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Saturday, September 28, 2013


Hartford's Acting Chief Operating officer and her husband/partner/significant other Hartford Deputy FireChief Terry Waller were involved in an early morning crash at the intersection of Asylum Avenue and Broad Street at approximately 2:00am. According to sources at the scene, both Kee-Borges and Waller were transported to local hospitals after the crash.

It is unclear what City business Kee-Borges would be using the vehicle for at 2:00am, but documents found at the scene indicate Kee-Borges may have been using a coupon for " $20.00 for $40.00 of Fresh Seafood, Drinks, and more at J's Crab Shack in Hartford". J's Crabshack is located at 2074 Park Street in Hartford.

Witnesses also said a Heineken bottle was found at the scene , but it is unclear which vehicle the bottle came from.

This is the second City of Hartford vehicle involved in an after hours crash in the last month.

UPDATE: Saturday, 7:00am- According to sources , Waller and Kee-Borges had been at HPD earlier in the evening to bail out one of their sons who had been arrested on Domestic Violence charges and was also apparently found to be in possession of drugs, more on that when the report becomes available. The Crabshack apparently came into play later after they left booking Also, sources have confirmed that Hartford Deputy Fire Chief Terry Waller was the operator of Kee-Borges City car, not Kee-Borges herself. This should prove interesting how Mayor Segarra handles this one. Waller is apparently not an authorized driver of the City Car issued to the Chief Operating Officer

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Jenna Carlesso raised an interesting question today on Cityline. How do you create and pass a budget depending on $3million dollars in concessions from Hartford's employee Unions, and then not even approach the Unions to obtain those concessions? Read Jenna's column here.

The fact of the matter is that any concessions would probably be a very tough sell considering the Mayor's reckless spending habits, including the New Years Eve Caviar event and first class flights and stretch limo's in Washington DC.

 I have to question how we went from dire straits at budget time to an $800,000 dollar surplus  this week. And on top of that an $11million dollar pension payment is suddenly made to the Municipal Employee's Pension Fund. Did they find that money in a shoebox on a shelf in the Finance Department also? Maybe Mr. Molleda found an envelope full of undeposited checks when he was cleaning out his desk to leave City Hall.

Regardless, it really makes me question the accounting practices of the Segarra Administration, maybe it is time for the Audit commission to launch another investigation.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Let me be the first to say what so many people are thinking. There is no leadership taking place in Hartford City Hall. Mayor Segarra may in fact be a nice guy as every one seems to preface their opinion of him. But he is a disaster as a Mayor.

For anyone that follows this blog, you have probably noted by now that most of his policy decisions are being driven by this blog. Kupiec, Panagore, Jaffe, Burnham, Molleda, City Vehicles,Keney Park, all topics that have been described here, many months ago.

It is time for leadership from Pedro Segarra , and that leadership shouldn't by reading a blog and testing the wind direction every morning.

I for one am becoming quite tired of being made a joke of when you mention the City of Hartford. The Courant's cartoonist Bob Englehart took his shot at the City tonight and he is exactly on point. Hartford is a mess that is mired in politics. You can read Englehart's commentary here at

All of these missteps are totally avoidable though with a little more vision and a lot less "seat of the pants management". It seems as though nothing is done by this Administration until they are finally shamed into reacting

As an example, the current ruckus over take home City Cars. A policy could have been issued months ago by Segarra and the Council, that if properly enforced might have curtailed the City's liability after a recent DUI accident involving the Deputy DPW Director in her city car. The Mayor should issue a policy tomorrow that City Vehicles are for City business only, if you aren't working, the car stays put in the driveway. No shuttling the family around to soccer games or Saturday night at a restaurant.

No personal business in a City Car. Back and forth to work and that's it. End of story. Next should be a no alcohol policy, zero, absolutely none. If you have a City car and are headed to a function or need to stop for a drink on the way home, you aren't going to do it in a City car. Go home and swap out for your own personal vehicle Zero tolerance for alcohol in a City car, from the Mayor on down, zero means just that , zero.

Now there Mayor, that isn't tough to figure out is it? I bet you could have that e-mail distributed to everyone by 9:15 am tomorrow, and by the way, ask all recipients to acknowledge the receipt so that there are no questions when they may violate your policy.

It might also be a good idea to get your Chief of Staff to move into Hartford. We don't need a Meriden resident managing your office. We need someone that cares about and loves the City. The same love that our good residents show everyday they put up with this nonsense. A commute north on I-91 for the sake of a paycheck isn't good enough.

And stop with all of the consultants, we just can't afford recycled managers at $85.00 per hour. I have never heard of our Governor hiring consultants to fill Commissioner positions . He identifies capable people through his connections and brings them into his Office. I would expect the Mayor of the Capitol City would have similar connections to qualified people to fill vacancies.

And finally, jettison your acting COO as soon as possible. In case you haven't realized, all of the problem children on your staff answer directly to her. Clearly she is not capable of supervising or leading  this City forward. I was amazed the day she told the Internal Audit Commission that the P-card problem had been solved when all of the missing receipts were found in a shoe box on a shelf in the Finance Department . Her statement made it seem that this method was an accepted business practice in you Administration.

