Archive | Hartford

Bronin Signs Contract with Dept of Interior


HARTFORD — Mayor Luke Bronin on Wednesday announced that he has signed a General Agreement with the U.S. Department of Interior, National Park Service regarding security measures at Coltsville Park.

In December 2014, Coltsville became a National Historical Park. The areas within Coltsville that received “National Historical Park” status include the following sites: Colt Armory, Church of the Good Shepard, Caldwell Colt Memorial Parish House, Colt Park, the Potsdam Cottages, Armsmear, and the James Colt House. The Public Law designating Coltsville as a National Historical Park also required that the NPS and the City enter into a written agreement regarding management of the land within the National Historical Park.

In September 2016,  Bronin submitted a resolution to the Common Council authorizing the City to enter into a General Agreement with the U.S. Department of Interior, NPS for the Coltsville National Historical Park, which fulfills the management of the land within the National Park requirement.

The Common Council approved the resolution on Oct. 24, 2016.

 

The five-year agreement signed by Bronin stipulates that both parties work together for the preservation and redevelopment of the National Historical Park and the neighborhood, develop a pattern of collaboration and communication, develop projects of mutual benefit leading to the conservation of historic resources, and creatively research funding opportunities for projects.

The NPS will be responsible for providing interpretation and education and managing special events to be held on the NPS-owned property.

In addition, the NPS and the City will cooperate in protecting and preserving the historical and cultural resources in Coltsville National Historical Park.

 

Posted in Business, Hartford, NeighborhoodComments (0)

Asian Host First Culture Night


HARTFORD — The Asian American Student Association at Trinity College hosted the first Intercollegiate Asian American Culture Night in the Admissions Grand Room.

In addition to the Trinity students who hosted the event in November, the conference welcomed Asian culture clubs from the University of Connecticut, Eastern Connecticut State University, Connecticut College, and Wesleyan University.

Members of the Trinity College Asian American Student Association executive board with Trinity College President Joanne Berger-Sweeney

Members of the Trinity College Asian American Student Association executive board with Trinity College President Joanne Berger-Sweeney

Each club brought food to share with the group, and offered introductions and presentations as the students got to know one another. “The energy was very high, and the enthusiasm for future events such as this was very apparent,” said Ethan Yang, the first-year representative for Trinity’s AASA and one of the conference organizers. “During the open microphone session, many people passionately discussed issues relating to the Asian American identity, including conflicts with tradition, acceptance, fitting in, and being criticized for not looking Asian.”

The event organizers believe that this was the first step toward forming a coalition to unite Asian American culture clubs from colleges across Connecticut. The organization aims to encourage further collaboration and communication amongst its member clubs.

“My co-host Hamna Tariq and I had the privilege of hosting one of the most successful and productive AASA events ever,” Yang said. “Overall, this event was an unprecedented and historic step that has created momentum that will surely change the state of Connecticut for the collegiate Asian American, and hopefully all cultures.”

Posted in Hartford, Neighborhood, YouthComments (0)

Connecticut State Troopers Investigate KKK Video


EAST WINDSOR — The Ku Klux Klan has emerged waving flags, lighting bon fires, and disrupting residents in East Windsor, police said early Monday.

According to State Police investigating the incident, a video recently  surfaced on Facebook showing someone dressed in a Ku Klux Klan outfit at a bonfire with Trump signs.

News reports say the video may have stemmed from a bonfire in Stafford Springs.

This is not the first time Connecticut has seen symbols of hate. In 1986,  the Ku Klux Klan held a national convention and burned a cross on an isolated farm in East Windsor.

It was also happening around the country. Most recently, the KKK rallied in Nevada in support of Donald Trump.

The video, posted on social media, shows an individual wearing a robe and a hood waving a Trump flag.

Stafford’s first selectman, Anthony Frassinelli, said he met with law enforcement Monday morning as the video was circulating online. He said they won’t let the actions of “a few ignorant people embarrass our town and its residents.”

Police said these individuals could face trespassing charges because they were rallying on someone else’s property.

