Monday, June 21, 2010
THE PEREZ INVESTIGATION, HOW IT BEGAN FOR ME
It has been a long path from my initial feelings that "something" was wrong in the Perez Administration to the final guilty verdict last week.
I guess my original suspicions were raised after I began receiving threats made directly to me or directed at me by Perez staffers. The first was from the Mayor's Chief of Staff, Matthew Hennessy, and was apparently made to Marilyn Rossetti,the Executive Director of HART (Hartford Areas Rally Together)according to what Rossetti had relayed to me.
At the time, I had made a decision to stay in Hartford and become vocal about issues I saw facing the City. To do that I had decided to become involved with HART, who at the time I felt was a strong grassroots neighborhood organization advocating for Hartford's residents. After getting involved with HART I quickly found that wasn't the case, but that's a story for another day.
At the time I became involved with HART, Eddie Perez was being tested by a severe crime problem and he was preparing to make what many thought would be his first major challenge as strong Mayor. The selection of a new Police Chief was in the works and I began to advocate for Assistant Police Chief Mark Pawlina. Myself and others saw Pawlina as the perfect fit due to his reputation in the community and his years of service to the Hartford Police Department and the people of Hartford.
Mark Pawlina was always accessible and was comfortable in every neighborhood across the city. Mark was "colorblind" when it came to serving the people of Hartford and every person and every neighborhood received Pawlina's full attention.
Unfortunately my efforts were not appreciated by those in the Mayor's Office as a selection for Chief had apparently already been made and did not include Mark Pawlina. An outsider had been selected apparently due to his ties with the Hennessey family and Matt Hennessey's father. Patrick Harnett was brought in from outside as Perez's choice for Police Chief.
During all of this, I received a call one day from Marilyn Rossetti and she asked me to stop by her office at HART to meet with her and John Kennelley who at the time was HART's attorney. I agreed and met with them and Rossetti informed me that I would have to stop speaking out and making my comments to the media.
Rossetti stated that she had received a call from the Mayor's Chief of Staff Matt Hennessey who advised her that if I kept speaking out against Perez that HART's funding from the City would be cut. As I said before, I wasn't impressed with HART's "scripted" operations, so rather than become silent as Rossetti requested, I stepped away from HART.
It bothered me that City Hall could wield funding as a weapon to silence residents, but we now know that is how the Perez criminal operation succeeded. It also bothered me that Rossetti and HART would succumb to such threats, but I guess to some a paycheck is a paycheck.
The next threat came directly to me from Perez sycophant Lew Brown. I had been asked to attend a press conference that the African American Alliance was holding on the steps of Hartford City Hall. I had never really met Lew Brown, but I knew who he was from his days as a Television reporter.
I had parked at the curb directly in front of City Hall and was leaning against my truck waiting for the event to begin. As I was standing there, Lew Brown came out of the front entrance of City Hall and made a path directly for me. He stood directly in front of me and began poking me in the chest saying "I know who you are". I was a little taken aback my his demeanor and actions, but he continued poking me saying that I needed to stop "making the Mayor look bad" by saying what I was saying.
As if the poking in the chest was obnoxious enough, he then went on to state that he knew I had "a close friend on the Police Department" who was in line for a promotion to Captain and if I didn't stop saying what I was saying "my Friend" would never get the promotion.
What were they hiding that they were so concerned about one person raising issues? I was concerned about the threats and as to how this administration seemed to stop at nothing to conceal their activities.
For some reason, at about the same time, people began passing information on to me about questionable activities relating to City Hall and specifically Mayor Perez.
Some of the information made sense and could be easily verified, other information took work to dig out and I quickly realized that something was wrong and the Perez Administration was in a bunker mentality.
Although a lot of allegations were being made, the name Carlos Costa soon became a repeating theme. Costa's name originally began surfacing after he was given a "no-bid" emergency contract for the Church Street parking garage. Although that bid appeared to be a legitimate "emergency" contract, most of Costa's bids for the Parking Authority suddenly became emergency work. The source that provided that information to me was concerned that Costa was receiving special treatment to avoid any competitive bidding process.
At the trial of Perez there was a quick reference to work on the Mayor's home being "charged out" to the Church Street Garage during Costa's testimony. That testimony was never followed up as to whether the Parking Authority actually was billed and paid for work on Perez's home or whether it was just an accounting procedure by Costa.
TO BE CONTINUED......................