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Saturday, May 15, 2010


After a post a couple days ago about Hartford City Councilperson Rosezina "rJo" Winch's misspelling of the office she wishes to run for, it seems now that she is not the only one unable to spell.

Waterbury Mayor Michael Jarjura has announced this week that he is running for the "Office of State Controller". The only problem is that there is no such office. I can only assume he intends to run for "State Comptroller", the position that will be vacated by the the current Comptroller Nancy Wyman who has announced her wish to become the next L-i-e-u-t-e-n-a-n-t G-o-v-e-r-n-o-r.

For more on Jarjura's announcement, check out Colin McEnroe's blog at by clicking here. When you get to his blog, click on the other link about the state "reprasentive" and that will bring you back here. Colin linked to "We the People" . In Hartford that is what we call "quid pro quo". P.S. Colin, where are my countertops?

For those writing these releases, at the top of your screen you might see the letters "ABC" with a "check" mark. That is called "spell check" , you will find it is very useful to avoid emburrussing mistooks.

Just kidding, I know how to spell "embarrassing" and "mistake", save the e-mails.


I'll be the first to admit that I am far from impartial on my thoughts regarding Mayor Eddie A. Perez. With that being said though, even if I were impartial, I would have to say it was a damaging opening for Perez's defense on corruption charges.

First up, Hartford Public Works Assistant Director John McGrane. A very believable and credible witness who testified about Carlos Costa's performance on the Park Street streetscape project. McGrane's most damaging testimony regarded the intervention by the Mayor and his staff on Costa's behalf.

McGrane outlined discussions and meetings where the determination was made that could result in "calling" Costa's bond for the project and his termination from the job. The meetings included numerous decision makers including DPW Director Bhupen Patel, Corporation Counsel John Rose, outside consultants from Urban Engineers, Inc, and eventually Charles Crocini from the Mayor's staff.

At one point a decision was made to call the bond and a letter was sent by McGrane to Costa's bonding company, USF&G putting them on notice of Costa's inferior performance. A week later that letter was rescinded by Crocini, clearing Costa from potential repercussions by the bonding company at that time.

McGrane had testified that there were problems with Costa right from the start of the project, and that the City was aware that he had drastically underbid the project and there were concerns if he could complete the job for the cost he had bid. The City had estimated the completion cost of the job at over $7 million dollars. Costa's bid was almost $2 million dollars under the estimated cost when he bid $5.3 million.

In spite of that and the City's concerns, Costa was still granted the contract.

After McGrane testified there were two consultants hired by the City from the firm of Urban Engineers and they essentially re-inforced McGrane's testimony of Costa's incompetence for the job and detailed numerous problems. They also testified to the actions of Crocini and the Mayor's Office to override their decision to terminate Costa from the job.

Then comes smoking gun number one, the first of many by the looks of the witness list. Former Public Works Director Bhupen Patel. Patel testified once again to pretty much the same testimony of the first three witnesses, detailing numerous ( the correct term is probably excessive) problems with Carlos Costa's performance on the job. Patel's most damaging testimony was probably about the meeting where he was summoned to the Mayor's Office and when he entered he was met by an angry Perez and Charles Crocini.

Patel testified that when he entered the office Perez was angry and waving a letter sent regarding calling Costa's bond and his termination from the Park Street project. Patel testified that Perez was waving the letter and yelled at him "What the "f" is going on?". The prosecutor asked him did Perez say what the"f" and Patel answered yes. I think the Judge understood what was going on and she intervened and asked Patel "did he say the letter "F" or use the word?".

Patel answered that he used the full "f" word and the Judge advised him that for the record he had to say what the Mayor said exactly. Patel seemed embarrassed and reluctant to use the word publicly, but eventually re-stated Perez's comments. Patel quoted Perez as saying "What the fuck is going on here" while waving the letter.

Then, under questioning by the Prosecution, Patel related that less than two weeks later Perez and COO Lee Erdmann summoned him to the Mayor's Office once again. In that meeting, Perez told Patel that he was going to "take DPW in a different direction" and demanded Patel's resignation.

Next up was Carlos Costa. If Patel was a smoking gun, Costa was a cannon attack. I arrived a few minutes late for the beginning of his testimony, but I was struck by the voice testifying. It kind of seemed like a mix of Marlon Brando's voice from the "Godfather" with an accent although much softer.

Costa was on the stand all day Friday and will be returning Monday morning. Keep in mind that Costa is also on the hook for his own felony charges in this whole deal. Both sides tried to make his testimony and his pending charges an issue. The prosecution soliciting testimony from Costa that no deals or promises had been made for his testimony, and Santos trying to paint the picture that Costa was testifying to "save his skin" as he repeatedly said during jury selection.

None the less, Costa, I think, came across as credible. Many of his damaging answers seemed to come after a prolonged delay, serious thought, and then a quiet response, sometimes animated with hand gestures and a shifting of his body in his seat.

Several of his answers had to be making Perez's head spin as to what damage was going to be done next. His initial response that he thought his relationship with Perez would be helpful as he encountered problems on Park Street and then his bombshell that he didn't expect to get paid for the renovations on Perez's home because"that was part of the cost of doing business in Hartford".

Then came probably the most damaging testimony of the day. Even though no prices were ever discussed, no quote was ever given, no deposit was ever paid, Costa one day got a phone call from Perez telling Costa that the needed to "make up an invoice". Costa did just that and virtually "made up" an invoice. No real numbers, no real dimensions, no real itemization of the mirrors, the lighting fixtures, the exact number of square feet of granite, nothing, pretty much all made up.

Oh, and what was the motivation for "making up" the invoice? Perez told Costa that "people" were starting to talk and questions were being asked about the "free" repairs on his home. Still a long ways to go, but that fabricating evidence charge seems to be getting clearer.

In watching this trial, one thing I am seeing is the reason that some lawyers have the reputation of "sleazy lawyer".

The first day I was struck by the number of questions Perez's attorney, Hubie Santos asked, only to quickly see the Prosecutor, Michael Gailor, jump up and object to. It seemed like 95% of the time the Judge sustained the Prosecutors objections. I asked another Attorney later why this guy, Santos, had the reputation he has and gets the fees he gets if he was that bad at questioning.

I figured even a lawyer fresh out of Law School would know what they could ask and how they can ask it. The attorney I spoke with said Santos knew exactly what he was doing. By asking the questions, however improper, the jury had heard the question. Even when Judge Dewey sustains the objection and instructs the jurors to disregard Santos, you can't pull it back from their minds. They heard what they heard already.

At one point late in the day yesterday, Santos said to Costa essentially "you were arrested and plead not guilty to bribery charges, right?". Costa replied yes, at which time Santos said then how can my client be guilty of bribery if you claim you never bribed him? Gailor quickly jumped up to object and Judge Dewey immediately chastised Santos that he knew that was improper and it was Costa's "Constitutional Right" to plead not guilty.

Hopefully some sanctions will start coming Santos's way if the Judge gets fed up enough. But then again, if you don't have a defense I guess you have to resort to the underhanded tactics. That's what the taxpayers of Hartford are paying Santos to do as a defense attorney.

And I didn't realize the toll this was taking on Perez until this morning. It's obvious he is nervous in Court, constantly shuffling in his seat, rubbing his cheek, rubbing his face, chewing on pens, chewing his lip. But this morning my mother called and said she felt bad for Perez. She had watched the Fox 61 coverage from Friday night and said his hands were shaking as he sat there in court. I watched Fox's coverage on and sure enough, his hands were shaking.

I'm sure that as the trial progresses we will see that this trial has "taken a toll" on many more than just Eddie Perez. We've already heard from a couple of them, including Bhupen Patel who was forced out by Perez after 28 years of proud service to the people of Hartford.

Friday, May 14, 2010


After yesterday's testimony by former DPW Director Bhupen Patel, today promises to be even better. Well, better for the Prosecution, potentially very bad for Perez.

I'll try to post updates here as the potential bombshells are dropped.

