One of the main themes of Luke Bronin's campaign was accountability. He promised to bring accountability back to City government. I think the tone of accountability needs to be set, and it could very well start with how the City's Department of Development Services does their due diligence on projects before they invest City dollars and resources into these projects.
This is going to be a posting that will come in several parts. It is an interesting and somewhat complex issue. It will be about the people that see Hartford as the bottomless cookie jar. The developers such as the James Ducketts, the Premier Sports Group, the New York based Zacco Group and even the local poster child for the Hartford Community Loan Fund, Sohodra Dilchand.
I will say right upfront, this is not a posting where I have all of the answers. It is very complicated tracking all of the real estate twists and turns. But with that being said, there are enough red flags raised here , that with even a very minimum amount of research, I feel very comfortable saying something stinks.
Many of those red flags have been raised by a handful of local residents who just happen to be paying attention and are very capable at doing their due diligence to protect the interests of their City and their neighbors.
Actually , now that I think about it, those residents are doing what we are paying some City of Hartford employees very good money to do. Shouldn't those City employees be doing the same thing residents are doing. It is called "Google", and if the residents could take the 30seconds to check some of these facts, so can those City employees ready to lead us down the path to doom on these ill advised projects.
The Dillon Stadium mess cost taxpayers of Hartford millions of dollars and has led to a Federal Grand Jury. Many of the facts that stopped the project were dug up by residents like Anne Goshdigian who took the time to do the research. Why wouldn't Development Services staff ,who are always ready to push these projects forward take the same 30 seconds to see how many red flags they can find before wasting City time and resources on the scammers?
A recent resolution before the City Council was apparently pushed forward by Glenn Geathers from Hartford's Development Services Department. It involved selling a property to Sohodra Dilchand . The resolution for the property at 175 Tower Avenue was before the Council to authorize the sale of the property and the home on the property to Dilchand for $650.00.
Dilchand was conducting business under the name SDDC , S.D. Development Company. Apparently no records can be found for an entity called S.D.Development Company being registered with the Connecticut Secretary of the State, but none the less , the City of Hartford was going to turn a property over to her for $650.00.
The resolution from Mayor Bronin to the Council claims that Dilchand or SDDC as she calls herself,
would invest $147,000.00 . That figure consists of $95,000 in financing from the Hartford Community Loan fund and a $50,000 loan from the City of Hartford. Now let me figure this out, $95,000 plus $50,000, that totals $145,000.00 on an estimated project of $147,000.
Not a bad risk for Dilchand, Kicking in $2000.00 of her own money and getting a property and land for $650..00. Even at the interest rate of 9% that the Hartford Community Loan Fund charges, Dilchand tried to move forward.
But apparently Geathers and Development Services failed to do their "due diligence".. Not only was Dilchand delinquent on her taxes, by City Ordinance, the City of Hartford is forbidden fro cutting deals with developers or vendors with outstanding taxes.
In Mayor Bronin's proposed resolution to the Council, several other "success stories" of projects conducted by the SDDC Development team are listed. But try to track the ownership and principals of those projects and you will end up with a major migraine and a list of quit claim deeds and lis pendens and mortgage documents and property transfers that will make your head spin.
But apparently Dilchand knows a bargain when she sees it . From the agenda of the Hartford City Council meeting of July 20, 2015.: