Former Connecticut budget official arrested, pleads not guilty to bribery and extortion charges

A former top official in Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s budget office who played a key role in school construction grants and offshore wind projects was arrested Thursday morning and later pleaded not guilty to extortion, bribery, conspiracy and false statement charges in an alleged scheme involving contractors.

Konstantinos “Kosta” Diamantis, a former state representative and a lawyer, appeared in federal court in Hartford in the afternoon, pleaded not guilty to 22 charges and was released on $500,000 bail. He has denied any wrongdoing.

U.S. Attorney Vanessa Roberts Avery and officials with the FBI and IRS allege Diamantis demanded and received thousands of dollars in bribes from contractors from 2018 to 2021, in exchange for helping the companies obtain and maintain contracts for work on multimillion-dollar, state-funded school construction projects.

Federal authorities on Thursday also announced that three executives with two contractors pleaded guilty earlier in the week to conspiring to bribe Diamantis.

“Constructing and renovating schools is an important, and very expensive, endeavor for our state and municipalities, and corruption within a program that manages and funds them adds cost, seriously erodes trust in government, and raises questions about work quality and the potential harms to students and educators in the classroom,” Avery

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