East Windsor First Selectman Bob Maynard tells News 8 he believes the video was filmed in gravel pits in the southern part of town.  News 8 also reports that this is an area accessible only by off road vehicles.

Also on Monday, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton posted on Facebook that recently spray painted swastikas in the city.

“Rest assured that the city of Danbury will not tolerate acts of hate. When the person or persons are apprehended they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Boughton wrote.

Posted in Featured, Hartford, Nation/WorldComments (0)

East Hartford Police Seek Missing Elderly in Hartford


EAST HARTFORD —  Police is seeking the whereabouts of an elderly man whose last known address was in East Hartford.

Alexander Aleo, 94, was last seen on video and by a teller at Off Track Betting in Hartford. Police said he is a regular customer.

He has not contacted family and travels to very few other locations and always returns home before dark. Family last spoke to him by phone after 8PM on Saturday.

He has no major health issues, police said. He should be operating CT 685TML, a grey 2005 Hyundai Sonata 4 door sedan. Hospitals and other locations checked were negative.

Please give this announcement your widest broadcast.

Please contact East Hartford Police with any information.

Posted in HartfordComments (0)

What Immigrant Communities Can Do to Prepare for Trump


SAN FRANCISCO — Two days after Donald Trump’s victory, immigration experts told reporters to keep a close eye on the president-elect’s transition team and his appointments to key government positions, for clues as to what to expect from his administration once he is sworn in on Jan. 20, 2017.

“We’re hearing a lot of questions and, honestly, a little bit of panic,” said Sally Kinoshita, deputy director of Immigrant Legal Resource Center.

But, she said, it’s important to put the election in context.

“When you look at the popular vote [which Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton won], “the majority of Americans did not vote for Trump and his anti-immigrant rhetoric,” Kinoshita said on a national press call organized by New America Media and Ready California, a coalition of nonprofits that serve immigrant communities.

“This election,” she cautioned, “is not a reflection of Americans in general and their views of immigrants.”

What the polls got wrong

The election of Donald Trump came as a surprise to pollsters, who had estimated Clinton’s chances of winning at 70 percent and up.

“From a historical standpoint, the polling was wrong for the following reasons: Turnout in urban centers [that traditionally vote Democratic] was slightly lighter than expected; and turnout in rural areas was higher than expected,” explained Anthony Williams, special project director of the Miami-based public opinion research firm Bendixen & Amandi International.

This had the effect of “flipping three states that nobody thought were in play: Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, and, to a certain extent, Florida,” he said.

But a look at the total numbers shows that Trump prevailed in the Electoral College, not because of a swell of enthusiasm for the Republican candidate, but because of a lack of enthusiasm for Clinton.

Trump’s vote total was roughly equal to GOP candidate John McCain’s total in 2008, and he got fewer votes than GOP candidate Mitt Romney got in 2012.

Clinton, meanwhile, got about 60 million votes – six million fewer than Barack Obama got in 2012, and 10 million fewer than Obama got in 2008.

While there was “very little evidence” of an insidious effort at voter suppression in this election, said Williams, there were “other forms of voter suppression, not the least of which was the overwhelming sense that it was over.

“You could make the argument,” he said, “that the perception of [Clinton’s] victory suppressed turnout [in urban areas that would have voted for Clinton].”

An increase in Hispanic, Asian voters and Senators

“The notion that there was a Hispanic wave was real,” noted Williams. “In Nevada, the increase in Hispanic turnout was the difference in the election.”

But Williams said that in other states, such as Florida, there were not enough Latino voters to overcome the increase in the rural, white voter turnout.

Christine Chen, executive director APIAVote, also saw an increased level of voter participation of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), over two-thirds of whom are first-generation immigrants.

Based on early voter turnout, she said, the AAPI vote doubled in Florida, Arizona, Virginia and North Carolina, and tripled in Georgia.

Two Asian American women were elected to the U.S. Senate, joining Mazie Hirono of Hawaii: Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, who is Thai Chinese, and Kamala Harris of California, who is African American and Indian.

In Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto became the first Latina ever elected to the U.S. Senate.

