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Saturday, September 19, 2009


Last week I posted that an agreement had been reached between the State of Connecticut Consumer Protection Commissioner, the City of Hartford and the owners of the Mansion Nightclub to re-open the club. Apparently that re-opening has been delayed due to Health Department inspection issues and the clubs failure to be granted the proper permits. The Mansion had been closed by the State of Connecticut after several violent incidents occurred in the club.

The club will remain closed at least through the weekend and no new date for opening is available at this time.

Friday, September 18, 2009


On April 27, 2009 a check from the City of Hartford in the amount of $500.00 was issued to the Coolest Cow Bakery on New Britain Avenue in Hartford. That part is a fact. Another fact is that the owners of the Coolest Cow Bakery are Epifanio and Yessica Perez. Epifanio Perez is also the PTO President at the Batchelder School, located a few blocks east of the Coolest Cow Bakery, also on New Britain Avenue. From this point on the facts differ, depending on who you believe.

Sometime after April 27, 2009 Yessica Perez received a check for $500.00 made out to the Coolest Cow Bakery from the City of Hartford. Since they had not done any work for the City or provided any services, the Perez's were "in dismay" of the payment. Apparently there was tension at Batchelder Scool between the new Principal, James Pappas and the staff and parents. Norma Castro, a staff member at the school, at the urging of Pappas, asked the Perez's to fill out paperwork so that the Coolest Cow Bakery could become a vendor for the school. Perez apparently perceived a potential conflict of interest in being a vendor and PTO Prsident at the same school. Surprisingly, Principal Pappas, in his written statement,also had thoughts that he "was not 100% sure it would be the right thing to do" to offer money to the Coolest Cow Bakery. When Epifanio was originally asked if he would accept the check and was told it was on the way already, Epifanio told Norma Castro "I did not want any money for what we have given the school". Epi Perez further stated "the check for $500.00 just appeared made out to us". Barbara deJesus, the school secretary, according to Epifanio "kept calling us to cash the check" and they told her they "were concerned about the legality of us receiving the check" And here is the clincher according to Epifanio Perez. On April 16th, Epifanio stated that he was in Batchelder School and was approached by Principal Pappas. He claims that Pappas asked him to help "because the parents are against him (Pappas)". Epifanio states that Pappas said "I had to help him.Remember I gave you $500.00 for your business". Epifanio, in his written statement says " I told him I never asked for any money and I did not want any money. I felt he was trying to bribe us.". From here it gets even more questionable as to the intent of the payment. When the Perez's began looking into and questioning the payment, an invoice from "the Coolest Cow Bakery" was produced. The only problem was the logo created on the invoice was not their logo and the signature identified as that of Epifanio Perez was not his and apparently a forgery. Eventually as part of the investigation conducted by the Board of Education, Norma Castro admitted in her statement that apparently Barbara deJesus had made up the fraudulent invoice and she (Castro) eventually forged the signature on the document(copy of invoice included in PDF file below along with investigation report and statements). Castro says in her statement that she signed Epifanio's signature at his request during a phone conversation, but he strongly denies that he ever authorized her to sign his name.

Principal Pappas's statement seems to concur with Epifanio's statement that he was having a rough time with parents at the school. Pappas wrote that he reminded Perez that "we had already allocated money to his business as part of being involved with the school". Pappas never defined what that involvement was and there is no mention of services or goods being delivered in exchange for the $500.00 payment. There also was never any mention of any agreement requiring future goods or services being delivered in exchange for the $500.00. In reviewing the documents provided through this FOI request, there was no record of the required vendor application forms or W-9Tax forms that are normally required to process a payment. That raises further questions about the accounting practices and safeguards being used to process payments by the Board of Education.

What exactly the $500.00 payment was for or what the expectations were in exchange for the $500.00 were never spelled out in any of the statements, other than Epifanio's statement that he felt he was being bribed.

