Tag Archive | "Mayor Eddie Perez"

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Hartford Votes Overwhelmingly for Dan Malloy


HARTFORD –City delegates went two to one for Dan Malloy today at the Connecticut Democratic Party convention at the CT Expo Center in North Meadows.

Hartford delivered 45 votes to Malloy and 20 to Ned Lamont Saturday morning.

“We want a Democrat and we want a seat at the table,” said City Councilwoman rJo Winch, who enthusiastically supported Malloy, a former mayor of Stamford.

Seen by many as politically aligned with Mayor Eddie Perez,  Winch split with him on the delegate votes. Perez, who supported Malloy in 2006, supported Lamont today.

“We don’t always agree on issues,” Perez said of his decision. “I’ll talk to her and if she agrees, she’ll be on board.”

Winch was on board with Malloy, she said, because he’s been building relationship with the city of Hartford for the last four years.

A mayor of Stamford for 14 years, Malloy won the Connecticut Democratic Party endorsement by more than a two to one margin, or 68 percent of the votes, compared to Lamont’s 32 percent. Lamont garnered twice the required vote to force a primary this fall.

He touts his accomplishment of revitalizing an urban area by boosting job growth, lowering crime rate, and increasing number of affordable housing in Stamford.

Winch said she voted for Malloy because he’s “been in the trenches and knows about urban problems.” More importantly, she said, Malloy has “developed a deep relationship with Hartford over the last four years.” Besides “running a business is not like running a municipality.”

Edwin Vargas also voted for Malloy because he came as a proxy for a delegate who promised that vote. But as a candidate for state senator, Vargas will be on Row B with Lamont, he said.

Hartford delegates also voted overwhelmingly for Jonathan Harris as the next Secretary of State.  But Denise Merrill won the party’s endorsement.

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Day 5 : Mayor Perez On Trial, Wants To Testify


HARTFORD — After seeing the Office of the Chief State Attorney’s evidence for bribery–especially its star witness–Mayor Eddie Perez wants to testify in his defense. And there might be reasons for a mistrial, according to Perez’s lawyer.

Day five of the state’s case against Perez was a repetitive listing of the type of renovations done on his house. The day ended early and with Attorney Hubert Santos request to Judge Julia Dewy to rule on whether a secretly taped conversation with the chief state attorney can be used in the combined trial of Perez’s bribery and larceny cases.

Santos told the judge he learned that the state intends to use the secretly taped conversation between him and Inspector Michael Sullivan, who is scheduled to take the stand on Thursday. This move, Santos said, ”raises many issues” because  Sullivan might implicate and force him to remove himself from Perez’s defense team.

State Prosecutor Michael Gailor said Santos told his office  that the invoice represented all the work done at the mayor’s house. The state said the mayor allegedly received  $40, 000 worth of work for $20,000.

Santos said  that although he was the mayor’s lawyer in July  2007, he wasn’t fully aware of the case at that point when he spoke to Attorney Kevin Kane and sent over a requested  invoice , which  he thought reflected all the work at Perez’s house on Bloomfield Avenue.

“What the state wants to do is to quote me through this representation,” Santos said.

Judge Dewey said she will review the information and rule on whether  prosecutors can use the  taped conversation, which is illegal in Connecticut. But there is an exception for law enforcement officers.

In January 2007,  the chief state’s attorney’s began investigating allegations of corruption against Perez, who was elected in fall 2001. The mayor had his kitchen and bathroom remodeled by USA Contractors, inc., owned by city contractor. Costa is also Perez’s friend.

Costa, in a competitive bid, won the  a $5.3 million contract to do the Park Street renovation project, which later morphed into a nightmarish job and resulted in a contentious relationship between him and the city’s Department of Public Works.

The state is accusing Perez of receiving a bribe from Costa and for intervening  in the relationship between Costa and DPW.  To date, prosecutors have called nine witnesses, including the star witness, city contractor  Costa. They also called Costa’s  vendors, workers and city employees, including workers from a consultant firm, Urban Engineers.

Costa’s testimony revealed that he offered to install kitchen countertops for the mayor and his wife. Defense claimed  that Costa said it would be “no problem” to do the work cheaper. The initial work of just kitchen countertop evolved into bathroom renovations. He said he had no plans to bill the mayor.

Dewey is expected to rule on whether Perez can testify and on whether Sullivan can testify about the content of the secretly taped conversation between him and Santos.

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Eddie Perez Trial Tied to Hartford’s North End?


By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD – This Wednesday in Hartford Superior Court Mayor Eddie Perez will begin a legal battle rife with politics, but he has reasons to smile. Seemingly relax in his sunlit office tucked in the west wing of city hall, Hartford’s first Latino mayor brims with optimism.

“I feel the love,” Perez says in the last of a two-part interview with The Hartford Guardian.

That’s because he goes where he is loved.  Perez, 53, bounces from one neighborhood to the next to partake in community clean-up campaigns, to anniversary galas and to church gatherings. In addition, he can list several accomplishments since taking the helm in 2001. In 2007, Perez announced that the crime rate was reduced to the lowest level in 30 years. Last year, the city became home to a nationally recognized school, Capital Preparatory School. And overall, school district test scores have increased. Moreover, the city has a solid bond rating—all good news.

But that doesn’t put a dent in the hardened hearts of one political faction, some of whom outwardly relish the possibility that the mayor might be convicted of one or all six federal charges against him: conspiracy to commit larceny, attempt to commit larceny, bribe receiving, tampering physical evidence, accessory to tampering physical evidence and conspiracy. In this particular political pen, the mayor “is not welcome.”

 “There’s no love for the mayor in this part of town,” said Thomas Armstrong, a Windsor resident and a businessman in Hartford.  “Look around you; do you see anything happening up here? He doesn’t care about people up here.”

Up here, as Armstrong calls it, is the Northeast section of Hartford, which is bounded at the south by Spring Grove Cemetery at Capen and Main streets and stretches up to Keeney Park at the Windsor town line. It constitutes voting district 22, which is the poorest section of the neighborhood. Except for the bright spots of new housing on Ridgefield,  Capen and Barbour streets, the area is filled with blighted buildings and many people with bleak dispositions. Only about 5 percent of residents have a college education. The poverty rate is close to 40 percent. The area has the highest unemployment rate in the city and the highest crime rate.

The palpable frustration evident in Armstrong’s voice is a part of the larger issue associated with poor sections of urban areas, an incubator for discontent. In Hartford, this discontent has been spurred by years of neglect stretching back to the 1960s, observers say.

“Anyone who walks into that meeting at Rajun Cajun can hear the frustration,” said I. Charles Matthews, chair of the Neighborhood Revitalization Zone program in the Northeast. He is  talking about the African Alliance meetings. Matthews was the mayor’s political opponent in 2007.

Five Corner Store at Westland Street and Love Lane

Vanessa Williams, a small business specialist with the city’s economic development department says she hears the frustration, too.

“But I also hear it in the South End and downtown,” she says. “But they don’t have the blight that’s in the North End….You can clean up one building but that’s not going to be a benefit because of the overall development that needs to take place. The plan should be to change the overall landscape. It has to do with the bigger issue of blight.”

That blight affects businesses  in the North End is evident.

What was also evident in 2007  to any reporter who would listen was the smoldering discontent. And some reporters did listen, including Jeff Cohen who broke the story of the state’s  investigation of possible corruption in the mayor’s administration. Cohen  is now named as a witness.  Armstrong and others had vowed there would be arrests “coming soon.” Shortly afterward, state police made four arrests in 2009 for incidents that happened in 2007.

This story of discontent among a few people in the Northeast is important because at the heart of the trial is a bitter rivalry between two factions, which includes Abraham  Giles.  Giles is the mayor’s former rival until they paired up in the 2007 election. Giles function was to help the mayor cut into the political base in the North End. And he succeeded by cutting into a political strong hold. Perez garnered 195 votes,  not far from his opponent’s 243 votes. Even as news about the state investigation swirled around him, Perez was re-elected.

The rivalry went into another gear as grumblings about the mayor not sending money to the North End reached the halls of congress. Congressman John Larson (D) responded. On frigid January morning many small business owners voiced concerns about the lack of economic development in Hartford’s Northeast section –even as economic development plans were being implemented downtown as the country moved toward the worst recession since the 1930s.

“I’m on the board of  Metro Hartford Alliance board, and I see a lot of projects moving downtown, but there’s nothing moving up here,” said Yvon Alexander, owner of Uptown Vibz. Alexander was one of about 100 people who packed the backroom of Rajun Cajun for the listening session coordinated by Larson’s office.

“I’m here today because I’m hearing that there’s no money coming to the North End,” Larson says to The Hartford Guardian. He then declares:  “All politics is local.”

Councilwoman rJo Winch reiterates Larson’s sentiment:

 “I keep telling them they have to work with city hall. You can’t go around city hall. They need to work with the mayor,” she says.

But that’s the problem, some say. The mayor doesn’t want to work with them.

