HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — On the heels of losing the cross-endorsement of the Independent party, Republican candidate for governor Bob Stefanowski is launching a new attack in the race for governor.

Without offering specific evidence, Stefanowski alleged corruption in the Lamont administration on several issues, most notably surrounding the State Pier Project in New London. News 8 learned the Connecticut Port Authority is cooperating with an ongoing Department of Justice investigation.

The Connecticut Port Authority is overhauling the state pier in New London. The massive upgrade will allow for offshore wind turbine projects. According to state records, the price tag is $255.5 million.

In a statement to News 8, David Kooris, the chair of the authority, acknowledged there is an investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“The authority has provided everything that has been requested by the Department of Justice in a timely manner,” Kooris said. “We provided a very comprehensive collection and transfer of information and remain committed to being as transparent as possible.”

Korris noted “the authority looks forward to the resolution of these investigations.”

It’s unclear what DOJ is looking for. Stefanowski said it’s alleged corruption.

“It’d be very easy for Lamont to prove that there’s not by answering some of the reporters that are here, FOIA requests, by disclosing the subpoena and some of the details, by not hiding whistleblower claims,” Stefanowski said when asked for specific evidence.

Stefanowski also pointed to an ongoing federal investigation into school construction projects, calling everything a “Lamont corruption tax.”

“That money doesn’t just float down from the air,” Stefanowski said. “That’s our taxpayer money. That’s our money.”

At an event in Hartford, Gov. Lamont (D-Conn.) responded by calling Stefanowski a “CFO who likes to make up numbers,” saying that “there’s no truth to that.”

Lamont called the Pier project the most important investment in Connecticut in years and said he cleaned up the Port Authority management when he got into office.

“I want to make sure that people have absolute confidence in the investments we’re making on behalf of the taxpayers of Connecticut,” Lamont said. “We’re on the side of transparency and doing everything we can to make sure if there are any questions, we answer them.”

News 8 reached out to the Department of Justice about the state pier project, and in a statement, spokesperson Tom Carson said the office “can neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.”

State Rep. Laura Devlin (R-Conn.) is on a key legislative committee that has been asking questions about the project.

“Every aspect of this project has a federal subpoena to understand what has been going on. The corruption has got to stop,” Devlin said.

Whether the issue of alleged corruption moves voters, time will tell. The election is about eight weeks away.
In the meantime, utility company Eversource has put nearly $ 100 million into the State Pier project.
Eversource responded to both Stefanowski and Lamont’s public statements on Thursday where they each claim the utility has pulled out of the deal.

“Together with our partner, Orsted, we are currently developing three offshore wind projects in the Northeast,” Eversource spokesman John Olivieri told News 8. “As a future offshore wind turbine staging and assembly hub, State Pier remains a critical part of our plan.”

Earlier this year, Eversource announced that they were undertaking a strategic review of offshore wind assets.
Olivieri noted that “the strategic review remains ongoing, and no decision regarding a sale of our assets has been reached.”

“We continue to believe strongly in the potential of offshore wind to provide clean energy and jobs for New England and remain completely committed to the transformation underway at State Pier and realizing its full potential as a hub for the growing offshore wind industry,” Olivieri said. “Similarly, we also remain committed to our three active projects in the Northeast that will provide clean, renewable energy to the region.”

Officials say the pier will be substantially complete in the spring of 2023. With substantial completion, the terminal operator, Gateway New London, can take control of the site and activate the terminal (eg. accept deliveries).