Investigation Report Part 1:
FOI Batchelder Investigation, Part 1

Investigation Report, Part 2

Foi Batch Elder Investigation Part 2

Batchelder Investigation, Discipline Letters
Foi Batch Elder Investigation Letters


For anyone that has read the paper the past week, read the blogs, or even attended Dan Carey's wake or funeral, it is pretty clear that he is held in high regard. It seems pretty obvious that no one of Dan's style of class and integrity will walk into the Clerk's Office to fill Dan's position anytime soon.

Whether the Hartford City Council realizes it or not, it is not only the Mayor that is under a cloud of suspicion. Anyone observing Hartford City Hall from the outside seems very suspect of any action taken now by municipal government. To quickly fill the position of Hartford City Clerk , just for the sake of filling it, would be a huge mistake. If the City Council is serious about doing the right thing for Hartford, inserting another political operative is definitely not the right thing. The position of Hartford City Clerk is a critical position in the smooth operation and credibility of our city. And no, this is not an attempt at comedy, credibility and Hartford can be used in the same sentence, but it starts with cleaning out cronies from City Hall, not putting more in.Realistically, the life expectancy of the Perez Administration is most likely very short. The time is now for the City Council to find the best person possible to fill this position and start the house cleaning while they have the chance. Short of Dan Carey's long lost identical twin walking into City Hall, that is not going to happen easily.

Is there any reason to fill the position within a week after Dan's death? Yes, I know the business of Hartford goes on. But Dan was a person that built a loyal and faithful, and most importantly a very competent staff. Although Dan was at the top of the ladder, the office didn't run itself. Unfortunately, early retirement buyouts have just taken a hit on the clerks office as key peole put in their papers to retire just days before the loss of Dan. But, those retirements are not set in stone. I would venture to say that anyone of them would gladly stay on to honor Dan's memory if asked to help guarantee a smooth transition.Wouldn't it make sense to name an "acting" Clerk while we search for the best possible candidate?

In all the calls and information I get complaining and giving me information about City Hall, I can honestly say that not once have I heard a complaint about Dan Carey or the operation of the Clerk's Office. That in and of itself speaks volumes about the operation of the office, that in the cesspool we know as Hartford City Hall, Dan and his staff were able to stay far away from the stench.

Another big issue that I have though, is the selection process. It seems to me that this would be another big reason to gather information before any appointment as to what has been happening for the last few years in City Hall. With the Grand Jury report having been sealed, we have no way of knowing if potential names mentioned for Carey's replacement have clean hands in the operation of City Government. I am not a gambler, but I think it is a safe bet that information is in that final report that might hurt the chances of some. And what are the qualifications of those mentioned to properly do the job? Any knowledge of real estate transactions and procedures? campaign finance laws and filings? corporate law? This is an appointment for life. An incoming Mayor or Council can not remove the Clerk at will. This is a selection that needs to make sense for the long haul, not just short term because someone wants or needs a job and is a good guy.

Appoint an acting clerk, start an honest and fair selection process and find the best person possible to carry on Dan's legacy. And maybe we should start with people who haven't been key players in City government during some of the most corrupt times in recent history.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Can anyone identify Matt Hennessey in the picture above from his new website?

Another plug for Jeff Cohen and "Cityline", but Jeff dug up the story about the "private sector" business opportunity that Perez's former Chief of Staff Matt Hennessey left for.

read Jeff's blog entry here at Cityline

Most people starting a new business want to establish a reputation for themselves, that's only logical. But most people starting a new venture also base that reputation in some sort of reality. To view Hennessey's image of himself, click here

Luckily, after reading this website, I myself am able to make a few new claims about my experience to enhance my resume. First off I see that Mr. Hennessey has proclaimed himself an alumnus of the Harvard Business School (this apparently is due to his taxpayer financed 6 weeks at Harvard). I, therefore am declaring myself an alumnus of the UConn School of Law because I once walked through one of their buildings. Out of respect. please call me "Attorney" from this point on. And although Mr. Hennesey has some very nice pictures of the Oval Office and President Obama "deplaning", I once saw Air Force One land, so I guess that means I have closer ties to the Commander-in Chief. And didn't Mr. Hennessey and Mr. Perez shun the Obama Campaign during their stop at the XL Center last year? I guess Hennessey must have rebuilt that relationship with "B" after Hillary gave up. "B" is what Barack asked me to call him when we hang out. I used to always do the respectful thing and call him "Mr. President", but "B" says that is just too formal when we are just 2 buds having "Buds" and smoking cigars in the Rose Garden.

