Lawmaker: Pollution authority targets homes in Bridgeport
State Sen. Ed Gomes is searching for answers as to why the Bridgeport Water Pollution Control Authority has moved to foreclose on 1,200 properties in the past 10 years.
Sen. Gomes held a meeting at the Bridgeport Public Library Thursday to hear from homeowners who feel like they were treated unfairly by WPCA.
"One law firm is handling this, and it looks like they're making a heck of a lot of money in it," Sen. Gomes says.
About two dozen residents gathered at the library, along with Gomes and two City Council members, Denese Taylor-Moye and Jack Banta.
Trumbull resident Mo Savage says he helped organized the meeting after his friend almost lost her home to foreclosure.
"It was a friend of mine who was about to lose her home, and she had nowhere to go. She tried all kinds of ways to lower her utilities and for whatever reason, they would not listen to her," Savage says.
Community members say they're planning more meetings in the future to prevent additional foreclosures.
The city attorney says the aggressive tactics are necessary, but some homeowners say it is leaving them with a mountain of legal bills that they simply cannot pay.
In some cases, court records show that homeowners are forced to pay several thousand dollars in legal bills on top of what they initially owed. Nearly all the WPCA's foreclosure cases were handled by the same private attorney, Juda Epstein. News 12 Connecticut contacted Epstein but did not receive a call back.
The WPCA says that 10 years ago, customers owed more than $23 million in unpaid bills but that number is down to $1 million because of their collection efforts. It says that people receive ample notice and that foreclosure is the last resort. The agency also says most were for substantial sewer bills over $2,000.