A challenging time ahead

The election of Trump, a candidate who made fear and xenophobia a central part of his campaign, has spurred advocates to pledge to fight for the dignity of all families.

“There’s no doubt we are entering a challenging period. The election was divisive and damaging. We saw hate crimes, hateful rhetoric,” said Kamal Essaheb, national director of policy and advocacy for National Immigration Law Center.

“President-Elect Trump has called for unity in his election night speech, but obviously his actions are going to have to speak louder,” Essaheb said.

The most important thing to do now, he said, is to make sure immigrants are prepared and know their rights.

One thing to keep in mind, he said, are the limits of presidential power.

“The Constitution protects everyone,” Essaheb said. “Law enforcement has to show you [a warrant to enter your house]. You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to call an attorney.”

“There are things he can do that will be harmful,” said Essaheb. But, he said, “Trump cannot take away the Constitution. He cannot take away the people’s rights.”

Another thing he can’t take away are state and local laws, such as California’s AB 60, which allows undocumented immigrants to get a driver’s license. “State and city-level policies did not change on Tuesday night,” Essaheb said. “The same opportunities are there; the imperative to act is higher.”

Trump has said that he would repeal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the executive action taken by President Obama in 2012 that gives certain undocumented immigrants who came here as children access to a work permit.

He has said that he would eliminate federal funding to so-called “sanctuary cities” whose policies limit cooperation between local police and federal immigration authorities.

He has talked about stepping up deportations, with “zero tolerance for criminal aliens.”

He has also talked about building a wall, something that experts say is neither practical nor feasible.

He has even hinted at a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants, Essaheb noted, saying that once we enforce our laws, we can start to have a conversation about the people who are already here.

What families can do now

Although it is hard to know exactly what to expect under a Trump administration, there are some steps families can take now to stay safe and plan for their future.

Sally Kinoshita of Immigrant Legal Resource Center noted that Trump is not president until Jan. 20, 2016. Until then, the DACA program remains in effect.

It takes several months for DACA applications to be processed, Kinoshita said, so if people have not applied for DACA, it might be too late.

Trump has said he would get rid of the program; the earliest this would happen is his first day in office.

Renewals, which take eight weeks to be processed, would be much less of a risk, said Kinoshita. Some people are renewing their DACA now while Obama is in office, in order to get a two-year work permit.

Anyone planning to renew DACA now should know that the price for DACA increases to $495 on Dec. 23, 2016. Loans are available through the Mission Asset Fund, Self-Help Federal Credit Union, the Mexican Consulate or local service providers.

Because there is expected to be an increase in enforcement, prioritizing those with criminal records, she said, people should avoid brushes with the law.

“Something like a DUI or a drug conviction can have permanent immigration consequences,” Kinoshita said.

Those who live in California can get certain felonies reduced to misdemeanors under Prop 47.

Kinoshita encouraged all immigrants to go to a qualified legal services provider to be screened for other forms of immigration relief.

To find free or low-cost nonprofit legal services providers near you, go to the Immigration Advocates Network’s national directory.

Posted in Featured, Hartford, Nation/WorldComments (0)

Hartford Parents Offered Money Workshops


HARTFORD —  Hartford parents can now learn steps they can take early on to save for college, use online financial tools, and how to find and apply for scholarships.

The city of Hartford in partership with other stakeholders will offer the following courses:
· Citizenship Status and Attaining Access to Education- Families will learn how citizen status is not a barrier to educational attainment on any level, elementary school to college. Presented by Stefan Keller, College Access Program Coordinator, Connecticut Students for a Dream.
· Careers in Computer Science – Families will learn how the field of computer science is growing and ways that students can fill the shortage in our labor market. Presented by James Veseskis, Project Coordinator Exploring Computer Science CT.
· College Fair – High school students will have the opportunity to talk with admissions representatives from colleges in the Hartford community, such as Central Connecticut State University and Tunxis Community College
· High School Planning- Middle school students will learn how to apply for the public, magnet, technical, and regional schools.
· Food and refreshments will be provided to those who register
· Childcare available for children 2-years-old and older
· Exciting games and prizes for students!
· Registration is currently open on Eventbrite (deadline for registration is October 21):
English: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hartford-public-schools-college-and-career-readiness-family-event-tickets-28199343997
Spanish: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/evento-para-la-familia-acerca-de-la-preparacion-universitaria-y-profesional-de-las-escuelas-tickets-28394797604

Posted in Business, Hartford, NeighborhoodComments (0)

Larson to Host Korean Ambassador Ahn Ho-Young


HARTFORD — Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01) and Ambassador Ahn Ho-Young of the Republic of Korea will hold a special medal ceremony for veterans of the Korean War on Oct. 21.

