Earlier this week, I provided an update on Derek Bluford, the indicted former founder of a legal technology company whose newly published book claims he was an FBI informant.

Now there is more news about Bluford, as the publication New Haven Independent reports on a 2019 dinner Bluford had with Toni Harp, then the mayor of New Haven, Conn., at a steakhouse, during which Bluford handed her an envelope stuffed with $7,000 in cash.

The meeting of Bluford, Harp and Andrea Scott, Harp’s top aide, had been held to discuss a possible contract between the city and Bluford’s company Government App Solutions (originally Text to Ticket, as I discussed in my post this week), as well as to discuss Harp’s then-struggling reelection campaign.

According to the report in the Independent, when Harp and Scott later opened the envelope, they were shocked to find the cash rather than a legitimate campaign contribution. They said they returned the money and put Bluford in touch with a campaign fundraising consultant.

As for Bluford, he claimed he was wearing a wire during the dinner as an FBI informant in a sting operation.

On Harp’s last day in office, the report says, her administration’s controller signed a contract with Government App Solutions. She has not been charged with any crime or even questioned about one, the report says.

Since then, after the FBI contacted New Haven officials to report it was investigating the contract, the city canceled the contract. Earlier this year, in Sacramento, Calif., Bluford’s home city, the U.S. Attorney’s office subpoenaed documents from Government App Solutions as part of a grand jury investigation, including documents relating to its business dealings with New Haven.

Bluford discusses much of this in his new book, offering what the Independent describes as “florid details” of his alleged dealings with New Haven and other cities, many of which can be neither confirmed nor refuted.

Meanwhile Harp, the former mayor, recently told the Independent that she is going to look into suing Bluford. “It didn’t happen the way he said,” she said. “I’m pretty sure we didn’t break any laws.”

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.