Jeff Cohen from the Hartford Courant had a story online today at http://courant.com/cityline regarding the large amount of city dollars being spent by Corporation Counsel John Rose on outside lawyers hired by the City of Hartford attempting to defend and appealing Freedom of Information Decisions that have been decided against the City. The requests by Cohen and the Courant involve documents that will definitely embarrass the Dishonorable Mayor Eddie A. Perez and his "transparent" regime, but none the less have been ruled as public documents by the FOI Commission and their orders to Rose to release the documents. Rose's strategy appears to be to delay and stall any release through endless appeals, continuances and hearings. All the while the clock is ticking on the meter for the private attorneys and contributing to the City's deficit, all while hoping to shield Perez from embarrassment by the very documents his actions and his administration have created.
One of the more troubling revelations in the article though is that a major player in the appeals and eventually beneficiary of the billing, is an attorney at the firm of Pepe and Hazard. Attorney Richard Wareing seems to have billed the majority of the approximately $125,000 charged to Rose's office and the City of Hartford. The only person close to Wareing is Attorney Fenton Guest, who sources tell me is a personal friend of John Rose.
The reason I find Wareing's billing troublesome is that Wareing also sits as the Chairperson of the City of Hartford's Charter Revision Commission. One of the major points facing the commission, aside from the makeup of the City Council, is the issue of the Corporation Counsel's Office and its responsibility and accountability under the Charter. To me, this would seem to be a major conflict of interest on the part of any attorney receiving tens of thousands of dollars from the same Corporation Counsel's Office that you are potentially sitting in judgement of the very activities and operations of an office that would most likely affect that same attorneys future income and ability to receive work from the Corporation Counsel.
I would ask for an opinion from the City's Ethics Commission, but we all know that Perez appoints them also. Something seems broken here.