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Feds Eyeing Bridgeport Land Rush

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 8, 2007 8:58PM

2007_11_thislandisyourlandforacoolmillion.jpgFederal authorities must look at Mayor Daley's administration and think he's coated with more teflon than John Gotti with all the aides and "close associates" running afoul of the law. The Feds are investigating eight years of allegations that members of Daley's administration strong-armed Bridgeport property owners into selling their land to politically connected real estate developers. The Tribune article we linked to quoted Jim Mazzochi, who owns a metal plating business in the neighborhood, of being "bullied" into giving up their land. Tactics included threats of property seizure under eminent domain and mass inspections by various city departments for violations.

At the center of the investigation is Thomas DiPiazza, a long-time confidant and business partner of former mayoral aide Tim Degnan. DiPiazza bought a small parcel of polluted land that the city had earmarked for a park in 1996, then sold it back to the city three years ago for $1.2 million. DiPiazza is also one of the primary investors behind the Bridgeport Village townhome complex. Bridgeport Village has since filed for bankruptcy protection and is selling off land it acquired around the finished complex for expansion.