Larson and Ambassador Ahn worked together to secure the Medal of Gratitude for nearly 100 local Korean War veterans.

Rep. Larson and Ambassador Ahn last met prior to the Congressman’s visit to Korea in August. While in Korea, Larson discussed the impact of the Korean War, his own efforts to ensure Korean War veterans receive the care and recognition they earned, and his visit with our troops who are stationed at the DMZ.

 

 

Posted in East Hartford, HartfordComments (0)

Tags:

Northeast NRZ and others to Meet Tonight


HARTFORD — The Northeast Neighborhood Revitalization Zone will hold its monthy meeting tonight at the Parker Memorial Kelvin Anderson Center in Hartford.

The meeting will include a special presentation by the   city of Hartford’s Housing Code Enforcement Team.

Representatives will learn more about thier rights and what they can do for occupants living in rental dwellings.

There will also be updates on Promise Zone and Community solutions.

CT Pardon Team Meeting

Is a criminal record following you? If so, you may be eligible for a pardon. To find out more at upcoming meetings of Connecticut Pardon Team in Hartford. The first meeting will be held on Oct. 17 a Hartford Public Library 500 Main St. in Hartford. Call to register at 860-823-1571.

The second meeting will be held on Nov. 7 at hartford Public Library, Ground Floor. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.

Posted in A & E, HartfordComments (0)

Tags: , , , ,

“The real Olivia Pope” Asked to Run for Congress


Frank Henry, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — “Code Red. Code Red. They’re trying to kill her,” someone shouted as Ann-Marie Adams lie motionless on her bed at the University of Connecticut’s John Dempsey Hospital in 2014.

She had never been admitted to a hospital before April 4, 2014 at about 3 p.m. So the 15-hour wait in the emergency room left her puzzled as she watched and listened to nurses and doctors attend to other patients. At the time of admittance, she was not ill.  And Hartford Police had disrupted her sleep time. They also wasted her prep time for revising a paper to present at the Association for the Study of Connecticut History conference at Fairfield University on the next day.  However, medics thought she should “take precautions” since they were called to the scene on a very significant day in history.

April 4 was a watershed moment in African-American history. It parallels a tragic day in the Civil Rights Movement:  Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. on April 4, 1968. It was also a sign that local law enforcement agents wanted to suppress another journalist and had hoped to stop similar racial uprisings that spurred the Black Lives Matter movement.

So instead of catching up on sleep that day, Adams was in a conversation with Hartford police officers.

That’s because her sister’s baby sitter called and spoke “jibberish,” according to reports that were later unfounded. While other police officers busied themselves, Adams had a brief conversation with Hartford Police Officer Chris White.

“Being educated can be a dangerous thing,” White said. But it was clear nothing was wrong with Adams, White said. Officers responded to a call that dispatched 15 police officers to her location in the West End of Hartford.

To Adams, that implied it was a crime to read, think and write in the Connecticut.  She later learned that police were trying to suppress uprisings because of a spate of police shootings of unarmed black men across the nation such as Ferguson. And they thought there was a need to “tame the shrew.”

However, law enforcement agencies failed to provide a full explanation for the sudden intrusion into her privacy and were breaking almost every law on the books, sources said. But police officers–on condition of anonymity, said the April 4 incident was because of her writings about race and other matters in the state and federal government. As a result, there have been several attempts to disrupt her businesses and “muck up” her writing.

