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Friday, February 11, 2011


Jeff Cohen had an interesting post on his blog at WNPR radio yesterday. You can use the link to the right to go to Jeff's blog.

Apparently during an interview with Mayor Pedro Segarra, Segarra referred to former Perez bagman Kelvin Roldan as "Matt Roldan". Whether that slip was intentional or by mistake, most feel he was referring to the connection between Roldan and the former Chief of Staff for Hartford's Chief Crook, convicted felon and former Mayor Eddie Perez.

Roldan apparently has embarked recently on a journey of self discovery. Does he want to be an employee of the Hartford Schools?(employee might be the wrong term since no one seems to be able to identify what he actually does) Does he want to be a State Representative? Does he want to be Hartford's City Treasurer? Does he want to be Hartford's Mayor? Or maybe he just wants to live in quiet anonymity as his alter ego "Willie Nunes"?

So anyway, apparently Matt... I mean Kelvin...didn't take too kindly to the Mayor's slip. Roldan sent a sharply worded e-mail to Cohen after the interview aired.

To: Cohen, Jeff;
Subject: Re: interview for a story

Hi Jeff,

Sorry for my dealyed response, Busy day.

After quickly reviewing the WWL interview I can only say that the poorly plowed roads in Hartford have kept Mayor Segarra confined to City Hall for too long giving him a very bad case of “cabin fever”. This stream of consciousness performance has Segarra; spending $67,000 for four days to rent a snow machine you can allegedly buy for $250,000, defending a $480K payment he approved to a contractor arrested for bribery, claiming to be a psychotherapist , forgetting the location of the Nelton Court Housing project and finally, calling the “poor people” of Hartford “manipulated” and “incapable of performing the analysis” at election time. I think in this context, any additional comments on my part would just detract from this insightful interview.



The whole exchange seems a little ridiculous. Although Segarra may have made a mistake and forgotten the location of Nelton Court, many of Roldan's constituents would make the same claim that Roldan has forgotten the location of his district. Roldan sent out a press release last week urging his subjects, I mean constituents, to send him pictures of poorly plowed streets so he could document Segarra's inefficiency I guess.

It might have made a lot more sense for Roldan to go out and actually walk his district and take a few pictures of his own. Especially in this age of GPS, Roldan should be able to find just about every street in his district without too much trouble.

And I'm not sure what Roldan meant about defending the "$480K" payment to a contractor arrested for bribery. As we heard repeatedly during the Perez arrest and trial..."innocent until proven guilty". And someone that would set up a phony e-mail name for a convicted felon Mayor to facilitate that Mayor's corrupt activities might want to think twice before throwing around any allegation involving corruption.

I'm sure that if we looked deeper into how certain people formerly in the Mayor's office who then landed $128,000 a year positions at the Board of Education might not necessarily have the "cleanest hands".I'm just saying.

And criticizing Mayor Segarra for spending $67,000 for snow removal equipment rentals is interesting also. Wasn't Roldan a key advisor to then Mayor, now convicted felon Eddie A. Perez before Roldan landed his $128,000 a year unknown position at the Board of Education? I might be mistaken, but I think I recall a time when Perez and Roldan could claim responsibility for numerous dollars squandered.

One that immediately comes to mind was the "Wireless Hartford" brainstorm that cost the people of Hartford millions of dollars. That was the plan to provide wireless internet to Blue Hills and Downtown, all paid for by the City of Hartford. Most of that equipment is probably sitting in a city warehouse somewhere now collecting dust and the program was a huge failure.

And that $67,000 dollars is a lot less than the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by the taxpayers of Hartford for attorneys representing Roldan and others when they were brought before a Grand Jury investigating Roldan's mentor...yes, you guessed it....the convicted felon Eddie A. Perez.

At least with the money spent for the snow removal equipment rental we are seeing some benefit and results. The streets are becoming passable, little by little. Not Mayor Segarra's proudest hour, but at least something is getting done.

And as far as Mayor Segarra suffering from "cabin fever", that allegation might be true. Luckily for Kelvin, his frequent travel allows him to spend time at country clubs in much milder climates lounging under the palm trees and playing golf, where he can unwind and forget about his constituents. Constituents of his that comprise probably the poorest district of any other in the State of Connecticut.

And Segarra's comments that Roldan referenced...“manipulated” and “incapable of performing the analysis at election time." probably can't be disputed. How else could you explain the corrupt Mayor and now convicted felon Eddie A. Perez being re-elected in 2007 while undergoing the scrutiny of a Grand Jury investigation which was common knowledge at the time and would lead to his eventual arrest and conviction and sentence of prison time?

I'm just saying.


Apparently Chief Roberts doesn't like the term "shake-up".

I attended the promotions ceremony for the newly elevated members of the Chief's command staff yesterday at the Hartford Hilton. The ballroom at the Hilton was full of police officers, their family members, dignitaries and well wishers.I was surprised that Mayor Segarra was not there, nor COO David Panagore or even the Mayor's Chief of Staff. But now that I think about it, I haven't seen the Mayor at the last couple promotion ceremonies.This time he was probably out directing snow removal operations and I think the last time he was making the ice in Bushnell Park.

I was just staring to doze off during the Chief's speech when I heard my name mentioned by the Chief. Just kidding Chief, your speeches are usually pretty good, and more importantly usually short.

Anyway, apparently the Chief wasn't happy that Wednesday morning at about 10:15am he was announcing the management changes and as he later tried to make quite clear to me, it wasn't a "shake-up". A short time later the individual who has been appointed to monitor my blog ( one of a couple from what I understand) frantically entered the Compstat meeting to advise the Chief that "we the people" had the "shake-up" on the blog by 10:18am.

So the Chief made the comment during his promotion speech that "As I was making my changes, Mr. Brookman had it on his blog by 10:18am, someone was telling him what was going on". After his speech, the Chief told me he would love to know how I get my information, and I told him that is the beauty of it, he never will know and sometimes I don't even know who they are.

And just to clarify this, the Chief and I do have a very good professional relationship, at least I think so, the Chief might have a different version, but I doubt it. One of the things I have to say about Chief Roberts is that we have a lot of good conversations, but we also have conversations when I can honestly tell him I disagree with some things that he or his Department do.

The picture above was taken after the promotion ceremony, just to show that we really do get along. The picture was taken by Detective Claudette Kosinski, and I am convinced the Chief had her fix the photo so I appeared chubbier than he does in the photo. Sorry Chief.

According to numerous police sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the Chief was seen throughout the day wandering the halls of Jennings Road repeating the phrase "10:18, 10:18, Brookman had it by 10:18, someone's talking".


This Council agenda is e-mailed prior to Council meetings and a recap of the meeting is e-mailed after the meetings.The Council Preview/Review is a joint project of Hartford 2000 and the Hartford Public Library.
If you have any questions about the agenda, please call Richard Frieder at the Hartford Public Library, 695-6365, or Linda Bayer at Hartford 2000, 547-1663 X21.

The agenda and the recap provide an easy to follow "plain English" description of the Council's actions To receive them yourself, e-mail and sign up.

And don't forget, Monday nights meeting is the first meeting of the month where the public comment session is held prior to the meeting from 6:00PM until 7:00PM

Council Preview 2/14/11

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


With the arrest and conviction of former Mayor Eddie Perez, an opening was created on the Hartford City Council when Pedro Segarra left the Council to assume the role of Mayor. After quite a bit of political arm twisting and maneuvering, Hartford Attorney Alexander Aponte was appointed to the vacant seat.

Aponte's appointment wasn't without controversy though. Prior to his appointment a source who had intimate knowledge of an ongoing Federal investigation as well as possible disbarment proceedings against Aponte contacted me with specific details. I related that information to several Council members as well as Corporation Counsel Saundra Kee-Borges

At least three of those Council members have now told me that they felt they were deceived by Aponte when they asked him for clarification before the replacement vote was taken. Two council members had specifically asked Aponte about the info and they stated Aponte had replied that there was nothing to the allegations and it was "just some woman trying to make some money" off him.

Documents obtained since that night the vote was taken seem to paint a much different picture. Aside from the actual complaint and investigation, the Connecticut Grievance Panel for the Hartford Judicial District issued their own "Grievance Panel Finding of Probable Cause" in which they determined that Aponte "appears to have been involved in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation".The Grievance Panel's "Finding of Probable Cause" to pursue allegations against Aponte are below:
Aponte Grievance Panel Finding of Probable Cause

Putting all the lawyer jokes aside, attorney's aren't typically known for using such strong language against one of their own. The full finding of probable cause can be read above. That finding was reached on November 23, 2009 and numerous continuances on the part of Aponte and his attorney dragged the eventual grievance hearing before a Superior Court Judge for over a year. Eventually a hearing was scheduled for January 13, 2011 and although Aponte and his attorney attempted to once again delay that hearing with a continuance, that request was denied and the disciplinary hearing was held.

That hearing could take several months before the decision is rendered. The result could be anything from an exoneration, a potential lengthy suspension of Aponte's law license up to disbarment. An attorney familiar with the case told me that considering the severity of the allegations and the strongly worded finding of probable cause, a lengthy suspension of a year or two would be likely but he wouldn't be surprised by the revocation of Aponte's license to practice law.

The documents posted below will paint an interesting picture of the initial fraud perpetrated by an illegal immigrant who had previously been caught up and imprisoned by food stamp fraud. After he served his sentence on the initial arrest he was apparently deported and then once again entered the United States illegally. Once back here, he began his food stamp fraud again.

This time though both him and his wife needed what they referred to as a "straw buyer" to operate under the radar and still be able to accept food stamps at their bodega located at 194 Mather Street. The "straw buyer", Maribel Diaz apparently went along with the plan after she was told that the store was actually owned by a Catholic Priest, Father Michael Galasso. The formerly deported illegal immigrant, who operated under numerous aliases including "Polo" Adames, Polo Collado-Adames,Leonaldo Collado,Jose Adames,David Martin, David Polo and Apolinar Collado along with his wife Lillian Adames, convinced Diaz to put the store in her name.

According to investigative reports and documents, Diaz claimed that Collado told her that they could not put the store in his wife's name because they had a daughter who had a heart transplant and she was receiving government benefits. They couldn't show the income or she would lose her benefits according to their story.

Diaz became suspicious of the operation when she noticed the large dollar amounts moving through the checking account that Collado had opened in her name for the business. On October 23, 2008 Diaz gave her statement to the USDA detailing the operation and her involvement. Her statement is detailed below:
Diaz USDA Statement

Diaz claims that Father Galasso was aware of the family's history but never warned her of their past or their family history in the previous scams. Father Galasso was abruptly transferred out of his parish several years ago by the Archdiocese of Hartford for unknown reasons and attempts to reach him for comment have been unsuccessful.

Although Aponte claimed to represent "Mr. Michael Galazo" in a letter dated November 29, 2004 to the USDA as a result of their investigation into the food stamp fraud. A couple of things make this suspicious as to Aponte's representation of Father Galasso. First off is the application to the USDA to accept food stamps which purports to be filed by Father Galasso. The only problem with that which makes me suspicious is that Father Galasso's name is misspelled on the application and if I were a betting person I would bet that the application was a forgery.

Aponte carries the misspelling of Father Galasso's name through on his letter to the USDA referring to him as Mr. Michael Galazo. It is unknown if Father Galasso and Aponte did actually have an attorney/client relationship and no documentation was available in the Grievance Committee's investigation showing that Galasso had actually retained Aponte as his attorney . Yhe Aponte letter to the USDA claiming "Galazo" as his client and the "Galazo" food stamp application are below:

"Galazo" USDA Food Stamp Application

On November 11, 2005 Aponte sent a letter to the USDA claiming to represent Maribel Diaz and appeared to be attempting to gather information regarding the Federal Investigation. The reality is that Aponte did not represent Diaz but actually was working for the apparent beneficiaries of the fraud scheme, Apolinar Collado. Eventually Maribel Diaz did actually retain the services of an attorney when she learned that she had unknowingly been drawn into the heart of the Federal investigation and that she was facing stiff penalties.

Diaz's attorney, Stefan J. Stolarz, sent a letter to Aponte on May 5, 2009 attempting to confirm his attempt to clarify the relationship between Aponte and Diaz. Apparently in a previous conversation Aponte stated to Stolarz that he "did not recall ever representing a Maribel Diaz". Yet, in the 11/11/2005 letter to the USDA , Aponte claimed in writing that he represented Diaz.

In his letter, Stolarz requests several critical documents from Aponte that Aponte would have been required to complete and make his client Diaz aware of if she was in fact ever his client. Specifically, at the time Diaz would have retained Aponte he would have completed an "agreement to represent". If in fact Aponte represented Diaz and also represented Collado/Adames this would have presented a conflict of interest and Aponte would have had to secure a "waiver of conflict" from Diaz verifying that she had been advised of the conflict.

In addition, if Aponte did actually represent both Diaz and Collado/Adames as he claimed, he was required to advise Diaz of Collado/Adames prior conviction for crimes specifically relating to the type of charges she now faced as a result of the Federal investigation. Aponte would have been required to explain to her how that history would relate to her current charges.

Apparently none of that documentation was forthcoming. Aponte's letter to the USDA claiming to represent Diaz and Attorney Stolarz's letter to Aponte are below:
Aponte Letter to USDA- Diaz Client Letter

Stolarz - Letter to Aponte- Diaz Client Letter

On July 13, 2009, Maribel Diaz filed a formal complaint with the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch and set the Grievance process against Aponte in motion. That complaint is below:
Diaz Complaint to Grievance Committee

During September of 2009 both Diaz and Aponte responded to the Grievance Panel in detail. Those detailed responses are below:

The documents seem to speak for themselves, but a couple things seem to be very clear. First and foremost, Aponte was less than truthful when he told members of the Hartford City Council that there was nothing to the allegations. Aponte's peers, specifically the Grievance Panel members felt that the allegations were serious and more importantly credible when they issued their finding of probable cause against Aponte.

To accuse one of their fellow attorneys of fraud and deception is not an action that I would think they take lightly and would not be made without strong evidence.
The conflicting statements and letters from Aponte to the USDA claiming to represent Maribel Diaz and then his denial of representing her to Attorney Stolarz draw Aponte's integrity and truthfulness into question.

Aponte is not a new attorney fresh out of law school who can claim he didn't know better. The documents appear to outline a pattern of deception on the part of Aponte in dealing with this matter and his denial to his fellow council members was a further continuance of the deception.

We have had enough deception, corruption and yes even embarrassment by our elected officials to last a lifetime. Council President rJo Winch who refused to originally vote for Aponte's appointment then less than 24 hours later flipped her vote and supported Aponte to secure her own appointment as Council President needs to show how much of a leader she is now. If Aponte won't do the right thing on his own, Winch needs to lead the way to restore confidence and integrity and show that she can be a leader and move to remove



Some people seem to understand the world of political patronage better than others. Hartford's Democratic Deputy Registrar of Voters Garey Coleman has figured out how to double dip legally, while others who tried it are waiting to be arrested.

In the photo above, Coleman is the hard working civil servant earning his pay while reading the newspaper, bottom center directly under the speakers podium. Coleman apparently is able to perform two separate jobs at two separate locations and still find time to read the paper. It seems that Coleman still collects his full pay as the Democratic Deputy Registrar at the same time he collects his pay as clerk of the Connecticut House of Representatives.Click on the image above to view it full size.

That must be a difficult task, considering how hard he seems to be working in the picture above. Obviously money well spent. It reminds me of the poker playing legislators also caught last year on camera.

The picture was snapped by a Courant photographer and posted on the blog "eye contact". You can view the blog by clicking here


Last week information that $2.7 million dollars in bonuses had been paid out to Hartford School employees seemed to surprise many people, including Hartford Mayor Segarra. It now would seem that Hartford's Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Steven Adamowski, continues to run Hartford's schools like the Captain of the Titanic and choosing to ignore the huge iceberg he is about to crash into, a/k/a the 2011-2012 budget.

Hartford's schools have been a shell game of names under Adamowski with Principals and Vice-Principal becoming "Deans", schools that were paid attention to became "Academies" and now the Human Resources office has become the "Office of Talent Management".

And if any of that makes sense to you, Adamowski is apparently now creating a new Director's position in a cash strapped system while more teachers will probably lose their jobs July 1st to more budget cuts. The position of "Director of Performance Management" in the Office of Talent Management was posted yesterday. The salary is not listed but sources have advised me that it is expected to be upwards of $110,000. Calls to the Office of Talent Management for comment were not answered or returned.



Police sources at the Hartford Police Department are telling me that a major shake-up is underway this morning at the PD. Changes are being announced in this morning's COMPSTAT meeting which is underway now.