Costa is due on the stand at 9:30am


As Budget deliberations continue, the Hartford Police Department has found a way to supplement their fleet, courtesy of a drug dealer.

Unlike other Hummers featured previously on this blog, I'm sure this one is properly registered.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Where do I even begin on this one?

I guess a quick re-cap of the basics would help. In 2007 the Working Families began to make in-roads into Hartford politics. In that election, the WFP won two of the three minority seats on the Hartford City Council, leaving only one Republican survivor.

In November of 2008 an unsuccessful candidate for Council in the 2007 election ran for Registrar of Voters as a third party candidate. Under state statutes, Urania Petit found a way to legally run and fulfilled all of the requirements and was elected as the first third party Registrar of Voters in the State of Connecticut.

Petit apparently was born and raised in the West Indies and hails from Saint Lucia. When you first meet Urania and begin talking about voting rights and democracy, her passion is overwhelmingly obvious . It is not uncommon to see her eyes begin tearing up as she speaks about everyone's responsibility to vote.

Since day one in the Registrar's office, roadblock after roadblock has been put up in front of her. To her credit, she has pushed forward and shows her professionalism every step of the way. As an example, even though she is equal in authority to the Democratic and Republican Registrar's, she has not been treated that way. When it came time for an office after her election, the vacant office of former Democratic Registrar Shirley Surgeon was not given to her.

Instead, a small cubicle, smaller than most people's closets, was constructed in the middle of the Registrars Office. Originally the "cubicle" had no air conditioning and was extremely uncomfortable after anytime with the door closed. Surgeon's former office was instead given to Democratic Deputy Registrar Garey Coleman.

Next, was the issue of furnishing the office. Petit was not provided with any office furniture even though I'm sure there was plenty available furniture after lay-off's of numerous city hall employees. After repeated requests for a desk and chair, Petit eventually went out and purchased her own office furniture.

The relationship has become more contentious month after month with regular accusations being lobbed at Petit by the Democratic Registrar Olga Vazquez. I could go on and on about the behavior of Vazquez, but if anyone followed the nonsense and fraudulent behavior during the processing of the 5th District Town Committee petitions, you already understand what makes Vazquez tick.

Let me fast forward to today. Over a week ago I had made an FOI request for the time records of Deputy Registrar Garey Coleman, I'll keep you in suspense for the reason for the request, but it should be good when it is done. Anyways, despite numerous requests, the documents haven't been provided by Olga Vazquez. Today, I made an additional request for the records to both Republican Registrar Salvatore Bramante and WFP Registrar Urania Petit.

The reason was that since the Registrar's Office is supposed to be non-partisan, both Bramante and Petit have an obligation to provide the documents which are maintained in their office.

Petit responded to my e-mail FOIA request, cc'd to Bramante and Vazquez. Petit apologized and stated that she was not given access to "MUNIS", Hartford's "do-all" database where payroll records are entered. I was able to verify that Petit was being truthful and she did not in fact have MUNIS access. Why that is so, even though Bramante and Vazquez have access, is another issue.

I replied back to Petit, cc'd to the others, and thanked her and advised her that since she was not in "care and control" of the requested documents as outlined in the FOI Act, I would omit her from any FOI complaint and/or request for fines.

Once again, fast forward to the Council's Budget hearing tonight.

Before the hearing began, I had gone into the Council's Conference room behind the Council Chambers. Several people were sitting in there including Urania Petit. I made some small talk and we were talking for a couple minutes and I noticed tears began running down Petit's cheeks. I asked her what was wrong and after some prodding she told me I "got her in trouble" today.

She related that apparently by being honest with me about her MUNIS access and my response back, that she was being too truthful. When Vazquez received her copy of the e-mail between Petit and myself, Vazquez apparently confronted Petit and called her a "rat" for giving me honest information. Yes, you read that right, this is our Democratic chief election administrator calling Petit a "rat" for being honest with me.

Petit also relayed to me that she wasn't comfortable testifying on the Registrar's budget because she essentially had no involvement in the budget process and planning. She also stated that she wasn't allowed to make any office expenses either, even though she is one third of the administration of the office. Repeatedly she has been rejected by her counterparts when she submitted receipts for reimbursement.

Quite simply, I said to Urania that enough was enough. I told her that if she wasn't comfortable with the process, then say so when asked. And that is exactly what she did. Much to the dismay of her counterparts, the fire in the Saint Lucian was lit.

And then the question about the use of consultants and the large amount of money spent for them in the Registrar's office came up. After the lies and the fraud were exposed after the 5th District petition debacle, you would think Olga would have learned that basic lesson that "honesty is the best policy". Nope, not Olga.

She spoke in defense of the hiring of "consultants". In the Registrar's Office. "consultant" has traditionally translated into "payback for political cronies and hacks". Just think back to the last election for the Board of Education where Hartford's "Queen of Absentee Ballot Fraud" Prenzina Holloway was hired as a "consultant". Enough said.

Round two for the WFP Registrar Petit. "And in this corner, wearing the colors of Saint Lucia, Uraniaaaaaa Petitttttttt" . Lets get ready to rumble.

Petit described how the consultants are nothing more than a waste of the taxpayers money. She stated that with three Registrars and each Registrar having a Deputy Registrar, there was no need for "consultants". You have six people able to do the work, again, no need for any consultants. It was obvious that Vazquez was in the final seconds before ballistic launch and Bramante was laying his head down on the table to try to stop the room from spinning,
by the looks of it.

Could it be that the patronage factory we call the "Registrar of Voters Office" was finally being exposed?

I for one am extremely proud of the courage Ms. Petit showed tonight. I see now why she has not been embraced by Hartford's entrenched political operatives. She has the potential to derail another car on Hartford's gravy train. Next stop Honest Hartford City Hall.


Today has been one of those days that I wondered why I was getting so many e-mails forwarded to me from the "rJo Winch Campaign". Once I finally opened one of the e-mails I got my chuckle for the day.

rJo Winch is running for State "Reprasentative". Sorry spell check, I have to hit ignore. I'm not trying to be petty in pointing out her misspelling. Luckily, spelling has always been a strong point of mine, but even then, there is spell check.

I am a firm believer that if you choose to run for an office, the first step should be to be able to actually spell the name of the office.

It proves that old adage that you are only as good as the people you surround yourself with, and she might want to surround herself with a proficient "speller".

Hopefully the lawn signs for "Winch for State Reprasentative"haven't been ordered, that could prove expensive.

And a little bit of marketing advice, a website address should be short and easy to find and easy to remember. I can assure you no one will remember that long of an web address and then enter it correctly.

For Ken Krayeske's take on the e-mail, check out his blog, the 40 year plan.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


A comment posting on another blog story here left a link to, the City of Hartford's website. to follow the link, click here.

The PDF file attached below announcing another new position in the Office of the Mayor was attached to the link. Yes, that's correct, another new staff position in the Mayor's Office.

According to the City Charter, any positions in the Mayor's Office above and beyond those authorized by the Charter require Council approval. I need to do some more checking, but I don't recall any discussion by the Council to allow creation of this position.

Only time will tell if the Council does anything about it.

Building Automation System Mgr 3-18-10

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


"Anonymous" posted this comment earlier under another posting on the blog:

Guys, let's not argue with each other over minutia. As I had suggested to Kevin in an earlier post, I recommend to all interested parties that you request an org chart for each city dept and the Bd of Ed. Org chart should include name of position/title, name of employee occupying title, salary, and a brief description of the each dept and each div within the dept. Unless I am off, I believe you will see much duplication and overlap within depts and between depts. In most municipalities, Human Relations is a division of Human Resources, not a separate dept with its own hightly paid administration. Check out the assessor's files. It would appear that Eddie's campaign headquarters were housed in property owned by his Director of Human Relations, Lillian Ruiz, who actually resides in Bloomfield. Doesn't the city charter specify that dept heads live in the city??? Maybe she used her investment property as her residential address; not sure why Santiago Malave's cracker jack staff didn't notice. Okay, here's some more duplication/overlap: Why does the city have a Dept. of Health & Human Services, an Office of Young Children AND an Office for Youth Services as three separate stand alone depts??? Yeah, a rhetorical question, but here's the answer, Eddie wanted to give more of his peeps high paid administrative/director jobs. In other cities, there would NOT be three separate depts. Wait, there's more. The city has a Grants Administrator in both the Management & Budget Dept and in the Development Services Dept. Wait, there's more. The Development Services Dept has numerous divisions all headed by either directors and/or Administrative Operations Managers; in other cities the functions of planning, economic development, housing, and community development are in one division, not four as in Hartford. Are you seeing a pattern here??? Yeah, three of Eddie's boyzzz head up three of the Dev Services divisions. You wanna see some creative writing, FOIA their respective job applications and compare them to the actual job postings. I believe the investigator and state's atty in Eddie's corruption case also examined this patterned issue. Santiago's crew is very lenient in its interpretation (pun definitely intended) of the boilerplate language found on most if not all city job postings ("Wherever possible, appropriate equivalents will be considered.") I'd like to see their definition of "appropriate". I bet Cotto knows.

In theory this is a good idea, but the letter below from Hartford's Corporation Counsel John Rose shows what happens when someone has the "audacity" to request public documents.

Steve Goode at, originally posted about this. You can read Steve's posting here. Apparently the Yankee Institute has set up a website that lists all state employees and their respective salaries and state pensions at

It seems as though they were trying to expand the site to also cover municipalities. They made the mistake of requesting public documents from a public agency in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act and were chastised by Rosie.

Hopefully the information you requested can be gathered and is probably available from the Council as a response to a budget question about salaries. I'll try to post it here when available. The other issue is that FOI is only for documents that exist, it doesn't require an agency to produce a "new" document or do research other than to find and provide a document that is requested. If an organizational chart doesn't exist, the city doesn't have to make one. The information would have to be culled from other documents obtained or requested.

Below is Rose's response to the Yankee Institutes FOIA request. As a side note, Rosie makes it a point to point out a misspelling in the original letter. How many mistakes can you find in Rosie's letter, start with the date, since when does March have 285 days?

John Rose Yankee Institute Letter


Tomorrow the dark cloud hanging over Hartford will become even darker, the Perez corruption trial testimony begins.

The Hartford Courant seemed to come out swinging tonight with both an editorial calling for Perez to step down as well as a call for the Council to reject his proposed budget and it's increases. You can read the editorial here.

The Courant also is running an on-line poll regarding whether Perez should stay or go. You can go to the poll and cast your vote by clicking here. Not surprisingly, as of the time of writing this entry, the numbers were over whelming in favor of the "needs to go" column, 83.5% said he should go, 16.6% said he should stay. Not scientific, but none the less interesting.

This editorial and poll seem to be in contrast to the Courant article over the weekend which, in my opinion, seemed to trivialize the scope and depth of the entire investigation.

I spoke with many people who were concerned after reading that article, and my question to them was "how many felony charges would you like before it matters?". In most towns, one charge of corruption would be enough to start the outcry for a corrupt politicians resignation.

Apparently in Hartford it takes more than five felony charges for corruption to be taken seriously. Possibly the two reporters from the Courant who were there at the beginning of the probe, Jeff Cohen and Dan Goren, might have given a different overview of the investigation if they were still at the Courant.

I did ask someone in the know about the investigation why certain aspects did seem to be left out, as the Courant article suggested. The answer was that the State wasn't on a fishing expedition. They were going with the solid charges that were a definite violation of the public's trust.

One of my questions was an example of what I thought was a glaring criminal violation and a larceny from the taxpayers of Hartford. Remember back to the revelation that Perez and Abe Giles had apparently cooked up a scheme to clean out Giles's warehouse on Windsor Street. When they instructed a city employee to send a few Public Works dump trucks to the warehouse, the employee balked and reminded them that inspectors from the State were nosing around.