Her performance as Corporation Counsel has made former Corporation Counsel John Rose look good enough for a seat on the Supreme Court, and that is saying a lot. Her selection of her Deputy, a lawyer that wasn't even legally able to practice law in Connecticut when he was brought in, as well as his intemperance through e-mail and actions speaks volumes about her character  judgement .  I thought when he sent the e-mail claiming a Council person was mentally ill would have been the end, but nope.

Pedro, stop embarrassing us and do the job you were elected to do. A political science college student could do a better job than we are getting now. I would really like to see some vision and see where you expect us to be 5 years from now, and Detroit is not a suitable answer.


A cart Path at Keney Park Golf Course, Where is American Golf? It never looked like this when they were the City's Vendor
The full court press was put on the Internal Audit Commission by City Hall  to not release the Keney Park Tree report. Below is the "opinion" written by Hartford's Deputy Corporation Counsel L. John Van Norden in an attempt to keep the Audit report from Public scrutiny. His opinion didn't work.Van Norden seems to take offense with the Auditors using "legal terms" in their Audit report. Apparently that is a bad thing when it comes to laying out the facts. Instead maybe the Auditors should take a lesson from Van Norden in sugarcoating facts and rather than call the illegal removal of trees, call it a "Golf Course Tree Conversion Claim" as he calls it in his memo.

"Golf Course Tree Conversion Claim" does sound a lot better than saying a vendor defrauded the people of Hartford by removing assets, namely 275 Large red Oak trees probably worth hundreds of thousands of dollars . I can see why Van Norden doesn't want the report released since he and his bosses allowed the Letter of Credit that was required from MDM to protect the taxpayers of the City of Hartford in the case they defaulted , to expire. Van Norden and the Finance Director allowed the letter of credit to expire without any efforts to protect us from a lousy vendor. There is no financial recourse against MDM since they apparently have to assets available to attach,

Van Norden goes on to quote the City Code regarding the powers of the Audit Commission in his "opinion". If the fact that no one in City Government was paying enough attention to 275 large tress, one of the most valuable assets we have in our green spaces is not a City Government issue, I am not sure what is. It might also be an issue that apparently no legal action has been started to protect the City's interests from a vendor that has destroyed two valuable City assets. Are there any lawsuits or claims that have been filed by Van Norden, Kee-Borges or anyone else on the City's behalf to protect our interests? I can't find any.

Finally, Van Norden states that apparently the Auditors shouldn't focus on the law in their reports but should instead leave the legal analysis to the jurisdiction of the Corporation Counsel. Since the Corporation Counsel is or may very well be the focus of this audit as well as others, that might constitute a huge conflict of interest for Van Norden, to potentially sit in  judgement  of his own actions or that of his boss.

In the end, it is nothing more than a smokescreen to protect the Administration from another embarrassing misstep. On the positive side though, I think we are coming to just expect them now so it doesn't have the same shock effect

This opinion seems more negligent than any report the auditors could file.

And Mr. Van Norden, I know you are from out of town, but it is Keney, K-E-N-E-Y, not Kenny

Monday, September 23, 2013


Food Pantry recipients line up for the 11:00am opening last Wednesday
Some things just seem to defy any logical explanation in Hartford, this is one of them.

The Grace Seventh Day Adventist Church  is situated amongst some of Hartford's most expensive homes in the elite West End. It has been there since the 1940's operating as a church, nestled back from the Street on Prospect Avenue. Most people probably have never paid it any attention as they drive by gated homes  close to Elizabeth Park and the Governor's residence. The building is well kept , the landscaping well maintained.

Apparently at least one part of the Church ministry  though is  not a good fit with the gated homes.

The Segarra/Ortiz gated residence , above

One of the gated homes is owned by the husband of Hartford's Mayor, Charlie Ortiz and sits about 2 blocks from the Grace Food Pantry. The gated residence is also the home of Mayor Segarra. Other than traffic concerns, I am unsure what the actual complaints regarding the Pantry are. I went to the Pantry last Wednesday to observe the operation first hand.

The Pantry attracted roughly 150 people, some arriving by car, some walking, many took the bus to the closest bus stop and walked the final distance.

The alleged parking congestion that is disrupting the area

The parking was orderly on the east side of the street and traffic was monitored closely by volunteers with the Church. According to volunteers working at the Pantry, their Saturday services have more cars parked along the street than the Pantry does. The clientele was somewhat interesting to me. It was a mix of young and old, all races and it pointed out to me the number of people having a difficult time making ends meet in our City and around the region

 I have seen events at the Rose Gardens at Elizabeth Park and events at the Governor's residence, a block up the street cause more traffic problems

I spoke with quite a few of the people waiting in line. The stories of how they ended up there ran the full spectrum of explanations. There was the 70 year old woman whose husband had apparently been killed in an accident with a drunk driver last year. She now was finding it difficult to make ends meet without him and had just heard about the Pantry due to news coverage of the shutdown efforts.

There was a middle aged diabetic man who showed up walking with two canes to stand up. He had just had surgery on both feet to remove infections caused by his diabetes and needed the assistance of the pantry to be able to put food on his table.

