Hartford Courant reporting – Harold Sparrow withdraws candidacy for Hartford School Board

In a breaking story entitled, Amid Controversy, Sparrow Withdraws Candidacy For Hartford School Board, the Hartford Courant is reporting that Harold Sparrow has asked Mayor Bronin to withdraw his nomination for the Hartford School Board.  The Courant reports,

Mayor Luke Bronin’s embattled nominee for the city school board, YMCA official Harold Sparrow, has withdrawn his candidacy on the eve of Monday’s confirmation hearing, stating that controversy over his past employment had become a distraction that would take awhile to overcome

[…]

Sparrow, 60, president and CEO of the region’s YMCA, was nominated Thursday to fill a vacant seat on the board, with the mayor anticipating the city council’s approval at a special meeting Monday evening.

But then came revelations Friday that Sparrow had once led a black clergymen’s group during a time when the organization was openly against gay marriage.

In 2004, the same year that Massachusetts became the first state in the nation where same-sex couples could marry, the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston put out a public statement calling for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Sparrow was the group’s CEO and executive director from 2002 to 2007.

Former state legislator and blogger Jonathan Pelto noted the alliance’s stance in an online post late Friday afternoon. Within hours, Sparrow had distanced himself from the 2004 statement, telling The Courant that it did not reflect his personal views, that he was “unequivocally” in support of marriage equality and LGBTQ rights, and that he has pushed for inclusiveness at the YMCA of Greater Hartford since becoming its leader in 2015.

Bronin told The Courant Friday night that he was unaware of the alliance’s anti-gay marriage position when he nominated Sparrow, and was “deeply troubled when I learned of it.” But he had planned to move ahead with Monday’s vote after speaking with Sparrow and being assured that he was committed to a “welcoming and supportive environment” in the city schools for all students, including those who are gay, lesbian, transgender or questioning.

The full Hartford Courant story can be read at: http://www.courant.com/community/hartford/hc-harold-sparrow-hartford-school-board-0130-20170129-story.html

Harold Sparrow – Founding member of a Boston Charter School, former private school trustee –  nominated to Hartford School Board

As previous Wait, What? posts explained, (See:  Breaking News – Hartford Mayor nominates anti-gay marriage leader for vacancy on the Hartford School Board and Update – His group’s anti-gay marriage position did not represent his own beliefs says Bronin nominee for school board) Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin is trying to put Harold Sparrow on the Hartford School Board.

And what is Harold Sparrow’s experience with education?

  • Closing the Hartford YMCA’s successful and popular Read to Succeed Program…
  • A founding member of a charter school in Boston that is now ranked among the worst schools in Massachusetts…
  • A former trustee for two private schools, one that charges $45,000 a year and the other $37,000 a year…

When nominating Sparrow, Bronin cites his “extensive experience in organizational leadership and management,” but under Sparrow’s so-called leadership, the YMCA closed its successful Read to Succeed Program last May.

Read to Succeed was a specialized literacy program that had been successfully educating Hartford residents to read for more than 30 years.  By all accounts it was an extraordinary program and Sparrow’s handling of the situation was a blight on the reputation of the YMCA.

Although the YMCA’s Mission Statement reads that it provides literacy education services to adults, the program was shut down in disregard to widespread anger and opposition.

Hartford Courant’s articles and its Letters to the Editor section was filed with outrage and condemnation.

Comments and observations included;

“Read to Succeed does not duplicate the services of any other community adult literacy program — it is a unique, individualized program that helps adults with learning disabilities.” 

“The YMCA of Greater Hartford has lost its mission! Why close one of the only programs at the Downtown branch that impacts Hartford residents and aligns with the states workforce ready literacy skills and the YMCA’s own mission?”

“Truth is the Read to Succeed literacy program is needed now more than ever before as our future workforce demands for literacy skills is at its highest.”

“It’s a great loss for our community, especially those who are trying their best to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and be educated in a more firm and direct way.” 

“This vital program teaches adults with dyslexia and other cognitive challenges how to read using a multisensory language approach.”

“[Due to] the impending termination of the Greater Hartford YMCA’s Read to Succeed program, countless Greater Hartford area residents will be denied the benefits of this life-changing adult literacy program.”

“Most students at Read to Succeed have been unable to find success in conventional adult remedial programs.”

“Read to Succeed has offered the hope of a better, more productive life. Students have realized the importance of adult literacy skills to raise children who have strong literacy skills, to keep themselves and their families healthy, to be self-advocates, to reduce crime and to be active in their communities. “

In addition to the mishandling of the Read to Succeed issue, Harold Sparrow’s experience with education policy is extremely minimal, at best.

