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Hartford Politico Abe Giles’ Death Marks Watershed Moment

By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD – Former Hartford State Representative and North End political boss Abraham “Abe” Giles was buried shortly before noon on Tuesday. His passing marked a watershed moment in Hartford and the nation.

Giles, 84, died of pneumonia on Saturday, March 26 after several days in St. Francis Hospital. And up until his death, the Georgia-native was the staunch political boss every potential politician in the city sought out before a bid for office.

His charisma was unmatched in the community.

“He put all those black politicians in office,” said Thomas Armstrong, a business owner in the city’s Northeast section, Giles stronghold. “He made sure everyone who wanted to run come to him.”

Councilman Kenneth Kennedy agreed.

“Anyone who wanted to run had to go through Abe,” Kennedy said. In 1991 when Kennedy decided to run, he also had to pay a visit.  “You could not be elected without Abe. He was the political Bishop of the 5th District.”

Tall, cocoa-skinned Giles was an unassuming man who spoke with a soft southern lilt that belied his political ferocity. From campaign worker in former President Dwight Eisenhower’s election to ward boss during the Black Power Movement in Hartford, Giles outlasted most of his political foes. His rivals included the political icons in the city’s Civil Rights Movement, including former State Reps. Wilbur Smith,  Spike Jones and other black icons during the 1950s, 60s and 1970s.

Abe Giles Photo Credit: 40yearplan

Giles once said of his rivals, “I represent the average man in Hartford,” as he railed against educated Blacks who cornered the political landscape allotted to the black community during the post Civil Rights period. And while others earned a PhD in Southern colleges, Giles earned his Ph.D. in Jim Crow communities North and South.

Born in Jenkins County Georgia, Giles moved to Hartford in 1956 with his wife Juanita. He joined the Democratic Town Committee in 1966 and was appointed deputy sheriff in 1967. In 1973, Giles was elected to serve the 6th District. And he served for 16 years.

“I always felt he belong the people more than to the family,” said Radamas Vazquez, Giles adopted son.

Vazquez spoke of the day Giles visited his orphanage. Giles had showed up to adopt “just one child,” Vazquez said. A six-year old Vazquez began to cry and said he wouldn’t go without his sister and brother, Evelyn and Harry Figueroa. So Giles adopted all three.

Giles tender heart was reserved for family and friends, including his many nieces, nephews and grand children.

“My uncle was the only politician I liked,” said Gile’s niece, Mercredi Giles, 38.

To his political foes, however, he was a politician who “only cared about himself and his family.” And ambitious reporters were only interested in alleged malfeasances.

In December, Giles pleaded guilty to misdemeanor corruption charges in the city hall corruption case that led to former Mayor Eddie Perez resignation. A jury convicted Perez of five felony charges and sentenced to three years in prison. Perez appealed.

Giles plea-bargained to avoid prison and a felony conviction. He was instead sentenced to a six-month suspended term in prison and a one-year conditional discharge.

In the past when confronted with charges of political patronage and self-serving enterprises, Giles said, “I’m not a taker, I’m a giver.”

His friends agreed.

“He lived with us, he cared for us, he provided for us,” said Trude Mero, a long-time community activist, who sometimes finished Giles’ sentences.

Former gubernatorial candidate Bill Curry concurred.

“People came to communities because they love politics,” Curry said. “Abe came to politics because he loved his community.”

His community was in the northeast corner of Hartford, bound by Stowe Village and the Unity Plaza on Barber Street. It is also the poorest section in one of the poorest city in the state.

For some who live on Cleveland Avenue, a tight-nit enclave surrounding Giles home, he was the kind of guy who would give you a ride to the grocery store, or paid someone’s light bills.

He was also among a generation who fought a nation that stubbornly refused them civil rights and equal justice. He was among the spirited who changed not just a nation but also the world.

And he was a committed and lifelong member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said former Mayor Carrie Saxon Perry on Monday at St. Michael’s Church.

She concluded: “I will never speak of him in the past tense because his spirit is with us always.”

Featured Photo Credit: Inquirer News.

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Hartford Politico Abe Giles Dies

HARTFORD — Former State Rep. Abraham Giles has died. He was 84.

Giles was the city’s state representative from 1972 to 1988.