But after further investigation, police officers  said they discovered Adams true identity: She was brought to Connecticut as an Irish Omen (or prophet) to help America restore its blessings. they also know that Adams was the inspiration for two television shows: The Cosby Show’s Denise Huxtable and the ABC television series, Scandal’s Olivia Pope. Adams is claiming this because law enforcement officials and others, who were told to watch and protect her, spent three years watching her and doing investigations as to why this new revelation about American life and history has not reached the media.

This new revelation was contained because the show was disrupting her life. After the investigation was over in July, she was kidnapped by local terrorists after they discovered her identity. The mass shootings across the country since 2009 are tied to 17 years of disruptions of Adams’s life and career, especially since 2014, officials said.

The most recent disruptions began two days before Christmas 2013, she received a death threat while the Obama administration was communicating with her about her true identity. Days before that, her perfectly fine 10-year-old Hyundai  Sonata stalled suddenly on Interstate 91 after a visit to a car dealer in “Klanchester.” After several suspicious incidents as such on Route 44, she concluded she was in danger. On July 7, 2016, there was another attempt  in Washington, D.C. to disrupt her career–hence the shootings in Florida, sources said.

A lengthy FBI investigation into attempts to suppress her publication and sabotage business relationships morphed into an extension of Sen. Chris Murphy’s 2013 project about how to survive on food stamps for one week. It was seemingly a creative way to injury Adams’s political chances if she chooses to challenge Murphy, U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D–Conn.) or other elected officials in at least two Congressional districts.  After she was briefed that someone wanted her to run for office, Adams began to explore a bid for the Senate.

“I wasn’t thinking about running for office. But if they’re targeting me this long and hard,  “I have to explore my chances of running and winning,” Adams said.

Adams, 46, is considered an ideal pick to run against Murphy, 43. Her resume and bio has a wealth of Connecticut and Washington,D.C. experience, unlike her possible challenger Murphy when he ran in 2012. Murphy is considered a career politician having served as a State Representative since he was 25 years old. Adams, however, has corporate, nonprofit and academic experience to mount a formidable bid if Connecticut voters are ready for diversity in the Congressional delegation that is all white until Gary Frank ran and won in 1990.  Franks was the first member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Connecticut for one term, 1991 to 1997.  A Republican, he is the only African-American elected to the U.S. Congress from Connecticut’s fifth Congressional district.

Conn. Senator Murphy Takes Food Stamp Challenge

Adams had been covering Gov. Dannel P. Malloy,  Former Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra’s and President Barack Obama’s administrations. She has written several notable commentaries about the state of government and politics. She has taught U.S. History history and journalism at Rutgers and other universities. An award-winning journalist, who has worked for the Hartford Courant, NBC4, News12 Connecticut, Times Herald Record,  Norwich Bulletin and the Washington Post, she takes pride in covering all corners of the state for more than 15 years. Besides media and academic experience, Adams has been involved in the Urban League of Greater Hartford, the West Indian Social Club, Hartford LatinoFest, and other civic organizations and churches.  Adams is a media executive with a legal mind, many observers said.

Dr. Ann-Marie Adams contemplating a run for Congress.

Dr. Ann-Marie Adams asked to run for Congress.

So April 4, 2014 became a turning point for Adams. And the stories that have unfolded after her most recent interaction with ambassadors, politicians, doctors, social workers and nurses prompted her to run for office–hence  a recent press release by others–asking her to run for office. They  said they watched the corruption surfaced during attempts to  suppress her as a journalist and a historian during two critical years in American history: 2014 and 2105. The year 2104 marked the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement and the year 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.

Noting the lack of representation for working-class and middle-class residents in Congress, Adams is now exploring a run for the U.S. Senate against Murphy. That’s after witnessing a blatant disregard for the law and a deeper level of corruption in the state while the Obama administration was doing a deep background check on Adams. White House staffers said the White House Correspondent is more inclusive and patriotic than others they have observed.

The sudden switch from academia to politics was thrust upon her. That’s why she is leery about such an offer to run for office, she said.

The move comes as a surprise to many locals. Adams was not thinking of running until she was pushed into a political run by others investigating her. Through them, she discovered her identity as the woman who inspired the character on Scandal.