Sparrow served on two elite, private school boards, the Park School Board of Trustees in Brookline, Massachusetts from 2002 to 2008 and the Beaver Country Day School in Newton, Massachusetts form 2008 – 2011.  The Park School charges $37,000 a year to attend while the Beaver Country Day School’s tuition is $45,500 a year.

Neither of these experiences would possibly prepare him for the challenges facing Hartford’s public schools.

In addition, according to documents filed with the Department of Education in Massachusetts, Sparrow was a founder member of the Boston Bridge Charter School, which is now one of the lowest performing schools in Massachusetts.

Interestingly, while his on-line bio reference his time on the two fancy private schools, there is no mention of his role with the Bridge Boston Charter School in Boston Massachusetts.

A rush vote by the Hartford City Council on Mayor Bonin’s nomination of Harold Sparrow is expected today – Monday, January 30, 2017.

Update – His group’s anti-gay marriage position did not represent his own beliefs says Bronin nominee for school board

As Massachusetts moved toward its historic approval of same-sex marriage rights, the Boston Ministerial Alliance engaged in a heated and hateful campaign to stop the effort.  Their campaign included issuing a statement condemning gay marriage;

It is with a clear conscience that the Black Ministerial Alliance adds our voice to those speaking on the subject of marriage

[…]

We believe marriage to be a unique covenant established between a man and a woman…

We acknowledge the pain and suffering of the men and women in the gay and lesbian community who are in long term relationships. However, given the most recent opinion of the Supreme Judicial Court eliminating the possibility of Civil Unions, we support the call for a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman.

The Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston, Inc.

But now, the individual who served as the group’s Executive Director at the time says the effort did not represent his beliefs.

In a strongly worded denial, Harold Sparrow (Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin’s nominee to serve on the Hartford Board of Education) released a statement in response to yesterday’s Wait, What? post entitled, Breaking News – Hartford Mayor nominates anti-gay marriage leader for vacancy on the Hartford School Board.

Sparrow wrote;

“I regret that a 2004 statement issued by the ministers of the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston, an organization for which I worked as an employee more than a decade ago, has raised questions about my personal views on equal rights for all. That statement does not reflect my personal views, nor does it reflect my personal faith. I want to say clearly and unequivocally that I support marriage equality and LGBTQ rights. — See https://www.facebook.com/MayorBronin/posts/613781482144501)

Although Reverend Harold Sparrow served as the Executive Director of the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston form 2002 – 2007 and apparently coordinated the group’s activities including their political efforts, he now reports that their actions on gay rights did not represent his personal beliefs.

During the same period, the organization’s President was Bishop Gilbert Thompson.

The vitriolic tone of the debate can be seen in a variety of published documents in which Bishop Thompson condemned those who sought marriage equity.

The Boston Magazine quoted Bishop Thompson, president of the Black Ministerial Alliance as preaching,

“We are standing against demonic forces that are out to destroy not only marriage, but family…We are not against any person, but certainly we stand in favor of marriage being what it actually is — the union of a man and a woman,”

Boston Magazine went on to explain;

Thompson’s success in building up Jubilee has produced leverage felt well beyond his ministry. Especially in his role as president of the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston, an advocacy group that claims to represent more than 20,000 congregants, he’s often in the news—inveighing against abortion and same-sex marriage…”

Thompson was also the figure quoted in the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) Report saying;

“It offends me that the proponents of same-sex marriage are trying to incorporate discrimination language in their argument. As an African American, I know something about discrimination. I was born black! It was not a decision on my part.”

The report went on to quote the BMA leader as saying,

“The massive evidence from social science research shows unique benefits to society and especially to children of a wedded mother and father.”

Meanwhile, Harold Sparrow, who served as an anti-Elizabeth Warren spokesman for Republican Senator Scott Brown’s losing 2012 campaign will go before the Hartford City Council for approval for a seat on the Hartford Board of Education at a special council meeting on Monday, January 27, 2017.

The Scott campaign utilized Sparrow to mock Elizabeth Warren’s claim that she was of Native American heritage.

 “Scott Brown, throughout this campaign, has taken on an issue that I think is very derogatory to” Warren and her claims to Native American heritage, said [Boston Mayor] Menino,

Scott Brown’s campaign responded by dispatching two African-American activists

[…]

One of the activists, Harold Sparrow, former executive ­director of the Black Ministerial Alliance, said Warren, not Brown, is to blame for the prolonged focus on her ethnic roots.

