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State News

Emails show more involvement of Kosta Diamantis in daughter’s job search

konstantinos-diamantis.png
Konstantinos Diamantis, the governor's point person for school construction projects.

Konstantinos Diamantis, the former state official under federal investigation, showed a special interest in his daughter’s quest for state employment on a number of occasions in early 2020, according to documents released Friday.

The documents, obtained Friday by The Connecticut Mirror through a Freedom of Information Act request, were compiled in response to a federal subpoena issued in October.

Many of the documents had been part of the independent investigation into the matter commissioned by Gov. Ned Lamont and conducted by Stanley Twardy of the Day Pitney law firm.

But others provide new insights into the extent to which Diamantis advocated on behalf of his daughter Anastasia.

The Twardy report established that Diamantis had entangled himself in Anastasia’s job search. It reported that he pressured an official with the state Department of Administrative Services to hire Anastasia for a human resources position in November 2018, and that in June 2020 he had forwarded an email to Anastasia about a job within the Division of Criminal Justice — which he had initially received from former Chief State’s Attorney Richard Colangelo. Colangelo hired Anastasia Diamantis days later for a different position in his office. Colangelo, who was accused of pressuring Diamantis to help secure raises for his staff, resigned in early February.

But those weren’t the only instances when Kosta Diamantis involved himself in Anastasia’s employment efforts, the documents show.

Two state jobs

On Jan. 2, 2020, Anastasia Diamantis received an email from a state human resources official regarding a job at the state Department of Education. The email stated that a staff assistant position Anastasia had applied for was being canceled and would be reposted with different job responsibilities in the future.

She forwarded the email to her father two days later with no comment, the records show. A few minutes later, Kosta Diamantis forwarded the email to his boss, Office of Policy and Management Secretary Melissa McCaw, with no comment.

“She sent it to me on my personal email just to let me know what had happened, and I forwarded it to my state email so that I could print it out at work and have a record of it,” Diamantis said. “The only reason that personal email ended up in my state email is because I don’t have a printer at home and wanted to print it.”

Just about a month later, on Feb. 6, 2020, Diamantis learned that the newly created Office of Workforce Competitiveness needed an executive assistant, a job that paid as much as $135,000.

Diamantis forwarded the job description to the governor’s then-chief operating officer, Paul Mounds, and asked “Is [this] something for Anastasia?”

Mounds responded by telling Diamantis that whoever got the position would eventually report to the state Office of Policy and Management, the agency he helped lead: “I am agnostic about the who for this position. With that said, this ES position is current in DECD and is called for to be moved [to] OPM in the upcoming budget adjustments.”

“I was just being inquisitive about a job opening and wondering if perhaps my daughter would be qualified for it,” Diamantis said Saturday. “I was just asking a question to see what the answer might be.”

Other involvements

The documents also raise questions about a second job Anastasia Diamantis got in July 2020 at a company called Construction Advocacy Professionals (CAP), a company that was the construction manager on the Birch Grove Primary School project in Tolland. Kosta Diamantis, who was the director of the state Office of School Construction Grants & Review within OPM at the time, oversaw the state financing for the project.

Anastasia Diamantis was hired by CAP in July 2020, after the company received a $70,000 contract to oversee construction of portable classrooms at the school. Weeks after Anastasia was hired, the company received a $460,000 contract amendment to oversee construction of a new school at the site.

Kosta Diamantis denied he had any role in his daughter getting hired, but in an email sent July 2, he copied his daughter when discussing the project with CAP’s owner Antonietta Roy. It is unclear whether Anastasia was employed with CAP on that date. According to the Twardy report, she began her employment sometime in July.

The email dealt with questions from Tolland officials about the first phase of the school project — the installation of modular classrooms for students to use during construction.

‘Hint hint’

The documents also show that Diamantis had an email exchange with Rep. Jason Rojas, D-East Hartford and the House Majority Leader, in July 2020. Rojas begins by thanking Diamantis and McCaw for their “support on many of my colleagues requests for bonding.” He goes on to raise questions about projects in Newington and South Windsor, and after a few exchanges, appears to conclude with “Sounds like a plan.”

Diamantis responded to that email with one line: “On an aside I hope my daughter gets a good room at trinity. Hint hint.” Diamantis was apparently referring to one of his other daughters, not Anastasia.

Rojas is the chief of staff to the president at Trinity College in Hartford.

Rojas responded: “Hmmmmm. Lets see if the states ensure that we can provide as safe and health[y] an experience as possible :)”

Diamantis responded: “Perfecto.”

“Whenever I saw Jason, he’d ask me how my daughter was doing in school, because he knew she went to Trinity and I knew he worked there,” Diamantis said Saturday. “We talked about the school all of the time.”

Rojas said Saturday that he remembers the exchange and that he took it as a “tongue-in-cheek comment and not serious.”

“It was very light-hearted, and that is how I took it,” Rojas said. “Obviously, given the circumstances now, it may not look so good, but I didn’t take it seriously. I couldn’t have helped him anyway. Dorm rooms are assigned by a lottery that I have nothing to do with.”

More documents to come

Lamont’s attorney, Nora Dannehy, said the documents released to the CT Mirror on Friday — well over 6,000 PDF files — were only a portion of what was turned over to the federal authorities last year and that the rest will be released once they are vetted “for privilege and other exemptions under the Freedom of Information laws.”

The Connecticut Mirror requested the subpoenaed documents in early February, shortly after the existence of the federal investigation was revealed. They include thousands of pages of bid documents, meeting minutes and emails.

The documents show that Kosta Diamantis was not a prolific emailer, often responding to long missives from others with responses of just a few words.

A federal grand jury issued the subpoena to the state Department of Administrative Services for all emails, text messages and attachments involving Diamantis and a broad range of construction projects on Oct. 20, 2021.

Eight days later, he was removed as the state’s second-highest budget official at the Office of Policy and Management and placed on administrative leave as the director of OSCG&R. Rather than accept the leave of absence, Diamantis chose to retire.

The subpoena to DAS on Oct. 20 specifically sought records from state contracts for school renovations, hazardous abatement disposal and the new State Pier in New London, along with emails and text messages involving, among others, Anastasia Diamantis and CAP, where she worked part-time.

Federal authorities later sent a second request with more than 50 search terms for the state to search among Diamantis’ emails and text messages.

The “search” list includes names of several contractors, including D’Amato Construction, which got a no-bid job for the Tolland school, as well as several other school projects. The search list also included the words “wedding,” “gift” and “FBI.”

Many of the emails released Friday focused on the Birch Grove Primary School project in Tolland, which has been a key part of the federal investigation.

Tolland Superintendent of Schools Walter Willett has since alleged that local officials in Tolland were pressured by Diamantis to choose D’Amato Construction for the school construction project. Other school officials have made similar claims.

Correction

An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the name of the construction management firm that hired Anastasia Diamantis. It is Construction Advocacy Professionals.