BRIDGEPORT – A former Bridgeport police lieutenant who claimed he was retaliated against for investigating Mayor John M. Fabrizi and other city officials settled a lawsuit against the city Friday. Under the terms of the out-of-court settlement, John Brenner, who retired from the Police Department two months ago, will receive, in addition to his pension, a lump-sum payment of $10,000. The city has also agreed to pay Brenner’s legal expenses up to $10,000.
“The city denies any and all of Mr. Brenner’s allegations; however, for financial reasons we have agreed to settle the case,” said City Attorney Mark Anastasi. “It was much more cost-efficient to settle the case than to proceed with a trial.”
Brenner’s lawyer, Bryan Carmody, said his client was happy with the resolution of the case.
Brenner joined the Police Department on Oct. 7, 1991. On Jan. 1, 2004, then-Chief Wilbur Chapman appointed him commander of the department’s Office of Internal Affairs.
The lawsuit claims that while serving in that capacity, Brenner “aggressively pursued allegations against officers senior to himself, as well as top-level city officials, up to and including John Fabrizi.” Neither Carmody nor Anastasi would comment on any investigations Brenner performed.
“Those investigations could still be pending,” Carmody said.
“The city put no merit on any of the allegations,” Anastasi said.
The lawsuit continues that in January 2005, Brenner obtained approval from Chapman for an extended leave to train with “an elite federal agency” with the assurance that when he returned, he could resume his post as head of OIA.
Shortly after his departure, Brenner learned that several command-level officers he previously investigated warned that if he returned, he would “get it,” the suit states.
When Brenner returned from his leave in May 2005, Chapman had resigned as chief and the acting chief, Anthony Armeno, would not allow Brenner to resume his OIA job. Instead, he assigned Brenner to the patrol division.
The suit states that the transfer cost Brenner about half of what he earned as head of OIA. “We are not at all concerned about his allegations, other than his claim to certain salaries,” Anastasi said.
By DANIEL TEPFER email@example.com