MiLB Responds

by Categorized: Ball Park, Rock Cats Date:

We contacted MiLB for a comment on Art Solomon’s involvement in the Rock Cats negotiations with the city of Hartford (whether his participation violated league rules). According to emails we obtained from the city of Hartford, Art Solomon, the father of Rock Cats Owner Josh Solomon, took part in meetings and discussions as the Rock Cats negotiated their move to Hartford. Art Solomon is also the owner of fellow Eastern League member New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

Here’s the response we received today:

Thank you for your inquiry.

Almost all clubs have consultants involved in some fashion or another when looking at stadium development. Sometimes those consultants are associated with other clubs because they have the experience of working through the issues that are regularly encountered on these projects. Based solely on the information you shared below, it appears that in this situation some of this assistance was provided by a fellow owner who also happened to be related.

Warm Regards,

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Before Negotiations, Rock Cats Vouchers

by Categorized: Ball Park, City Hall, Pedro Segarra, Rock Cats Date:

Three months before Mayor Pedro Segarra and other city officials sat down with Rock Cats owners to discuss the team’s relocation to Hartford, the city received hundreds of vouchers to a Rock Cats baseball game — provided by the franchise.

In an August 2012 email, former Chief of Staff Jared Kupiec wrote to several department heads asking if they wanted one of the “several hundred vouchers” Segarra had received to a Sept. 2, 2012 Rock Cats game. The Rock Cats were playing the New Hampshire Fisher Cats that day. The Fisher Cats are owned by Art Solomon, whose son, Josh Solomon, owns the Rock Cats. City emails obtained by The Courant show that Art Solomon was involved in the meetings and negotiations surrounding the Rock Cats’ proposed move to Hartford.

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Rock Cats Documents

by Categorized: Ball Park, City Hall, Rock Cats Date:

We found some documents in our FOI response from the city that we thought the public might want a look at.

A presentation on the proposed ball park has made its rounds (if you haven’t seen it, you can view it here: Mayor Presentation 02182014 Short). Here is a planning study with some more numbers: Planning Study

Also, last week we reported that Hartford must realign some roads just north of downtown to make the project work. This report prepared by the city’s planning division gives a little more detail on what would be done to those streets (the city will narrow Pleasant Street between Main and Windsor streets, and narrow Windsor Street between Trumbull and Pleasant streets): Baseball_Stadium_Report_061014 It also outlines other changes that need to be made and gives a bird’s eye view of where the stadium would be.

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Bird’s eye view of where stadium would go

Here’s a draft of an MOU from 2013 that says a proposed stadium in Hartford would cost of $32 million: WWB MOU_5.30.13

And here’s a “fact sheet” prepared by the mayor’s office that says the stadium would bring in $2 million in additional tax revenue and $8 million in hotel, food and beverage spending annually: RockCats_FACTSHEET

You can read about the city’s negotiations with the Rock Cats dating back to the fall of 2012 here. To view some of the emails we received from the city through our Freedom of Information request, click here: emails

Also, here’s a letter indicating that at one point, the city was considering building the stadium on three lots — a 3.38-acre parcel of land at 1212 Main St. (a site known as “12B”), a 2.9 acre-parcel at 1214 Main St. and a 2.09-acre parcel at 271 & 273 Windsor St. The city later revised its plan and removed 1212 Main St. The stadium is now set to be built on about five acres at 1214 Main St. & 271, 273 Windsor St. Target memo and resolution_5.1.14

We got word yesterday that the city’s internal audit commission has received a request to investigate the financial viability of the stadium deal. The group could vote on whether to investigate the matter as early as next week.

Rock Cats Baseball Park Study

by Categorized: Ball Park, Rock Cats, Stadium Date:

The Courant’s Steven Goode obtained a copy of the ball park planning study prepared for the city by consulting firm Brailsford & Dunlavey. From Goode:

The city commissioned a planning study for a new ball park with Washington D.C.-based Brailsford & Dunlavey, a consulting firm with 20 years of experience in the sports venue industry. According to the company, it has provided services for more than 60 ball park projects.

As part of its benefits study, Brailsford & Dunlavey projected one time construction benefits of 903 jobs, supporting $22 million in earnings and $2.2 million in tax revenues.

Under recurring annual operating benefits the company estimated that Having a team in Hartford would also result in $1.7 million in annual tax revenues, according to the report, and other benefits would included nearly 24,000 hotel stays, $3.5 million in hotel spending and $4.9 million in food and beverage spending each year.

You can read more here. We’ll have additional information on this later today.

Or view the full study here: Mayor Presentation 02182014 Short

Segarra Endorses Wooden

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

Mayor Pedro Segarra on Monday endorsed Council President Shawn Wooden for state senator in the 2nd District, which includes portions of Hartford, Bloomfield and Windsor.

Wooden, a Democrat, is challenging longtime incumbent state Sen. Eric Coleman (also a Democrat). Wooden last month won the party’s endorsement at its nominating convention.

Segarra and Wooden at Scotts' Jamaican Bakery Monday.

Segarra and Wooden at Scotts’ Jamaican Bakery Monday. Photos/Jenna Carlesso

Coleman has said he will challenge Wooden to an August primary.

“It’s quite evident that Democrats are coming together to support this candidate for this position, that they’re looking for someone that would bring a renewed sense of energy and commitment that is more contemporary with the needs of our community and where we want to head as a community,” Segarra said Monday at a press conference outside Scotts’ Jamaican Bakery on Albany Avenue.

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Windsor Mayor Donald Trinks, Deputy Mayor Jody Terranova, Windsor Democratic Town Committee Chairman Tim Curtis and former town committee Chairman Tim Fitzgerald said last week that they are backing Wooden for the seat.

