Anyone reading this blog should be aware that I haven't weighed in on my choice of who I'm supporting for Mayor.
After this weekends and today's nonsense though, I need to say something or I'll hurt myself biting my tongue to remain silent.
I attended a fundraising dinner Saturday night that was much more political than I thought it would be. Mayoral Candidate Ed Vargas was there, Kelvin Roldan was there , Matt Ritter was there, the "Honorable" Art Feltman was there, Sean Arena was there and amid confusion Mayor Segarra showed up midway through dinner, even though he apparently didn't purchase a ticket. That was apparently rectified and as the saying goes "the check is in the mail.
The buzz from the moment I arrived and throughout the night was "make sure you read the Courant tomorrow, they are going after Pedro". There were all kind of comments as to the suspected content of the article. Would Pedro have to resign? Would he be forced out of the Mayoral race? Would rJo Winch have to take over as mayor? Forget about Pedro, that though alone scared the hell out of me. But then I realized, even if it was bad, Pedro could stall like Eddie did, so we were good until the new Mayor steps in January of 2012.
Throughout the Perez years, including the Veronica Airey-Wilson years, I think I have become pretty good at recognizing corruption and ethical lapses and I have to say, the Courant's article really seemed like nothing to me. I don't intend to belittle the Courant or Jon Lender.Stories like this sell papers and if the buzz Saturday night was any indication, a lot of people probably made it a point to purchase Sunday's Courant.
Even though Segarra should have probably asked the question first if there was any doubt, this amounts to nothing more than mudslinging by his opponents.
In order to be taken seriously when accusations are thrown around, I think you need to be sincere and not look like opportunists. If there was ever a glass house that someone was living in, it is probably Kelvin Roldan. And that glass house from what I understand isn't even in Roldan's district but is most likely in West Hartford, but that's another story.
Kelvin Roldan was neck deep in the corruption scandal involving his former boss Eddie A. Perez. If the Grand Jury record is correct, Roldan played a key role in facilitating some of Perez's activities. In some circles that is referred to as an "unindicted co-conspirator". Just ask "Willie Nunes" about it if you don't believe me.
Then we have Roldan in a position at the Board of Education, apparently created for him, at over $120,000 a year not to mention his bonuses.
Then we have Roldan unable to commit to what he really wants to do when he grows up. Does he want to be Mayor or does he want to be Treasurer? Who knows, but that exploratory committee he has formed is raising money . It should be interesting to see who is donating and who he is paying with the funds raised.
Whether Roldan has actually found out what integrity means is not up to me to judge, but I find it hard to trust the intent of him spoon feeding what many feel is a non-story to the media and then making it appear that he is the voice of truth and justice by calling for an investigation.
Roldan's campaign committee issued the following statement yesterday before the ink was even dry on the Courant's story:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Christopher Cooper, Cooper Communications: 860-836-7491
April 10, 2011
ROLDAN CALLS FOR ETHICS INVESTIGATION OF SEGARRA’S FAILURE TO DISCLOSE PAYMENTS
Public Records Show Segarra Deeply Involved in Spouse’s Business That Received Payments
State Representative Kelvin Roldan (D-Hartford) today called on the City of Hartford Ethics Commission and if warranted, the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office to investigate the failure of Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra to disclose over $120,000 in potentially illegal payments paid by the City to Segarra’s spouse.
The Hartford Courant has reported that since Segarra became a councilman in 2006, his spouse has received over $120,000 in payments as a landlord from the City’s Housing Choice Voucher Program, payments that were not disclosed in Segarra’s ethics filings.
Additionally, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is reviewing the possible violation of federal rules in response to an inquiry from the Courant to determine if payments made to Segarra’s spouse were illegal because they violated HUD’s strict conflict of interest regulations which prohibit payments under the voucher program to public officials or their relatives.
State Representative Kelvin Roldan issued the following statement:
“There may be a logical explanation for these alleged violations of federal Conflict of Interest regulations and Mayor Segarra’s failure to report this information as required under City ethics law. However, if these payments have been ongoing for six years to a business being run out of his law office and the Mayor was aware of them, his failure to disclose them is a serious violation of the public trust. The people of Hartford deserve to have this matter investigated – first, by the City’s Ethics Commission and if warranted, as a criminal matter.
These apparent violations continue a disturbing pattern of behavior by Mayor Segarra during the few months he has been in office – including the approval of a $500,000 payment to the contractor at the center of the city’s recent bribery scandal and a scheme to pad the pensions of retiring elected officials. Now it appears the mayor has failed to disclose City contracts being held by his spouse.
It is time – long past time – for our city government to make hard-working families and dependable employers its first priorities, rather than the friends and relatives of those who hold political power.”
City property records show that all investment properties owned by Ortiz are registered at Segarra’s law office address and according to the Secretary of State, Segarra is the business agent for Ortiz’s real estate investment company, Casablanca Realty and Investments LLC.
I have searched, but I can't find any instance of Roldan calling for any investigations, inquiries or even any statement condemning the actions of his mentor Eddie Perez or even Councilwoman Veronica Airey-Wilson. For that matter, Roldan has not made a peep regarding his other buddy that he shared a campaign headquarters with, recently arrested Sate Representative Hector Robles.
I guess Robles felony charges aren't serious enough for Roldan compared to Segarra's terrible actions. But then again, Roldan is not planning on running against Robles for anything so he must only realize ethical lapses when they may benefit him. But on second thought, Perez's ethical lapses most likely did benefit Roldan, so I guess I can see why he kept quiet on those.
Then, as if not to be outdone by Roldan, Mayoral candidate Shawn Wooden today weighed in on the Segarra "section 8 scandal". Wooden is also someone that I have not found any comments from regarding the Perez scandal or even Robles. But then again, I'll give Wooden the benefit of the doubt since he has only arrived on the scene lately since he decided to run for Mayor.
Here are Wooden's comments below:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: ANDREW GROSSMAN, WOODEN FOR MAYOR
MONDAY, APRIL 11, 2011 (860) 570-2011
Shawn Wooden's statement on Mayor Segarra’s ethical lapse
(Hartford, CT) - Shawn Wooden, Democratic candidate for Mayor, released the following statement today regarding Mayor Segarra's failure to properly disclose his relationship with city contractors and fill out his ethics statements.
"Twice in three weeks, Mayor Segarra has claimed to have forgotten to obey the law. In light of the Courant's investigation and questions raised by a spokesman at HUD, he owes the public a better explanation than that. Claiming memory loss and looking the other way isn't the leadership that Hartford deserves," said Wooden.
"There is a real leadership crisis in City Hall and we must do everything possible to restore the people's trust in our government. These are serious issues and, given the ethical cloud that City Hall has been under in recent years, HUD should investigate this matter on an expedited basis and the U.S. Attorney should investigate as well. Additionally, the City Council must be proactive and look into whether or not a HUD violation would cause the City to be liable for repaying the funds."
"The people of Hartford deserve a government that is open, transparent, honest and accountable. And we deserve leaders who understand the laws and follow the rules."
For more information about Shawn Wooden's candidacy for Mayor, please visit