The mayor’s supporters say the problem with the Northeast is a lack of leadership. People are frustrated at so-called leaders in the community who have failed to deliver. Frustrations are also aimed at  Sen. Eric Coleman, Rep. Ken Green, Rep. Marie Kirkley-Bey, Rep. Doug McCrory, Councilman Kenneth Kennedy and others. But “the buck stops at the mayor.”

“These people can’t help them with jobs. They can’t help them stop their houses from going into foreclosure. They just can’t deliver the bacon. They’re not supposed to wait for people who are struggling to survive to take the reins, they are supposed to find creative ways to make sure the neediest areas get resources,” Matthews says. “When the city applys for funds, they cite statistics from the poor areas such as Northeast, Clay Arsenal and Frog Hollow. But when the money comes in, it goes to other parts of the city,” he says.

Perez says he recognizes he will be blame for the bad, so he figures he should be credited for the good:  his holistically approach to addressing the city issues with his One City, One Plan agenda. He also points to signs of development in Clay Arsenal, Upper Albany, Asylum Avenue and the $20 million being spend on the Parker Memorial Recreation Center in the Northeast. He said he has shown that he’s willing to work with anyone who has a solid plan.

“People have the right to ask for more,” he says. “[But…] politics is politics.”

James Wright had a plan and wanted more. He has been working with the mayor and has had success, he says as he stands  in the newly built building on Main and Westland streets  that houses the Philips Methodist Episcopal CME Church. Wright, who was honored for his 25th year as lead pastor last fall, invited the mayor, who is  ”a longtime friend.”  Wright says he understands the frustration in the community, but if people have a  good plan, the mayor “will work with them.”

“We don’t have a problem with the mayor,” Wright says.”The mayor is working with us.”

When asked how much money has been funneled into the Northeast, the mayor directs The Guardian to his staff, which has yet to furnish that information because the budget is not parceled out to different sections, they say.

 Winch says  she has asked for money spent on the youth programs around the city and she has yet to receive that information.

“They sent me some vague response,” she says.

Anthony Rojas manages the Five Corner Store

Politics is who gets what, someone once said.  For those who are not politically connected, they realize they’re not getting much, especially from the Comunity Development Block Grants, a federal program aimed specifically at depressed communities.  Some have resigned themselves to that idea and have been fending for themselves.

Anthony Rojas, who runs the Five Corner Spanish American store at Westland and Love Lane, can be seen on certain days  sweeping the street corners and sidewalks  in front of his shop because “the city doesn’t send anyone to clean the streets,” he says.

“I notice that the only time they [politicians] come around is when they want something,” he says. “When we want something, they don’t come around.”

He interrupts his conversation with  a reporter and  serves several customers. He continues:

“Who’s going to help us? Not the mayor. He’s in court right now.”

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Jury Selection For Hartford Mayor’s Trial Underway


HARTFORD – Jury selection for the city’s mayor begins today.

Eddie Perez is charged with bribery and fraud. After months of motions and pleadings, the prosecution and defense are scheduled to start picking members of the six-person jury in Hartford Superior Court.
 
Perez was arrested in January 2009 and accused of receiving a bribe in the form of home improvements from a city contractor, Carlos Costa, who was also charged. 

The mayor was arrested again in September, when state authorities charged him and former Hartford state Rep. Abraham Giles with trying to extort $250,000 from a developer who wanted to buy city-owned property. 

Read more here:

 

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Court Denies Mayor’s Request to Move Trial


HARTFORD —  Mayor Eddie Perez  requested a new location for his trial, citing anti-Hartford bias and media publicity.
Hartford Superior Court Judge Julia DiCocco Dewey disagreed and denied the mayor’s motion for a new trial site.

The mayor was in court today with his lawyer. Perez has pleaded not guilty to allegations that he accepted a bribe from a city contractor who renovated his home.

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Budget Talks Continue at City Hall Tonight


HARTFORD — With the city facing a $30 million budget gap, Mayor Eddie A. Perez and the  City Council will continue their open discussions tonight as a part of a series of workshops to reach a consensus budget.

The forum will be held in City Council Chambers on the second floor of  City Hall at 550 Main St. in Downtown Hartford.

The meeting will also air live on Government Cable Access Television Channel 96 and stream live on www.hartford.gov.

In his state of the city address earlier this week, the Mayor said: “Like every urban community across our state and across our great country, Hartford continues to be financially challenged.”

The city’s budget must be approved before June 1. But at least one critic, according to an NPR report, called for the mayor to remove himself from the budget process while he fights for his reputation. The mayor was arrested twice in 2009  for an  alleged quid pro quo deal with a city contractor to work on his kitchen. The trial is scheduled for in April.