Giles former attorney, John Kardaras, said Giles had been in the hospital since Tuesday after he was found unresponsive by a relative. He had pneumonia.

Gile’s funeral will be held on Tuesday, April 4 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Cathedral of St. Joseph, 140 Farmington Ave., in Hartford.

Calling hours are Monday from 4:30 to 8 p.m. at St. Michael’s Church, 7 Clark St., Hartford.

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Abe Giles Pleads Guilty, Gets Reprieve

Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Abraham Giles, a former state-Rep arrested in the city hall corruption investigation with former Mayor Eddie A. Perez, pleaded guilty in Hartford Superior Court today.

His guilty plea means he will escape jail time for misdemeanor corruption. Giles, 84, was sentenced to six months in prison, which was immediately suspended. In addition, he was sentenced to one-year conditional discharge on charges of attempted fourth-degree larceny by extortion and conspiracy to commit fourth-degree larceny by extortion.

The court also ordered him to make a $500 donation to the crime victim’s fund.

Giles is one of five people arrested in the Perez corruption probe.

Prosecutors said the investigation led them to the year 2007 when Perez tried to extort money from a private developer Joseph Citino. Citino, on the witness stand in Perez’s trial, claimed that Giles said he could get the mayor to look favorably on him in his attempt to buy the ‘Butt Ugly ‘building, now demolished, at 1161 Main.

Citino  also said Giles wanted $100,000 to vacate a parking lot that Citino needed for a commercial development after the Butt Ugly building was demolished.

Giles is credited with helping Perez to secure a big chunk of voters in the city’s North End in his 2007 reelection victory.

According to the state, Perez steered lucrative no-bid parking lot deals and other business arrangements to Giles. In return, Giles galvanized voters in the 5th District to ensure Perez the endorsement of the Democratic town committee. The 5th District was a crucial district that could deliver a win to Perez and other candidates, including Frank Barrows and I. Charles Mathews.

Perez received the endorsement at the Democratic town committee convention, which assured him victory. His support in the 5th District usurped entrenched candidates such as Matthews and gave him a win in the primary and general election.

Citino claimed that Perez wanted him to “take care of Giles.”

In June, a jury convicted Perez of five of six felony corruption charges in June. In September, he was sentenced to three years in prison and is now appealing.

Other’s arrested in connection with Perez’s corruption at city hall are city Councilwoman Veronica Airey-Wilson, City Hall contract compliance officer Edward Lazu, and city contractor Carlos Costa.

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Hartford Police to Investigate Rogue Cop

HARTFORD — Hartford police are investigating one of thier colleagues: Officer Jay Szepanksi.

As a result of this investigation, Szepanksi is no longer in his current role. He was assigned to the property room, pending the outcome of the investigation.

Szapanksi is accused of using social media to post profane language about Hartford residents.

Former Police Chief James Rovella speaks to journalists as Hartford CouncilmanThomas “TJ” Clarke looks on ; Photo by CTMirror

While authorities stress his alleged posts don’t represent the entire Hartford Police Department, Hartford residents are not surprised by this behavior. They want immediate action to what clearly is an affront to many hard-working individuals who live in the capital city.

William Francis Moffett Jr posted this on Facebook: “Terminate the officer immediately.”

Another Hartford dweller named Allen Freeman asked: “ Where are all the ‘Good cops” flooding the comments section standing up for residents and calling out these Bad cops publicly?”

National Unrest Sharpens CT’s Focus on Police Community Trust

Interim Chief of Hartford Police Jason Thody released a statement saying, “Public trust, faith, and police legitimacy are essential requirements to be an effective police officer. Making comments that tend to diminish officer-credibility, erode public truck (sic), and bring discredit to the Department or to the officer can lead to an inability to police in the City.”

Thody also added, “Officers should be mindful that, while the Department supports legitimate expressions of free speech, such expressions are not without restrictions.”

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin also responded to those posts saying in part, “The vast, vast majority of our officers view the chance to serve our city as a privilege, and posts like this do a disservice to all the men and women of our department who work so hard to build and maintain relationships of trust, respect, and partnership.”

There has been much criticism of Hartford Police Department for its lack of diversity. Residents over the years have made several complaints about officers who abused thier powers. Internal investigations seem inadequate to address this malfesance evident in the city. And so residents were disappointed over what seems like entrenched racism, xenophobia and sexism.