“It was a credibility issue that was raised, and Elizabeth Warren has said she should have responded sooner,” said Sparrow, who has been Brown’s friend since they were teammates on the Tufts University basketball team. “If she would have responded sooner, it would have gone away. But she didn’t.”

In May 2015, the YMCA of Greater Hartford selected Harold Sparrow to become its 5th President and CEO.  He came to Connecticut from the YMCA of Greater Boston, where he served as Senior Vice President of Operations.  Sparrow joined the YMCA of Greater Boston in 2007 after leaving his position at the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston.

Breaking News – Hartford Mayor nominates anti-gay marriage leader for vacancy on the Hartford School Board

Yesterday, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin nominated Harold Sparrow, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Hartford, to serve on the Hartford Board of Education.

As the Hartford Courant explained, Bronin is now trying to persuade the Hartford City Council to hold a rush vote on Sparrow’s nomination, apparently trying to get a vote as early as this coming Monday, January 30, 2017

Harold Sparrow is new to Hartford, having been appointed President of the Hartford YMCA in the spring of 2015.  His principal experience was serving with the Boston YMCA and as Executive Director of the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston from 2002 – 2007.

In support of Sparrow, Bronin was quoted as praising his nominee for his “extensive experience in organizational leadership and management.”

Bronin is either unaware or worse, intentionally overlooked, the critical role that Harold Sparrow played in opposing gay rights and marriage equality when he was working in Massachusetts.

As leader of the BMA of Greater Boston, Harold Sparrow played a leadership position in the organization’s high-profile opposition to gay rights and marriage equity.

According to the Boston Globe, Sparrow’s organization was the key signatory on an anti-gay, hateful letter dated February 7, 2004 that read,

It is with a clear conscience that the Black Ministerial Alliance adds our voice to those speaking on the subject of marriage

[…]

We believe marriage to be a unique covenant established between a man and a woman…

We acknowledge the pain and suffering of the men and women in the gay and lesbian community who are in long term relationships. However, given the most recent opinion of the Supreme Judicial Court eliminating the possibility of Civil Unions, we support the call for a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman.

The Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston, Inc.

Covering Sparrow and the Black Ministerial Alliance, the Boston Phoenix added,

“BMA does not keep its religion separate from any of its activities. Sparrow keeps a large VOTE FOR JESUS sign in his office window. When BMA has been in the news, at least in recent years, it’s usually to register the group’s strong opposition to gay marriage.”

Also in 2004, PBS (the national Public Broadcasting Service) ran a special report on Black Churches and Gay Marriage, quoting a representative of the Boston Ministerial Alliance as saying,

“It offends me that the proponents of same-sex marriage are trying to incorporate discrimination language in their argument. As an African American, I know something about discrimination. I was born black! It was not a decision on my part.”

The report went on to quote the BMA representative as saying,

“The massive evidence from social science research shows unique benefits to society and especially to children of a wedded mother and father.”

Now Mayor Bronin appears ready – intentionally or unintentionally – to bring that type of thinking to the Hartford School Board.

Another Charter School Front Group in Connecticut? Naw…Same people just different name

As Connecticut faces yet another massive state budget crisis, even more Pro-Charter School and Corporate Education Reform Industry money is flowing into Connecticut to help grease the charter school operators’ efforts to grab additional public funds courtesy of charter school aficionado and “education reform” groupie Governor Dannel Malloy.

This time the corporate funded charter school lobbyists are calling themselves “Fight for Fairness CT” and are rallying in Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford.

Charter school organizers are using www.fightforfairnessct.org, a website that was created by a New York City advertising company on October 23 2015.

Although they are calling themselves by a different name, the group is actually the same controversial New York based charter school lobby group known as “Families for Excellent Schools” http://www.familiesforexcellentschools.org/ except when they call themselves “Families for Excellent Schools Advocacy.”

While their primary purpose has been to support Eva Moskowitz and the other New York Charter School operators, Families for Excellent Schools arrived in Connecticut from New York last year and registered both Families for Excellent Schools AND Families for Excellent Schools Advocacy as lobbying entities with Connecticut’s Office of State Ethics.

However, Families for Excellent Schools immediately created a new front group called Coalition for Every Child, setting up a website named http://www.foreverychildct.org/

When slapped for failing to register Coalition for Every Child with the Connecticut’s ethics office, the New Yorkers quickly changed their name to Families for Excellent Schools/Coalition for Every Child.

This year Families for Excellent Schools has spent nearly $1.2 million lobbying in favor of Governor Malloy’s charter school and education reform initiatives.