They then came up with the brainstorm to bring in large construction dumpsters to clean out the warehouse and bill the dumpsters to the city. Only after the State's Attorney's investigators caught wind of it was Giles actually billed for the dumpsters.

That seemed a pretty clear cut issue, but it wasn't part of the final charges.

Another issue was the allegation by Hartford's former Tax Collector that Perez had committed "illegal activity". In an e-mail that I obtained through an FOI request, Tax Collector Donald Lefevere had accused Perez of illegal activity after Perez collected an overdue tax payment from a Maple Avenue business. In collecting the payment, Perez "waived" several thousand dollars of interest and penalties for the business owner and an apparent Perez campaign donor.

There are many other examples, but I think you get the point.

I think the most interesting thing about the pending trial though is the first witness the State is planning to call. I would think that the order of progression for the jurors would have been to start off slow and layout how government bidding and the process starts so they would understand the allegations.

Instead, the State is apparently going to call the potential "smoking gun" as witness number one. Carlos Costa has been told to be ready for the witness stand at 10:30am. Is it possible that Costa will testify and make the whole situation clear that reasonable doubt will be gone on the first day?

Is it possible that Perez's old buddy will lay out a scheme and conversations where the dirty deal was cut? Will Carlos tell the story how Perez laid out the "one hand washes the other" conversations? You want Park Street renovations, I want kitchen renovations, lets make a deal buddy.

Maybe Carlos will reveal the frantic phone call from the Mayor's cell right after Inspector Sullivan left the freshly renovated Perez homestead. Maybe Carlos will detail how the Mayor told him to make up a phony invoice for the renovations because the State was onto their scheme. I think they call that fabricating evidence.

You might ask how we would know that the call came from the cellphone? It's clear, after Inspector Sullivan was pulling out of the driveway, Eddie was jumping in his car to head to the Hartford Federal Credit Union to apply for a loan to now cover the "quid-pro-quo" renovations for the "Dark Emperor's" granite counter tops.

And that is just witness number one. Those 12,000 e-mails that the Perez Defense team seemed to be worried about should prove interesting. And lets not forget Abe Giles, you never know what is going to come out of his mouth. The only way to be sure about him is with a roll of duct tape to keep his mouth shut.

It could be over quick, or it could be a very interesting several weeks.


On the eve of the start of the Perez corruption trial, it seems as though one of his alleged co-conspirators has been able to fly under the radar.

Republican Councilperson Veronica Airey-Wilson was also arrested at the same time as Perez, and I haven't seen any outcry for her resignation....yet. The demands for Perez to step down have been initiated by Council members claiming he can't perform his duties fully. The same demands for Airey-Wilson's resignation have been non-existent.

If her recent performances have been any indication, in fairness the Council should also be questioning her capacity to fulfill her functions.

Airey-Wilson was a no-show at the public budget session at Bulkeley High School and apparently decided to skip the public comment session of last night's Council meeting. Her attendance at her office at Hartford City Hall has also been scarce lately.

Maybe the Council is waiting until her trial draws closer, her next court date is June 12, 2010. I'm sure there is no double standard here, if Perez should have stepped down I'm sure her colleagues will be demanding that Airey-Wilson step aside also. And as with Perez, who's paying for Airey-Wilson's attorney and legal fees? Are the taxpayers of Hartford on the hook for that?

It's only fair, right?


Last week I posted the City of Hartford's Check register for March 2010.

The April 2010 register is now available and is posted below as a PDF file. I do have to give credit to Hartford's Chief Operating Officer David Panagore for his efforts in providing the register promptly on both occasions when I requested it through an FOIA request.

I will be requesting the register monthly and posting it here.

Also, in fairness, please keep an open mind when reviewing these payments. In a conversation with David Panagore, we discussed the perception of how some payments look on the face value, but in many cases there is a plausible explanation behind payments.

If you do have questions regarding any payment, documentation should be available and hopefully the Finance Director would be able to answer any questions and/or provide documentation if asked. Hartford's Finance Director Christopher Wolf can be reached by e-mail at