City Councilman Ken Kennedy gave an interview to a local radio show, saying “the mayor will be knee-deep in the middle of a trial as we’re going through the budget process.”

Perez was resolved. He said he intends to remain mayor.

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Perez Pleads Today


HARTFORD –  Mayor Eddie Perez dashed in and out of court today, only to offer his plea for charges stemming from alleged corruption.

The mayor plead not guilty and asked for jury trial for the new charges of his alleged role in trying to extort $100,000 from a North End businesman.

The case was continued until Oct. 5. 

 The Court will also hear a motion to combine Perez’s previous corruption charges for alleged bribery with a city contractor.

The three others arrested along with Perez are scheduled to appear in Court next over several weeks. 

Perez  has vowed to complete his term.

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Hartford Police Gets Stimulus Money


HARTFORD — Hartford is one of three law enforcement groups statewide that is receiving Federal Stimulus Money to hire police officers and to help sustain the positive momentum of the Capital City’s ongoing commitment to reduce serious crime, according to a press release by the mayor’s office. 

Hartford is receiving $4,265,672 from the COPS Hiring Recovery Program, the release says.  This is a competitive grant for which 78 Connecticut law enforcement agencies applied and only three received funding. Bridgeport and New Haven are also receiving funding.

Mayor Eddie Perez says  that the funding will provide Hartford with 23 officers, which is equivalent to one recruiting class. it will also help to enhance department’s work.

Police Chief Daryl K. Roberts says the funding will help improve existing programs so the department can enables “forge ahead as we work with residents to prevent and reduce serious crime throughout our great city.”

As of this date, the HPD has 460 sworn officers on staff.

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City Salutes Hometown Heroes


HARTFORD == Hartford has joined a National Yellow Ribbon Letter Campaign to salute the city´s service people on Independence Day. 

Mayors of several capital cities across the country have placed a yellow ribbon in honor and remembrance of the proud and dedicated men and women in uniform both at home and abroad.

While many mayors placed their ribbons outside City Hall, Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez chose the scion of the Charter Oak Tree in Bushnell Park that was planted in 1871 by the First Company Governor’s Foot Guard. 

History books state that the Charter Oak was used to hide Connecticut’s Charter from English authorities.  Sadly, the original Charter Oak tree was destroyed in a storm in the 1800′s, but the scion stands tall and proud in Bushnell Park in Downtown Hartford.

Some of the other cities also taking part include:  Denver, CO, Santa Fe, NM, Montpelier, VT, Annapolis, MD, Columbus, OH, Lansing, MI, Dover, DE, Augusta, ME, Olympia, WA, Oklahoma City, OK, Madison, WI, Boston, MA, Little Rock, AR, Tallahassee, FL, Albany, NY, Austin, TX.

Last year, Mayor Perez and City Council members took part in another letter writing campaign for our troops called “Paragraphs of Hope.”  For Flag Day 2009, Staff Sgt. Dane Beckford presented an American Flag to his home city of Hartford. 

The flag is certified to have flown in Iraq.

  

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Mayor Proposes Budget for 2009-2010


HARTFORD –  The proposed budget for the 2009-2010 fiscal year – abput $548 million remains the same as the budget approved by Council for FY’08-’09, according to a press release from the mayor’s office Monday.  

The budget, according to the release, will maintain core city services, and will include the following components:

  • $1.5 million in funding to prevent foreclosures of Hartford homeowners and assist homeless families with young children.
  • $3 million in increased local share of funding for the Board of Education.
  • $1.7 million in local and stimulus funding to create 200 jobs in Hartford’s Arts and Heritage Sector.
  • A class of 40 police officers to be funded entirely by federal stimulus funding.
  • $33.1 million in debt service to continue critical public construction projects that are providing good paying construction jobs for hundred of Hartford residents.
  • 145 fewer municipal government positions from the FY ’08-’09 budget

To pay for this budget and make up for revenue loss from the state and other sources, the mil rate will increase by 8.89 mils, a tax increase of 8.3%.  

For the average Hartford resident homeowner, the city figures this will translate into a property tax increase of approximately $1 a day ($378).  

Substantial concessions by municipal unions and increased aid from the state that materialize during the budget process could reduce the size of the proposed mil rate increase.

“This budget reflects important priorities for our City in these difficult economic times.  We have made prudent cuts across city government and have devoted more resources to job creation, housing and education while maintaining our commitment to public safety,” Mayor Eddie Perez said.

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