The Connecticut Post is reporting tonight that former Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim has been released early from a Federal Prison and will be living in Hartford at a half-way house to serve the final six months of his sentence. Ganim began serving his sentence in 2003. He will be residing at the Watkinson House on Collins Street.(FYI Prenzina, I think that's your district, he might need an absentee ballot to vote in the upcoming Democratic Town Committee election)
Once again Hartford can be proud that we now have not one, but two corrupt Mayor's calling Hartford home, oh yeah, allegedly corrupt for Perez, confirmed corrupt for Ganim.
Due to pending court actions, both of their claims to residency in Hartford are most likely temporary.
In the mean time, might I suggest a "Mayoral" lunch to compare notes on prison life
Over this past weekend I had posted and raised the issue that if some of the things that happen in Hartford were to occur in almost any other town, the outcome would be much different.
That posting was in regards to Hartford Democratic Town Chairperson Sean Arena and his 4th District Town Committee delegate brother Ralph Arena and their efforts to avoid Hartford's burdensome mill rate on motor vehicles. The Arena's have been registering their vehicles in New Canaan to avoid Hartford's 73 mill tax rate. New Canaan is 13 mill's, sixty mills less than Hartford.
In that post I had mentioned such behavior would be unacceptable in any other town, except maybe Waterbury and Bridgeport. But I doubt even those two towns would turn a blind eye to such behavior.
And now to my point, where is Council President Segarra? Where is Councilperson Kennedy? Where is Councilman Ritter? And just for the sake of argument, where is Councilman Boucher? So as to still appear serious in my thoughts, I'm not even going to mention Councilpersons Torres or Winch, we know where they stand in the land of "see no evil" "hear no evil" "speak no evil".
How is change supposed to begin if no one takes a stand on the corruption seething in Hartford.
And it's not just the Arena's. The only real voice speaking out against corruption at city hall has been Councilperson Deutsch. Dr Deutsch had publicly called for the resignation of Perez after his arrests.
With the revelations yesterday regarding threats being made against individuals running for the Democratic Town Committee in the 4th District, the cloud over Hartford continues to grow. Yet, not a peep publicly from any of our Councilpeople. And now today I've received calls that it is not only the 4th District where the threats are being made. Hopefully some of those people will be fed up enough to speak out and submit affadavitts to elections enforcement along with those already in.
The most disturbing part of this though is that in private conversations, many of our elected officials admit that they are fed up. There are good people on the Council who do know the difference between right and wrong. There are also others that don't, as evidenced by recent City Hall arrests.
I won't name names here, but two years ago when Bill DiBella was being re-appointed to the MDC I spoke with at least four councilmembers who admitted that they knew he didn't live in Hartford and didn't deserve to be on the MDC. One councilperson even went so far as saying they were afraid of losing their "clout" on the MDC if DiBella wasn't the MDC Chairman.
Clout? what clout?. I think "clout" for Hartford might be measured by the number of jobs delivered to Hartford residents by the MDC's "Clean Waters Project". If jobs are the yardstick, then Bill DiBella should be sent to pasture because he has obviously been neutered and can't produce anything by the looks of it.
Let me go back to the Democratic Town Chairman. Has anyone heard any of the Democratic Councilpeople calling for his resignation. The fact that the Arena's vehicle taxes have been put on Hartford's Grandlist retroactive for three years, the maximum allowed by state law, shows that the claims were factual, not just mere allegations.
Any Councilperson who struggles almost daily with how to make Hartford's budget work should be upset by anyone trying to beat Hartford's taxes. Add into the mix that this person beating Hartford's taxes is the so-called "leader" of the Democratic Party in Hartford and they should be furious. Yet, have you heard anyone of them call for Arena's resignation? Nope, not a peep.
One councilperson I spoke with last week said that if they spoke up then the Democratic Town Committee might not re-nominate them for their council position. I guess I have to ask at what price are you willing to sell your integrity? Is a nomination really worth your silence? And do those forty or fifty delegates from the Democratic Town Committee really seal your fate. Give the voters some credit here, they might just rise up to support the underdog who does the right thing. No one saw it coming in Massachusetts, but I think the message is that people are getting tired of machine politics.
