U.S. v. Ganim

Citation510 F.3d 134
Decision Date04 December 2007
Docket NumberDocket No. 03-1448-cr.
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Joseph P. GANIM, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)

Sandra S. Glover, Assistant United States Attorney (Ronald S. Apter, Special Assistant United States Attorney, William J. Nardini, Assistant United States Attorney, on the brief), for Kevin J. O'Connor, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, New Haven, CT, for Appellee.

Eric W. Bloom, Winston & Strawn LLP, Washington, D.C. (Peter Goldberger, Pamela A. Wilk, Alan Ellis, Law Offices of Alan Ellis, Ardmore, PA, Edwin H. Caldie, Winston & Strawn LLP, Washington, D.C., on the brief), for Defendant-Appellant.

Before: JACOBS, Chief Judge, SOTOMAYOR and WESLEY, Circuit Judges.

SOTOMAYOR, Circuit Judge:

Defendant-appellant Joseph P. Ganim ("Ganim"), the former mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut, appeals from the judgment of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut (Arterton, J.). Ganim was convicted, after a jury trial, of racketeering in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c); racketeering conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d); extortion in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951; honest services mail fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341 & 1346; bribery involving programs receiving federal funds in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 666(a)(1)(B); conspiracy to commit bribery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371; and filing false income tax returns in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7206(1). Ganim was sentenced principally to 108 months' imprisonment for his offenses.

On appeal, Ganim contends that in order to prove his guilt (on all but the tax crimes), the government was required to link each alleged benefit Ganim received to a specific official act he performed.1 We hold that the government was not required to allege or to prove that type of direct link, and conclude that the jury was properly charged on the law. In a separate summary order filed today, we reject Ganim's other challenges to his conviction and sentence, and hold that: (1) the indictment and bills of particular sufficiently informed Ganim of the charges against him; (2) the prosecutor's closing remarks did not amount to misconduct warranting reversal; (3) the district court did not err in declining to recess jury deliberations after a juror reported that she may have been fired from her job; and (4) Ganim's resentencing process under United States v. Crosby, 397 F.3d 103 (2d Cir.2005) was constitutional and his sentence was reasonable. We AFFIRM the judgment below.

I. Offense Conduct2

Ganim served as the mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut (the "City") from 1991 through the time of his conviction in 2003. As mayor, Ganim was responsible for the overall operation of municipal government and, among other responsibilities, had final authority over the City's contracts. During his first campaign for mayor, Ganim became acquainted with Leonard J. Grimaldi ("Grimaldi"), who acted as a media advisor, and Paul J. Pinto ("Pinto"), who began as his driver and aide. Ganim developed close relationships with Grimaldi and Pinto over the years that followed. Grimaldi subsequently formed a public relations company called Harbor Communications, of which he was the sole proprietor and employee. Pinto became associated with (and later purchased an ownership interest in) the Kasper Group, a Bridgeport architecture and engineering firm.

A. PSG Contract Bid

In 1995 and 1996, Bridgeport was considering privatizing its wastewater treatment facilities. Ganim suggested that Grimaldi contact Professional Services Group ("PSG") to act as PSG's public relations consultant in connection with its bid for the water treatment contract. Grimaldi then contacted PSG, which retained him as a consultant for a fee of $30,000. PSG submitted a proposal for the contract, as did U.S. Water, a competing firm which was represented by Pinto and by United Properties. The owners of United Properties, Albert Lenoci, Sr. and Albert Lenoci, Jr. (the "Lenocis"), were Ganim's political benefactors.

After the bids were submitted, Ganim told Pinto that he had decided to award the contract to PSG, but that Pinto should arrange a financial deal between PSG and United Properties because Ganim did not want to choose between big supporters. Ganim told Pinto that "[i]f they want the deal, they'll do it." In turn, Pinto explained to Grimaldi that if PSG wanted to win the contract, it would have to "take care of the Lenocis." Grimaldi acquiesced, as did PSG upon his advice. PSG agreed to pay Grimaldi $70,000 more per year for the contract's duration, which he was to pass on to Pinto and the Lenocis. Pinto informed Ganim of the deal, and Ganim approved the selection of PSG to operate the wastewater treatment facilities.

Between May 1997 and April 1999, PSG paid Grimaldi roughly $311,396 in consulting fees, much but not all of which Grimaldi paid to Pinto. Grimaldi and Pinto used some portion of this money to provide Ganim benefits such as entertainment, meals and clothing.