A quick glimpse at the newly formed www.fightforfairnessct.org will reveal the same logo as the old http://www.foreverychildct.org/, although they did change the color from Yellow to Blue to go along with the new t-shirts that Families for Excellent Schools are handing out to charter school parents and students in New York and Connecticut.

If the name changes seem confusing, no worries because even the highly paid consultants who work for the charter school industry appear to be confused.

According to www.fightforfairnessct.org,

“For all Press and Media inquiries, please contact Andrew Doba at [email protected].”

However, the actual press releases themselves go out from Andrew Doba at [email protected]

Doba was also listed as the media contact for Families for Excellent Schools, Coalition for Every Child and Families for Excellent Schools/Coalition for Every Child.

Just last year, Doba was working as Governor Dannel Malloy’s spokesperson but left that post this past January to join Stu Loeser and Company, a New York City public relations firm owned by the former press secretary of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Stu Loeser and Company are paid to run the Families for Excellent Schools’ public relations campaigns in New York and Connecticut.

Since leaving the state payroll and joining Stu Loeser and Company, Doda has also been serving as the spokesperson for Greenwich native Luke Bronin’s campaign for Mayor of Hartford.

And to bring the whole thing full circle, as previously reported in the Wait, What? article Billionaires for Bronin, one of Luke Bronin’s most noteworthy campaign contributors is Paul Tudor Jones II, the Greenwich Billionaire who is also one of the biggest donors to Families for Excellent Schools and was a charter school owner.

Although Families for Excellent Schools, now known as Families for Excellent Schools/Coalition for Every Child, was using www.fightforfairnessct.org last year as their online organizing website and have now shifted to http://www.foreverychildct.org/, they charter school advocacy group is sticking with the Twitter handle @FIGHTForFairnessCT.

@FightforFairnessCT got its start last year when Families for Excellent Schools bused in charter school parents and students from as far away as New York and Boston to rally at the Connecticut State Capitol in support of Governor Dannel Malloy’s ill-conceived proposal to divert scarce public funds away from public schools so that two new companies could open up charter schools in Connecticut.

A cursory review of @FightForFairnessCT will lead the casual observer to ConnCAN, Connecticut’s primary and original charter schools advocacy group which was founded by Greenwich millionaire Jonathan Sackler.  Sackler, whose company makes OxyContin, was a pivotal player in the creation of Achievement First, Inc. the large charter school chain with schools in New York Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Sackler and his wife are among Luke Bronin’s biggest campaign contributors having donated the maximum allowable amount to the Bronin mayoral campaign not once, but twice, in the last few months.

The Twitter Account @FightForFairnessCT’s first Tweet was actually a Re-Tweet of Jennifer Alexander’s excitement about being at last year’s Families for Excellent School’s Capitol rally.

Alexander is the CEO of ConnCAN, although the name of their lobbying and advocacy organization is actually the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now Inc. except when they call themselves the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Advocacy, Inc.

Two years ago, ConnCAN added yet another front group to the mix forming A Better Connecticut, Inc. but have since dropped that name and the use of Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Advocacy, Inc., sticking instead with Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now, Inc. corporate name.

Over the last three years, ConnCAN and its related entities have spent in excess of $3.5 million lobbying in favor of Malloy’s anti-public school and pro-charter school agenda.

Of course, none of those organizations should be confused with Connecticut’s other Pro-Charter School and Corporate Education Reform Industry lobby groups which include Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER) or their new front-group called the Connecticut School Finance Project.  The New England Charter Schools Network (NECSN) is yet another advocacy group, although like ConnCAN, NECSN is closely aligned to Achievement First, Inc.

CCER and NECSN have spent well in excess of $800,000 promoting Malloy’s charter school and reform agenda.

None of those groups are directly connected to the “other” charter school and Corporate Education Reform Industry groups that have spent money lobbying in Connecticut, including StudentsFirst and Students for Education Reform, which together dropped in over $1 million on behalf of Malloy’s proposals.

Meanwhile, according to ​Andrew Doba’s latest press release from Fight for Fairness CT (but sent out from [email protected]),

“Parents, Teachers and Students Call For Fair Funding of Public Schools Announce “Fight for Fairness” March to Take Place Tuesday, November 10th in Bridgeport.”

Doba’s media statement goes on to explain that “Coalition members supporting” today’s march include ConnCAN, the New England Charter Schools Network (NECSN), Achievement First, and Families for Excellent Schools….

PS:  There will be a standardized test on this material and your teachers will be evaluated on how well you score.

