Testimony in Mayor Eddie A. Perez' corruption trial was canceled Monday because an alternate juror, who is pregnant, was in a non-life threatening car accident.
Testimony in the case resumes Wednesday afternoon. The prosecution asserts that Perez wanted Giles taken care of, even though Giles' demand for payment from Citino was blocking plans to raze and redevelop a famously decrepit structure at 1161 Main St. widely known as the "Butt-Ugly Building.''
Prosecution witnesses in Mayor Eddie A. Perez's corruption trial are expected to testify this week about the influence of North End power broker Abraham Giles — whose demand that a developer pay him $100,000 to vacate a city parking lot he oversaw without a contract gave rise to the larceny-by-extortion charge against the mayor.
The state contends that the Perez administration steered lucrative, no-bid parking lot deals and other business arrangements to Giles, a former state representative, in return for a vow from Giles to deliver votes for Perez in the competitive 2007 election.
Also this week, developer Joseph Citino is expected to testify that Giles first demanded $250,000 and then $100,000 to leave a parking lot at 1143 Main St. — a site that Citino needed for a commercial development.
The trial, which began May 12, started with allegations that the mayor accepted a bribe from city contractor Carlos Costa in the form of $40,000 worth of remodeling work on his home. Costa testified that he did the work with no expectation of getting paid, and with a goal of getting the mayor's help on Costa's troubled Park Street project, a $5.3 million reconstruction job beset by delays and disputes. The mayor paid $20,000 for the work two years after it was done — and after he was confronted by investigators who caught him on tape saying that he had already paid.
Now the case is moving into the Giles phase. Defense lawyers Hubert Santos and Hope Seeley have indicated that the mayor wants to take the stand and respond to the bribery allegations, but is reluctant to do so because he'd be open to questions about Giles, who had several lucrative deals with the city.
For example, Giles for a period of time was leasing the parking lot at 1143 Main St. for a bargain-basement rate of $500 a month, and then subleasing the site to LAZ Parking for $2,250 a month. In another instance, Giles was leasing a lot at 1214 Main St. for the below-market rate of $1,000 a month. The Hartford Parking Authority eventually gained control of that site and put an annual parking contract out to bid. The company that won the contract bid $50,000 — or more than four times what Giles had been paying.