FBI investigating projects related to fired state official Kosta Diamantis
The FBI is investigating the state-financed reconstruction of the State Pier in New London and school construction grants overseen by Kostantinos “Kosta” Diamantis before the administration of Gov. Ned Lamont fired him from a top budget post.
A federal grand jury issued a subpoena for all emails, text messages and attachments involving Diamantis and a broad range of construction projects on Oct. 20, eight days before he was removed as the state’s second-highest budget official and its school construction grants director.
The existence of the investigation was revealed Wednesday with the state’s release of a copy of the subpoena in response to a Freedom of Information request by CT Mirror. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office had no comment on the status of the investigation.
It is unclear from the available documents what prompted the federal investigation into Kosta Diamantis.
The revelation came on the same day the Lamont administration released a report on an outside investigation into Chief State’s Attorney Richard Colangelo Jr.’s hiring of Diamantis’ daughter, Anastasia, while Colangelo lobbied him for help in securing raises.
Norm Pattis, a lawyer who represents Kosta Diamantis, had no immediate comment.
Stanley A. Twardy Jr., a Day Pitney partner and former U.S. attorney, was commissioned by the governor’s office to examine whether the hiring of Anastasia violated state ethics rules. Neither his inquiry nor his report dealt with the construction projects under review by the FBI.
Colangelo, Diamantis ‘lack credibility’
Twardy questioned the truthfulness of Colangelo, Kosta Diamantis and Anastasia Diamantis, each of whom were interviewed for the inquiry in their account of how Anastasia met Colangelo and learned of the position. Their account was contradicted by others, Twardy wrote.
“Based on the available evidence, we do not find credible the largely consistent accounts of Mr. Colangelo, Anastasia, and Mr. Diamantis concerning how Mr. Colangelo and Anastasia first met. Our conclusion that those individuals lack credibility concerning the straightforward question of how Mr. Colangelo and Anastasia first met casts doubt on the integrity of the circumstances surrounding Anastasia’s hiring with the Division,” he wrote.
Colangelo’s office said he was reserving comment until completing his review of the report.
Twardy said Colangelo denied discussing hiring Anastasia with her father, but Colangelo could not explain how Kosta Diamantis knew to forward the job descriptions to Anastasia if the two had never discussed a job for Anastasia.
In a statement, Lamont addressed Twardy’s finding, not the federal investigation.
“I wanted this independent investigation conducted because the people of Connecticut deserve transparency and accountability from their government,” Lamont said. “I am very disturbed by the findings in Mr. Twardy’s report. I am referring the matter to the Office of State Ethics and the Criminal Justice Commission because under our laws, they are the appropriate bodies to determine what further action should be taken. It is critical that all public officials understand and comply with state ethics laws.”
Justice Andrew McDonald of the Supreme Court, who is chair of the commission that hires and fires prosecutors, said the lengthy report was under review.
Kosta Diamantis simultaneously was deputy secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, an unclassified political position, and the director of the Office of School Construction Grants and Review, a classified job with civil service protections.
On Oct. 28, Diamantis was removed from the OPM position by the governor’s office and suspended with pay from the school construction post. Rather than accept the suspension, Diamantis retired. At the time, the only publicly known issue about Diamantis was his daughter’s hiring.
Questions were first raised about her hiring in a Kevin Rennnie column published Oct. 1 by The Hartford Courant.
On Dec. 3, CT Mirror first reported that Anastasia Diamantis was hired by Colangelo while he lobbied her father and others at OPM for help in obtaining raises, and that she had a second job working for a school construction management company, a position not on her resume.
This story will be updated.