As we count the day's until the Segarra Administration ends, it is interesting to see what the outgoing Council will set as their legacy. They have the potential to be seen as the most corrupt group of Hartford politicians in Hartford's history. They are already known for their corrupt deals and political paybacks that have most likely cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
Their actions have already resulted in a Federal Grand Jury into some of these alleged dirty deals they ushered through, unchecked.
That has so far eclipsed anything corrupt former Mayor Eddie Perez ever accomplished. His grand total of corruption dollars , at least those we know about, totaled about $70.000. A Federal Grand Jury is currently investigating Hartford City Hall and that could reach into millions of dollars in over paid invoices and missing funds
Tomorrow nights Council meeting can potentially set their legacy. An item on their agenda that is attracting interest is the deal concocted with a tax delinquent property and its owner, multi millionaire and Hartford resident Alan Lazowski of LAZ parking.
Lazowski purchased the Talcott Street property in 2011. The building was part of the former G. Fox Department store complex and consists of a parking garage on the lower levels and several upper floors of former warehouse and office space.
Lazowski must have apparently realized the purchase was a poor investment quickly after buying the property. The parking facility was in deplorable condition structurally, essentially due to damage to the structural concrete and steel caused by road salt from the vehicles parked inside over the years. Len Besthoff , at the time working for another Hartford TV station before he moved to NBC Connecticut, had done an investigative story on chunks of the structure falling on vehicles in the garage as large portions gave out from the decay.
The garage was subsequently closed to the public and quickly became a non-producing asset for Lazowski. Even though Lazowski , as I said before. is a multi millionaire he apparently stopped paying the property taxes on the property. There is apparently still about $2.1 million in back taxes due as well as a tax lien for $1million dollars that was sold by the City.
Now the Segarra Administration has concocted a plan to rescue Lazowski and still allow him to keep control of the property by forgiving the back taxes and allowing the City to invest in the repairs and modifications to the property to bail Lazowski out. Lazowski would then be handed the parking concessions from the freshly renovated property, apparently in violation of existing State law requiring any City owned parking operations to be managed by the Hartford Parking Authority.
If this Council goes along with the deal they should be ashamed of themselves for several reasons.(I'm not sure they are capable of any shame though after watching their actions at November's first meeting of the month.)
First and foremost is a City Ordinance that forbids the City from negotiating or doing business with any Company that is delinquent on property taxes. Mr. Lazowski clearly is that. The City has put many others out of their homes and business out over far less in taxes than what Mr. Lazowski owes. He should not be allowed to benefit from his delinquency and then be funded by Hartford's taxpayers,
Second. there probably aren't too many Hartford politicians on the local, State and Federal level that have not had checks put in their pockets by Mr. Lazowski at campaign time. There are probably quite a few hard working people that have been removed from their homes by Hartford's Tax Collector over back taxes and never got a sweet deal like the City is offering to Lazowski.. Is this a classic example of buying political favor through sprinkling donations around ?
And what is the actual condition of the building? Will it ever be able to be used "as is" without extensive structural repairs. Have any engineering studies been done detailing its current condition? Or will we find out too late that the building is beyond repair and Hartford taxpayers will have to eat the cost of demolition? And Mr. Lazowski walks away free and clear of his tax debt to Hartford?
And what is the rush for this Council to slam Lazowski's action through in the next to the last meeting before they are shown the door? The incoming Administration and Council should be weighing this deal rather than being saddled with another bad deal similar to the Yards Goats and the Dillon Stadium deal that have surely become the legacy for Council President Wooden and Councilman Ken Kennedy.
It will also be a good test to see whether political donations and influence drive Hartford's public policy or does the best interest of Hartford take priority?
I guess we will know after the Council meets tomorrow night.