And the outrage shouldn't just be from the Democratic Town Committee. Ralph Arena serves on the board of directors for the Maple Avenue NRZ and the last I knew Sean Arena chaired the South Green NRZ. I'm not certain if he still does because I never hear anything about them. Both groups should be calling for their resignations.
Excuse my english, but how do you say you are advocating for the neighborhoods while you are screwing them at the same time while beating the city out of tax revenue. I looked at many of the people at the Maple Avenue NRZ (MARG) meeting last week and wondered how many of the people in the room, myself included, struggle to meet tax obligations to Hartford. But, at least we are trying, we aren't defrauding the city out of much needed revenue.
I guess if we are going to change the way Hartford politics work, we need to know that there are good people in Hartford willing to take a stand against corruption. Leadership begins at the top, and we can pretty much say that there is no shot of that leadership coming out of the Mayor's Office. The Council can emerge as the ones willing to take a stand against corruption in Hartford.
To quote Council President Segarra and his eloquent speech last week before the Council " ... the fact that so many have come to expect so little from elected officials does not relieve us of our obligation to work hard to improve the circumstances of our people. The apathy of many should not be a reason for inaction but rather a motivating force to send a message that we will take our responsibilities seriously."
President Segarra and members of the Hartford City Council, please send a message that you are taking your responsibilites seriously and that corruption in any form will not be acceptable.
The time to say enough is enough is now. It is time to call for resignations.
On May 6, 2007 Ruben Perez apparently parked his car illegally behind 17 East Elliott Street in Hartford. According to the initial police report, Perez was not a resident of 17 East Elliott Street and lacked the proper parking permit. Whitey's Towing had a contract with the property owner to tow illegally parked cars. The Whitey's Towing driver, Slade Secore was in the process of towing Perez's car. After a verbal dispute with Perez, Slade Secore was assaulted by several people that were with Perez.
Another Whitey's Towing driver, Richard Hoegeman, had gone to East Elliott Street to assist Slade Secore when he was being assaulted. Hoegeman positively identified Ruben Perez as one of Secore's attackers.
As it turned out, Slade Secore is the brother of Hartford Police Officer Matthew Secore. One of the police officer's involved in the initial assault complaint called Officer Secore to tell him that his brother had been seriously assaulted and was being transported to Hartford Hospital by ambulance.
Officer Matthew Secore went to the Trauma Unit at Hartford Hospital and observed his brother severely beaten and his face bloodied. At one point while waiting for x-rays and cat scans, Matthew Secore spent the time washing dried blood off his brothers face. I have seen a few pictures of Slade Secore taken a couple days after the beating, and they were bad. I can only imagine how I would have reacted if that were a family member of mine, and Officer Secore's actions seem tame compared to what I would want to do to the attacker of any family member of mine.
After viewing his brother at Hartford Hospital and facing information that Slade potentially could lose sight in one eye, Officer Secore went to Hartford Police Headquarters to find out more info. Probably not the wisest decision in his current mindset, but again totally understandable by anyone that cares about their family members.
And as much as Matthew Secore was honest right from the start about his actions, the truth is that the entire system broke down and failed both Ruben Perez and Matthew Secore that night. Upon arriving at the booking area, a secure area at HPD seperated from the common areas of the building by heavy steel secure doors that require being "buzzed" in. Officer Secore was admitted into the secure area.
Even though, according to the IAD report, Secore was described as being "upset", "agitated" and "not happy", he was nonetheless "buzzed" into the secure area and allowed to confront Ruben Perez. The sergeant in charge of the area at the time was suspended and eventually retired.
Secore didn't lie about or dispute his actions that night. He admitted to exchanging words with Perez and at one point Perez made a derogatory comment about Slade Secore, saying to Officer Secore "F**k your brother" . Officer Secore grabbed Ruben Perez by the collar of his shirt and punched him once. Realizing he made a real mistake, he backed away and left the area.