Well, best of luck to Mr. Hennessey. As Councilman Segarra was quoted as saying, that ESI bonus was money well spent if it helped Mr. Hennessey vacate City Hall. But after viewing this website, I guess it is very obvious who was behind the empty facade we know as the Perez Administration.


The updated numbers are in and it seems that the City of Hartford continues to spend a huge amount of money on outside attorneys. Considering some of the legal opinions issued by Mr. Rose, Hartford's Corporation Counsel, this might be money well spent if it was in fact keeping the City out of legal problems. But it would appear that Mr. Rose's decisions, under the guidance of the puppetmaster Eddie A. Perez, have led Hartford down a path of continued wasted spending. Whether it is wasted money spent on FOI Appeals and FOI Hearings,(Guest and Associates $80,480 as well as other firms). A no win suit against the Waterford Group in which both sides admitted a draw and walked away (Ford & Paulekas, $188,824. And a few other payments that weren't broken out as to why lawyers were used. Bird & Apostilidis($58,446) could that be the same Apostilidis that retired from the City of Hartford Corporation Counsels Office? Crumbie Law ($155,605) number 2 on the dollar amount billing list? Kainen Escalera ($157,522)number 1 on the dollar amount billing list, any relation to Yasha Escalera, Perez ally and recent City of Hartford hire during a hiring freeze?

And look at the list for Fiscal Year 07-08, Levy Droney ($10,077.50) was contracted for advice on "Ethics". Maybe if we had spent a little more there on ethics advice it could have saved us the $181,503.95 spent on "Grand Jury Outside Counsel".


Foi Outside Legal as of Sept 15 09


Here's a link to Colin McEnroe's WNPR site where you can find his recent interviews, including my segment with him on Monday regarding this blog. My segment starts at about 18:00 minutes, but feel free to listen to the entire interview.

And I'm still trying to figure out how to put working links in the post, until then, just cut and paste



At the risk of driving everyone over the edge with FOI comments, it really is the main tool we have to find out what is going on in Hartford, but definitely not the only tool. As much as we keep hearing about transparency and openness, anyone who has dealt with Hartford realizes that is the furthest thing from the truth. The fact that Corporation Counsel John Rose has appointed himself "Editor-in-Chief" of all FOI Act requests speaks volumes about the bunker mentality at City Hall. Another critical question is whether or not honest responses are given in reply to FOI requests. A perfect example is in requests both Jeff Cohen and myself put in at about the same time regarding Hartford's ESI bonus program. I took the list at face value and posted it here, Jeff did some more digging (it is his full time job you know). In his blog at, "Cityline", today Jeff reported that the city had "inadvertently" left Police Chief Daryl Roberts of the list of employees receiving an ESI bonus. Are we supposed to guess who else might have been left off, maybe Susan McMullen, maybe Sarah Barr, maybe John Rose? How are we to trust the accuracy of their information?

