Biagio DiLieto

Biagio DiLieto

Biagio DiLieto

Biagio DiLieto, the former Mayor of New Ha­ven for 10 years and Police Chief for 29 years before that, helped breathe new life into the city during his time in office. He was a Democrat who was known as “Ben” and was a true neighborhood politician.

Mr. DiLieto worked to improve relations be­tween the city and Yale University and fought the development of suburban malls, seeing them as a threat to the merchants of downtown New Haven. His administration took the lead in the renovation of the Shubert Theater, Union Station and the downtown Chapel Square Mall. It promoted the New Haven Jazz Festival, the Artspace gallery and the Audubon Arts District, and saw the environs of Yale turn into a fashionable area of bistros and bookstores.

A former employee, who worked in the DiLieto administration as a development administrator, remembered the mayor’s friendship with A. Bartlett Giamatti, the former Yale president, and how they would amicably test each other on the meaning of words. “The only one who knew more words than Bart Giamatti was Ben DiLieto,’’ he said. Mr. DiLieto was born in New Haven and graduated from the University of New Haven and Yale Law School.

He also attended the F.B.I. Academy. He joined the New Haven Police Department in 1948 as a patrolman. His legacy to the city he so loved and served lives on and is a reflection of all his accomplishments as Mayor of New Haven.