New charges from a federal grand jury Tuesday charge developer Angelo Reyes with ordering the arson of two more Fair Haven properties to make way for his development plans.
Reyes, who’s 45, already faces charges connected to two Fair Haven arsons—the July 2009 arson of People’s Laundromat at 83 Lombard St. and the March 2005 arson of 42 Lombard St. A father-son pair has pleaded guilty to torching the laundromat at Reyes’ direction.
Click here to read the indictment released Tuesday by a grand jury sitting in New Haven.
Reyes has proclaimed his innocence. After his People’s Laundromat went up in flames, Reyes told the Independent in an emotional interview that he didn’t know who did it. (Click on the play arrow at the top of this story to watch.)
The new charges concern an October 2008 arson at 238 Poplar St. and a September 2002 arson at 139 Lloyd St., according to U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Tom Carson.
The grand jury concluded the motive for the arsons was to make way for development plans, according to Carson. In the Poplar Street case, Reyes is accused of telling an accomplice to torch a vacant house so that Reyes could build a wider driveway to “allow better access to [his] adjacent commercial properties on Grand Avenue.” After the arson, Reyes knocked down the home and developed a broader driveway there.
The indictment also accuses Reyes of ordering an accomplice to burn down a vacant home at 139 Lloyd “so that he could acquire the property at low cost, obtain mortgage and construction loans, build a driveway to [a nearby] landlocked property, and develop a multiple family apartment building on the landlocked parcel,” Carson wrote in a press release.
After the Lloyd Street arson, Reyes obtained 137 Lloyd. And with the help of a five-year, no-interest loan from City Hall’s Livable City Initiative, he built a multi-family apartment complex at the previously landlocked property, “with off-street parking and a driveway where the burned residence once sat.” Reyes sold that apartment complex in November 2004 for $281,000, according to Carson.
For the two new incidents, the grand jury charged Reyes with one count of wire fraud and two counts of using fire to commit wire fraud.
The indictment is not evidence of guilt, noted U.S. Attorney David Fein in a press release. “Charges are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”
posted by: Follow The Trail on January 10, 2012 6:58pm
Does anyone other than me have a sneaky suspicion that this trail leads back to City Hall? Just wondering…Hmmmm!
posted by: t on January 10, 2012 8:44pm
Getting sick of hearing about this guy and seeing him speed around my neighborhood in his minivan. If he is guilty, then lock him up!
posted by: Noteworthy on January 10, 2012 8:51pm
And to think no arson investigator, nobody at City Hall, nobody at economic development, or city plan - nobody suspected anything? Anybody want to buy the Brooklyn Bridge?
posted by: Stephen Harris on January 11, 2012 7:16am
City Plan and Economic Development employees are not trained arson or criminal investigators, nor are they undercover agents secretly working to discover potential criminal activity in Fair Haven.
Please put away your broad brush.
posted by: Clearly on January 11, 2012 7:37am
This man has been a very close friend of the Mayor and of Henry Fernandez, who worked for the Mayor. Does it not strike everyone odd that Reyes, who has been accused of torching properties for his own gain, and who has close, close, close ties to LCI, is a friend of the Mayor? The Mayor and LCI have been enabling Reyes all along. ... If the Mayor thinks that he can escape involvement in this one, he’s delusional. Reyes is going to have to flip at some point. It’s just a matter of time….no matter how emotional he gets in federal court, and no matter how much he says that he helps the community. The USA should subpoena all of the LCI employees, who had involvement in Reyes’s loans, grants, etc., and other employees as well. That department has been so full of corruption for so long that it should be eliminated. Is anyone forgetting that some years ago the feds came to city hall and took tons of files out of there? Everyone has been waiting for them to act on the Mayor. ... And if David Fein does his job, he should concentrate on the Mayor and his mayoral staff, and their possible involvement in this. Depose them. Lots of stuff, and contradictory testimony comes out then. These federal charges are no joke. This means real trouble for City Hall. Real trouble. Maybe this time, John won’t be able to explain himself.
posted by: Steve B on January 11, 2012 8:20am
I’m truly amazed that this issue wasn’t brought up in last year’s mayoral election. How many properties have burned down in the past ten years that have direct ties to this man, and no one in the city raised any questions?
I have no doubt that everyone, up to and including the mayor, knew or had reason to know that Reyes was connected to these fires. I certainly hope the feds are investigating.
posted by: Steve B on January 11, 2012 9:11am
Please. Every one of these fires was classified as an arson at the time it occurred. That means each one is an unsolved crime to this day (he still hasn’t been charged in the actual fires, only the related fraud and conspiracy).
A property is torched and subsequently redeveloped. Then another, and another, and another. All connected to the same person. LCI provides grants and no-interest loans for properties that were previously destroyed by arson while owned by the applicant, which crimes remain unsolved. And nobody suspects a thing or senses the pattern?