NBC: Former Hartford Police Officer Arrested After Assaulting Two People

Since 2014, there has been abuse of power reported under former Police Chief James Rovella. Rovella resigned on February 15, 2018 amidst accusations of an alleged cover up of grand larceny charges and theft of services against political operatives, including several police officers, Rovella moonlighted with during President Barack Obama and Gov. Dannel Malloy’s administrations and re-election campaigns.

The Hartford Guardian: Blumenthal, Bronin, Meet With Hartford Officials to Discuss Ways to Quiet Tensions, Police Brutality.

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Blumenthal, Bronin Meet with Hartford Officials to Discuss Ways to Quiet Tensions, Police Brutality

SUBMITTED: Author wants Mayor Luke Bronin to Resign for 
Ignoring Media Suppression and Hate Crimes in Hartford.

By L. Giles, Contributor

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Mayor Luke A. Bronin, Chief James C. Rovella and Hartford’s State Attorney Gail P. Hardy met at City Hall on Tuesday to discuss ways to serve the Hartford community while ensuring that police officers have adequate resources to protect and serve  residents and business owners.

Blumenthal called on President Barack Obama’s office for additional resources to fight crime after Bronin said there’s a need to have good communication with city residents and business owners to avoid similar shootings and mass protest that gripped the nation when a gunman named Micah Johnson killed five police officers during a protest in Dallas, Texas.

Johnson’s and other retaliatory acts to police brutality since then is to be avoided, state officials said, hence another round of meetings that involved a trip to Barbershop on Main and Park streets.

All four public officials realized that the city is “still wrestling with the legacy of deeply flawed criminal justice policies.” That and the lack of public trust could trigger an eruption in Hartford, never seen since 1967.

The trust needed in the community was broken for one reporter after 15 police officers were dispatched to 167 Sisson Ave. on Friday, April 4, 2014. A Hartford Guardian reporter was awoken from her sleep and taken to John Dempsey Hospital, where they kept her, so that she could not cover the President of the United States. And she could not attend a Friday church service in East Hartford and a history conference on Saturday.

the-hartford-guardian-OpinionSince then, law enforcement officials in the state have been monitoring The Hartford Guardian’s website and disrupting her writing. The systematic dismantling of a competitive publication that has won several awards and is the blue print for other publications in the Greater Hartford area is akin to the kind of racism found in the 1920s. And to date, law enforcement officials have used covert techniques to silence all the witnesses by using electronic nodes and other fancy crime fighting tools to control law abiding citizens of color.

For example, these new devices were used to control a reporter’s thinking, reading and writing, according to a black law enforcement officers who want to remain anonymous. This, he said, is “slavery by another name.” And that is why everyone in the city should be concerned about Chief Rovella asking for more money for his department. Rovella must address the lawsuit against the city for detainment, invasion of privacy, attempted murder and failure to protect a citizen under the 14th amendment before others are forced to go the the United Nations to discuss why Connecticut want to enslaved black and Latino people “in secret.”

City cameras, electronic nodes other policing tools used 24 hours a day on one reporter is why the Hartford police–and other law enforcement agencies in this state, should instead shed those police officers who have violated a public trust.

If they had that much time to have a chit-chat session with a single black woman on April 4, 2014 and almost every day since then, they do not need any extra resources.

Tuesday’s meeting came after another police office was killed in Orlando without discussion about the April 4 incident. Martin Luther King, Jr died on April 4. So many city activists say it was a symbolic move to silence them because city officials were sending a message–not just to the reporter–to anyone who wanted to start a civil rights movement in the city. There will be no civil rights movement in Hartford, they said. The mystery should be unveiled by all the officials at the meeting.

In the meanwhile, some residents are asking for Luke Bronin’s resignation because he has yet to address the police brutality directed at a black reporter. This clearly impacts the minority community in the telling of our stories.

L. Giles lives in New Britain.

Photo courtesy of the Associated Press.

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Gov. Malloy Accused of Condoning State Sanctioned Terrorism, Human Rights Abuse

Updated December 2, 2016

Law enforcement officers intend to go after the instigators and perpetrators–not the victims of these crimes.

