Judge annoyed by wrangling over DiNardo 'farm' in Fairfield
Updated 6:06 am, Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Last August the judge ordered DiNardo to clean up one of the most valuable pieces of property in the county -- more than a dozen acres on Redding Road in the Greenfield Hill section of town -- where DiNardo said he was creating a cranberry bog and to pay nearly $500,000 to the town and a local trust for damages he caused. No reparations have been made, and the once-pristine property now resembles an unfinished construction site.
On several occasions the town filed motions asking the judge to find DiNardo in contempt of court for failing to follow the judge's orders, only to withdraw the motions at the last moment.
On Monday the town was back before Gilardi in Bridgeort Superior Court, again on a motion by the town for contempt. Again, Fairfield withdrew the motion.
Newman told the judge the two sides are still squabbling over the amount of the bond DiNardo is supposed to put up to ensure he did the cleanup. The judge had ordered a bond of $300,000, while Newman said DiNardo was willing to pay $30,000.
Meanwhile, Rooney told the judge that construction materials for the cleanup had been delivered to the site but the work was being held up by inclement weather.
"We have a modus operandi worked out," Newman continued.
"You had a modus operandi worked out for about a year," the judge retorted.
But Gilardi agreed to continue the case for two weeks, adding, "If you don't work it out in two weeks I am going to start imposing a fine of $1,000 a day."
DiNardo did not respond to requests for comment as he left the courthouse. Newman said he believes the work will get done.
"We have the materials on site to start phase one," Rooney said. He said the above-average rainfall has forced delays, but that DiNardo expects to have his experts meet soon with town officials to work out a "check list."
DiNardo has a long and contentious history with Fairfield officials over the prime Redding Road real estate dating back to 2001 when he purchased it to build several luxury homes on the site.
However, the town denied that proposal because of wetlands on the property. DiNardo then began filling in the wetlands on the property, saying he was creating a farm and a cranberry bog there. Farms are exempted from local wetlands regulations.
DiNardo prevented town officials from inspecting the site from the ground, so their only course was to hire a helicopter and inspect it from the air.
It then became apparent, according to court testimony, that DiNardo had removed all the wetlands soil and vegetation from the site and replaced it with discarded construction debris.
The result of this action, testimony stated, is that sediment from the property along with water runoff flowed into the adjoining 100 acres owned by the Wilmington Trust.
After three years of litigation, Gilardi in 2007 imposed an injunction on DiNardo blocking him from doing any more development on the property and ordering him to restore it to its previous condition.