The people I have met at LCI are hard working and want to do a good job. I cannot believe there ia a culture of corruption. Yes there may be a bad apple. Do not lump them all together. They may have felt pressure from someone like an alderman or other politico. I do not believe they all are corrupt. It appears that reyes will have his hands full….......
posted by: Angelo's Homegirl on January 11, 2012 1:13pm
HERE WE GO AGAIN!!!!
posted by: Noteworthy on January 11, 2012 1:59pm
One need not be a trained investigator. They just need to be aware of their surroundings and doing their job in terms of looking over applications, and property histories and circumstances that lead to these developments. Hopefully, economic non-development and city plan are not making decisions in a vacuum…are they?
posted by: Stephen Harris on January 11, 2012 4:15pm
@Noteworthy & Steve B,
Attacking city employees with wild accusations of conspiracy is completely unfounded and smacks of paranoia.
I personally know and have worked with the people you are disparaging and your attacks are false, ugly and reckless.
Put the tin foil hat away.
posted by: Outraged on January 11, 2012 4:33pm
Angelo Reyes has ... had a seat on the GAVA Tax District board controlling the direction of that money, and has been the untouchable darling of city hall and LCI who have enabled this ... He takes outrageous liberties and does what ever he pleases to any person or property without consequence, as he knows he will get away with it. Do you think he went through proper procedures for planning, zoning, and building department permits using licensed and insured contractors to make code compliant improvements for all this so called development he did? From what I have seen - I bet not. The smell of back door money is all over this man and goes into city hall and LCI. I hope the Feds look deeper into his financial transactions to see who got paid and expose the corruption that is there.
posted by: cedarhillresident on January 11, 2012 4:43pm
I am with noteworth…but I am not sure who in city hall had ties with this .... ...
posted by: Shocked not on January 11, 2012 9:30pm
First off Thank you NHI for exposing this sickening story on this Reyes as well as the Indictment from Tuesday. Everyone and every single citizen of New Haven who pays taxes and voted for DeStefano should read the indictment. I had to stop reading it as it was making me sick to my stomach with each fact regarding the City of New Haven and it’s obvious involvement someway somehow with this Reyes!!!!!!! Another situation and another story of smelly illegal happenings going on under the watch of your Mayor….simply shocking to read it all..the checks paid to Reyes over and over still even after his properties all were deemed as arson related,. More importantly and sad is the real fact that a Firefighter was injured and many others could have been harmed and or killed from the “alleged schemes” of this Reyes as he cries in the tape trying to redeem himself simply amazing. ...
Everyone please you owe it to yourselves as paying taxed citizens of your city to read the indictment and how the City of New Haven is involved one way or another with this person… Please read the indictment….wow, shocked sad and sick to read all that has occurred again, under the NH Mayors watch and counterparts!!!!!!
The Feds need to further investigate Destefano and how on earth this Reyes was able to “legally” be allowed to purchase and continue his business dealings under the signatures and allowed payments from The City of New Haven…over and over ..... ..NHI Thank you or the read…..
posted by: Gabriela on January 12, 2012 12:17pm
I have been asked to clarify that there is NO GAVA Taxing District…. There is a Grand Avenue Village Association, a non profit who must answer to grantors how and when money is spent. AND there is a Grand Ave Special Services District, which is in fact is a business corridor taxing district. There is even more oversight for this type of organization. The budget is presented annually, it is then presented at an annual meeting, all of the paying members are notified and invited to participate. The budget is discussed and voted on. Then that budget is reviewed by the board of aldermen. So as you can see, the direction in which the money is used is not and cannot be controlled by any one individual, as “Outraged” has claimed.
What a surprise that the FBI’s investigation has led them to City Hall. Not to mention, as described in this latest article, the indictment against Reyes alleges a slew of improper perks and benefits from LCI to Reyes at the taxpayers’ expense. I’m sure your friends at the city are hard working and honest to the extent that they aren’t deliberately abetting ... But Reyes stinks, and everyone knows it. The city is at minimum guilty of deliberately turning a blind eye, and possibly worse.
Tin foil hats indeed.
posted by: Stephen Harris on January 12, 2012 6:04pm
It isn’t surprising the FBI is following the paper trail, that’s routine. But I’ll repeat to you and others to stop wild accusations about people you haven’t worked with. They may not be able to respond but I can.
posted by: cedarhillresident on January 13, 2012 8:55am
@Outraged I think that Gabriela stated it perfectly with regards to the special district tax and the monitoring of that. It is a good program in high density business strips. There are a few area across the city that participate in this program.
on to I stated above that I agreed with Noteworthy, and my comment was edited most likely due to a possible slander comment. I named two individuals I do believe are involved, worked for the city but no longer are employed here. It appears the FBI already has this info. And are trying to build up a case. Angelo is key. Fine he want to keep his lips shut ...