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Saturday, January 9, 2016


Interesting how many of the politicians in this picture are now gone, was the Stadium an omen?

For many of us, we now feel vindicated. The baseball stadium was a bad deal for Hartford, but Mayor Segarra and the previous lap dog Council were hell bent on shoving it down our throats. History is now proving us out, the deal was ill conceived , poorly estimated and funded and totally mismanaged.

With that being said, we are now stuck with it , and IT HAS TO WORK. Even though Hartford residents and contractors may not be working on the project as promised, the overall project has to work. If for no other reason than the $4.5million annual debt service payments (probably higher depending how the project is bailed out) could bankrupt our city if the project isn't salvaged.

I am pretty sure Mayor Bronin realized that City Hall was a mess when he ran for office. He probably knew the turn around wasn't going to be fast or easy, but I seriously doubt that he ever thought that the first week, and more, of his term would be spent  trying to save a stadium that he wasn't a big supporter of in the first place.

 I think the old saying is "you play the hand you are dealt", and Bronin was dealt a stinker of a hand.

The circular firing squad are all taking shots at each other as to who is to blame, and in the meantime no solutions are readily available. I. Charles Matthews, Chairman of the ineffective Stadium Oversight Authority says it is Centerplan, the developer. Centerplan says it is the City and the Oversight Authority, and no one is coming up with fixes.

I am sure when all the facts are on the table there will be plenty of exposure all around. The Stadium Authority, Centerplan as well as the City probably all have been complicit in this mess. I think the fact that Centerplan was willing to kick up $1.7 million almost immediately tells us where the blame begins.

Centerplan does not have a great track record of competence when it comes to completing jobs on budget and on time. You can read more about Centerplan's dismal track record in Jon Lender's article here After reading that article, it is probably a good thing they have broke their promise to hire Hartford contractors, otherwise they would be bankrupting many of them also.

I am still asking myself how this project got so far out of hand. Is there no one that knew how to make construction "punch lists " and spread sheets to track the work, contracts assigned , and invoices for the project? Did no one realize that the expenses were mounting faster than the budget allowed or anticipated. Isn't that why a "professional" was hired to oversee construction. Were the monthly meetings of the Stadium Oversight Authority purely for fluff purposes and cheer leading practice?

Where was the Chief Operating Officer (soon to be ex COO) Darryl Hill. Wasn't that part of his function as both COO and a member of the oversight Board? What construction do any of the Board members have to manage such a project? What experience do any of the City Staff have managing such a large project.? Clearly not enough. Michael Looney ( son of Senator Martin Looney, President Pro tempore of the Connecticut Senate) is apparently Executive Director of the Stadium Authority. Looney seems pretty good at sending out emails and meeting minutes, but not so good at monitoring construction costs.

In a media account regarding the creation of the Stadium Authority, a City Official was quoted as saying " that they could not yet give an estimate of the total savings to the city, but that the savings would be in the millions" How is that working out for you Pedro. Did they say savings or cost overruns?. In all actuality the Authority was "allegedly concocted as a mechanism for funding, it was more likely an avenue to avoid a referendum and a vote from the people who most likely may have not supported the Stadium deal in the first place. All water over the dam at this point, the Stadium has to work..

Was the Stadium Oversight Authority not asking the right questions or were they afraid to actually act like managers entrusted with over $56 million dollars of public money? Or was it maybe because the Stadium Authority Chairman's son worked as a high level official for the City in Development Services. Brian Matthew's is the son of I. Charles Matthews. It is probably tough to ask tough questions when your son might be the one responsible to answer.

And who knows what else the City is responsible for. The way this project has been slammed through, anything is possible. Did they under estimate just about every financial projection? Dis they make change orders without paying attention to the escalating costs.

If, or more likely when, this all lands in the lap of a Superior Court Judge, the facts will come out and blame, or  termed liability when it comes to legal judgements, will be determined and the checkbooks will be forced to come out. Everyone will be paying, and definitely no one will benefit ( except maybe the Solomon Brothers who I think were smart enough to protect themselves legally and contractually.

Although Mayor Bronin has said he is opposed to spending "another dime" of public money on the deal, I think the reality is, we will Whether that decision is made by Mayor Bronin or a Superior Court Judge is yet to be determined. The latter probably being the more costly and damaging route for the City taxpayers. Any legal battle is long and protracted. Nothing winds through the Courts quickly and the whole time the meter is running on attorney feed, interest costs and other related costs. In the meantime, the Stadium would be producing nothing except at least $4.million in interest costs for 25 years.

Mayor Bronin needs to meet the first test of his Office and that is making this deal work with the least amount of damage or impact to Hartford's taxpayers and its budget. I believe he has already started closed door negotiations to seek a resolution. I think the next one is scheduled for Monday night. Lets figure who is responsible for what where the exposure initially lies and who is going to do what and what will it cost. If Hartford's exposure is $2 million, $3million, $5 million who knows. But failure is potentially going to be much more expensive in the long run, with quite possibly nothing to show except rusting steel and some concrete footings in the ground.

With that being said, any additional dollars allotted is going to put Mayor Bronin in a tough spot, and I think he needs to do every thing possible to assure the people of Hartford that they are being protected. In my opinion, the removal and replacement of all members of the Stadium Authority would be the first step. They have already shown that they are asleep at the switch to let the situation get to this drastic point. They have embarrassed the City and the only way to restore confidence is their replacement.. The Executive Director of the Stadium Authority needs to be replaced by someone with construction experience and someone that knows how to manage a budget.

Someone that is selected to lead the Authority by a hiring process based on merit and knowledge of the Construction industry, not by who you are related to politically. Senator Looney's support may have been helpful early on if the State was ever going to buy into the project, but I think any State involvement or support is a near impossibility now,  even Senator Looney could not be helpful at this point, even if we hired his entire family.

