Category: Uncategorized

Legal Fees lead to turmoil in MDC

mdc office-and mdc chairman
(left) MDC Headquarters in Hartford; (right) William A. Dibella, MDC Chairman.

An article authored by Edmund H. Mahony and published in the Hartford Courant on September 12, 2022, informs  that bills submitted by  a lawyer retained by the MDC Chairman, William A. Dibella, has created discord within the Commission’s leadership.

The district board has authorized the expenditure of up to $50,000 to independently investigate how one of the lawyers Dibella retains for his private business was able to submit bills amounting to $60,000 in legal fees for work that the board had, several months earlier, signaled that it would not pay for.

At the same time, the full board defeated the move to send the $50,000 appropriation to the Commission’s Board of Finance from caution that it could languish while undergoing further review by Dibella’s loyalists who control the board.

The article continued that MDC’s Internal Audit Committee has demanded written answers from Dibella to questions including whether he had intervened to secure payment for James Sandler, the personal lawyer whose work for the MDC is in dispute. Until January, Sandler was contracted with MDC that paid him about $190,000 a year and (according to MDC’s commissioners and staff) he has collected about $2.8 million in fees from the MDC since 2008.

Further details may be viewed on the Hartford Courant website.

Image Credit: Courant File Photos

Community Development Meeting Albany & Woodland

 

A community meeting will be held at 6PM, on August 31, 2022, at the Artist Collective to allow the Upper Albany residents, business owners, and other community stakeholders to provide their input through discussion with the developers selected to complete the Albany- Woodland development project.

This vacant parcel of land that is located at the corner of Albany Avenue and Woodland Street – in the heart of the Upper Albany community – could hold the key to making the community a place  of destination instead of simply a pass-through between the suburbs and downtown Hartford.

The City of Hartford is promoting its redevelopment plans for revitalizing the Upper Albany area in Hartford and City officials have expressed their interest in listening to the ideas and visions of community leaders, advocates, and other people in the neighborhood.

Looming new trial increases legal costs in Hartford high-stakes ballpark lawsuit

image Dunkin Donuts Park
Photo Credit: Photo Flight Aerial Media /Hartford Hawks

According to an article authored by Kenneth R. Gosselin and published in the Hartford Courant dated Sunday, August 7, 2022, the state Supreme Court has ordered a new trial in response to the developers’ appeal of the 2019 ruling by jurors that sided with the City of Hartford’s decision to terminate Centerplan Construction Company and DoNo Hartford, LLC as builders of the proposed $71 million city-taxpayers’ funded 6,000-seat Dunkin’ Donuts Park stadium. The project also included a future mixed use development (apartments and storefronts) around the ballpark.  The City’s basis for terminating the developers highlighted missed construction deadlines, cost overruns, and incomplete work.

The article continues that Centerplan and DoNo are seeking $90 million in damages for wrongful termination on basis that the delays were due to changes ordered by the City.  It is expected that this new trial will be more complex because the City had subsequently hired a new builder for the storefronts and apartments around Dunkin Donuts Park, and even more costly than the first trial because of the time that will be expended to examine the stadium plans and determine who ordered the alleged changes.   Mayor Bronin alleges that failure to terminate Centerplan would have cost the Hartford taxpayers “tens of millions” additional dollars and the City would have neither a baseball team nor a baseball stadium to validate the expenditure.

The stadium was competed in time for the 2017 minor league season after Centerplan’s surety company stepped up and hired a new contractor to correct and finish the work at a cost of $40 million dollars. Further details may be viewed on the Hartford Courant website.

Plans for Hartford Marijuana Shop stalled due to Zoning issues

An article authored by Kenneth R. Gosselin and published in the Hartford Courant dated July 28, 2022, provides a recent update on the zoning dispute between the City of Hartford’s department of development services and the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA). The strong CRDA objection to the City’s department of developmental services’ endorsement of the proposal for Hartford’s first adult-use cannabis shop at 89 Arch Street (corner of Arch Street and Columbus Boulevard) in the Front Street community was upheld.

CRDA argued that zoning throughout Front Street and the broader Adriaen’s Landing development district (which includes Arch Street) in Hartford falls within its purview. Based on submitted land and remediation surveys and master development plans that dates back to 2000 when Adriaen’s Landing was developed, the committee concluded that the property located at 89 Arch Street falls within the CRDA zoning jurisdiction.

The CRDA opposes the cannabis shop on the basis of long-standing agreements to shape developments that prohibit uses including check-cashing, pawn shops, firearm sellers, the sale of pornographic items, head shops, and cannabis sales. The article continues that in response to the Zoning Commission’s decision to uphold CRDA zoning jurisdiction, Derrick C. Gibbs, Jr., a partner in the proposed cannabis shop commented, “We tried our best. We thought it was a good location. We’ll go to another city. It’s not a big deal.”

The above information was excerpted from the Hartford Courant. Contact Kenneth R. Gosselin at kgosselin@courant.com for additional details.

Upper Albany Main Street (UAMS) Program Receives National Accreditation

CT Main Street Center (CMSC), on June 15, 2022, awarded its 2022 National Accreditation to Upper Albany Main Street (UAMS) and three other Main Street programs.  This designation as an Accredited Main Street America™ program was awarded in recognition of UAMS’s exceptional commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization via the Main Street Approach™ while meeting rigorous performance standards.

According to the CMSC news release, “The impact and performance of Upper Albany Main Street, Westville Village Renaissance Alliance, Simsbury Main Street Partnership, and Main Street Waterbury is annually evaluated by Connecticut Main Street Center, which works in partnership with Main Street America to identify the local programs that meet rigorous national performance standards. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building meaningful and sustainable revitalization programs and include standards such as, fostering strong public-private partnerships, supporting small and locally owned businesses, and actively preserving historic places, spaces, and cultural assets.

Kimberley Parsons-Whitaker, Interim CEO of CMSC said, “We congratulate our Main Street programs in Upper Albany, Westville Village, Simsbury, and Waterbury for their continued dedication to bringing their Main Streets back to life and ensuring their long-term success. The ability of these programs to effectively address the needs of small and micro businesses while continuing to engage a variety of community stakeholders to ensure their Main Streets are vibrant and inclusive is critical to the economic and social health of our entire state,”

Patrice Frey, President & CEO of Main Street America said, “We are extremely proud to recognize this year’s 863 nationally Accredited Main Street America programs that have worked tirelessly to advance economic vitality and quality of life in their downtowns and commercial districts” .. “During another incredibly challenging year, these programs demonstrated the power of the Main Street movement to respond to the needs of their communities. I am inspired by their steadfast leadership and innovative solutions to drive essential local recovery efforts, support small businesses, and nurture vibrant downtown districts.”

Further information can be viewed online at https://ctmainstreet.org/press-release-four-cmsc-members-receive-national-accreditation/