News this afternoon is that the Rock Cat's delivered their past due property tax check to the City of New Britain. They may still be going to court to try to get a Judge to reopen negotiations for their tax deal, but they might want to try repairing the bridges to New Britain that they destroyed based on false assurances of a "Done Deal" with Mayor Segarra.
This deal apparently may be causing more problems for Segarra , according to City Hall sources. There have apparently been questions circulating as to where the money has been coming from to fund the attorneys fees and consultant's fees associated with the 18 month secret deal and planning sessions. Since the Hartford City Council never voted on or appropriated the estimated half a million dolllars and no where does it show in the current budget.
So the question arises, how is Segarra doing this legally? The answer now may be that he wasn't and instead may have tapped into School Construction Building money, essentially creating his own "Rock Cats " slush fund and attempting to maintain the secrecy without anyone noticing where the money was being spent.
According to a source familiar with finance and payment processes at City Hall said that this week City Treasurer Adam Cloud has refused to sign a check for over $76,000 cut for payment to the law firm of Updike , Kelly and Spellacy. According to the source who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Cloud questioned the expenditure when presented with the check to sign and where the money was coming from and which account.
It was apparently found to be drawn from an account for Architectural and Engineering Design work on School Building projects. According to the source, both Federal law and State Statutes are clear on using grant or bond money for purposes other than which they are authorized. Criminal charges could potentially apply to any misuse. A proper investigation by appropriate authorities would be needed to determine if that line has been crossed.
The source stated that the City Council would need to pass a new bond resolution for a substantial re-use of any bond dollars. No record of that being done can be found at this time. Re-purposing school dollars for use on a baseball stadium would be considered a substantial change requiring Council approval.
A clause in state statute also holds anyone releasing funds improperly can be held personally liable, which means Cloud could be on the hook for the $76,000 or possibly any other checks he signs and releases if the funds aren't being drawn down properly.
This deal stinks with every corner turned, and now it might be time for outside authorities to begin taking a closer look, especially if money intended for Hartford children and schools is being used to fund the Segarra Field of Dreams.
City Treasurer Adam Cloud was unavailable for comment at the time of posting.