First Selectman Tim Herbst says a defamation suit filed against him by Mark IV Construction, recently withdrawn, was an "intimidation tactic."
“The withdrawal of this defamation action speaks for itself. There was never any basis or merit to this cause of action. Instead, this action was merely an intimidation tactic. I also believe that it is no coincidence that the lawsuit was filed less than two months before the 2011 municipal election," Herbst wrote in a statement Tuesday. Herbst was re-elected in 2011.
A Mark IV spokesman could not be reached for comment but the suit has been withdrawn, according to the state Judicial Branch Website.
The suit had charged Herbst with making statements implying that Mark IV acted improperly in the Jog Hill Road sewer construction project. The town is still suing Mark IV for more than $8 million to fix alleged Jog Hill Road defects, and the Water Pollution Control Authority has also filed a suit alleging improprieties in Mark IV's bidding process.
The WPCA suit also alleges some unnamed town officials took part in bidding and changeorder irregularities in the Jog Hill project. A subsequent investigation led to hiring of the Tighe & Bond engineering firm to oversee the north Nichols sewer project.
The WPCA also voted to Terminate Mark IV's contract in north Nichols over allegedly failing to complete the project in a timely manner. A lake in the Dogwood Road area remained and Mark IV had not started work on time, the authority said.
But the firm resumed worked within 10 days of the decision and was not fired. Still, the topic remains on the WPCA's agenda.
"As every Trumbull resident knows, for the last three years my administration has taken great steps to reform the Town’s WPCA. We have brought much needed oversight to the sewer projects started before I took office and we also have reformed the Town’s bidding and purchasing practices," Herbst said.
Interested in Trumbull's news, events, community bulletins, blogs and businesses? Sign up for the free Trumbull Patch daily newsletter, "like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
"In every action we have taken to reform and correct this process, we have always tried to place the public’s interests ahead of special interests. The Town of Trumbull is not the Federal Reserve. We do not print money and our taxpayers are not an ATM machine. We have a moral obligation to protect their interests and I will continue to do so, without fear or favor.
"My administration is committed to seeing this final sewer project completed in a timely manner and we have already begun an aggressive road repaving program in the North Nichols section of Town to bring closure to this issue,” he concluded.