GOP seeks stronger ethics laws as FBI probes Lamont administration’s handling of state funds

February 16, 2022

News 12 Connecticut

By News 12 Staff

Republicans are calling for stricter ethics laws amid an ongoing FBI investigation into how Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration spent state money.

In his State of the State speech last week, the governor promised accountability.

“I will hold anyone who breaches that trust, starting in my administration. I’m going to hold them accountable,” he said.

But new documents suggest Lamont’s office missed, or ignored, warnings about Kosta Diamantis, a former budget official who was in charge of doling out state money for school construction. The FBI is now investigating whether he steered projects to preferred contractors, one of whom hired his daughter.

Diamantis denied wrongdoing to CT Mirror, saying, “It should be made clear that OPM and DAS did not interfere with bidding process through school construction projects … The fact of the matter is that towns can use state contracts if they choose or they can go out to bid as part of a larger project.”

Former Chief State’s Attorney Richard Colangelo also hired Diamantis’ daughter while lobbying her father for raises. Colangelo chose to retire last week to avoid removal proceedings by the state Criminal Justice Commission. Anastasia Diamantis is now on administrative leave.

On Wednesday, Connecticut House Republicans called for a series of new ethics laws, including a new inspector general with subpoena power. They also want quasi-public agencies like the Connecticut Port Authority, which oversees the State Pier in New London, to face oversight from the State Contracting Standards Board and be subject to the same contracting rules as state agencies.

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