Contracts won by fire marshal's wife raise alarms

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12/29/2010

It’s not what you know but who you know that will help you in the business world, or so the saying goes. A recent Connecticut newspaper report about a town fire marshal and the contracts his wife won for her fire alarm company raises the question of whether their personal relationship played a role.

The story published yesterday by the Post-Chronicle said that Jennifer Badamo won a contract of nearly $170,000 for her company, Pull Stations, to install a fire alarm system in the Hamden, Conn. town library in 2008. Town officials say they didn’t know at the time that Badamo was the wife of town Fire Marshal Brian Badamo, according to the newspaper.

The connection has come to light now as town officials are investigating a complaint about the fire marshal, the story said. A condominium association is claiming that work that Pull Stations did at the condo complex was not needed and instead was “a sham” that Brian Badamo came up with to help his wife’s company, according to the newspaper.

The paper said the association contends Badamo threatened to shut the building down if it didn’t get a new fire alarm system and recommended his wife’s business for the job.

However, the state Department of Public Safety has said the fire marshal acted properly when he found the building violated code by not having a fire alarm system on its first floor, the paper reported.

When it comes to the town library, the town’s mayor in 2008 approved the contract with Pull Stations after the fire marshal and the fire chief said the library was in urgent need of a new system because of a continuous period of false alarms from the library, the newspaper reported.

Pull Stations’ bid of $169,880.95 for the job was lower than the bids of more than $200,000 made by two other alarm companies in late May of 2008, the newspaper said. It’s not clear from the story when Pull Stations submitted its bid. The story says the company turned its contract in to the town in July of 2008, but that the contract was undated. The town’s purchasing agent told the newspaper that proper purchasing procedures were followed.

The town has a code of ethics that says any official or  town employee should file a disclosure form with the town if involved in business involving significant financial or personal interest, the paper said. It said the town clerk has no such letter by Brian Badamo. The newspaper said Badamo has been on injury leave since November and that his wife declined comment.