HARTFORD — According to sources with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Gov. Dannel Malloy has been governing a state that allegedly promotes state sanctioned terrorism, including home-grown terrorists such as the Ku Klux Klan and outside political agitators.

On World Press Freedom Day, one journalist said she was on house arrest by the KKK’s David Duke and others, who claimed they were with the Malloy administration, the Hartford Police and Avon Police departments. The journalist was kept in her home and stopped from writing about the 2016 presidential campaign and other politically charged stories in Connecticut. She was also stopped from voting in the 2015 election.

Using microscopic electronic nodes, “mind crawlers” and hypnosis, domestic terrorists would insert grammatical and factual errors into her work, tamper with emails and other social media accounts. The award-winning journalist said this was the latest round of tactics used to suppress her writing and use her identity. Because she was “clean as a whistle,” they also wanted to plant stories to “sully her impressive profile” and staged adverse experiences to thwart a legal case.

To date, there has been no public arrests for identity theft or this hate crime–just firings. And state capitol police and several city employees, who have access to a state surveillance system, wanted to control the journalist and her writing. They also moved to steal the publication and control the publisher so that they have access to content.

Using a mind reader device that can decipher words from brainwaves, political operatives, some of whom are law enforcement officials moonlighting, committed other crimes include theft of services,  invasion of privacy and larceny. Additionally, the journalist was tortured for several days. They cut her hair, scarred her face, neck, breasts, and legs. They also stole electronic devices, computers, money and other reporting tools. To date, the damage is worth $80 million, according to sources on a five-year investigation into the woman and her relationship to someone in the White House.

As a result, she and other journalists affected made plans to file a United Nations complaint for, among other things, limiting freedom of speech, religious persecution, invasion of privacy, disturbing the peace, human rights abuse and failure to adequately protect her and her family under the 14th Amendment.

According to a draft of the complaint, law enforcement officials have invaded thier privacy since 2013. That’s because they were invited by several Connecticut residents to learn about what the state and rogue police officers had done to violate their civil rights and civil liberties. Greater Hartford residents said they  wanted them to “tell the story,” so that the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division could intervene on attempts to enslaved them in poverty. This new form of slavery, they said, was called “slavery by another name.” That includes debt slavery under the Obama administration’s Law Enforcement Project to examine police misconduct.

On March 8, 2016, the perpetrators allegedly tried to assassinate one journalist in Saint Francis Hospital because of the story she uncovered in 2015. Also, the story about Gugsa “Abe” Dabela  was also linked to this matter and a former Connecticut resident, Rahiel Tesfamariam, sources said.  Gugsa was a Redding attorney killed early morning on April 5, 2014 while the same journalist was being accosted by Lt. Kelly Walsh of the Avon Police Department.

According to sources close to this case,  state officials and other law enforcement agents did not want the reporter to write about the Dabela or other racially charged case to provoke a Black Lives Matter movement in Connecticut.

After a year and a half of investigating another story linked to the Dabela case, several  officers from the Avon Police Department, the Hartford Police Department and other governmental agencies have had several journalists under surveillance. They also have, on several occasions, forced them out of the state during important dates surrounding the allegedly investigation of corruption and fraud.

Below is a list of suspects who participated–overtly and covertly– in this human rights abuse and media suppression case, most notable for allegedly using Santeria and government resources to inflict harm on individuals and “steal” thier education and biographies.


  1. Rahiel Tesfamariam (stalking and theft of services for Urban Cusp magazine since September 2012);  2. Francesca Chambers (stalking, assault, and theft of services since 2012 for Red Alert Politics);  3. Sasha Allen for North End Agents (stalking, theft of services, assault since 2014);   4. Langley Giles North End Agents (stalking and sexual harassment); 5. Lansana Koroma for Urban Cusp (stalking since and theft of services 2013); 6. Shawn Turner (stalking and theft of services since 2015); 7. Janice Flemming (stalking, assault and batter, burglary, identity theft, and theft of services); 8. Thomas Clarke, III (stalking and sexual harassment); 9. Wildaliz Bermudez (stalking and theft of services since 2014); 10. Andrea Comer for Inquirer News (stalking and theft of services since 2014); 11. Veronica Airey-Wilson (stalking and theft of services); 12. Clive Garrison (stalking and theft of services since 2014);  13. Shelly Sindland (stalking, assault and batter, identity theft, and theft of services since 2014); 14. Susan Campbell (stalking and theft of services since 2014); 15. Jack Dougherty (stalking, battery, sexual harassment since 2016); 16. Eric Connery for Ct Mirro and State Capitol Police (stalking, sexual harassment ring leaders), 17. Dr. Michael Greene (sexual assault, battery, larceny, and identity theft); Mark Pazniokas for CT Mirror (theft of services and identity theft), Jacqueline Rabe Thomas for CT Mirror, Arielle Levin Becker for CT Mirror’s health disparities project (theft of services). Apparently, several individuals are political operatives staging adverse experiences with Santeria to thwart a lawsuit against Halle Berry and others.

