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Pension hearing begins for former Bridgeport police chief convicted of fraud

Police Chief Armando “A.J.” Perez speaks during an interview at the Police Training Academy, in Bridgeport, Conn. April 29, 2019.
Ned Gerard
/
Hearst Connecticut Media
Then-Police Chief Armando “A.J.” Perez speaks during an interview at the Police Training Academy in Bridgeport, Conn., April 29, 2019.

Former Bridgeport Police Chief Armando Perez appeared in Hartford Superior Court Wednesday in an effort to keep his $102,072.36 annual police pension.

Perez, who was convicted in 2020 of conspiracy to rig Bridgeport’s police chief search, testified about his struggles in prison and his ongoing financial difficulties.

Connecticut State Attorney General William Tong has tried to revoke Perez’s pension over his role in an exam-rigging scandal as the city looked for a new police chief. Perez said that in 2018, he was approached by David Dunn, a former director of personnel for the city, to rig the city’s police chief exam. Bridgeport’s city charter mandates an open testing process for a new police chief.

Perez’s lawyer, Robert Frost, argued that the state statute for revoking a pension takes into account monetary losses and said Perez already paid his fines and made restitution.

Perez was blunt when asked if removing his pension would impact his family.

“It would destroy my family,” Perez said.

According to their testimonies, Armando Perez and his wife, Isabel, described financial difficulties and Perez's struggles in a West Virginia prison camp. Perez said he faced several physical altercations as an inmate and is remorseful over his role in the testing scandal.

Perez detailed one physical altercation with an inmate who he said tried to break into his locker. He said other inmates helped defuse the situation.

“They came to my aid and [said], ‘What are you doing, that’s the chief’s locker. What are you doing?’” Perez said.

Isabel Perez also said the situation has not been easy for her.

“I felt completely alone. I had to carry everything on my shoulder and try to be strong for him,” she said.

Judge Susan Quinn Cobb did not make a ruling and scheduled another hearing for March 17 and March 30, owing to the special circumstances of the hearing.

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