revealed by investigators from the Fairfield Police Department and Inspectors from the Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney. Investigators learned that Joseph Michelangelo, and other Town Officials had authorized contaminated material that the Town had dredged from the Owen Fish Pond, to be dumped at the Town DPW site, during the time period in which the previously mentioned berm was being constructed.
Michelangelo was released on a written promise to appear in Bridgeport Superior Court on December 4, 2020.
Both of these cases are being prosecuted by the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney, Environmental Crimes Unit.
“We’d like to thank the Office of the Chief’s State’s Attorney, their staff and their Environmental Crime Unit for their expertise and guidance during this long and difficult investigation.” Chief Lyddy said.
**These are allegations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty.**
ARREST INFORMATION DOES NOT INDICATE CONVICTIONS. ALL ARRESTED/ACCUSED PERSONS ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNLESS AND UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INCLUSIVE OF RECENT ARRESTS OR EVENTS. INFORMATION SHOULD BE USED AT YOUR DISCRETION AS UPDATES MAY BE PENDING. NAMES AND ADDRESSES MAY NOT BE ACCURATE AT THE TIME OF POSTING