Although Officer Secore told the truth from the start, other police officers apparently did not. According to the IAD report, officers gave contradictory information and seemed to only tell the truth after being confronted with the facts.
On June 9, 2007 Officer Secore was terminated from the Hartford Police Department.
One of the facts that complicated this matter is the fact that Ruben Perez is the nephew of Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez.
One of the first questions that arose was how the panel for Officer Secore's disciplinary hearing was selected. Typically, 3 Captain's are selected to conduct a disciplinary hearing with one of the three chosen by the officer involved, in Secore's case 3 Assistant Chiefs were used to make up the panel. Apparently this was the first time Assistant Chiefs were used to decide an officer's fate. And according to testimony before the state Labor Board no one had ever heard of the Chiefs conducting a disciplinary hearing in the history of the department.
Another issue I find interesting is the statement of Ruben Perez in the IAD report. It is posted below with the entire IAD report. Although statements are supposed to be made freely and in the words of the person making the statement. Read the statement and make your own decision as to whether or not Perez was coached in what to say.
The first sentence alone, what 23 year old talks like this? "I was on East Elliott Street Hartford Connecticut attending a party with friends and family members. I parked my car in the rear parking lot of the property. I'm uncertain of the exact address" hmmmm, just makes me wonder.
Not that the wording changes the facts, but it just raises red flags in my mind as to how legitimate the investigation was or who might have influenced its final outcome.
In addition, according to the Union brief filed with the Labor Board in support of Secore's position, more questions than answers are raised as to how decisions were made and was the punishment appropriate.
Two similar incidents were brought up during Secore's hearing. One was the case of Officer James Jenkins. Officer Jenkins apparently pulled an individual out of his vehicle on a city street. Jenkins apparently threw the individual down in the middle of Walnut Street and according to at least two seperate witnesses who stated they saw Officer Jenkins punch the individual at least three or four times, and one witness stated that Jenkins punched the man with both fists four or five times and then witnessed Officer Jenkins spit in the man's face.
Jenkin's received only a 90 day suspension for his actions, which on their face value appear much more severe than Secore's actions.
The second incident occurred in 1999 and involved an Officer Peterson, who was initially charged with use of excessive force. Officer Peterson shot a fleeing "misdemeanant", an individaul who had committed a misdemeanor, which is "clearly excessive use of force" according to the Labor Board decision. Officer Peterson received a "short" suspension. As a side note, according to sources, Peterson's version of the occurences changed a couple times during questioning. Officer Peterson has since been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant.
At the time of the Secore incident , there were no video recordings in place. Since then 32 cameras have been installed and are recorded constantly. The only truthful record of what happened that night is the version provided by Secore himself since he chose to be honest from the start.
That truthfulness that led to his termination, also figured heavily in the Labor Boards decision to re-instate him. Secore's honesty and integrity figured strongly in the Board's decision. Also, in light of the Jenkins incident and the Peterson incident, the Labor Board decided that Secore's punishment was too severe in comparison to past Department practices.
The Labor Board ruled that Secore was to be re-instated, with all back pay and benefits, less a 90 day suspension. As of today, that has not happened and the City, under John Rose, is appealing the decision in court.
According to several lawyers I have spoke with, that may be another effort in futility by Mr. Rose, and a further waste of the taxpayers money. According to the attorneys, both sides agree going in to arbitration to abide by the boards eventual decision. In this case, Hartford isn't living up to their portion of the agreement and is now choosing to fight the decision since it didn't come out in their favor.
Also, from what I've been told, the only way to overturn an arbitration decision is if "wrongdoing" can be proven on the part of the hearing officers. Just disagreeing with their decision is not grounds to overturn. But typical with John Rose, it's not his money so fight on for the inevitable loss.
