A January 2014 investigation launched by First Selectman Timothy Herbst into Bridgeport-based AFB Construction Management has resulted in a $20,000 settlement for former school facilities manager and Trumbull resident Al Barbarotta, who sued the town\u2019s top official for \u201ctortious interference\u201d that caused him to lose a business deal with Trumbull Loves Children preschool. After Superior Court Judge Michael Kamp denied Herbst\u2019s lawyer\u2019s motion for summary judgment on June 16 and pushed the case toward a trial, the parties negotiated outside of court and reached an agreement on Oct. 27 that the town\u2019s insurance carrier would pay Barbarotta. \u201cBased on the foregoing, the defendant has not met his burden of proving the lack of a dispute as to any of the material facts that he acted with an improper purpose and without justification,\u201d Judge Kamp wrote before the conclusion of his 35-page summary ruling. The Fairfield District Superior Court judge added that Herbst \u201cchose to interject himself into whom TLC would choose as its representative and he did not give advice, he ordered TLC to find a different contractor.\u201d \u201cHis justifications for his actions are not sufficient for the court to grant judgment as a matter of law,\u201d he continued. Barbarotta\u2019s lawyer, Ed Scofield, spoke with The Times Monday and explained that the judge\u2019s denial led to the parties\u2019 decision to settle. \u201cThe judge didn\u2019t rule in favor of anyone,\u201d said Scofield, who works at Zeldes, Needle & Cooper in Bridgeport. \u201cWhat he said was that a jury should decide \u2014 that the evidence presented by Herbst\u2019s lawyers was not sufficient enough to throw out my client\u2019s claims.\u201d Herbst, who ordered the investigation into school building permits and projects handled by AFB, said Monday afternoon he was glad that the settlement came at no cost to the taxpayers. \u201cI think it says a lot that Mr. Barbarotta probably spent over $200,000 of his own money to settle a claim for $20,000 paid by an insurance carrier,\u201d he told The Times. \u201cI think it speaks to how his claim had absolutely zero merit and was politically motivated. \u201cI\u2019m grateful that we\u2019ve closed that very bad chapter, and it didn\u2019t cost our taxpayers anything,\u201d he added. \u201cThe school district is certainly better off for it and the safety for kids in those school buildings is much better off for it.\u201d Herbst said in January 2014 that he felt the investigation was necessary after media reports that AFB might not have followed proper oversight and inspections on a project in Stamford. Graham Bisset, the town building official, sent a memo to Herbst Feb. 19, 2014, identifying 11 projects for which the building official said he had no records of permits or inspections and another six projects that needed inspections for a certificate of occupancy. The investigation delved into the past 10 years. Projects included items like a boiler replacement at Tashua, new bleachers at Madison Middle School, filling potholes, auditorium renovation at Trumbull High, and masonry repairs for the district. \u201cThe $20,000 in insurance money that paid for the settlement pales in comparison to the million dollars we spent to have him remove snow off buildings, the $66 million we spent on a high school renovation that is fundamentally flawed, and the millions we paid him to remove asbestos from buildings that still have it,\u201d Herbst said Monday. \u201cEvery Trumbull resident should sleep well knowing that that nightmare is over and that he\u2019s done doing business in Trumbull,\u201d he added about the AFB settlement. \u201cHe took the taxpayers and the town of Trumbull for a ride for quite some time \u2014 to their detriment and to the town\u2019s detriment. \u201cI\u2019m glad it\u2019s over and we\u2019ve turned the page.\u201d Calling out Herbst For his part, Barbarotta released a statement to The Times on Saturday, Nov. 7, regarding the settlement. He said the first selectmen had interfered with his contract with TLC and used a variety of town resources to get the case thrown out. \u201cThe judge could simply have denied his motion to dismiss but instead wrote a 30-plus page decision that basically there was enough evidence to proceed with our lawsuit against Tim,\u201d Barbarotta said. \u201cBasically, Tim feels he can break the law and get ammunition because he is the first selectman. \u201cOnce again, he was wrong and the town\u2019s insurance had pay off yet another mistake of Tim's.\u201d Moving forward Herbst said the town has since moved forward with facilities director Mark Deming. \u201cMark is doing a tremendous job,\u201d the first selectman said. \u201cIn a year and a half, he\u2019s done more than Al Barbarotta did in 30 years for our school system and our facilities.\u201d Similar to when he launched the investigation almost two years ago, Herbst pointed to Barbarotta\u2019s ongoing case in Stamford, where local media reported that AFB may not have followed proper oversight and inspections on a school lighting project. \u201cIt appears controversy seems to find him wherever he goes,\u201d he said. \u201cI\u2019m just glad we can move forward now,\u201d he added.