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Friday, October 16, 2015

THE DILLON STADIUM FRAUD DEEPENS: WHERE IS THE MONEY?

Again more questions than answers to the Dillon Stadium Project  .

 According to one attorney, the City paid PSMG,LLC for invoices billed but the money never made it to the vendors as it was supposed to go . Now isn't that shocking news. Surprise, surprise

The details are in the letter from the attorney below.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

UPDATE: STATEMENT FROM HPD ON THE DILLON STADIUM INVESTIGATION

"We have a Hartford Police Department Major Crimes Fraud Detective looking into the matter.

As a matter of standard protocol, we have notified the Connecticut States Attorney's Office as well as the United States Attorney's Office.

HPD Deputy Chief Brian Foley

THE PLOT THICKENS: VENTURING DEEPER INTO THE DEN OF THIEVES

The City of Hartford Dillon Stadium deal may have all the potential allure of a Hollywood screenplay when all is said and done. The sad part though is that it is not made up, it is the reality of the incompetence of the Segarra Administration and the heads buried in the sand of the Hartford City Council under the direction of Council president Shawn Wooden. Notice I didn't say Wooden's leadership because that has essentially been non-existent.

Many are asking how this situation got so far out of control. Part of it is by the intimidation of the reigning bully on the playground, Councilman Ken Kennedy. Council members, including Dr. Larry Deustch and others, were quickly and loudly shouted down when they would ask any questions about Kennedy's sweetheart deal he was attempting to pull off. Now history is showing that Deutsch's concerns were well founded, as the deal continues to unravel.

But there are still many more questions than answers as to how a dirty deal got this far so quickly. Many of the questions will most likely be answered by Investigators as they dig into the matter. According to sources, the Hartford Police Department has at least one fraud detective working with Inspectors from the State's Attorney's Office digging into the matter as well as Federal Investigators from the US Attorney's Office. Hartford Police Deputy Chief Brian Foley has not responded to requests to comment on the investigation other than to confirm the existence.

Last night I referred to the possibility of a romantic relationship between a high ranking official in Hartford's Development Services Division and the overpayment of invoices. Now it seems that is just the tip of the iceberg.

 According to sources , as well as documents received through an FOI request, one of the people in Development Services who processed James Duckett's payments as well as other payments for the Dillon project was Dr. Elda Sinani. Sinani has a very interesting fraudulent past and has admitted in Federal Court to conducting a scheme that may have fleeced as much as $2.8 million from the Feds through a tax cheat scheme. The press release from the US Attorney's Office detailing Sinani's activities are below.

So I guess the $1million plus in possible over payments to Duckett and his co-horts probably pales in comparison to Sinani's tax fraud scheme. But it raises even bigger questions about City Hall operations.

Second chances and all are good, but do you really give someone a second chance to commit possibly millions in fraud after they have already admitted to a fraud scheme once already?

I have the feeling this is going to get much worse before it goes away. Luckily several of the people that created the problem will also be going away soon also.

Stay tuned, the information is developing by the minute with every phone call,. Scholarships, jobs, and so much more to eventually come out.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

DILLON STADIUM: THE RESPONSIBILITY AND THE INDIGNATION, WHO'S FAULT IS IT

Some days I think Hartford thrives on being embarrassed. The Dillon Stadium fiasco proves it. Council President Shawn Wooden is now becoming a master at back pedaling as witnessed by his performance at last nights Council meeting. Wooden voiced his displeasure on being called on the carpet by the public at last nights public comment session. Councilman  Ken Kennedy quickly withdrew his resolution giving the keys to the Kingdom to James Pluckett and his fellow snake oil salesmen.

Wasn't Ken Kennedy the same one that has been shoving this development down our throats for months to cement his legacy as a soccer dad? Wasn't Kennedy the same Councilperson that sandbagged the first developer that was in line for the project.  The developer who is now suing the City of Hartford for its actions. I am pretty sure his case has been strengthened now by Hartford's actions and should be a slamdunk for a large settlement.

But let's get back to Wooden and the Council's actions. Wooden has every right to be indignant because this Council has been deplorable. Through their actions (or more appropriately inaction) the Council has empowered the air of incompetence that enshrines City Hall and this administration.

Remember the caviar and P-card incidents first outlined here? Where were the investigations and hearings into that ? There were none, again a little indignation but no one ever dug into the problem to get to the bottom of it. Maybe a memo advising employees that putting food and alcohol on City credit cards was a no-no. No discipline, nothing.

Remember all the trees cut from Keney Park by a rogue vendor profiting off the backs of Hartford's taxpayers . Again, questionable letters of credit and very poor oversight by City employees. What happened? Nothing. Does anyone remember the Council hearings on that matter? No you won't because there weren't any.

Incident after incident of incompetent business practices have been described here on this very blog. Many of those incidents have resulted in audits by Hartford's Internal Audit Commission. The results of those audits have ended in very specific recommendations by the Audit Commission to the Council , the Mayor and Department heads. For the most part those recommendations have fallen on deaf ears

After the Keney Park incident, the Commission recommended hiring an asset manager for the City. A City Hall employee had also recommended instituting an asset protection program after realizing that many City employees left employment and never turned in their I-pads, cell phones and laptops. Apparently at the time that the asset program was suggested there was no small asset inventory program. No one really kept a record of who was issued a cell phone or laptop, hence, no way to track what should be turned back in., and to the best of my knowledge, there still isn't an asset protection program. Incidentally, the employee who recommended the program has since been terminated by the brain trust at City Hall.

Hartford is a free-for- all and exemplifies the height of incompetence . These practices would never survive in the private sector, yet at Hartford City Hall they are rewarded. And in most cases the City Hall so-called managers are paid significantly more than their counterparts working for private businesses.

Hartford has a suite full of attorneys as well as a floor full of so called experts occupying high priced real estate at Constitution Plaza (Development Services) Are they so focused on proclaiming the next "Done Deal" as their resume builder that they are afraid to actually examine the deals closely? Could anyone with any common sense look at the Dillon Stadium deal and not realize the documents and the deal stunk to high heavens?

And how did Duckett arrive at the land of opportunity for sleazy scammers, also known as Hartford Connecticut? The theories abound, one being that there may have been a relationship between a certain Councilman and youth Soccer programs he was involved with. And how did invoices get overpaid with apparently duplicate payments with very little , or no oversight? One source claims there may have been a "dating relationship" between one of the persons signing off on the invoices and Mr. Duckett himself. I guess the investigators looking into the dirty deal will have to develop that information further.

In the meantime Council President Wooden, save the indignation and take a look in the mirror. How much of this fleecing of Hartford could you have stopped over the years with some actual leadership. I know the truth hurts, but you had the potential to form a different direction for Hartford and you chose not to. Maybe you weren't ready and didn't know how to, but hopefully your replacements coming in will understand a little better why they were actually elected and what leadership requires. Below are a sampling of documents used to determine the validity of this project. Would they have raised any red flags for you?
And here is the so called letter of credit