Also implicated in the 2-2-2-2 investigation of the larger story:

  1. Dr. Stephen Fishman, 35 Nod Road,  Avon, CT 06001 on Aug. 4, 2014

       2. Dr. Odim Kuiper, 20 W. Avon Road, Suite 201, Avon, CT 06001 during October 2014 (deficient service).

      3. James Bussiere and Dr. Rachel Felstein, Avon Center Dentistry, 19 Ensign Drive, Avon, CT 06001 on April 2, 2014 ( dificient services).

       4. Michael Greene, DDS, 711 Blue Hills Avenue, Hartford, CT 860-242-4848 (dificient services and assault and battery with a deadly weapon on patient),

    5.  Avon Eye Care, 49 W. Main Street, Avon, CT 06001 (falsied record)

     6. John Dempsey Hospital Emergency Room on April 4/5, 2014 (District 5)

Other individuals tied to the crime described above for District 5 Congressional races:

  1. Jahana Hayes & Waterbury crew in April 2011 to present (District 5)
  2. Jonathan Hayes, Avon Police Department, Avon, CT (District 5)
  3. Lt. Kelly Walsh, Avon Police Department, Avon, CT  (District 5)
  4. Judy Smith, New York. accused of theft of services since 2008.

Former United States Attorney for the district of Connecticut Diedre M. Daley (2013 –2017) is also a culprit for not allegedly conducting a full and proper investigation because of bribes and medicaid fraud.

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Letter: Andrea Comer for State Board of Ed? No Way

Dear Editor

I read that Gov. Dan Malloy appointed Andrea Comer to the State Board of Education and the General Assembly will vote on it soon. I vehemently oppose this move by the governor. Ms. Comer, I’m sure, is an intelligent and civic- minded woman. But as a parent of three children in the Hartford School system, I feel strongly about the governor’s latest appointment.There is no way I feel Ms. Comer should be on the state board that actually voted to giver her school money and might probably do so again.

letterstohartfordguardianI didn’t say anything when they put her in charge of Jumoke Academy at Milner School—even though she has no experience educating students. I saw that as a political appointment for the work she does for politicians. And I figured the move served her political ambition.

Besides, I read somewhere that the same board that she was appointed to approved funding for the school that she runs. Please. What kind of message are you sending those children and people in Connecticut? We might not be as visible and vocal Mr. Malloy. But you best believe we are not stupid.

There are plenty of other black people, especially educated and compassionate black females who are well qualified for the position on the State Board of Education. And they are not hard to find in Connecticut.

Do the right thing. And find individuals who are not politically connected in the same North End group with Abe Giles and whose only political agenda is the welfare of kids. Thank you.

Simone B.


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Hartford Election Recount Slated For Tuesday

By Robyn Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — One absentee ballot surfaced and another was missing in the 5th Assembly District recount of Tuesday’s Democratic primary, according to Windsor Town election officials on Friday.

Because of a 774 tie with endorsed Democratic candidate Leo Canty of Windsor and newcomer Brandon McGee of Hartford in Tuesday’s election,  a recount  was held on Aug. 17 at 4 p.m. in Windsor Town Hall. The result of the count is Canty 774 and McGee is 773, according to Windsor. Because Hartford had an additional absentee ballot for McGee, Windsor requested a recount.

Hartford will hold its recount on Aug. 21 at 9 a.m. in City Hall.

McGee, 28, ran a three-way race with Canty, 56, and Donald Trinks of Windsor. Trinks, the mayor of Windsor, garnered 265 votes and was cast as a “spoiler” for Canty.

