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Delivery Man Lives To Tell the Tale

by marcia chambers | Apr 2, 2014 11:33 am

Two would-be burglars arrived in Branford in a pick-up truck, getting off the ramp on I-95 and onto Cedar Street, the town’s main entrance, shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday.

They parked their truck in a small lot outside a condo unit on NorthMain Street, across the street from Dunkin Donuts. The idea was to come via Exit 54 and to leave via Exit 54.

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Branford “Ponzi Scheme” Financier Gets Eight Years, Four Months

by marcia chambers | Mar 19, 2014 11:40 am

UPDATE—Feisal Sharif, a former Branford financier turned Ponzi scheme artist, was sentenced to eight years and four months in prison today in U.S. District Court after admitting he defrauded scores of investors of about $3.68 million over a nine-year period. 

In a 26-page sentencing memorandum Senior Asst. U.S. Attorney Richard J. Schechter had asked the court to sentence Sharif to at least seven years in prison “for violating the trust placed in him by the numerous victims of his Ponzi scheme.”

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Town Ends Final Tabor Case; No Insurance Appeal

by marcia chambers | Mar 10, 2014 6:49 am

File photo First Selectman Jamie Cosgove will not appeal a recent court ruling that the town of Branford was not covered by insurance when it seized the 77-acre Tabor property by eminent domain a decade ago.

Last month Cosgrove asked Town Attorney Bill Aniskovich to file a notice of appeal in order to preserve a court deadline and buy time for a full review of the insurance case, the last in a series of Tabor-related cases that have dominated Branford’s legal landscape.

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State Legislators Ready To Reverse FOI Restrictions

by marcia chambers | Mar 4, 2014 1:44 pm | Comments (2)

Marcia Chambers Photo State Sen. Ed Meyer (D- 12th) long a defender of the public’s right to know, believes that a law hastily adopted last June in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school murders “is a danger to our history.”  He said he would oppose a task force’s recommendation to continue the law when the legislature votes this session. 

“Once government decides to cover up what it is doing, whether it is police or school officials or state senators, then it absolutely attacks our democratic system, democratic with a small d,” he said in an interview on the Branford Eagle’s BCTV cable show

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Town Files Notice To Appeal In Tabor Insurance Carrier Cases

by marcia chambers | Feb 6, 2014 3:11 pm

Tabor File Photo First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove yesterday took the first step to overturn a recent judicial decision that found the town of Branford was not covered by its insurers when it seized the 77-acre Tabor property (pictured) by eminent domain a decade ago. The argument: The judge ruled that eminent domain was excluded as an insured category when the town seized the property.

Cosgrove said he was acting within a court deadline in order to preserve the town’s right to appeal “while we complete the legal review necessary to determine whether there exists any basis for a successful appeal.” In short the town is buying some needed time to analyze a long and complicated case that was first filed in 2008. This is the last in a series of Tabor-related cases still on the court docket.   

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“When You Go To Trial, Will You Say No One Is Dead?”

by marcia chambers | Jan 30, 2014 9:33 am

With Permission Three months after the state’s highest court heard arguments on how to fund expert witnesses for indigent defendants who represent themselves in criminal cases, the defendant who brought that case, Dr. Lishan Wang was back in New Haven Superior Court this week arguing with the judge about who the victim in this murder case really is. 

A 45-minute court hearing before Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Clifford featured a feisty motion in which Dr. Wang called Judge Clifford’s conduct “shameful.” His reason: On occasion Judge Clifford has referred to Dr.Vanjinder Toor, the man Dr. Wang is accused of gunning down, as a victim.

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$5M Ponzi Schemer Gets 4 Years

by Paul Bass | Jan 29, 2014 9:25 am

Marcia Chambers Photo Juan Jose Alvarez de Lugo robbed his victims with a sales pitch and a website, not a gun. His lawyer asked a judge Monday to free him from prison—because white-collar criminals his age are more likely than drug-gang leaders to go straight and react to public humiliation.

The judge wasn’t buying.

Before the feds caught up with him, Alvarez de Lugo used some of the proceeds of his $5 million scam to build a12-room, 4,967 square-foot dream home (pictured) on Branford’s Huntington Drive,

Click here to read the full story.

Landmark Education Financing Lawsuit Heads To Trial

by marcia chambers | Jan 17, 2014 11:10 am

File Photo Back in 2007 when State Rep. Lonnie Reed was the chair of the Branford Representative Town Meeting’s (RTM) Education Committee, she pressed for the town to join a major statewide lawsuit that if successful would more fairly and equitably fund the state’s public schools.

Yesterday Superior Court Judge Kevin Dubay ruled that the lawsuit will finally head to trial, sooner rather than later. 

Judge Dubay, who sits in Hartford, rejected the state’s latest effort to delay the trial for 16 months. The judge said there might be a short delay to accommodate summer vacations. He has since announced Sept. 9 at the date for trial.  He voiced concern that the state’s Attorney General’s office seemed unable to adhere to deadlines.  (Click here to read that story in the Connecticut Mirror.)

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Aniskovich & Law Firm Hired As Town Counsel

by Diana Stricker | Jan 16, 2014 9:03 am

Diana Stricker Photo Branford will have a “hybrid” form of legal counsel with the services of Brenner, Saltzman and Wallman LLC of New Haven; and attorney William Aniskovich (pictured left) of Branford, who will oversee the general legal needs of the town.

The appointment of the New Haven-based firm as town counsel was unanimously approved by First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove and Second Selectman Joe Higgins at last night’s Board of Selectmen (BOS) meeting. Bruce Storm, the sole Democrat on the three-member board, was absent.

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Alleged Multimillion-Dollar Diet Scam Housed in Branford Condo

by marcia chambers | Jan 8, 2014 2:25 pm

For about two years, a massive $25 million weight-loss scam allegedly operated out of a condo office at Branford’s 420 East Main St., in building 2, Suite 8. The scam allegedly drew in unwitting consumers across the nation, consumers who relied on fake news sites, $79.99 a month at a time.

Over a period of 19 months from September 2010 to April 2011, a Guilford man named Boris Mizhen, along with Richard Chiang, who allegedly operated a company named LeadClick Media in Poway, California, devised “unfair and deceptive” media practices to advertise the benefits of diet supplements and to use “real reporters” to sell the product. The operation was a fake, authorities say. 

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