While Jeff was tracking down the "inadvertent omissions", I received a tip from another source regarding a three day seminar that was held at the Hartford Marriott for over 600 Hartford School employees. The source advised me that the event was complete with a catered breakfast every morning, validated parking in the Convention Center garages paid for by the Board of Education, as well as other amenities. Well, maybe I'm still naive, but I put my faith in the FOI Act and requested any records and information about the event especially the cost. I promptly received an e-mail back from the Board of Education that they had no idea what I was talking about. The e-mail is below:
Foi Board Marriott

I immediately called the author of the e-mail,Milly Ramos-Agosto, and stated that there must be an error. I told her that the source that advised me about the conference was very specific and knew exactly what they were talking about. I told her I was going to continue to look into it and she might want to do some further checking. She stated that the Superintendent's Office was unaware of the event and she had spoke to the Board's "financial person", and no such event took place. Ok, I figured they would know by now that FOI is not the only way to get information, so off I went to gather the information. I must have shook the right trees and stirred things up because at 2:28PM today, 24 hours to the minute after the original request I received the following e-mail, again from Milly Ramos-Agosto. The complete text of the e-mail is below:
FOI Board Marriott #2

Ms. Ramos-Agosto stated "that after further research based upon our telephone conversation, it has been identified that an event was held at the Hartford Marriott during the month of August 2009".I understand that Ms. Ramos-Agosto is only doing a job and can only forward information that she is given. The big question is regarding the Superintendent and his staff and their level of honesty and integrity. Are we to honestly believe that the people in Dr. Adamowski's office asked about this event actually forgot about that "little" three day rental of the Hartford Marriott where more than 20% of your staff were given catered breakfast and paid parking for three days? Or was it more of an attempt to divert attention away from something that has the potential to become a big issue of fiscal responsibility. How do you justify laying employees off in the midst of a budget crisis, while throwing catered seminars with free parking? And with all these beautiful schools that we keep hearing about, would one of them have met the needs for hosting this event for far less money?

FOIA is a great tool, but definitely not the only tool. It can't be if we are going to keep City Hall honest. I trust my sources far more than I'll trust John Rose or anyone else inhibiting the publics right to know. And as usual, feel free to keep calling with information.

Monday, September 14, 2009


For over a week now I have been trying to get an e-mail that was sent by Sarah Barr, Mayor Perez's Press Person , to WFSB Channel 3. Although the FOI request I submitted was pretty clear, Hartford Corporation Counsel John Rose late last week said he had received the wrong items from MHIS and was waiting for the correct e-mails. Well, an FOI complaint has been submitted to the State of Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission, because after a week, the e-mail has not been provided to me. A source in Hartford's MHIS Department advised me they could have the information in a matter of minutes if they were instructed to do so.

Since John Rose wouldn't provide the e-mail, someone else that understands transparency and public documents did. Apparently, on September 3, 2009 at a taping of WFSB's "Face the State" program the guests included Hartford Council President Calixto Torres, Councilwoman Rosezina "rJo" Winch, and the man who wants to change the direction of Hartford's Democratic Town Committee, Bruce Rubenstein. Sarah Barr, according to the e-mail,has a problem with Rubenstein appearing and not the current Democratic Town Chairperson, Sean Arena. That is not a problem for private citizen Sarah Barr, but it is a problem for City of Hartford employee Sarah Barr to use city resources, her position and her e-mail to advocate political positions. The e-mail is below but the text portion states "It has come to my attention that a candidate for dem town committee chair was the opposing viewpoint on face the state. I am certain that you'll give sean arena equal time".

This is just one more example of the arrogance of this administration. While they continue to be under a microscope it seems that laws just don't apply to them. Using her position for political gain is unethical at the least and illegal at the worst.Sarah, have you ever heard of gmail? Open an account ther and e-mail to your heart's delight, but there is a problem doing it in our name using city resources

With all the issues facing the city, is this the best Sarah can do?

A copy of the e-mail is below:

Sarah Barr Wfsb Email

Sunday, September 13, 2009


This blog continues to surprise me as to who is actually reading it. This morning I received an e-mail from Colin McEnroe and then a little later one from his producer for his new venture on WNPR radio. I guess they both have been following the blog and in their words are "enjoying" it. They invited me to be on Colin's program Monday for the 1:00PM segment. I guess we will be discussing the role that blogs play in their communities. Listen in, I believe WNPR can be found at 90.5 on the FM side and also on their website