Several changes have already been made including Lieutenants being shuffled in most areas including Major Crimes, Juvenile Investigations, Southeast and Southwest zones, Department Advocate, the Chief's Executive Officer, Evidentiary Services and more are expected throughout the morning. Preliminary information is that a new spokesperson for the Department may also be named today

More on this as it progresses and the list of names of those shuffled.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Last Friday I posted about the Hartford Police investigating the alleged sexual assault of a five month old child. As sad and disgusting as that allegation is, it still is investigated by a Hartford Police Officer. A Hartford Police officer who has one definite thing in common with every other police officer across the country. The investigating officer is a human being with human emotions.

I don't know the officer that investigated the incident, but I am sure it brought about some strong emotional feelings. And I don't know this for a fact, but it was probably the type of day that ended with the officer trying to get a few buddies to meet for a cold beer after work.

And there lies the problem. Police officers are human and may deal with their problems the way many others do, through alcohol or by taking it out on someone else that they think will usually put up with it. It seems like the two reasons officer's end up on the bad side of the news lately is from alcohol related incidents or domestic violence arrests.

I don't condone either, but until we start employing "robo-cops" who have no emotion and function like a computer chip, we are going to have problems.

The issue hit close to home today when word of Connecticut State Police Lieutenant Timothy Kradas's recent accident and the revelation that alcohol was most likely involved. "Timmy" has been a friend since the days he moved in next to our family in Windsor when he was only a few years old. It seems like he almost spent more time at our house growing up than he did at his home. When our family would head to Vermont for weekends or summer vacations, Timmy was usually there.

Through just about every family event, Tim was there as one of our family. Weddings, wakes, funerals, Tim was there. Even my fathers retirement party, Tim was there.

Tim and I were working together when he went through the application process and was accepted into the State Police Academy and I remember him beaming when he graduated and was assigned to Troop C in Stafford. I remember how proud I was to see him make it to graduation and begin his career.

A couple years later I was with him one Saturday. He was off duty when he got a call and was told to meet another trooper off of I-91 in Windsor. He didn't know it at the time, but his State Police K-9 and his new partner Phoenix was about to be delivered to him to begin canine training.

Tim excelled with Phoenix and they made quite the team. Unfortunately, during a track one night in rough terrain, Tim and Phoenix went off a cliff and Tim's fall resulted in some chronic back injuries. Phoenix fared better from the incident and eventually retired.

That's a little bit about the human side, but it also brings me back to the "dirty little secret". Alcohol abuse is a huge problem for police officers, the same as it is for teachers, priests and probably just about every profession. The problem though is that when alcohol affects a cops career, it usually doesn't end well.

Cops are the tough guys amongst us. They are supposed to always be strong and have their armored defenses up and ready. Their peers and co-workers are expected to be equally as strong and no sign of weakness goes unchallenged. Unfortunately, 9 times out of 10 the challenge is neither healthy nor helpful.

Did Tim all of a sudden decide to leave CSP Headquarters pound a few beers during a snowstorm (if that is what he did) and hit the highway and drive under a truck. I doubt it. Did anyone at HQ ever look at the LT. and ask "does he look like he has been drinking?". It probably wasn't a problem that started the afternoon of the accident.

Did anyone in a squadroom full of Bristol Police Officers question one of their own on the midnight shift recently before he hit the road drunk? Obviously not, but I find it hard to believe no one noticed.

Hartford has their share also, it isn't unique to Bristol or the state. It is a human frailty and although the officers are at fault for their actions, it is something that no one wants to address. Until it erupts into a problem that is.

Many times with full knowledge of pretty much everyone, alcohol related accidents are attributed to "black ice" or a drunken binge attributed to "oh, he just had a bad day", until the "bad days" seem to become almost every day. Too many good officers, talented officers, are reduced to ruins because no one has the backbone to step up and do what is right. It is easier to gossip over the radio and make jokes about "Sgt. 36" or "Lt.36" being on a binge again. (36 is HPD's radio code for a drunk, DUI)

EAP (employee assistance program)is something that needs to be more than just a program on paper. Someone should have the guts to step up and say "I think Tim has a problem" and be able to do that without being the outcast because they breached "the Blue Wall of Silence". What they most likely are doing is helping a co-worker avoid the embarrassment of front page headlines on the Courant as well as saving their career.

What was an impressive career will now be reduced to being remembered as a crash during a snowstorm with beer cans and some tomato juice concoction containing alcohol. Doing what is right is hardly ever easy, but in the end, this incident probably would have had a much different outcome if someone had the guts to step up and do what is unpopular but also what is right.