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Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Does anyone remember Senator Lou DeLuca (R) and his downfall from the Connecticut Legislature a few years ago? After Senator DeLuca stepped up to defend his granddaughter who he believed was being threatened, he was arrested on, I believe, a misdemeanor charge. He was promptly run out of the Senate and forced to resign.

No violation of the public trust, no theft of the taxpayers money, DeLuca was accused of trying to defend a family member.

Governor John Rowland and Senator Gaffey are two more Connecticut politicians who promptly resigned when their actions were called into question and they were marched before Judges. One a Democrat (Gaffey), one a Republican (Rowland).

What is the standard that should be applied to our elected officials and their resignations when they are accused of crimes? All too often we hear "innocent until proven guilty", but does it really take a guilty verdict to confirm that an elected official isn't worthy of the public's trust placed in them by the electorate?

When does integrity and soul searching kick in to realize what is best for the people the elected officials represent as well as the institution itself? It seems that all too often it is about self survival and selfishness. Is it any wonder voter participation is so bad and many voters don't even bother to turn out to vote because they see the system as so corrupt.

Hartford has lived the nightmare of municipal corruption for several years now. Not just through the Perez corruption investigation and his arrest and trial but also through a corrupt Councilperson, Veronica Airey-Wilson being rewarded with an early retirement after her arrest on corruption charges.

We currently have another Councilperson facing potential disbarment or suspension of his law license for his role with a client in a Federal Investigation where one party just plead guilty to $1.3 million in Food stamp fraud.

And the most recent case is that of Hector Robles who is being accused of violating the public's trust on two very important fronts. One as a police officer in a city that struggles everyday to earn the trust of its residents. Secondly as an elected member of the Connecticut House of Representatives.

Robles has been arrested and accused of "double dipping" in a scheme he is said to have perpetrated to steal over $10,000 from the taxpayers of Hartford. To read the original IAD report from the Hartford Police Department, click here

Robles was recently arrested by Inspectors from the States Attorney's Financial Crimes Unit and charged with two felonies, crimes far more severe than those that forced Senator DeLuca to resign.

The sad part though is that even though Robles admitted to IAD investigators, in a statement he gave to them, that he knew what he did was wrong and illegal and was "double dipping, he still refuses to accept blame. He continues to claim that others were doing it also, as if that lessens the seriousness of the allegations. Quite a few people rob banks every year in Connecticut, but that doesn't diminish the charges against those who do get caught.

I guess the part that is troubling though is the silence by all of the people that you would hope would show some integrity and step up to demand Robles's resignation. I really don't expect too much from the Hartford Democratic Town Committee, but Speaker of the House Donovan as well as other members of the Legislature are surprising me with their silence.

I would think that the Speaker would be as offended as I was when Hector first lied to me when I asked him about the allegations almost two months before any of the allegations became public. That was long before the IAD report was released when Hector essentially admitted to the scheme.

He used the same line on just about anyone that asked him about the investigation, claiming that it was all administrative and was no big deal. He never mentioned that he gave a statement admitting his wrongdoing.

This past Saturday the 6th District Democratic Town Committee held a meeting at which Robles was present. According to sources a lot of tough talk was being made prior to the meeting by members that were going to call for Robles resignation or censure. Apparently that is all that it was was talk, since none of the big talkers made any motions or even brought up his resignation.

Robles apparently again gave his speech that others were doing the same thing so it wasn't a big deal, even claiming to the group that Chief Daryl Roberts was guilty of the same thing when Roberts was a detective. The truth is the truth and although Chief Roberts vehemently denied the accusation when I asked him about it, it in no way lessens the allegations against Robles. So far no evidence has been introduced to show that others on the PD were "double dipping" but if there is any evidence to substantiate others involvement, then they should be standing before a Judge entering a plea, the same as Robles did.

If others were double dipping, that does not suggest that Robles is innocent, all it shows is that we have a greater problem.

I guess I need to go back to one of my previous questions, is a guilty verdict the only time we can ask a public official to resign. Or when the evidence shows that they clearly violated the public's trust as well as their own statement that they clearly violated the public trust by stealing, shouldn't that be enough to call for them to step down. If not, it is a slap in the face to any politician that understands the awesome responsibility they are entrusted with the day they are elected.

I also realize that the paycheck Robles is receiving from the Legislature may be his only source of income now that he has been fired by HPD, but that is not a reason to allow him to remain in a position of public trust and authority. Besides, the MDC might be hiring , surely someone else in the legislature could put in a good word for him there.



peter brush said...

All too often we hear "innocent until proven guilty", but does it really take a guilty verdict to confirm that an elected official isn't worthy of the public's trust placed in them by the electorate?
The guy has been "terminated" at the PD. He violated the public trust by stealing from us. If he's found innocent in a criminal proceeding hurray for him; in the mean time he should exit stage left, just get out, move on... Not that it distinguishes him from the rest of our elected officials, but we can surely do without him. Of course, while a comparatively honest Rep is preferable, we're highly unlikely to get a replacement who is cognizant of the State's fiscal crisis, let alone one willing to address the matter.
And, while I don't care about this sort of stuff as much as you, I agree that the silence on the matter is striking. Indicative of our fundamentally corrupt political culture/electorate/press.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who follows this blog can attest to how often Hartford makes poor decisions but in this case I think they made the right one and Robles is done for. He will never win his job back and eventually will be forced out of office one way or another.