Adams, who has a multi-ethnic background, was used as a model for the television character Denise Huxtable, who grew up to be “the real Oliver Pope,” according White House staffers. She has an Irish, Jewish, Afro-Portuguese and West Indian  background. Her reach into many communities made Adams a target for several political operatives, who have been sabotaging her work and home life while the show was on the air. They stole clothes, money, shoes, jewelry and other belongings during the unusual and lengthy investigation. Investigators wanted the television series, Scandal, off the air because it disrupted Adams and her family.

The Plot Thickens

Before laying immobile on the bed almost three years ago, Adams felt a sudden and sharp pain in her abdomen. The pain came while she was in the hospital. She was also scheduled to cover President Obama at the National Action Network’s conference, slated as “the largest civil rights convening of the year bringing our nation’s top activists, political strategists and leading academia together to create an action plan for a civil rights agenda.”

She was told she was being held for further evaluation–only to be told later that there was “nothing wrong.” That’s because she’s thin, toned and not on medication. This hospital visit was the first in a series of overt attempts at media suppression and political obstruction, sources said.  Adams later learned that she was being held because several politicians, who see her as a threat to their candidacy for office, didn’t want her to cover certain political events in the state and in Washington, D.C.  Since August 2013 during the debate on Food Stamps and her article about race matters in Connecticut in Ebony.com, congressional leaders and others began to watch Adams.

The obstruction lasted for two years and 10 months and was watched by the United Nations and the Federal Bureau of Investigations after locals gave them a tip that Adams was being obstructed from running for officer because she had one of the best resumes and profile to mount a formidable challenge against Former Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, Sen. Murphy, State Rep. Doug McCory (D-07), State Rep. Brandon McGee (D-05), State Rep. Minnie Gonzalez (D-03), U.S.  Congressman John Larson (D-01), State Rep. Kevin Witkos (D-04) and U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D–Conn). Adams, who lives in the 5th Congressional district and owns a business in Hartford, made contact with each representative’s constituent services while other Connecticut residents watched.

The so-called project for Adams morphed into consultations and a tool to keep Adams from covering the White House, sources said. Local residents, who wanted to remain anonymous said they were duped. To date, there are no public arrests, no fixing of the racist political structure and in Connecticut and no money to complete this important project about health reform and how Obamacare was implemented. The project began with the Connecticut Health Foundation’s plan to look at health disparities. It was organized by CHF’s President and CEO Patricia Baker and its Communication Director Maryland Grier. Public Health Commissioner of Health Jewel Mullen was also a part of the project that began before the 2014 election. After a failure to communicate,  the project became a tool to carry out a hate crime.  And a three-year project, which began with Murphy in the 5th Congressional district, was designed to steal Adams’s beauty, money, home and other belongings.

The attempts to cripple Adams physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally was very detailed, said one source. Using hypnosis, State Troopers and local police officers forced her on trains, in hospitals and on planes to exhaust her income and to be away from several public events.  Adams has shown leadership in the community for almost three decades, some say.  Investigators–some of whom were part of the Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s 2012 Global Diaspora Forum,  stayed in her life for an unusual length of time to discover 17 characters and at least 50 scenes from the television series: Scandal. The Global Diaspora Forum was an annual celebration of America’s diaspora communities.

Murphy and Food Stamp Challenge passed onto Adams in 2013.

Murphy and Food Stamp Challenge passed onto Adams in 2013.

Local residents who watched the event and “were recruiting” Adams to run sent out a press releases after learning that President  Obama wanted her to run because she is an exemplary citizen and an immigrant who can best represent all residents in the state, sources said. Her multi-ethnic background and her years of service to the community makes Adams and ideal public servant. Adams is an Afro Latino from the West Indies. And her Irish ancestors are allegedly linked to Queen Elizabeth I.

Adams is also the Harriet Algier for the 21st Century, White House staffers said. That’s why locals and others wanted Adams to run for elected office.

Check back for updates for a list of suspects and arrests for this hate crime that emerged after the 2012 GDF at the State Department in Washington, D.C.

 

Read Dr. Ann-Marie Adams’s articles that prompted this story and Murphy’s Food Stamp project:

Connecticut Still Waiting for Superman

Hartford Unveils Journalism and Media Academy

Ebony.com: Chappelle Incident Shatters Silence on Connecticut Racism

 

 

Posted in Business, Featured, Hartford, PoliticsComments (0)

Tags:

IRS Aims to Bring Facebook to Court Again


By Adam Stuhlman I @stuhlman_adam

In January 2013, one Hartford resident was in the United States Tax Court because she couldn’t pay a $184 settlement bill. However, Internal Revenue Service lawyers had two trials on the same day to debate penalties for refusing to pay $184.

The amount, the woman argued with IRS counsel Debra Lynn Reale,  should have been deducted for educational tax credit. The judge agreed. And then IRS counsel William Bogardus took the file from Reale and argued the case again until the judge ruled in favor of the IRS.

Then in February 2013 news broke that Facebook amassed a billion in profit in the previous year and did not pay taxes. In fact, Facebook was expecting a refund.

Like many, she wanted an answer to this blatant disparity in how the judicial system meted out justice to individual tax payers.

Now, the IRS is fighting to get Facebook back to court over allegations that the social media giant has avoided paying taxes through shifting money overseas.

Matt Gardner, executive director for the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, said Facebook has been shifting money out of the United States to Facebook Ireland and the Cayman Islands. He said they have also used a legal stock option tax break to reduce the amount of taxes they have to pay.

“The interesting thing about Facebook on this front is that the IRS has been trying to get Facebook to cooperate with their investigation into this precise issue for some time,” said Gardner. “The IRS has issued something like a half dozen different summons to Facebook, which Facebook has basically ignored.”

According to documents from their website, Facebook’s

Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg

$5 billion revenue in 2012 represented a 37 percent increase from $3.7 billion in 2011.

Citizens for Tax Justice, a partner organization with ITEP, said that Facebook paid nothing in income taxes in 2012. Gardner said the IRS has issued at least six summons for Facebook to appear in court.

IRS Spokesperson Yadira Nadal declined to comment on this, saying that federal law prohibits the IRS from commenting on any taxpayer, organization’s situation, or case.

Anteneh Daniel, executive for The Brunswick Group, said in an email that Facebook’s statement from their media relations department is as follows:

“Facebook applies with the rules and regulations of all countries where we operate and we have no further comment at this time.”

The Brunswick Group is an advisory firm that “specializes in critical issues and corporate relations,” according to brunswickgroup.com.

“It is very difficult to tell what these assets are worth. When companies aggressively seek to lowball the value of these assets it can be very difficult for the IRS to catch up with that and make them value it (assets) correctly,” Gardner said. “That is what makes it a hard thing to police and monitor.”

Gardner said transfer pricing rules are put in place to make sure that when companies transfer assets overseas, “they do so at a fair price.” But the difficulty in enforcing these laws makes it harder on the IRS. He said the only solution is to make sure the IRS has the proper funding and the authority to go after companies that break the law.

While the IRS may be having difficulty with Facebook, it keeps on going when it comes to collecting taxes from other citizens. An April 2014 Gallop poll revealed that 66 percent of Americans feel that corporations pay too little in taxes, with the middle class paying too much. It also said that 40 percent of Republicans felt that lower income individuals pay to less in taxes, as compared to 22 percent of Independents and 11 percent of Democrats.

Connecticut residents want to know whether lawyers in the Office of Chief Counsel, namely Borgardus and Reale, are still targeting nonprofit organizations and individuals after news of Facebook’s victory over the IRS.

Multiple calls and emails to the IRS about lack of corporate income tax and any potential impact this may have on other citizen’s taxes were not returned.

To read the gallop poll click here: http://www.gallup.com/poll/168521/taxes-rise-half-say-middle-income-pay.aspx

To read Facebook’s document click here: https://s21.q4cdn.com/399680738/files/doc_financials/annual_reports/FB_2012_10K.pdf

Reporter Adam Stuhlman can be reach on Twitter: @stuhlman_adam

Posted in Business, Featured, Hartford, Nation/WorldComments (0)

Advertise Here