A crime in Connecticut?

Fotis Dulos, CEO of Farmington development firm Fore Group, is at the center of a case involving the mysterious disappearance of his wife

Aug.August 19, 2019 01:00 PM

Fotis Dulos stands during a court hearing in June in Stamford. (AP Images/ Erik Trautmann)

The only thing certain in the mystery involving a Connecticut developer is that after more than two months, Jennifer Farber Dulos has yet to be found.

On the morning of May 24, the estranged wife of Fore Group CEO Fotis Dulos dropped her children off at school in New Canaan and was due in New York for doctor appointments. She never made it to a single one. Later that evening, having not heard from her, friends reported her missing.

While the police don’t have a complete picture of what happened that day, they did find gruesome evidence suggesting sinister events, and they did make arrests: Dulos and his lover Michelle Troconis.

Since then, Dulos and his company’s fine-tuned images have entered the spotlight — but they’ve grown shadier and shadier at the same time.

Before being pushed into national focus, Dulos was mostly known as a successful developer in Connecticut’s Farmington Valley luxury home community. And he has the trophies to prove it.

Dulos and his company, Fore Group, had racked up nearly three dozen awards over 10 years from the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Connecticut. The CEO leaned heavily on this recognition in his marketing to burnish his company’s image — a common strategy in the homebuilding industry.

— Listing agent for home of embattled Connecticut developer speaks out

“We are so saddened by the situation and press reports that have come out to date regarding Fotis Dulos,” Joanne Carroll, the chair of the association’s sales and marketing council, told TRD. “Although we know the builders on a professional level, the Home Building Industry Awards program is about the quality of the submitted projects.”

Despite all the accolades, court documents allege that the firm has existed largely on financing from Farber Dulos’ parents: Hilliard Farber, who died in early 2017, and Gloria Farber, who now represents her late husband’s estate.

Gloria Farber has filed three civil lawsuits against Dulos, claiming he failed to repay $3 million in loans — funds she said were used to buy and develop homes in Farmington, New Canaan and Avon. The documents allege Dulos stopped making payments and defaulted on the loans. He contends the loans were actually gifts. 

One of the properties the loans helped pay for, according to the lawsuits, is the 15,000-square-foot house at 4 Jefferson Crossing in Farmington where Farber Dulos lived until the couple separated in 2017, after which Troconis and her daughter moved in.

The home is also recorded as the headquarters of Fore Group and is one of five properties the firm currently lists for sale.

A representative from Fore Group declined to comment.

Inside the investigation

That isn’t the only ongoing litigation Dulos is involved in: He and Farber Dulos had been in the midst of a two-year divorce proceeding. The couple was locked in a contentious legal battle over custody of their five children, with a litany of claims and counterclaims. Among the statements Farber Dulos made were that she feared for her and her children’s safety and that Dulos had exhibited irrational, bullying behavior, according to the Stamford Advocate.

The proceedings were ongoing when Farber Dulos disappeared, leading police to suspect that Dulos might be involved with her disappearance.

On June 1, Connecticut State Police arrested Dulos and Troconis and charged them with evidence tampering and hindering prosecution.

Through a spokesperson, defense attorney Norm Pattis declined requests for an interview with Fotis Dulos. Andrew Bowman, defense attorney for Michelle Troconis, didn’t return a call seeking comment.

According to the arrest warrant police filed for Dulos, investigators said that when they searched Farber Dulos’ home in New Canaan, they found multiple stains on the garage floor that tested positive for human blood, multiple areas of suspected blood splatters elsewhere and evidence of attempts to clean up what they labeled as a crime scene.

“Investigators came to the consensus that a serious physical assault had occurred at the scene,” the warrant said, “and Jennifer Dulos was the suspected victim.”

Her empty 2017 Chevrolet Suburban was found later, three miles from her home at a local park just north of the Merritt Parkway — the major east-west thoroughfare in southern Connecticut that is part of a direct route to Hartford, the state’s capital.

Hartford comes into play because that’s where two people who matched the descriptions of Dulos and Troconis were allegedly caught on police surveillance cameras in a black Ford Raptor truck on the evening of her disappearance, driving along a four-mile route down Albany Avenue and stopping more than 30 times to dump unidentified items in trash cans and a storm drain, according to the arrest warrant.

Police said a 2014 black Ford Raptor was registered to Fore Group and that Fotis was seen on residential surveillance cameras returning to his house that night in the truck. Later, according to police, a search warrant provided them with tracking data that put Dulos’ phone at the locations and times where the two people in the truck were seen. The revelations triggered an exhaustive search of Albany Avenue as well as a three-week hunt by police who painstakingly dug through a trash plant that handled pickups from the area, according to multiple media reports.

During their search, police found evidence in a garbage bin along the Albany Avenue route that included a Vineyard Vines T-shirt stained with Farber Dulos’ blood that they believe she had worn the morning she dropped her children off at school, the Hartford Courant reported. The T-shirt was reportedly found in a black contractor bag with a bra, two mops and some sponges also stained with blood.

After pleading not guilty, Dulos and Troconis are free on $500,000 bond. They face separate pretrial hearings for the tampering and hindering charges. Authorities have not filed any additional charges.

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