Most politicians would step down out of shame and embarrassment but as we learned from Eddie and others, many Hartford "leaders" have no shame.

Anonymous said...

It is fairly common knowledge that Robles hired an attorney who is conducting an investigation into others who did the same thing. He subpoenaed time cards and rolls and other public records. This investigation encapsulated the top earners in the PD (supervisors and officers). The scope of the investigation is minimal. The bad news is the Union has already been informed by Robles’s attorney that they have discovered seven (7) other cops who did the same thing. The Union, however, knows the numbers, but does not have the names. This is where it gets ugly and interesting.
Now what to do.? Does the chief now finally order a deeper and more thorough investigation on his own? A little late now huh? When this surfaces (and it will) look for Command 1 to run as far away from this as possible; as it will stink of one part cover up and one part witch hunt- covering up for the boys club and the witch hunt for Robles/Dailey. Do you fire all other 7 officers and supervisors? Do you discipline their supervisors with suspensions, ala Lt. Dailey? I guess to be fair, all 7 should be summarily fired (like Robles) and all their supervisors suspended for 5 days (like Dailey). What if one of the supervisors is from IAD, yikes? Does the chief say, “Ooops my bad, we should have done our own investigation, but we will do it now, and make some new time card system” ? Look for the State to get involved with this at some point.
Moreover, you know, yes Kevin- you know Robles is not the first cop to run this scam. I completely agree with you though. This in no way clears Robles for his wrong doing. So where will blame lie then? The IAD investigators are on record as stating they know other officers are involved. But then, for some unknown reasons, there has been no thorough investigation into this mess. Robles’s Attorney is holding a big bomb. When and where he drops it is going to be painful, ugly and interesting.

Anonymous said...

The best thing about Kevin's blog is the amount of information that can be learned. "Anonymous at 10:53 PM", your posting was incredible. I hope others from HPD post with more insider info.

None of us had heard about Halloran's subpoenaes, very impressive amateur detective work if it yields others who did the same. But as Kevin said, that is no excuse for Hector's conduct as people don't go out and rob banks because others do it.

And Kev -- don't you think the MDC has already done enough for Hector? All of that lucrative legal work given to Halloran is footing Hector's legal bills.


Anonymous @ 10:53pm:

I have said all along that Hector Robles is not some rocket scientist who dreamed up some great scheme to defraud the City. I agree with you that this probably does go deeper and needs to be investigated fully if for no other reason to be fair to Robles. There are a few problems though. This may extend up through the ranks and it is probably more difficult to document the hours for some Sergeants, Lieutenants and Captains who like Robles normally do not sign "on-the-line" for their regular hours but are also some of the biggest money earners in the Department because of their PJ hours. Explain to me how someone can do their primary job and still earn over $150,000 a year without "double-dipping. This doesn't include the lives they jeopardize by being too fatigued to properly supervise and do their regular job.

I would venture to say that if a full forensic audit was completed by the State's Attorneys Office, the number would be higher than the 7 possible offenders you mention. We can both probably name the 7 that would be at the top of the list already without any audit.

I'm glad you agree that even if there are more, it doesn't lessen the allegations against Robles.

And for those reading that wonder what "Command 1" means, that is the radio call sign for the Chief.

The other problem with launching a full scale investigation is pervasive with the corruption that runs throughout Hartford government. No one will step up to shine light on many of these problems because chances might be good that the light will shine right back on them and the skeletons in their own closets. "You can't rat on me because I remember that time that you did that and I'll turn you in". It's a vicious circle, but it will only take one person doing the right thing to start breaking that circle. It could be Chief Roberts, it could be the State's Attorney, I guess we'll see eventually.

peter brush said...

others who did the same thing...
Two issues here.
Not sure what finding others who did the same thing will do for Robles, but it will be useful to the taxpayer if a more systemic problem is identified and fixed.
The other relates to Robles as State Rep. Whether others did it at PD is not relevant in the least to whether Robles now disqualified as legislator. He should have resigned already. Given his not having done so, there should be calls from his colleagues, particularly Dems, for him to exit out of respect for the body and for his constituents.

Anonymous said...

Kevin you make a great point concerning the higher ranks and not signing in or on line. Why can't they? Everyone should be accountable and there needs to be a check and balance in place for fundamental fairness to take place. If HPD is serious about corruption from within then make the necessary changes. The problem is there is a leadership vacuum there that needs to be addressed. Bring a chief from the outside or appoint a commissioner to oversee the department.

Anonymous said...

Where is the Mayor in all of this? If he wants change and to earn the public trust then maybe he should step up and demand a full investigation. Have the City's own internal audit department conduct an investigation. Fire all those involved, and if it means Command 1, then so be it. The Mayor needs to LEAD Hartford not just show up for his paycheck.

peter brush said...

Where is the Mayor in all of this?
A very good question. Our municipal guys were all hot and bothered a couple of weeks ago about School Board business, stuff not strictly within the City's jurisdiction. The Police Department is just that; a department of the municipal government, something completely within the Mayor's and Council's control. I don't know what should be done by whom, and prejudice in favor of cops policing themselves, so to speak, but the taxpayers are on the hook for their misappropriations. Our local pols should at least express concern, have some public curiosity about the issue, certify that any problems have been addressed.