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Friday, April 27, 2007

More accusations of questionable political pressure from Lieberman's favorite mayor emerge

The hits just keep coming for Connecticut's top mayoral Libercrat Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez.

A developer says that he offered to pay political boss Abraham Giles $100,000 to vacate a downtown parking lot after being told by Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez that Giles needed to be taken care of to make a real estate deal happen.


The developer, Joseph Citino, was negotiating with Hartford officials to acquire a city-owned piece of land at Main and Trumbull streets. That piece, where Giles has operated a parking lot since 1993, is next to another parcel that Citino planned to buy. He was going to build condominiums on the combined site.


Although the deal fell apart and the money was never paid, Citino said his understanding during a May 2006 meeting at city hall was that the mayor's message was that Giles had to be part of the package.


"He said very clearly: Make sure you satisfy Abe or there's no deal here," Citino said in an interview. "Almost word for word, exactly that."


Citino added: "Did he ever come out, right out, and say, pay him $100,000? No. That's what I thought I had to do."


Similar allegations are outlined by Citino in an e-mail that he sent to the mayor obtained by The Courant through a Freedom of Information Act request.

This is the latest in a series of allegations against Perez that could play a role in this year's crowded Democratic mayoral primary.


No one knows anyone knows how deep Perez's rabbit hole will go but for Perez's sake, he better hope this story doesn't have legs (which is does) and turn into an all-out political scandal (which is very likely).


In any case, the Courant's reporting on this case is setting off alarm bells throughout Hartford and for good reason.

The parking saga is unfolding against the charged backdrop of the upcoming mayoral election, in which Perez is facing a crowd of Democratic challengers.


The candidates are all vying for votes in the party's July convention, when the city's Democratic town committee endorses one candidate.


A central player in the fight for the endorsement is Giles, a former state representative who is said to control key votes on the committee and who wields influence in the city's North End.


Perez's relationship with Giles is already under scrutiny in connection with a different parking lot, across Main Street from the one that Citino was trying to buy from the city. A no-bid contract given to Giles in November 2006 to run that lot has led to an investigation by the chief state's attorney.



I can't wait to see DANGERStein explain this mess...

Rush Limbaugh: “Barack the Magic Negro,” on-air song has workers up in arms


Oh, this man has lost his mind.
Rush Limbaugh has angered many black employees over this parody song called "Barack the Magic Negro"

[...]

I've been told that they have held meetings internally to deal with a ground swell of anger at Rush because of this…A caller noticed there was a disclaimer added to the station she listens to and asks Rush why.
Go to Crooks and Liars and here the audio for yourself.

UPDATE: Watch the video for yourself (hat tip to TPM and the Great Scarce).

Once again, the public loses


Brian Williams asking a question by a show of hands?

Chris Matthews sucking up to Hillary and Obama (was he hoping they would appear on Hardball is he kissed their ring)?

A majority of questions aimed towards the so-called "frontrunners" while everyone got the short end of the stick?

In the same way the media was incompetent in the run-up to the war, once again the mainstream media is showing their incompetence by dictating to the public who's the popular candidate while ignoring the others.

BranfordBoy echos my concerns regarding the media over at My Left Nutmeg.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Henry Rollins: This is how I protest the war

From IFC (adult language):
In a discussion with young Israelis,
Rocker Henry Rollins describes his first visit to Walter Reed Hospital to visit wounded veterans on behalf of the USO.

He recalls his shock as he walks into the first veteran's hospital room, and his feelings afterwards....

Joe Lieberman's favorite mayor faces more problems

Oh look, another problem for Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez.

Anyone surprised?
The chief state's attorney's office is investigating a potentially lucrative, no-bid parking contract that the administration of Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez awarded to a political operative, intensifying the ongoing turmoil over the deal.

According to documents and sources familiar with the inquiry, the investigator, Michael Sullivan, has requested that city officials turn over documents and e-mails relating to the deal the city gave to former state Sen. Abraham L. Giles to run the 225-space lot downtown.

The deal was signed in November and has been a political tempest for the mayor since its existence was disclosed by The Courant. Giles is considered by many a significant political powerbroker in Hartford with influence over key votes on the city's Democratic town committee.

[...]

Hartford gave the lucrative contract to Giles without a bidding process or informing the city council, despite the city's own parking authority expressing interest in the lot months earlier to officials in the mayor's office. The deal was finalized on Nov. 1, 2006.

Giles pays the city $1,000 a month in rent for the right to manage the 225-space lot at 1214 Main St., at the corner of Trumbull Street. Under the terms of the 18-month deal, Giles keeps all of the parking proceeds from the lot.

The lot is one of two owned by the city at the same intersection operated by Giles.

The other, smaller lot at 1143 Main St. has been managed by Giles since 1993. But it, too, has been the subject of recent interest, with the disclosure last week of a $100,000 "lease termination fee" for Giles in a purchase agreement for a developer to buy the blighted building next door.

The private deal fell apart, but it raised a still-unanswered question: Why did the building's sale from one developer to another include a $100,000 exit fee for an agreement between the city and Giles?

City officials said last week they could not explain it.

Since the more recent deal for the bigger, 225-space lot was first disclosed in February, Perez has backed away from it publicly. After getting approval from the city council, he asked the parking authority to prepare bids to manage the lot.
And you wonder why there are so many Democratic candidates throwing their hats in the mayor's race in Hartford.

Fox61 also filed this report on the matter.

There's one word can best define Mayor Perez: Arrogance.

I think Courant Columnist Stan Smith said it best:
The Perez-Giles pact circumvented both the city council and the parking authority. In exchange for a $1,000 monthly fee to the city, Giles manages the 225-space Main Street lot, which could generate a minimum profit of roughly $3,000 a month.

Though Giles' influence these days as a north Hartford political boss is waning, he is thought to have control of a bloc of 14 votes on the Democratic town committee. That bloc is critical in this year's caucus because several candidates are challenging Perez's re-election.

The Perez-Giles deal is telling for a number of reasons. It speaks to an arrogance of power that befalls some of the state's most well-intended elected officials. Perez's disdain for transparency in this transaction and his short memory of the chicanery that sent a host of Connecticut politicians to prison is mind-boggling.

Whoever was in the mayor's inner circle when this went down should be dismissed. Surely, someone should have had the courage and foresight to get a whiff of the Giles agreement and say "Señor Alcalde, you can't go there."

The deal was so smelly that Perez, after the deal was exposed, proposed an ordinance in February to enable the council to review similar deals. It would also give the parking authority the right to prepare bids to manage the Giles-supervised lot.

While some may view the Giles gift as political patronage - or even minority-business development - it reeks of influence peddling. And with the chief state's attorney now officially involved, this is going to get worse for Hartford before it gets better.
I think that's an understatement Stan.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Top ten George Bush moments

The video speaks for itself.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Ken Dixon: the Mark Davis of print media

Gabe saves me the trouble of Connecticut Post Ken Dixon's display of arrogance at Friday night's JJB.