Last week when the stories began to erupt regarding Hartford's problem with use (or misuse) of city credit cards, WFSB's Len Besthoff was working on the story. He interviewed Mayor Pedro Segarra regarding one of the charges that raised some eyebrows. Is a charge for the Mayor's New Years Eve dinner that was put on his Chief of Staff's City Credit card for $707.21
When asked about the dinner charge by Besthoff, Segarra replied angrily "I paid for half that dinner, half that dinner". You can view the interview and Mayor Segarra's exact words here on WFSB.com. I'm not sure why, I just don't believe a lot of what is coming out of City Hall these days so I asked the Mayor's Office for documentation of the payment, when it was made and a comment as to why the Mayor thought it was necessary to make the payback in the first place.
I had hoped that maybe the payback was made January 1st or 2nd after the wine cleared and someone realized it was wrong for Hartford's taxpayers to pay for the Mayor's Dinner as well as the Mayor's partner, and his Chief of Staff and a female acquaintance. Last Friday , April 5th. I made my request through e-mail to the Mayor's Communications Director Maribel LaLuz. She replied asking me to giver her until Monday. That was fine, it was Friday afternoon, and Happy Hour at Salute was just around the corner.
Monday I received an e-mail from LaLuz informing me the information wouldn't be coming Monday because " Am working on getting this but due to POTUS visit may not get to it until tomorrow.
Keep you posted. M. "
On Tuesday another e-mail, but still no verification" Mayor was in budget meetings all day and did not bring the statement in. I've requested it for tomorrow. Will keep you posted..M
From that point on, nothing until late today
This afternoon another e-mail with a couple receipts attached arrived, and this is where the confusion begins. Despite the fact that the Mayor had stated to Besthoff that he paid half the bill, the receipts were dated today, and for 1/3 of the bill , not half. I guess anyone can make a mistake, but Segarra was so adamant and visibly upset, I had hoped he was telling the truth.
The explanation given by LaLuz also seemed to confuse me somewhat."Attached and below is the requested documentation regarding the Mayor’s dinner at Max on New Year’s Eve. It’s important to note that once Mayor Segarra realized that the charge was done incorrectly and not as he requested, he called MAX on Feb 28 at 11:00am and asked them to fix it- hence Adam’s apology below. There are telephone receipts confirming that request. That was before any reports surfaced about p cards. To be clear, Segarra paid $205.76 on his personal card and Charlie paid $250.76 on his personal card. "
Why did it take two months for the buyers remorse to kick in, no one at that table realized that night it was wrong? And the scans provided showed only one charge for $250.76 and a credit for $250.76. In trying to make sense, I can only assume the charge was to Segarra's AMEX card and the credit was back to someones City Credit Card apparently, but only for a third of the bill, not half as was stated in the interview. No documentation was provided for the charge claimed to the Mayor's partner, Charlie Ortiz..
I guess it is troubling to me as to why Mayor Segarra would make the statement to Besthoff that the bill had been repaid when it clearly hadn't and why they would string me along for a week saying that the receipts were coming. The Transaction hadn't even been done yet.
I probably would believe it more if he had said he needed to go to the Credit Union for a loan after the request for receipts had been made