There was a grandmother who stood in line to put some extra food on the table for her grandchildren. There were two other elderly women who walked the distance from their north end homes to get their food.

As I stood there watching people show up and their joy as they left with their bags or boxes or grocery carts stocked with food for the week I just kept thinking " but for the grace of God" that could be anyone of us. It could be anyone of those people living behind the wrought iron gated homes. It could be anyone of us that  gets injured  in an accident or is unable to work, It could be anyone of us that loses a job, It could be anyone of us  that  suffers a downturn in the stock market and sees their lifestyle change quickly.

Ortiz, Segarra's husband, told a recent meeting of City Officials that on one Wednesday he  observed food pantry traffic impeding an ambulance and a  a person in a wheelchair unable to use the sidewalk.  You can read more on this issue here

The other interesting piece was that any stereotypes you might have would quickly go out the window when you see the widespread need for assistance. There were all races, young and old, mothers with children, middle aged men, all just looking for a little help from a church that knows what it means to be a good neighbor.

No one was turned away, no one was asked where they live or how much they make. And everyone left with a smile that their burden to survive was lightened just a little bit by Brother Paul and the other volunteers. at Grace Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Can anyone explain to me how ministering to the needy is a bad thing. I would think that is exactly what a church's ministry is all about and definitely comes under their zoning use as a Church.

In one of the poorest cities in the country, with a Mayor that claims he was forced to live on the streets and was homeless himself, it just seems odd to me that any organization or individual  could possibly fight a food pantry that seems to have very little impact on the neighborhood in which it resides, other than feeding those in need once a week


In the last several months, Hartford's Internal Audit Commission has come to life. The Internal Auditors have done some great investigations and released some stunning reports on the operations or probably more appropriately the inefficiencies of Hartford City Hall and the Segarra Administration.

Although the Administration I am sure would prefer to muzzle the Commission, they are autonomous and don't answer to the Mayor or his Staff.

Take a look at the Agenda below for Wednesdays meeting. It should provide some good information and insight into what is happening inside City Hall


 I always thought that probation was a way for criminals to show that they were getting their lives back on track. Apparently the opposite is true in Hartford. It seems to be a way that criminals can get out of prison early to get back on Hartford's streets to obtain new guns and start committing crimes against society once again.

This release is from HPD:

On the above date and time members of the Shooting Task Force were conducting surveillance in the area of 155 Edgewood Street in response to recent intelligence that individuals were arming themselves with illegal firearms in the area. STF members observed a party manipulating an object in his waistband, and when they approached to investigate, the individual fled north west through several back yards. STF members pursued the suspect and at one point the suspect drew a firearm from his waistband, pointed the weapon at a pursuing officer, and cocked the hammer on the weapon. The area was immediately flooded with additional STF members who ordered the suspect to the ground at gunpoint
The suspect, identified as Byron Williams D.O.B. 2/19/87, was taken into custody and the firearm, along
with narcotics (cocaine), were recovered from his person.
Williams was charged with the following violations:
1) Criminal Possession of a Firearm.
2) Carrying a Pistol without a permit.
3) Interfering with Police.
4) Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree.
5) Possession of Narcotics.
6) Possession within 1500 feet of a School.
1) Taurus PT940 .40 Caliber Pistol serial # SUK08454 containing nine .40 caliber ammunition rounds
2) One piece of knotted plastic containing a white powder substance (Cocaine)
*Note* Williams has a prior adult firearms conviction and is currently on probation for robbery charge



As recently as last Friday, the Segarra  Administration through its acting Chief  Operating Officer Saundra Kee-Borges and acting Corporation Counsel, L John van Norden were trying to block the release of the Audit report below. ( A lot of acting going on at City Hall, but no Emmy's)

Apparently Van Norden was advising the Audit Commission that they were opening the City up to liability and accusing the auditors of acting like lawyers and using legal terms in the report. The Corporation Counsel probably figures it is odd for the auditors to make conclusions in their report based on Connecticut Statutes , following the law is apparently a novel ides for those sitting inside City Hall.

This report is just another example of the incompetence and lack of accountability that has been the hallmark of Segarra's Administration. The lack of transparency by Segarra and those around him always seems to backfire on him and they just don't get it. I obtained the report through an FOI request to Hartford's Chief Auditor. Once the report was completed it became a public document and subject to public view, whether the COO or Corporation Counsel get that or not.

The City has begun labeling any document they don't want released as a "draft". Unfortunately, according to FOI, once a "draft starts getting e-mailed and circulated it is no longer legally a draft but rather a public document that can eventually be edited as needed.

The report outlines a strong disregard for the environment, and specifically Keney Park,  as it notes that several hundred large oak trees had been documented as being cut down and removed . Approximately 25 of those were required as the result of the October 2011 Halloween Storm.

Much of the tree removal appears to be illegal and in violation of Connecticut General; Statutes as neither the Hartford or the Windsor Tree Wardens gave permission for the work as required. Many of the trees cut were actually on the Windsor side of the Park, which straddles the town line . The report speaks for itself, but I have to ask, when is an outside agency going to begin looking at what is going on in this Administration