And I agree with the Labor Board's ruling that this is a difficult decision, but the Board made the right call. This incident was not a pattern of abusive behavior by a rogue cop, unlike the videotaped beating recenetly by two other officer's in booking.
Secore did not have numerous IAD complaints against him, unlike Officer Lee and Officer Campbell. By reading previous postings here on this blog, you can see that Officer Secore was respected and interacted well with the community
Officer Secore responded poorly to an incident that involved a family member of his who was severely beaten. Poor decision, poor timing and a very poor choice of location. But after seeing the pictures of Slade Secore after his beating, I envisioned a family member of mine beaten and left like that. I have to honestly say that Officer Secore only punching him once and backing off is a lot better than what I would have done if I saw a relative like that and had the opportunity to confront the assailant.
I just wouldn't have done it in the police lock-up.
VIEW THE SECORE DOCUMENTS BELOW, OR AT LEAST THOSE I COULD GET WITHOUT JOHN ROSE'S HELP
Once again, Hartford seems to be rising to new levels of political corruption.
In a complaint filed yesterday with the Connecticut State Elections Enforcement, Attorney Bruce Rubenstein details the complaints of his clients. In the complaint, Rubenstein provides details of a meeting between Mayor Eddie A. Perez and 4th District Democratic Town Committee opposition slate leader Luz Torres-Sullivan.
Torres-Sullivan claims that on January 10, 2010 at approximately 8:15pm, Perez came to her residence. According to her, Perez voiced his disappointment with her challenge slate and said that "he didn't want her hurt" and that if she dropped her challenge slate "she would be taken care of".
Other allegations of abuse of power by the Mayor are outlined in the attached affadavitts. Allegations of police harassment are also detailed, with one officer apparently claiming that he was told directly by Chief Roberts that Torres-Sullivan and those working with her were not to be allowed in certain buildings to collect petitions.
In fairness to Chief Roberts, there is no testimony in the affadavitts claiming a direct conversation with the Chief, rather only a comment from a "Hartford Police Officer Perez" that "he received direct orders from Chief Roberts" to not allow Torres-Sullivan or any of her workers on the premises. I would be somewhat surprised to find the Chief involved in political matters or any form of intimidation.
The letter from Attorney Rubenstein to Elections Enforcement is below as well as copies of the sworn affadavitts
Two weeks ago this blog uncovered documents showing that Hartford's Democratic Town Chairperson Sean Arena and his brother Ralph Arena, an elected member of the 4th District Democratic Town Committee, had been registering their vehicles in New Canaan. This appears to have been done to avoid Hartford's 74 mill tax rate on vehicles as opposed to New Canaan's rate of 13 mills.
Today the Hartford Courant reported on this scheme in their print version of the Courant. For those who didn't see it in the print version, here's a link to courant.com to read the story on-line.
Be sure to read the comments after the story posted by the Courant's readers. Although no one is calling for Arena's resignation publicly yet, it seems that tyhe Courant's readers get it and find Arena's behavior just plain wrong.
In just about every other city or town the chief executive would have made a call to the Town Chairperson the same day calling for him to step aside.The call probably would have gone something like this... "We appreciate your service, but your actions question the credibility of our city and this administration and it is time for you to step down, please submit your resignation immediately". But since Hartford is now outpacing Waterbury and Bridgeport as the example for corrupt government, we know our Mayor Eddie Perez won't make that call any time soon.
And as a sidenote, can anyone explain the relationship between Sean Arena and Eddie Perez. I have never been able to figure that one out. And now,as the Town Committee races are heating up, it seems as though the Mayor is going for broke to ensure Arena's re-election for Town Chairperson. If anyone can explain to me the missing parts of the puzzle, please feel free to e-mail me or call me in complete confidence. None of it makes sense to me.
After getting fed up with the lack of openness in Hartford City Hall, I decided to begin a program on Hartford Public Access Television called "WE THE PEOPLE". Through tips received we have been able to expose numerous issues that the Perez Administration would prefer to keep quiet.
Any information received is kept in strict confidence, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 860-883-2297 with any information.