JANUARY 04, 2008
A Connecticut official convicted for collaborating with a corrupt state treasurer to cheat taxpayers out of hundreds of thousands of dollars will be reelected by fellow Democrats to chair a water commission in which he will oversee a $111 million annual budget.
As chairman of the Metropolitan District Commission, a regional government agency that keeps water clean, William DiBella earned $374,500 in bogus fees arising from a fraudulent scheme masterminded by former state Treasurer Paul Silvester, who pleaded guilty to corruption charges and is currently in prison.
Although a federal jury convicted DiBella of violating federal securities laws, the majority of the Metropolitan District Commission’s 29 members said they will vote to reelect their corrupt friend to continue overseeing the agency with a budget larger than most municipalities and 550 employees.
DiBella, a former Democrat state senator, functions much like an influential mayor presiding over a council. He controls the hefty budget and will play a key role in a $1.6 billion sewer expansion that the commission is planning with taxpayer dollars. In October DiBella asked a judge to overturn his conviction or grant him a new trial, but the judge refused both requests.
One newspaper columnist calls the upcoming reappointment shameless and unbelievable, reminding readers of DiBella’s corrupt actions by quoting federal prosecutors who called his conduct intentionally fraudulent, deceitful, manipulative and deliberate.
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