Campaign events. Birthdays. The mayor, his circle of relatives and supporters are not any strangers to Vazzano’s Vazzy’s eateries and Vazzano’s Four Seasons catering hall in Stratford.
But now City Hall and the famous restaurateur are at odds over the latter’s longtime hire strolling concessions at Bridgeport’s Fairchild Wheeler golf path.
There are two big questions the sides are grappling with approximately Vazzy’s nineteenth Hole eating place, in step with the City Attorney’s Office: Did Vazzano’s lease expire 4 years in the past, and has Vazzano been paying what he need to for hire?
Ganim spokesman Rowena White said the matter changed into lately forwarded to the town attorney through Public Facilities Director John Ricci, who, via White, declined to remark for this story.
Ricci additionally works behind-the-scenes on Ganim’s campaigns, which include assisting with fundraising.
Vazzano and his legal suggest met Friday morning with Russell Liskov, a legal professional for the Ganim management.
“There’s paperwork and we’re going from side to side to look what’s what,” Liskov said, including Vazzano has been a good tenant who will pay rent on time.
The town has been operating off of the 2006 hire Vazzano negotiated with then-Mayor John Fabrizi.
Vazzano took over the golfing path restaurant in 2002. In 2006, he and the Fabrizi management agreed to a new agreement that ended Dec. 31, 2014, in step with that document.
The lease regularly multiplied Vazzano’s annual $50,000 rent to $65,000, but Vazzano did now not have to pay the better lease till 2012 if he made improvements to the golfing course restaurant.
According to city budget documents, Vazzano continues to be paying $50,000.
Liskov stated Friday that Vazzano keeps he acquired a further five-yr agreement extension from former Mayor Bill Finch thru the cease of 2019 and has completed extra paintings on Vazzy’s nineteenth Hole to offset the rent.
Ganim defeated Finch in the 2015 Democratic mayoral primary. In fact, Ganim held his first fundraiser for that campaign at Vazzano’s Four seasons, then hosted a $500-according to-head, 56th birthday bash/marketing campaign occasion at the golf direction eating place right earlier than the November 2015 wellknown election.
“We are reconstructing what took place under the earlier management and wish to have a few answers very rapidly,” Liskov said.
A monetary oversight?
There is genuinely any other extraordinary question about the popularity of Vazzano’s lease at the golf course: Why is the Ganim administration only now scrutinizing the deal?
After defeating Finch in the 2015 number one and prevailing the election that November, one in every of Ganim’s first acts as mayor become to aggressively pursue debts he said had been allowed to accrue for other municipal tenants: Webster Bank Arena, the Bridgeport Bluefish minor league baseball crew, Captain’s Cove Seaport and the Gathering of the Vibes Music Festival.
Ganim at the time said the ones attractions were partially accountable for a $20 million deficit inherited from Finch.
Three years later, the metropolis and area management, the Sound Tigers hockey crew, are nonetheless seeking to negotiate a settlement to their rent dispute.
Vazzano could not be reached Friday for remark. He and his commercial enterprise associate, Lawrence LaConte, and their families have supported Ganim financially, each for this 12 months’s re-election run and for the mayor’s failed 2018 gubernatorial bid.
According to marketing campaign finance reviews, Vazzano contributed the $1,000 maximum to Ganim’s 2019 campaign and LaConte also gave $1,000. LaConte, in keeping with the Four Seasons’ website, co-owns that facility and also runs Vazzy’s nineteenth Hole at the golf direction.
Vazzano, Laconte and Laconte’s spouse, Meghan, also cut tests to Ganim’s marketing campaign for governor, contributing $1,000, $2,a hundred and $1,500, respectively.
Regardless of the way Vazzano and the city clear up issues surrounding the golfing route rent, the truth stays that it both is expired or quickly might be.
“In any occasion, in 2019 it is going to should be rebid,” Liskov said.
Meanwhile, Ganim, in line with his marketing campaign, has been looking for venues to host a huge spring marketing campaign birthday celebration. Whether any of Vazzano’s locations are again underneath consideration stays to be visible.