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Wednesday, April 25, 2012


How David Medina, the Director of Misinformation for Hartford Public School's still has a job is beyond me.

Jenna Carlesso at the Hartford Courant did a story today regarding the Principal at the Kinsella Magnet School and questionable charges on her City of Hartford credit card. The principal, Pamela Totten-Alvarado, had her city credit card (also called a p-card, short for purchasing card) suspended when some charges appeared. You can read the story here

When Carlesso asked, according to the story, for the record of charges , Medina responded by e-mail in a written statement that "We cannot respond to your request for a comment because all matters involving individual purchase card use are personnel issues and therefore outside of the public domain."

WRONG...WRONG...WRONG and just to be sure the overpaid mouthpiece understands what I am saying....WRONG! Medina is an embarrassment to anyone claiming to be working for open and transparent government. I am hoping his response is just out of ignorance, but as a former editor for the Hartford Courant I would hope he would be more familiar with Connecticut's FOI laws.

Mr. Medina, even if the records were personnel records as you stated, I am sure you know that personnel records are not exempt from disclosure except for a few specific items such as medical records, social security numbers banking information and the home addresses of police officers and firefighters.

I had already obtained the credit card records over a week ago for something I am working on, but I guess there is no time like the present to prove the mouthpiece wrong. Below are the credit card records for the subject of the Courant's article that Mr. Medina claims are exempt. Eliminating Mr. Medina's position would be a budget cut that makes sense.

Tighter controls over these credit cards would also make sense. Anyone that has ever worked in the "real" world of corporate America realizes that documentation is needed whenever a charge is made. Receipts detailing the reason for a purchase, the restaurant or store receipt and usually a note detailing the person being entertained , etc.

As you can see from the attached report, that doesn't seem to be the case in Fantasyland aka Hartford City Hall

A purchase for $140.21 at the Nightclub Belere in Morocco is approved because "per Mrs. Alvarado this purchase was made during her peace corp teacher exchange conference in Morocco 6/30/11-7/31/11". How do you get one of these jobs? A month in Morocco at the taxpayers expense?

Another purchase at Best Buy for $2059.50 on 11/02/11 was approved as "OK" because Mrs. Alvarado said "this purchase was used to reward the 7th and 8th grade students with a dance and activities for good behavior". When did Best Buy start selling high school dances?

A purchase at the Coach Store on 9/26/2011 for $150.00 was approved because Mrs. Alvarado said "this purchase was for a reward for a student at Kinsella Magnet School". A $150.00 Coach handbag for a student? Call me a skeptic, but might there be something more appropriate? And once again, where is the documentation?

Almost $13,000 dollars in purchases were made at Best Buy over several months, all approved, according to the documents, because "Mrs. Alvarado says....". These purchases could all be legit, but don't count on David Medina to shine any light on the truth.

More on the use of Hartford's city credit cards to come. In the mean time, here are the "personnel records" David Medina refused to release to the Courant.

FOI Totten-Alvarado P-card0001


Ellis Dee said...

Medina should have been fired long ago. He is useless. You could hire 2-3 Hartford residents for his salary. He doesn't know how FOI works and he's the Director of Information? What a hack

Billy Gene King said...

Can you FOI the receipts for her purchases and determine if they went to students? This sounds very fishy to me

Nyesha McCauley said...

This seems to be a lot of money going out of Hartford. I have objections to the amount of money being spent but even greater objection to it being spent at "Best Buy" and "Coach". Student based rewards could be purchased locally from Hartford businesses, keep Hartford dollars in Hartford as much as possible.

Raise Our Taxes said...

Why not have the Mayors "retreat" at a Hartford hotel? As for Medina, he is useless. It's amazing that he still has a job.