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Saturday, April 10, 2010


above,Eddie Perez leaving court

above, A portion of the collapsed facade of Perez's "new" Public Safety Complex

It has been a bad week for Mayor Eddie Perez. His defense motions in Superior Court collapsed around him as they were denied, the Town Committee vote for Perez's handpicked chairperson collapsed as Sean Arena was defeated, and now Perez's Public Safety Complex is literally collapsing. Not a good week at Camp Perez.

Many people may have forgotten about the debacle Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez created when he attempted to build a school at the corner of Farmington and Broad Streets. In defiance of "advice" from the State of Connecticut, Perez began construction on the property after he was told that it was an improper use of the lot.

Perez moved forward and I guess decided to show Governor Rell who is in charge of Hartford's destiny. (how's that working for you Eddie?). In the end, an estimated $4 million dollars was squandered by Perez for a school that never happened.

In the meantime, another construction project began a few blocks north of the Farmington Avenue sight on High Street. After another three or four staged media events by Perez disguised as "groundbreakings", work began on the Hartford Public Safety Complex. The existing structure of the old Hartford Board of Education building was going to be "saved" and used as the facade of the Complex.

Preservation of Hartford's history and architecture is important as we continue to knock down so much of what has made Hartford a beautiful and interesting city. Many of our buildings have been allowed to slide into a state of disrepair, even the Board of Ed building. And many of these buildings are actually owned by the City of Hartford and eventually end up being torn down, such as the Lyric Theatre on Park Street.

Now it seems that the Hartford Board of Ed/"new' Public Safety Complex will suffer the same fate.

With the amount of highly paid construction "experts" in the Mayor's Office, one would think that they would be able to get a project done correctly. Maybe too much time is being spent in their luxury SUV's rather than actually reviewing construction projects.

Perez proved his construction incompetence almost immediately after becoming Mayor when the cost overruns, construction delays, labor problems and shoddy workmanship delayed Hartford Public High School by years and ran millions of dollars over projected costs. And as recently as to the present day as Capitol Prep School's opening has been delayed for over a year by construction issues (picture below).

Last fall I posted that large portions the the facade being saved for the "new" Public Saftey Complex had collapsed. Eventually WFSB also did a story on it, and as I recall, they reported that the Mayor and his staff had reassured Channel 3 that everything was fine and structurally sound. At a cost of roughly $2 million dollars the remaining walls had been shored up with large steel beams. Here is the original post from November 14, 2009
Although no real progress is visible on the sight except for a few pieces of construction equipment that never seem to move, we were assured that construction was moving forward.

About a week and a half ago I stopped at the sight and saw the entire front entryway which made up a large portion of the front facade has now also collapsed. Calls for comment regarding the future of the structure to the Mayor's mouthpiece, I mean Director of Communications Sarah Barr, were unanswered.

Apparently now though, Steve Goode of the Hartford Courant and has been told by city officials that the entire structure is unsound and will be torn down. To read Steve's posting, click here to go to cityline

I'm not a construction engineer, but it seemed pretty obvious from the start that it didn't make sense to handle a 120 year old structure this way and expect it to remain standing. All of the interior walls and support for the structure were gutted and removed initially. After that was done all of the roof and all of the roof trusses and beams were removed, leaving the century old walls to stand on their own.

I guess that plan didn't work too well. It makes you wonder if the plan was ever supposed to work from the start or is it another corrupt scheme hatched in the Mayor's Office as posters here have hinted.

The other major question is how this project was ever going to be completed. At the time that "construction" (or destruction, depending on your level of confidence with Eddie Perez) began, it was stated that $28 million in funding was in place for the projected $88 million price tag for the project. Where was the other $60 million to complete the project coming from?

I for one can't wait for a change in administration that can actually get in and audit every penny spent by Perez's corrupt administration (oh yeah, allegedly). In the meantime I'm pretty confident the shredders are running overtime.


Bruce Rubenstein said...

Good Article Kevin.

The project will not be completed in the forseeable future.

The incompetence,venality and cronyism of Mayor Perez and his cronies have cost the City and its long suffering taxpayers millions of dollars.

Hartford will be in a receivership/oversight situation within 9 months largely due to massive unrestricted spending with little or no controls,oversight in which much of the work that has been done has been shoddy( the park street project)and "handouts" to political allies and unnecessary jobs to his cronies.All the above plus a lousy economy is bringing Hartford down.

The new political team running the party is less friendly with Eddie as a rule and that is a good thing.However, I was less then thrilled that there wasn't a vision speech by the new chair and an action plan for reform of the party and its rules.The first person she mentioned publically and in the newspaper, as her mentor, is under an investigatory cloud.And some around her are convicted criminals,while others are in appearance corrupt and want their chance at the patronage trough.The party is virtually split evenly and I suspect that the "outs" will do what the "ins" did to them when they were running the party.The chances for any party unity are slim indeed especially when folks on both sides don't treat each other well and are uncivil to eachother.Some folks around her team have been talking about "being quiet" in the hopes that a greater unity can arise out of a "kumbaya" strategy,but that is just wishful thinking given the history of those competing sides of the party.In addition, ive noticed not one public word from the new political team in charge about the corruption at City Hall,Mayor Perez or the horrible financial situation that awaits all of Hartford's citizens.My guess is that both sides are in process of remaking themselves....the new team may well remake themselves in a way like Eddies team was..while the old team will remake themselves as reformers.This all bodes badly for Hartford.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say I love your blog. How is it that you know the things you know and the Councilpeople all seem to be blind to what is going on?

The city ought to be paying you for what you do rather than the stiffs at city hall now.

Hopefully Pedro will take notice and ask for your help to expose more of what's been going on after King Eddie exits city hall.

Just my opinion, thanks again

Anonymous said...

With real legitimate city projects managed by the city's LICENSED architects, projects are NOT put out to bid/work is NOT commenced until ALL funding is in place!!! Again, as you stated the NON architect (Eddie's hand picked crony from Diggs)is in charge of this so called public safety project. "Public safety", hmm, that's verbally ironic...

Anonymous said...

Bruce -- So who do you want as the new "political team?" You didn't want Arena's group for obvious reasons, now it seems you don't want Holloway's either. Is there a party chair who would satisfy you?


Can we move on about the Town Committee?

The deals are done the election is final, now let's see what they do. No amount of complaining is going to change anything.

Most likely the entire matter will be irrelevant if things don't start turning around quickly

Anonymous said...

Bruce: Still long on criticism and woefully short on solutions...

And what about your disparaging comment: "some around her are convicted criminals"?

I thought you, as a lawyer especially, and perhaps for other reasons, would support the concept of a second chance: that people can make mistakes, pay their debt to society and move on without being forever chastised and crippled by the self righteousness which afflicts so many of your more conservative breathren.

Anonymous said...

Kevin thank you for this blog. the question how/when will these buildings be completed? Also Bruce get over it already I agree with Kevin lets move on & lets see what happens next with the DTC.

Bruce Rubenstein said...

OK..ive said my piece on the DTC.

As to the corruption at City Hall...on my way to my office I noticed ALOT of media at the Courthouse. I assume they were covering the start of jury selection.Pedro did a good job on "Face The State" and I am confident that he can stepup to Mayor and do a good job for us.