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Port Authority News a ‘Dog and Pony Show’

To the Editor:

Leaning against a guardrail, the view from outside the gate Tuesday morning was a little different than the one curated for the press at State Pier.

The normal set of trucks, rusty and worn, had been replaced by different contractors this morning, all driving practically new trucks.  They rolled past full of the material to mix with river water to make mud, the foundation of the Connecticut Port Authority’s magnum opus.

The road leading to State Pier normally dusty and unswept was freshly sprayed with water.  The employee parking lot was abnormally full.  

State police and extra security guarded the gate of the exclusive, invite-only spectacle. The only people I saw them stop were four out-of-work longshoremen from the ILA 1411 union… and me. Something about the can of pink paint and megahorn I was carrying, clearly made them uncomfortable.

It’s likely that few on set were any more aware of these anomalies as they arrived in their Imprezas, Audis, and Wranglers then they are of terms like “minimal scope” or “Deep Water Wind Commitment” buried deep in the Harbor Development Agreement.

Lamont’s sandbox dog and pony show had one purpose: divert as much attention as possible from the harsh reality at State Pier.  The timing and tenor of his event was deceitful.  Smoke and mirrors. Propaganda.

A Port Authority meeting happened ten minutes after Lamont’s press event.  At that meeting the CPA Board announced a $13 million cost over run. The board was informed Executive Director John Henshaw, is quitting.  This as the Attorney General investigation of the Port Authority grinds into its third year, with subpoenas issued. The federal investigation of school construction projects and State Pier is gaining speed. The Contracting Standards Board which believes the Port Authority lacked the legal ability to enter into the Public Private Partnership financing the redevelopment of State Pier has asked the Attorney General to weigh in.  Over a year behind schedule and facing stubborn local opposition, the view from where I was sitting — alone — is one that someone from the press should have sought out.

Initially sold to the public as a $93 million project. David Kooris attempted to re-write history and say that figure was merely funds available. He’s wrong. The public was told that’s what the project would cost. That’s what they bought in for.

In 2020 the cost of the project ballooned to $157 million- a direct result of piss poor planning. Kooris again attempted to change history and act as though the increase was only due to the Port Authority being good neighbors.   

On Kosta Diamantis’ judgement and word, the taxpayer was locked in for all overruns — the project went to $235.5 million. Tuesday that number jumped to nearly a a quarter of a billion dollars.  If inches were miles, I’d agree with the headline for Brendan Crowley’s recent (excellent) piece.  In it David Kooris dishonestly states,

“At the very least, the pier will support jobs loading ships for Eversource and Ørsted’s three wind projects, which they have leased the pier to serve as a staging area for a cost of $2 million a year for 10 years, Kooris said.”

The project can go to minimal scope at any time that milestones are missed, right up till the bitter end see pages 405-407 of the agreement.

Last I checked the sublease David Kooris referenced is not signed — pages 292-347 of the same document.  As I understand it, the sublease won’t be executed until construction largely complete.  

If this is still America, and the free press is more than a mere herd of sheep, I ask them to come to the base of the Fort Griswold Monument, over looking State Pier — 11 a.m. Thursday, March 31, 2022.

The dissenting view doesn’t deserve to shiver  alone in the cold.  Not in this country.

Kevin Blacker
Noank, CT

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