Mom Who Lost Girls to Fire: Town Profited Off Tragedy

Madonna Badger: Stamford officials had ulterior motives in quickly razing home

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted May 2, 2013 8:09 AM CDT

(Newser) – There's no question that Madonna Badger suffered an unspeakable tragedy—losing her three daughters and both parents to a Christmas Day fire. But in new court papers, she asserts that the horrors of her experience didn't end there: Connecticut building officials ordered her $1.7 million home torn down less than 24 hours later, and now Badger is alleging they did so as part of a cover-up, and in order to profit off of the tragedy, reports the New York Post. In the newly filed suit, Badger zeroes in on Stamford chief building official Robert DeMarco and his head of city operations, Ernest Orgera.

She asserts there was an "ulterior motive" at play behind the decision to raze the home: a desire to cover up the "multiple failings of the building department" related to improperly granted building permits. She also claims the two saw a big payday in the move, in the form of "numerous types of salvageable scrap metal" that they could sell for big bucks; Orgera had separately been accused of "running metals" in a city report. The suit also notes that DeMarco submitted a "notarized affidavit" attesting that Badger OKed the demolition; but she didn't sign such an order until Jan. 10. She is seeking unspecified damages.

In this Dec. 25, 2011, file photo, firefighters investigate a house in Stamford, Conn., where an early morning fire left five people dead.
In this Dec. 25, 2011, file photo, firefighters investigate a house in Stamford, Conn., where an early morning fire left five people dead.   (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg, File)
In this Jan. 5, 2012 file photo, Matthew Badger, left, and Madonna Badger, the parents of three children that were killed in a fire, react as their caskets are carried into a church.
In this Jan. 5, 2012 file photo, Matthew Badger, left, and Madonna Badger, the parents of three children that were killed in a fire, react as their caskets are carried into a church.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
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