A city contractor who was embroiled in a corruption investigation that led to the conviction of former Mayor Eddie Perez applied for a special form of probation Thursday.
Judge David Gold ordered Carlos Costa to return to Hartford Superior Court Feb. 24, when Judge Julia Dewey will decide whether to grant him accelerated rehabilitation, a program that would allow his record to be cleared if he successfully completes a probationary term.
Prosecutors charged that Perez, 53, accepted deeply discounted home improvement work from Costa in exchange for Perez's help in holding onto a $5.3 million contract to renovate Park Street -- a job mired in problems.
Costa and other witnesses testified during Perez's four-week trial that the former mayor assigned Charles Crocini, director of capital projects in the mayor's office, to run interference for Costa and try to settle $1.7 million in claims from Costa for extra payments beyond the contract price, even though public works officials and an expert consultant said that most of the claims lacked merit.
The prosecution also asserted that Perez wanted North End politician Abraham Giles to be paid to vacate a parking lot on a sliver of land crucial to a developer's plans for a condominium and shopping center.
While interviewing City Councilwoman Veronica Airey-Wilson in 2008, investigators from the Chief State's Attorney's office learned that Costa, of USA Contractors, had also performed work at her home. She later produced what investigators believed to be a fabricated proof of payment.
During testimony at Perez's trial, Costa said he installed the countertop in Airey-Wilson's butler's pantry at her request and didn't intend to charge her.
Perez was convicted of five felony corruption charges in June, and later sentenced to three years in prison.
A judge granted Airey-Wilson, who was charged with tampering with evidence, accelerated rehabilitation in October.
The city of Hartford paid Costa $485,000 in September to settle a lawsuit he filed seeking money owed to him for work on the stalled Park Street project. Costa had sued the city for $2.2 million last year, citing breach of contract, unpaid change orders and unpaid work on the project.