If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard the phrase “tip of the iceberg” since Stephanie Barry broke the news yesterday that the FBI is looking into city construction contracts, well, I’d have a lot of dollars—but nowhere near the $4.6 million paid in recent years to the firm whose contracts the feds apparently are examining.
As Barry reports in the Republican, the FBI has subpoenaed the city’s contracts with Zielinski Brothers of Agawam, as part of a grand jury matter. According to city records, Barry reports, the company has been paid $4.6 million since 2009 for work on city playgrounds and other projects.
In response to a request for comment, Mayor Domenic Sarno referred Barry to City Solicitor Ed Pikula, adding, “I have never tolerated the abuse of the public trust and never will.” Pikula told Barry that the city has provided the requested information to the FBI and that he doesn’t know the full scope of the investigation. The company’s attorney did not return her call for comment.
So is this investigation an entry point to a hulking iceberg of corruption beneath the surface of City Hall? Time will tell, of course. But news that the FBI is poking around the city once again, coupled with WGGB’s recent 10-year retrospective on corruption during the Albano administration, is enough to send shivers down the spine.