Wooden challenged Segarra for mayor in 2011, but pulled out of the race before the primary at Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s request. You can read more about Wooden and Segarra’s background here and here.

The primary is Aug. 12.

You can watch video from Monday’s press conference here:

Windsor Officials Back Wooden In Senate Race

by Categorized: Shawn Wooden, State Senate Date:

Windsor Mayor Donald Trinks, Deputy Mayor Jody Terranova, Windsor Democratic Town Committee Chairman Tim Curtis and former town committee Chairman Tim Fitzgerald on Wednesday announced their endorsement of Shawn Wooden for state senator in the 2nd District.

Wooden, a Democrat, last week won the party’s endorsement at its nominating convention, beating out longtime incumbent state Sen. Eric Coleman. Coleman has said he will challenge Wooden to an August primary.

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Wooden at a Wadsworth Atheneum event in June 2013.

The district includes parts of Bloomfield, Hartford and Windsor.

“As the Mayor of Windsor, I know we need new energy, new ideas, and a champion for Windsor in the State Senate. Shawn Wooden is spending time in Windsor and listening to Windsor. He understands our community and he will be a Senator who fights for our needs at the Capitol — something we haven’t had for a long time,” Trinks said in a prepared statement.

“What we want in Windsor is more state support for our schools, senior services and local infrastructure projects like roads and bridges, so our local property tax burden can be kept in check. That’s why I am proud to endorse Shawn Wooden — he understands our issues, will bring new energy and ideas to the table, and will deliver for Windsor at the Capitol. I am honored to support him,” Terranova said in the statement.

“Shawn Wooden’s enthusiasm, dedication and his knowledge of Windsor-specific issues make him our best choice. I’m proud to endorse his candidacy and will be working with fellow Windsor Democrats to make sure he wins the Democratic Primary on August 12th,” Curtis said.

The primary is Aug. 12.

IAC Asks Ethics To Investigate Mayor’s Hiring Of Interim Employee

by Categorized: City Hall, Internal Audit Commission, Pedro Segarra Date:

The Hartford Internal Audit Commission has sent a letter to the city’s ethics commission asking the panel to investigate a possible ethical violation by Mayor Pedro Segarra.

The audit commission said Segarra has kept an interim department head on the payroll in that position for longer than six months — a violation of Hartford’s municipal code. The six-month term for employee Keith Chapman, who is serving as the interim public works director, was to expire in March.

“Six months have passed since this temporary appointment started and the mayor has not submitted the appointment to the council for confirmation as required by the charter,” commissioners wrote in a letter dated May 21. “Because this matter has not been addressed as required, the mayor has not effectively executed the laws in accordance with the previously noted terms and conditions of the city charter. We are further concerned that this will not be adequately addressed by June 30, 2014 as promised by the [chief operating officer].”

You can read the letter here: Ethics Commission Referral Letter RE Acting DPW Director Final.Signed

Budget Cuts: Who’s Affected

by Categorized: Budget, City Council, City Hall, Pedro Segarra Date:

The council last night cut about $6.4 million from Mayor Pedro Segarra’s proposed $557.4 million budget in order to avoid a tax hike. The cuts break down as follows:

Mayor’s Office: $9,000 reduction

Office of the Chief Operating Officer: $10,000 reduction

Department of Communications and New Media: $50,000 reduction

Court of Common Council: $10,000 reduction

Office of Corporation Counsel: $17,000 reduction

Metro Hartford Information Services (IT Office): $16,000 reduction

Office of Management and Budget: $6,000 reduction

Department of Children, Families and Recreation: $100,000 reduction

Fire Department: $375,000 reduction

Police Department: $825,000 reduction*

Health and Human Services Department: $100,000 reduction

Department of Debt Service: $1,710,000 reduction

Benefits & Insurance Department: $3,815,000

Sundry Account: $500,000

*The amendments also include increases to some budgets. They are as follows:

Police Department: Addition of $420,000 for a class of 20 officers effective Jan. 1, 2015; addition of $105,000 for 19 civilian positions (19 officers will be moved from desk jobs and put back on patrol; their positions will be back-filled with civilians); and the addition of $105,000 for the recruitment of 10 police cadets.

Human Resources Department: $100,000 addition (HR employees from the police department would be transferred to city hall)

Finance Department: $200,000 addition (Finance employees from the police department would be transferred to city hall)

Various: $129,000 addition that breaks down as — $50,000 for Hartford 2000 Energy Improvement District; $25,000 for Winterfest; $25,000 for the Greater Hartford Arts Council; and $4,000 for Riverfront Recapture.

The amendments passed Tuesday by a vote of 8-1, with Councilman Larry Deutsch dissenting. The mayor has said he agrees with the changes. The council is expected to pass a budget on Tuesday. For more, click here.

Council Negotiates Budget Amendments

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

Council members this afternoon are negotiating what changes they will make to Mayor Pedro Segarra’s proposed $557.4 million budget. Members have said the police department is likely a target for further cuts.

Council President Shawn Wooden said last week that the panel may eliminate all or part of an incoming class of 30 police officers.

“We’ve been advocating for the past couple of years for civilianizing positions that we have police officers performing,” Wooden said. “We’re looking at whether we can put 20 officers back on patrol by taking them off desk jobs, thereby alleviating the need to hire more police at this time.”

On Tuesday, Wooden said the council is considering putting up to 30 officers back on patrol from desk jobs, and civilianizing the desk positions. Members are expected to vote on the amendments later this afternoon. For more on what the council is negotiating, watch the videos below.

Shawn Wooden talks Tuesday about council’s goals for budget amendments:

Councilman Raul DeJesus discusses the potential impact to the police department: