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Friday, May 3, 2013


The Audit report that was requested by the Council in response to complaints about widespread Credit Card Abuse is apparently done, according to the City's Auditor, but the full court press is being put on to avoid releasing it. I can understand why, but according to FOI it isn't legal.

I spoke with the education Director as well as a staff attorney earlier today with my questions regarding the release of the report. Although Hartford's Auditor, Patrick Campbell  advised the Council, the requestor's of the audit at Tuesdays budget hearing that the audit was done and he hoped to distribute it the following day.

As you can see from the e-mail text below, he seems to be relying on semantics, repeatedly using the word "issue" to avoid the release.

Mr. Brookman:

I understand you are looking for a copy of the final issued report.  We are working on finalizing the report for issuance.  It has not been issued at this time.  Once the final report has been issued you will certainly be welcome to a copy.

Patrick Campbell

According to FOI, when Campbell said it was done, it was done, which means it is a public document at that point , whether the Audit Commission or the Council has reviewed it, it should be public. I am losing confidence in the performance of the Audit and why the Auditor would try to prevent the release of the document.

I fully expect that a finding will come forth that everything is fine, a little mismanagement and loose record keeping , but other than that all innocent mistakes.

The fact of the matter is that just the New Years Eve Dinner charged to the Mayor's Chief of Staff is enough to request a criminal investigation. They used City funds for their own personal gain and entertainment of their spouses and friends on the taxpayers dime. That is fraud and a larceny from the municipality Any one of us can drive to Rocky Hill and walk into the Office of the Chief States Attorney with documents in hand and request a review. Hell, I'd take the bus if I have to, and Rocky Hill is closer than the FBI Offices in Meriden.

So if the City's Auditor and the Audit Commission are suffering from a case of "Low T" myself and others will be glad to take care of business. If past practice is any indicator, the IAC and the Auditor's have been reluctant to refer anything for prosecution, even well documented thefts of large amounts of cash from the Tax Collector's Office, Seeing the behavior to keep this report from the public, I am not expecting too much.


It is ironic that after Eddie Perez was convicted, I thought the blog would dry up because people would start doing the right thing.  Well, let me just say, the information is coming in faster now than it ever did when Perez was Mayor.

One television reporter told me that "Hartford was the gift that keeps on giving" when it comes to material for blog posts and news stories. Boy were they right.

Today when I got the call telling me about an someone who is apparently a vendor for the City of Hartford. They explained that the vendor, who apparently is hired by Development Services to clean up illegal dumping sites in the City, was himself arrested by the Hartford Police for illegal dumping behind the Comcast Theater.

The Police reports are below, but other tan the police reports, the City is being very tight lipped about the incident. I can understand why, how many embaraasing situations can you be expected to have to address at one time> PCards, retiree issues, phony budget numbers, New Year's Eve soiree's and now the illegal dumping by the same vendor apparently paid to clean the messes up.

And now another twist, the employee in Development Services who apparently is tasked with working withe the illegal dumping "cleaner upper" vendor, has now sent an e-mail to Deputy Chief Hightower stating that, from what sources are telling me, she gave him permission for the illegal dumping.

I know that there may be enough illegal activity in the halls of Hartford City Hall, but now employees are giving permission notes for corrupt behavior? I think it might be more of a last ditch effort to save someones contract, but time will tell.

Sources at DPW are telling me that they are in the process of preparing a bill for the cleanup that they will try to collect from the illegal dumper. Maybe they should take it as a payroll deduction from the employeee that thought she had the power to authorize illegal activity.

The vendor, according to sources, is also a vendor for Manafort Construction on the MDC Clean Water's Project. It is unclear if any of the materials dumped illegally were from that project. On the day that the vendor was confronted by Police on Holcomb Street, where he was working for Manafort, Joseph Gallo, an Inspector from DEEP, shut the work down because the illegal dumper was also working illegally at the time because no "Call Before You Dig" notifications were never made and no permit issued for the work being performed.

Where are our Inspectors? is anyone in the City paying attention?

Through a request to the Mayor's Office for comment on the incident, the following statement was e-mailed to me:

As I mentioned to the police when asked yesterday, Mark Swiatowiec is the owner of New England Construction. New England Construction is an on-call City contractor that performs property maintenance services for the City. Mark has been cited for allegedly dumping construction debris on a City-owned lot on New Road. I informed the officer that I find it quite unlikely that Mark would dump on such a high profile City lot, especially when he has dumpsters at his disposal around town.

Please let me know if you need any additional information. 



Julianne Avallone
Senior Project Manager
Housing and Property Management Division
Department of Development Services
City of Hartford
T: 860-757-9029
The incident is outlined in the attached Police reports. Apparently the police were led to the vendor through a piece of unopened mail found in with the debris that had been dumped. When confronted, the suspected illegal dumper told the investigators the mail must have blown out of his window as he drove by cComcast. Sure sounds legit to me.
I hope the City has begun the process of removing the illegal dumper from any City purchasing lists and also put a hold on any payments owed to him to pay for the DPW cleanups. I will atempt to obtain the e-mail from Ms. Avallone to Chief Hightower regarding this incident through FOI, it could prove interesting from what I am told.
In the mean time, maybe Mr. Swiatowiec should keep his windows up when he drives by Comcast to avoid future incidents.


This posting might more accurately be titled "How many laws can you break before someone starts investigating"?

In what politicians are trying to defend as a wise decision to sell a piece of property to SAMA (Spanish American Merchants Association) for one dollar in return to see it resold for half a million, quite a few things just aren't adding up.

Monica Buchannan from NBC 30 recently did a story on the deal, you can view that here.

In that interview, Mayor Segarra's Chief of Staff Jared Kupiec said that the funds from the sale were "specifically designated for repairs on the building" yet according to SAMA"s lease with the city, SAMA was responsible for all repairs on the building, not the taxpayers of Hartford

Kupiec further went on to say in the interview that the $500,000 was used for "roof repairs, elevator repairs and electrical work". That would be hard to prove though because under Connecticut law, such repairs require permits and inspections before the work begins and inspections need to take place to verify the work is being done properly by City Inspectors.

Kupiec also stated during the interview "ultimately, that building was previuosly non tax paying is now a taxable property".  That statement is totally untrue, SAMA is a non-profit organization and as a result, the City of Hartford will not realize one cent in tax benefit from the property as long as they occupy the proerty.

A $25,000 building  permit was taken out through Hartford's License and Inspections department for the roof repair. It appears that on March 28, 2013 after the media and others began questioning the deal, another $25,000 was added to the value for that permit for a total of $50,000. Only 10% of the half a million dollars can be accounted for and verified through the permits.

If any other work was done, besides the roofing work, it would appear to have been done illegally and was never approved or inspected by the City of Hartford as required by law.

On April 29, 2013, Daniel Loos , Director of Licenses and Inspections sent a letter to SAMA
detailing the permit violations  and requesting that they account for any work that has been done. Any work done without permits is apparently subject to a double permit fee as a penalty.

Calls to Julio Mendoza for comment and an opportunity to provide documentation of any repairs have gone unanswered.

Here is the letter sent to SAMA from the City of Hartford


George Harris
Kevan Simmons

Simmons has 28 previous Hartford arrests

Harris has 24 previous Hartford arrests

On March 28, 2013 Hartford Police officers were dispatched to Bedford St. on a report of shots fired. Two victims, who were shot multiple times, were located and immediately transported to St. Francis. The Hartford Police Department Major Crimes Division began an immediate investigation. Based on this investigation, arrest warrants were obtained for Kevan Simmons, 21 of Hartford and George Harris, 22 of Hartford.

Kevan Simmons was charged with: Criminal Attempt Murder 53a-49/53a-54a; Assault 1st 53a-59; Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm 53-203; Criminal Possession of a Firearm 53a-217c; Reckless Endangerment 1st 53a-63.

George Harris was charged with Hindering Prosecution 53a-166. Harris was one of the victims in the shooting. Investigators believe that Harris was a co-conspirator of Simmons, and was accidently shot by Simmons in the shooting.

Of note, Kevan Simmons is a person of interest in another recent violent shooting in the City of Hartford. Anyone with information about Kevan Simmons is asked to call Lieutenant Brian Foley at 860-757-4463 or Crime Stoppers at 860-722-TIPS (8477).

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


This is a hard one to understand, but when you rush forward I guess mistakes happen. Most legislators I have spoke with regarding Connecticut's recently passed gun bill agree, it wasn't a great bill, but it had to be done for the families of Newtown. My State Rep. , Doug McCrory actually had the backbone to stand and vote "no" for something he didn't believe in. But before I start going in another direction, back to my point.

Although much of the debate was about "mental illness", there is apparently one provision in the bill that would prevent many people from seeking help voluntarily if they realized they needed help for stress, anxiety or any form of mental illness and even if they voluntarily seek help at a hospital that deals with psychiatric issues ( most hospitals fall into that category). Under the statute, that information must be reported to the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

From what Law enforcement sources are explaining to me, even first responders from Newtown that may be seeking counseling and help for stress related to the Newtown response are in jeopardy of losing their firearms if the law is enforced as written.Once the information of their voluntay treatment for any mental health issue is reported, the Commissioner is supposed to revoke their gun ownership permits.

One police source stated to me that even a police officer seeking treatment for chest pains is in jeopardy if the chest pains are determined to be caused by anxiety, technically a mental health problem. In a recent training claas for police officers, it was apparently pointed out that when possible, they should seek treatment at out of state hospitals to avoid the reporting process mandated by the bill.

I'm serious, you can't make this stuff up.

The complete law can be read here:

This bill clearly needs to be reviewed and provide some support and protection for our urban areas and gun violence as well as protect police officers, state troopers and other first responders that encounter tragic situations and wish to voluntarily seek counseling without fear of losing their weapons.

I have to admit I haven't read the entire bill, but section 8 of the bill seems to apply to the mental health problem. I think you would probably be hard pressed to find many members of the State Legislature who read the entire bill also before they voted on it

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I was trying to go online tonight to pull up Hartford's Ethics Code. I was trying to  find out if using a City Credit card for personal use, specifically to buy your New Years Eve Dinner, is a violation. is apparently still down, so I can't get to the ethics code. I can wait though, City Auditor Patrick Campbell apparently told the Council tonight at his budget hearing that he would have the P-Card audit to them by the end of the day tomorrow.

I have also requested documentation of  the substantiating receipts for two of the big spenders through an FOI request. Although the City acknowledged the request last week, the documents still haven't been provided, which makes me wonder about the record keeping if they aren't readily available, or maybe the file full of the cocktail napkins can't be located.

I am not sure if the website hacking had anything to do with the Hartford Dispatch Center crashing yesterday also. Although I was told the dispatch system was redundant, the backup must have had problems also, since officers were told that they couldn't get case numbers because Team Jaffe was dispatching with pencils and paper.

Try it yourself here


The barricades to Vegas
For anyone that reads this blog, I typically support the actions of the Hartford Police Department, sometimes criticized to a fault for doing so. This is one time I can't support the actions or the reason behind it.

This has been a problem that has been building for some time. For anyone familiar with Keney Park, there is an area adjacent to the Keney Park Cricket fields that has earned the name "the Casino" or also called "Vegas". It has become an area that is a chronic problem for DPW with trash and litter and damage to the Park. It has become a real problem with HPD for the drinking, gambling, illegal drug use and most recently a couple of stabbings, most likely over drug turf.

No one can say it isn't a problem, that is a clear and evident fact.

The problem for me is the response to the problem.

Rather than strict enforcement to clean up the behavior, barricades have been put in place to restrict any access to a large area of Keney Park. This includes the road that winds through the area south of the Keney park Golf Course from the Windsor Avenue Gate to Tower Avenue.. This area includes a large portion of the Park including the cricket fields, the basketball courts and picnic areas.

These are now off limits to anyone wishing to drive through the Park. The recently renovated Cricket Fields are now not accessible to Seniors or any handicapped individuals that aren't able to walk through the cow pasture like area to get to the fields.It also would be very difficult for EMS to get to the Cricket Fields if anyone was injured during a match.

It just seems inappropriate to restrict access to the park to everyone because of the behavior of a few. This past Saturday afternoon I went to the park after receiving numerous phone complaints. It was clear what the so called solution is going to do. It is not going to resolve the problem, it is just pushing it to another area. The "T" intersection from the Windsor Avenue entrance to get to the Golf Course was loaded with maybe 30 or 40 cars, the same number of vehicles that would normally be parked at "the Casino". The problem didn't go away, it just moved.