At an event Thursday night I spoke with Hartford's former Probate Judge Robert Killian. In Judge Killian's private practice he apparently has extensive experience in Construction Conflict mediation. He showed me some notes he had produced with a plan to put the project back on track, where the money would come from and who would do what. As someone unfamiliar with multi million dollar projects, it seemed to make sense to me, and was definitely a good starting point .

I think Judge Killian would be a good start for a member of a revamped Stadium Authority, his respect  and love for the best interest  of Hartford are beyond reproach( We may have very easily had another term of Mayor Segarra if it wasn't)My understanding is a more formal outline of Killian's ideas has been submitted to Mayor Bronin and attorney's for Centerplan

A second name that should be considered is Republican Ted Cannon. Cannon showed during his recent run for mayor that he understands Municipal finance and the issues facing Hartford. I think the financial oversight aspect of the Stadium Authority can not be overlooked, especially after recent events. I know Hartford is a Democratic City and Republican's are almost extinct in our City but we need to take competent help wherever we can find it, I think Cannon would be a good start.

A new oversight board should also include an opponent of the project. Many of the opponents were well versed in the finances and other issue, Maybe if someone had actually listened to them in the beginning instead of appointing a group of political cheerleaders, things might be different. AN opponent does not have to be a road block, but just might actually be asking valuable questions and providing a different, realistic, view of things.

As much as I would like to see any additional City  money spent going into necessities like Police hiring, our parks,  Senior Housing or even a tax break to encourage REAL economic growth,( no more stadiums... please) I fully realize the implications of not getting the Stadium project back on track quickly. Luke is stuck between a rock and a hard place. We need to see this matter resolved and resolved promptly. Mayor Bronin has to take a strong stand to convince the voters he is looking out for their best interests, not just spending money we should not have to be spending if things were done right from the beginning.

Friday, January 8, 2016


Finally, some good news for Hartford;

The announcement made earlier today

"After thirty-five years of service with the Hartford Fire Department,
I will be retiring as Fire Chief on Wednesday, January 13, 2016.
 I have been truly blessed to have worked for an organization with such a proud tradition and outstanding reputation. 
I have been humbled to work alongside the men and women of this Department who continuously exhibit bravery, compassion and a commitment to excellence. 
God bless and stay safe.
Respectfully submitted,
Carlos M. Huertas
Fire Chief
Emergency Management Director"
Hartford Fire Department
Hartford Public Safety Complex

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


A lasting legacy we will always remember to Pedro Segarra, Shawn Wooden, Tom Deller and several City Council members has left us with may eventually me a 66 Million dollar hole in the ground, known as DoNo, or Dunkin Donut Park. I bet Dunkin Donuts wishes about now that they had awakened sooner and smelled the coffee.

It is very unfortunate that a new Mayor who had hopefully wanted to hit the ground running to get Hartford jump started now has to be focusing on possibly the largest Economic Development debacle Hartford has seen. What will be done with the Yard Goats Stadium and what do you do with what was supposed to be a 56 million dollar project and now the cost overruns are growing at a faster rate than Hartford's unemployment rate.  There is plenty of finger pointing at each other as to who did what and who is responsible for this mess.

The calls from some to mothball the stadium are probably impossible. Although those people probably have a very clear right about now to say "We told you so". No one would listen, Segarrra and Wooden were hell-bent on shoving this project down our taxpaying throats, but I guess they knew better. Hmmm, what did they know and when did they know it?  Did it suddenly drop in their laps in December or were they that out of touch that no one saw at least 10 million dollars(minimum) in cost overruns building up, or were they maybe too busy answering subpoenas for a Federal Grand Jury into their other stadium attempt, Dillon Stadium.

Where was the City funded oversight person?  We should be asking for a rebate on those payroll payments

Realistically  there aren't enough mothballs made to shut this project down. At this point , court action is most likely very close unless Mayor Bronin can pull a rabbit, or maybe a yard goat, out of his hat and get this project back on track. It is a huge task, but quite honestly, I have a lot more confidence in Mayor Bronin to protect our interests than I do in the other two hacks, Segarra and Wooden.

Maybe it is time to start thinking outside the box to get this project moving forward and keep it out of the courts. Centerplan has already shown on this project as well as others that they like court time. No one will benefit from court delays, except lawyers, and in the meantime our debt service payments will keep accumulating. They are making us the development laughing stock. Just ask Hooker Brewery when they intend to break ground. Where are the solid Hard Rock proposals, and do you think they are rethinking that about now?

And what about the grocery store, when can we expect those shelves to be stocked with quality healthy foods for Hartford residents?.

Like I said, think outside the box. Maybe it is about time we approach UConn and get them to come in as a partner for Men's Baseball  and even possibly women's softball. We all realize the interest in UConn sports in Hartford. The men's Hockey team are routinely drawing crowds larger than the Wolfpack when they play in Hartford. Just try to go downtown when they are playing, the restaurants are packed. I am pretty sure UConn Baseball would attract the same crowds , if not better. The UConn brand is strong in Greater Hartford and we need to be creative to see this project succeed.

We are too far into this and failure is not an option. It might just be the part of the puzzle we have been missing.

I for one want to see Luke Bronin working on other issues to get Hartford moving and not be caught in the quicksand of a poorly conceived and financed deal


Yesterday the following comment was posted on the blog:

Anonymous said...
Kevin there was a video posted on YouTube an it's all over Facebook of a Hartford cop with a Tranny prostitute an she secretly recorded him , he's sniffing cocaine an runnin around the room naked an begging the prostitute to perform oral on her look into it it's juicy!!!!