The city paid nearly $10,000 to cart away tons of trash from the privately owned warehouse of a political power broker who has been at the center of several questionable deals involving the administration of Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez.
The deal has sparked the interest of state criminal investigators, who are also asking questions about the timing of the payments.
Alex Marcellino, a public works official who worked with Giles at the request of the mayor, said the city paid Dainty's bills four months ago as the result of a ``misunderstanding.'' He said Monday that the city was now asking Giles for reimbursement.
Asked Monday about the payments, Perez said Giles called him for help cleaning the warehouse. The mayor then directed Marcellino to get in touch with Giles.
``He called, just like any owner,'' Perez said. ``I didn't even ask him the details. I just said: `It's public works, send it over to Alex and let them deal with it the way they would normally deal with it.'''
Perez said that his involvement ended there. He said that if Giles benefited from city services, he would have to pay the $9,670 bill.
``He should be billed,'' Perez said. ``If we provided a service to him, he should be billed.''
The deal is being looked at by the same state investigators who two weeks ago searched the mayor's Bloomfield Avenue home and the office of a contractor who did roughly $20,000 worth of kitchen and bathroom work for Perez. That contractor -- Carlos Costa -- does millions of dollars of work with the city.
The mayor has said that although Costa began the work on his home in 2005 and substantially completed it in 2006, he paid Costa only last month, after taking out a loan to do so. Perez has acknowledged it was a mistake to hire a city contractor, and not to take out the necessary permits.
State investigators have been asking questions and collecting documents at city hall since at least late April, when questions surfaced about two parking lot deals involving Giles, a former state representative who is a political ally of the mayor.
Giles is also a longtime mover for the city. Since 2002, Giles' business, G&G Enterprises, has earned nearly $300,000 in city money moving the left-behind property of evicted tenants to a public works department facility. By state law, the city must protect that property for 15 days.
Giles' contract for that work lapsed in 2004, leaving him to operate without a valid contract until this year, when questions from The Courant prompted city officials to expedite the competitive bid process for the work.
On May 21 -- months after the city sent Dainty Rubbish to haul away debris from Giles' warehouse -- the city went out to bid on a contract to move and store the property of evicted city tenants. Giles won that contract, which also included a new provision giving the city the option to use his newly cleared-out building at 726 Windsor St. for storage.
It was unclear Monday whether the city has yet exercised that option.
Monday, Giles said he could not remember much about the city's involvement in the cleaning of his warehouse. Pressed further, Giles said he had never asked that the city do the job.
Asked why the city would clean his private property, Giles again said his memory was not clear. But he said he suspected that the city wanted to have the option of using the space as storage for the property of evicted tenants.
``I think that is where it was heading, but it never got to that,'' Giles said. ``It may still come to that. It is open. They still may get to it. It is still an option.''
But Marcellino, the city staff member who helped arrange the Dumpster for Giles, said his actions had nothing to do with any future city plans for the warehouse. Marcellino said he didn't know that Giles was later going to bid on a contract that would have paid him to use the facility.