B. Fifty-Fifty Fee Sharing Agreement

In December 1996, Ganim traveled with Pinto and Grimaldi to Tucson, Arizona. During the trip, Ganim told them they should "join forces" by agreeing to split any consulting fees they earned through future dealings with the City, and that Ganim would steer contracts to the pair, in return for which they would "tak[e] care of" his expenses and needs. Upon returning to Bridgeport, the three men met to confirm the agreement. Grimaldi testified that during that meeting, he and Pinto agreed that:

a portion of that money [from the agreement] would be to take care of [Ganim]. If he needed cash, we would take care of him. If he needed suits, we'd take care of him. If he needed shirts, we'd take care of him. Any needs that he required, off of that 50/50 arrangement, we would take care of [Ganim]. In exchange for that, [Ganim] would make sure that all of our clients would get work from the city if they wanted it, that he would steer city contracts and jobs to our clients ....

Pursuant to the fee sharing agreement, Ganim steered certain projects (some of which are discussed below) to Pinto's and Grimaldi's clients from February 1997 to April 1999. Meanwhile, Grimaldi and Pinto provided Ganim with cash, meals, fitness equipment, designer clothing, wine, jewelry and other items. Also at around that time, Grimaldi employed Ganim's wife. At Ganim's insistence, Grimaldi overpaid her, gave her payments in cash and did not report her income to the Internal Revenue Service.

C. Bridgeport Energy-Funded Programs

In 1998, Ganim had Grimaldi arrange for Bridgeport Energy — one of Grimaldi's clients — to contribute one million dollars to fund a promotional advertising campaign and the City's "Clean & Green" program, which demolished and rehabilitated blighted properties. Ganim then arranged for Grimaldi to oversee the advertising campaign and for one of the Lenocis' firms, represented by Pinto, to administer the Clean & Green monies. Pursuant to the fee-sharing agreement, Grimaldi and Pinto used a portion of their consulting fees for these programs to benefit Ganim.

D. PSG Contract Extension & One-Third-Each Fee Sharing

In late 1998, PSG sought a long-term extension of its contract to operate the City's wastewater treatment facilities. In a meeting with Grimaldi and Pinto, Ganim told Grimaldi that he would support the contract extension. In exchange, Grimaldi was to renegotiate his contract with PSG to get more of his consulting fees up front. Ganim also directed that the three men would split those fees — as well as fees from all future deals with the City — one-third each. Grimaldi was to pay Ganim's share to Pinto, who would hold the fees for Ganim. Following these discussions, Grimaldi successfully renegotiated his consulting fees with PSG, such that he was paid $495,000 in a front-loaded deal. On May 27, 1999, Ganim awarded PSG the contract extension. Over several weeks Grimaldi paid Pinto roughly two-thirds of the consulting fee, one third of which was for Ganim. Pinto kept Ganim's share mixed with his own money to avoid detection.

Throughout most of 1999, Grimaldi and Pinto provided Ganim — upon his request — with money and benefits such as wine, cabinets, home improvements and meals. Pinto stated at trial that "I was holding [Ganim's] money. When he needed the money, I'd give it to him or use it the way he directed me to...."

In September 1999, Ganim and Grimaldi had a "falling out," and eventually Grimaldi stopped paying Ganim's portion of the money to Pinto. From that point forward, Ganim shunned Grimaldi and prevented his clients from obtaining contracts with the City.

E. Life Insurance Policy

In early 1999, Ganim sought to use City funds to purchase a one-million-dollar life insurance policy for himself, as well as for certain City department heads as "cover." He approached Frank Sullivan ("Sullivan"), a childhood friend who had become a stockbroker, about brokering the deal. Ganim approved the purchase of the policies in April 1999 without the City Council's approval. After the purchase of the policies was leaked to the media, Ganim wrote to The Hartford Life Insurance Company to request that his own policy be terminated, but did not fill out the appropriate paperwork so that the policy would remain in effect. At the end of the fiscal year, Ganim had the funding for the policies inserted as one of many summary budget transfers, which were approved by the City Council.

Sullivan received a $17,500 commission for serving as the broker for Ganim's policy. Acting on behalf of Ganim, Pinto advised Sullivan that if Sullivan wanted to do more business with the City, he would have to pay a kickback. Sullivan subsequently paid $5,000 in cash for Ganim and Pinto to share.

F. Pension Plans

In the fall of 1999, Sullivan sought to become the broker of record for two...

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