Second prison sentence handed down in police chief scandal
The former personnel director for the city of Bridgeport was sentenced Tuesday to four months in federal prison for helping rig the hiring process for the city’s police chief in 2018.
U.S. District Court Judge Kari Dooley in Bridgeport handed down the punishment to 73-year-old David Dunn a day after now former Police Chief Armando “A.J.” Perez was sentenced to a year and a day in prison for his role in the conspiracy.
Dunn resigned last September and pleaded guilty the following month to defrauding the city and making false statements to FBI agents in connection with the scheme.
Prosecutors said Perez, 65, received confidential information about the police chief’s examination that was stolen by Dunn, including the questions for an oral examination and the scoring guide for written essays. Perez, who was the acting chief at the time, also admitted that he had two officers complete his essays, passed the work off as his own and lied to federal authorities in an effort to cover up his actions.
Speaking at the sentencing hearing, Dunn apologized to Bridgeport’s citizens, city officials, family and friends.
“As I stand before you, the wrongness of my conduct is apparent, the harm it has caused,” he said. “And I accept full responsibility for these actions. What I did was wrong and for that I feel deep regret and remorse.”
Perez ended up being ranked among the top three candidates for the police chief’s job and was appointed by Mayor Joe Ganim, who has been close to Perez for years. Ganim, who served seven years in prison for corruption committed during his first stint as mayor from 1991 to 2003, has denied wrongdoing in Perez’s appointment and has not been charged.
In addition to their prison time, Perez and Dunn have already paid a total of nearly $300,000 in restitution to the city.
The state attorney general’s office has gone to court seeking to revoke Perez and Dunn’s city pensions under state corruption laws.
Dunn’s attorney, Frederick Paoletti, wrote in a presentencing report that Dunn helped Perez because he believed Perez was the most qualified candidate for the chief’s job, but faced some difficulties in the hiring process, in part because English is his second language.
Dooley did not buy that argument, saying Dunn knew nothing of the other candidates’ qualifications.
“And if Mr. Perez was truly the best candidate, you wouldn’t need to rig the process,” she said.
Associated Press writer Dave Collins contributed to this report.