Vehicles lined up Saturday afternoon outside the barriers to Vegas

Police sources confirmed that an arrest was apparently made Sunday morning by the Jersey barriers for an individual dealing marijuana. A jersey barrier apparently isn't the best deterrent to marijuana dealing, but just maybe a few more arrests and some Community Court Service hours will change the behavior.

Penalizing families and residents that use the park properly is not the solution. If Jersey Barriers are the solution, maybe we should try dropping off a few on Garden Street or Barbour Street to alleviate the crime there. Clearly that won't work, but enforcement does.

I spoke to several people in the park Saturday from the West Indian Community, including probably one of the biggest Cricket supporters in the United States, Michael Chambers. After getting my crash course in what Cricket actually is and having the construction of the pitch explained to me, it was clearly evident that this section of Keney Park is almost like sacred ground to the cricket players and their community.

A much better solution needs to be worked out and the members of the West Indian community and the members of the Cricket Hall of Fame seem ready to do their part. At a meeting scheduled last week, pre jersey barriers, HPD was apparently a no show, even though I am told they had committed to attending.

That is not the way bridges to the Community are built. Another meeting is scheduled for this week, hopefully HPD will attend this meeting and have an honest, respectful dialogue to come to an equitable decision that makes sense. A concrete barrier is not the solution


There are plenty of things going on right now at City hall that could fall under that category and should be investigated  as criminal acts, but one that I have confirmed tonight infuriates me. I had received a few calls about the vendor that is supposed to be managing Hartford's two municipal golf  courses. I say supposed to be because the courses, Keney and Goodwin Park, are in terrible condition

One regular golfer at Keney Park told me that he had noticed large quantities of trees missing last fall when he had golfed there. These trees are an assest that can not have a value set on them.

One caller complained that the pro shop at Goodwin Park has been turned into a bar., the Internal Audit Condition issues a report recently that was far from favorable and detailed that MDM Golf, the vendor, was actually in default of their contract with the City. Deputy Corporation Counsel L. John Van Norden advised the Commission that apparently MDM was in severe financial difficulties.

Van Norden also advised the Commission that a $300,000 dollar letter of credit that was supposed to protect the City from loss was allowed to expire and MDM didn't have the financial where with all to provide a new letter to the City. Van Norden also said that the insurance covered required of MDM had lapsed.

Now I am being told that large quantities of hardwood trees have been cut and removed from the City properties over the last year or so. Numerous stumps of  what had been large stately Oak trees lining the fairways at KeneyPark are clearly evident.

I have also confirmed with City Hall sources that there was apparently no provision in the City's contract with MDM to allow them to remove or sell any tress for lumber.

The large oaks were apparently sold to a Canadian lumber company.

This needs to be investigated and if proven, appropriate criminal charges need to be brought against those involved for the theft of Hartfords most valuable resources

You can read the Auditor's report on MDM and the courses here

Monday, April 29, 2013


Hartford's Fire Chief Edward Casares today announced his retirement effective June 15, 2013. Now is the time to place your bets on who will be the next Chief of the Hartford Fire Department. My gut feeling is that it may be Hartford's newest Deputy Chief, a Deputy Chief position that was never existed and specifically created by the Kee- Borges employment agency for her "significant other".

\It seems to be the Hartford way recently to take care of friends and family at City Hall and only time will tell if this will be another entitlement case  at the expense of Hartford's taxpayers.

Best of luck to Chief Casares, look at the bright side, you won't be cornered by the COO anymore asking "You are going to make Terry, right?"

Sunday, April 28, 2013


Jenna Carlesso at the Courant had an interesting story regarding Mayor Segarra and his waning support by the Council. It is sad, but the slipping support can't be blamed on anyone other than the Mayor and his inner circle. The song R-E-S-P-E-C-T keeps running through my mind as I read this story. Read Jenna's take here.


A lot of my postings I enjoy writing, especially when I uncover something and have the documents to post. This is a posting I really don't enjoy writing, but I think it is long overdue. For anyone who follows City hall through here or the media, it should be quite evident that something isn't working right when it comes to the Administration of Pedro Segarra.

It is sad to see an Administration that came in with so much hope and potential after one of the darkest periods in Hartford's history.falling apart. An era during which a corrupt Mayor was sentenced to prison for illegal activity after a Grand Jury Investigation.

None of what I am going to write here is news to Mayor Segarra, I have said all of this direct to his face, as well as many others trying to get Pedro back on track, but to no avail.As the house of cards falls apart more and more each day, It is very disheartening to see a Mayor that came in with so much goodwill to continue to crash and burn.

I recently asked Pedro if he ever thought about all of those people, myself included, that were praying for a conviction in the Perez case, just so Pedro could take over and steer this City back on course. We actually thought he was going to do it.

I also asked Pedro if he was aware of what most leaders would consider the number one rule when it comes to management. You are only as good as the people you surround yourself with with. And Pedro, you have surrounded yourself with some real winners.. Your" cabinet" is a group of people who seem to never miss out on an opportunity to embarrass you. The sooner you realize this  and cut them loose the quicker you can stabilize your administration.

The saddest part, to me Pedro, is that the people I talk to wish you no ill will. They almost all agree that your poor leadership is the result of bad advice and your "advisers" leading you down the wrong path. A path that is more about their own self serving interests and futures than it is about a City that has so much potential.

Pedro, think about all of those people that have tried to talk to you and give you advice. Many of them people that you have known for years who have never asked anything from you, other than your friendship. Can they all be wrong?

As much as I hate to say this, the things that are becoming embarrassments to you, would have never happened under the previous administration. And rest assured, if they did, the people behind them would have made a quick exit from City hall, not have been rewarded.

How did the P-Card issue become such a firestorm for you? Who caused the firestorm that is brewing and quite possibly maybe your legacy as Mayor if arrests should occur. I'll answer this one for you because it is clear your eyes aren't open to the situation, for whatever reason. It was your immature and inexperienced Chief of Staff who thought he had a sense of entitlement to be the Big spender on New Years Eve and whip out his City Credit Card to pay for a $700.00 meal at the taxpayers expense.

Did he not think his misuse ,and possibly illegal, use of City Credit card wouldn't come back to haunt you? You keep telling me how "Jared has your back" and he is the only one you can count on. I think it is time you start rethinking that support. I know you have heard this from plenty of others, it might be time to open your eyes.

And what about the retiree issue that has risen to be a big issue. It was your law school classmate that you have put so much confidence in that created this debacle for you. Is she above the law and City ordinances don't apply when she doesn't feel like it or was she just ignorant to Hartford's Municipal Code. Either way, not a good thing for your handpicked attorney who I would think had an obligation to provide you with prudent advice.

 If not only for the reason  to protect you as one of your so called "friends"to protect you from embarrassment, but more importantly to advise you as the lawyer that is supposed to protect you from liability and breaking the law.

And now you want her to run the entire operation? What are you thinking? If she can't even perform her duties as Corporation Counsel, why would anyone in their right mind give her the keys to the Kingdom as COO. Remember that number one lesson, you are only as good as the people you surround yourself with..

And who does your vote counting? Wouldn't you have checked on that before nominating her as COO. Again, I could never imagine the previous administration, with all of their faults, making suck a Major misstep. I know some of it was out of you control Pedro, you probably never thought she would write an e-mail questioning a Councilpersons mental stability, I know you lost a couple votes there, but it clearly was never even close on the vote.

Again, poor advice to move it forward , unless you like being embarrassed, which I am starting to think is the case.And your other "key advisor" Mr. Colon-Rivas also seems to have no problem lying to you and being a source of embarrassment. At least I hope he is lying to you, if you are aware of his phony address and condone it as one of your department heads, that is even worse.

Pedro, I sincerely hope you pay attention to some of this. There are plenty of people in our great City bothered by your impending implosion. The same people would step up to help you in a heartbeat though because we believe in the potential of Hartford. Many of us still hold out hope that the spark of leadership can be ignited in you and see you become what we had hoped for in our next Mayor a couple years ago,.

The first step though is to get some people around you that truly have your back and support you and love this City as much as you claim you do