Many failed to note the strength of his opponent’s grassroots organization.

“Nobody expected me to run such an organized campaign,” McGee said.

Many saw Canty as the favorite because he has been in the political arena for at least 30 years and is now the Democratic Town Chairman in Windsor. Canty lobbied the state legislature to redraw the 5th district lines to favor Windsor, which now has the majority of voting Democrats in the district, which was a stronghold ruled by former political boss Abraham L. Giles. It was also the district at the center of former Mayor Eddie Perez’s corruption trial. A six-member jury  found Perez guilty of five felonies. Giles died in 2011. Perez is still appealing the verdict.

For Canty, the realignment was “a wish that finally came true.”

After the 2010 Census, the realignment of the district gave Windsor 5,000 voters. Hartford, which had the majority of voters under former State Rep. Marie  Lopez Kirkley-Bey, now has 3,000 voters in the 5th district. McGee and Canty is running to replace Kirkley-Bey, who retired earlier this year.

According to the Secretary of State’s office, a recount must be held by Tuesday. If there is still a tie, a second primary race will be held on Sept. 4.

After that, some Hartford residents said they will ask burning questions that cannot be addressed at this time, such as who were the people at the table during this latest round of redistricting, and what role did the Hartford legislative body play in this new realignment?

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City Begins Destruction of Blighted Building

By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — The Claw. Aaargh. Who-ooh! Yeaah.

Those were the audible sounds heard as city officials gathered Thursday to say goodbye to the H.B. Davis building, a symbol of Hartford’s stagnant and scandalous past.

The now infamous building, otherwise known as the “Butt Ugly Building,” is one of the many blighted buildings that will soon be banished from sight and–what city officials hope–memory.

Flanked by city Councilmembers, staff and other interested parties, Mayor Pedro Segarra’s opening statements pronounced the claw crunching ceremony part of an ongoing effort to prepare for Hartford’s future.

“By demolishing this dilapidated building” Segarra said. “We connect the progress of our downtown to our neighborhoods, enhance our arts and heritages venues, and provide better scenery for our residents and visitors.  This will be very inviting for future developers.”

One city developer agreed.

“This is yet another important step in the economic development of Hartford and in enhancing the beauty of the City,” said Mark Wolman, Principal of Waterford Group. Wolman is one of the chief developers in championing development in downtown Hartford, including the Six Pillars development that includes the Convention Center and the Sheraton Hotel.

City officials plan to have the building demolished by Nov. 15.

Segarra said his preference for the now vacant 100 acres of land on prime real estate acquired by the city is to see it filled with mixed-use buildings with apartments, shopping centers and businesses.

Mayor Pedro Segarra is flanked by citycouncil members and city staff

The former department store building at 1161-63 Main St., now with a decrepit façade and cracked windows, was built in the 1920s. About 10 years ago, Chapel Equities, LLC and Edwards Development, LLC bought the building and has been “sitting on it” for years, officials said.

But recently, the city negotiated a price and the owner apparently agreed to release his grip.

But why now?

Well, the building is the centerpiece in the corruption trial of former Mayor Eddie Perez. In the summer, city developer Joseph Citino testified for the state prosecutors that Perez asked him to “take care” of North End politico, former state Rep. Abraham Giles. The deal, according to Citino, was for Giles to get a $100,000 payment from him to vacate the parking lot adjoining the building, so he could begin a commercial and residential complex. That plan faltered.

After a jury in June found Perez guilty of five felony corruption charges, including extortion and coercion, he resigned. Prosecutors charged Giles with first-degree attempted larceny and first-degree conspiracy to commit larceny.

The city’s redevelopment in August secured a deal with Chapel Equities and Edwards Development for $625, 000, officials said. It cost another $312,000 to demolish it.

The city has been trying to negotiate with the owner for about 10 years, said project developer Mark Swiatowitec.

It’s unclear why the owner agreed to sell the property. But if he didn’t agree, the city was prepared to move to the next phase: eminent domain.

That’s because the building is sitting on prime real estate, the gateway to downtown Hartford and right next to I-84. And it was blocking progress on the city’s plan for the “Downtown North Project,” officials said. The project includes development in the Clay Arsenal neighborhood that abuts the north side of downtown.

Indeed, it was a joyous moment for many who were present on a gray and drizzly day in Hartford, said one onlooker as she watched the orange Manafort claw clutched the mangled steel frames that held dilapidated walls together. The sound of the iron creaking above traffic zooming by was the culmination of a “monumental task.”

Segarra basked in that moment.

“There’s a lot of pessimism in the city,” Segarra said. “This is a way to move toward optimism.”

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Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez’s Guilty Verdict Has Familiar Ring To Some Residents

By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

News Analysis

Yesterday was a sad day in Hartford. But it wasn’t for the reasons some might think.

Hartford’s Mayor Eddie Perez was found guilty of five felony charges: bribe receiving, attempted first-degree larceny by extortion, accessory to evidence tampering and two conspiracy counts. He was acquitted of tampering with evidence.

the-hartford-guardian-OpinionMany folks are disgusted by the six-member jury verdict. That’s because some Hartford residents believe the mayor is not guilty. And they have plenty of reasons to believe Perez “did nothing wrong.”

Their belief stems from examining the state’s thin case against Perez. Prosecutors began investigation in 2007 after Perez sent a letter to the State Chief State Attorney Kevin Kane’s office asking him to investigate city developer Joseph Citino.  In addition, the state began and ended with two rumors: Perez had city contractor Carlos Costa working on his house for free. And he repaid North End political boss Abraham Giles for securing votes.

The state, after investing almost two years and spending millions, failed to unearth any evidence of deep corruption—the kind of stuff news junkies salivate on. Instead, for more than two weeks, the media watched prosecutors mount a case filled with assumptions about a sequence of events that could and should have been interpreted other ways. For example, during testimony, the state’s key witnesses revealed that Costa’s work on Perez’s house was his first home renovation project.  Costa never felt it was “the cost of doing business with the city” when he was raking in lucrative city contracts before Perez took office. Also, Costa was indeed a family friend and longtime contributor to Perez’s political campaign. So it was not far-fetched that Perez would think he was doing anything wrong if his friend, who happened to be a city contractor, worked on his house.

Though Perez might have believed that, however, he was grossly naïve. His judgment on the matter revealed a deep flaw and blatant ignorance of the law. And unfortunately ignorance of the law is not a defense. The flaw is that he relied on other people too much. And he was distracted by his wife’s illness. People close to him should have guided him on personal decisions that affected his public role.

As for the state’s claim that Perez asked Citino to “take care of Giles,” it is easy to see that if a squatter is on a property a developer wants, he had to actually take care of the unwanted tenant. It’s illegal to evict someone off a property even if the tenant fails to produce a lease. According to prosecutors, Citino confronted Giles, a shrewd businessman. And presumptuous as it may be, Giles wanted money to take care of his family “for perpetuity.” Who could blame him for countering a low-balled figure? That seeminlgy could have been the alternative and plausible explanation for the defense.

But a jury of mostly suburban residents agreed with the state’s assessment of the facts. And most journalists might agreed, too, when you take into consideration that even the appearance of conflict must be avoided at all cost, though it can sometimes be difficult.

Perez’s story is a cautionary tale for all politicians who might want to take a page out of former state Rep. Wilber Smith’s playbook when he was at the state Capitol.  Someone allegedly tried to bribe the now deceased North End activist. He called a press conference to announce the attempted bribe before the alleged bribery could flip the story and accuse him.

But political playbook aside, some residents are disgusted by the verdict because it has a familiar ring to it and fuels a perception of an unjust system. According to them, Perez confronted a few political enemies who decided that he must be put into his place.  And this is political payback.

They also surmised that the city’s first Latino mayor is the latest victim of a judicial system that favors some citizens over others. And that the court’s default position is to find the favored persons credible.  This default mechanism has been built into the system over centuries and is hard to overcome.

Therefore, the system that convicted Perez is not OK to most people of color. And for some Hartford residents, Perez is not guilty because of that. They know Perez loves the city. And though he has had to “throw some people under the bus,” he is a tireless worker who wants to lift the city out of its decades-old morass of ethnic, political warfare, crippling poverty and wanton despair.

And it is, therefore, it is apropos to wish the Perez family well as they console each other over what was a very sad day for them and for the city if Hartford.

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