Bronin says win due to door-knocking not benefits of $1.3 million or White Privilege

Attributing his political success to his door-knocking efforts rather than the record breaking $1.3 million he raised from city and state contractors, lobbyists and donors from his hometown of Greenwich and out-of-state or the advantages of White Privilege, Luke Bronin’s dream of becoming leader of Hartford has come true.

During the campaign Bronin said he would save Hartford by reducing crime and expanding programs, all while promising not to raise taxes.  The solution, according to the political novice, was more state funding and the wealth that would come with the wave of people moving into the new luxury apartments in the City’s Downtown.

Flanked by Governor Dannel Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, Bronin claimed victory Election Night but warned residents that “there will be no easy answers.”

In his successful effort to unseat one of the nation’s highest ranking Puerto Rican Mayors, Luke Bronin spent the primary attacking Pedro Segarra for not getting enough money from the Malloy administration, raising taxes and supporting the controversial Dunkin Donuts Baseball Stadium that is being constructed as part of Hartford’s DONO Development.

With his primary victory in hand,  Bronin flip-flopped on the Stadium issue taking tens of thousands of dollars from the Stadium’s developers while remaining quiet about the developers failure to fulfill their contractual obligation to begin construction on the project’s promised grocery store and other elements of Phase II (Parcel E).

As Bronin’s campaign finance reports revealed, not only did he break the record for the most money spent on a mayoral campaign in state history but he funded his political aspirations with campaign donations from nearly 70 city contractors, more than 80 registered state lobbyists and dozens of state contractors.  In the process of raising and reporting those contributions, Bronin and his campaign violated a number of provisions of Connecticut Campaign Finance law, a move that will undoubtedly result in a full-scale investigation by the State Elections Enforcement Commission.

Of particular note is that while pledging to support Hartford’s Public Schools, Bronin relied heavily on donations from the Charter School and Corporate Education Reform Industry, collecting huge amounts of money from charter school advocates and Greenwich residents Jonathan Sackler and Billionaire Paul Tudor Jones II, as well as employees, board members and lobbyists for Connecticut’s charter schools.

Bronin will take office in January 2016.

Special Meeting to approve Stadium Developer’s changes suddenly canceled

Lo and Behold, the not quite time for prime-time players have canceled the Special Meeting of the Hartford Planning and Zoning Commission that was scheduled for tomorrow – Wednesday, November 4, 2015.

In recent weeks, Luke Bronin has taken tens of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from the developers of the Hartford Dunkin Donuts Stadium and the DONO Hartford Development Project.

Sara Bronin, Luke Bronin’s spouse, serves as the Chair of the Hartford Planning and Zoning Commission and had announced that the Hartford PZC would be holding a Special Meeting to vote on the developers request to get a major waiver from their contract, including permission to push off the construction of the promised grocery store that they promised would be under construction by now.

According to Hartford City Hall the meeting has been canceled, but that hardly solves the underlying problem.

Phase II (Parcel E) including the grocery store;

As reported previously, the contract between the City of Hartford and the developers of the Dunkin Donut Baseball Stadium and the entire DONO Downtown North Development Project required that construction on Phase II (Parcel E), which includes the desperately needed north-end grocery store, was to begin no later than November 1, 2015.

However, the developers failed to fulfill that responsibility and now want permission from the City of Hartford to delay and modify the construction plan related to Phase II (Parcel E).

To get that change the developers need Sara Bronin and her committee have to give them permission to delay Phase II and make major changes to the contract that they had signed.

As reported in a Wait, What? post on Wednesday, October 28, 2015 entitled, Bronin reports another $174,000 collected with seven days to go until Election Day, Bronin’s latest campaign finance report that revealed that he had raised another $11,750 from the developers of Hartford’s new Dunkin Donuts Yard Goats Baseball Stadium and the DONO Project.

The latest bundle of stadium money comes in addition to the thousands of dollars Bronin had already collected from those whose who are directly benefiting financially from the stadium contract.  (See: And now Luke Bronin is collecting big bucks from developers of the Hartford Dunkin’ Donuts Stadium)

Having sharply criticized the stadium project earlier in the campaign, Bronin waited until after the reporting deadline for the September 16, 2015 Democratic primary to start collecting a large amount of campaign money from the DONO project contractors.

In recent weeks, Luke Bronin has raised tens of thousands of dollars from a number of the DONO contractors including Centerplan Development, Centerplan Construction Company, JCJ Architecture, Freeman Companies, BETA, McDowell Jewett and Greenskies Renewable Energy.

While the developers have sought to trivialize their change in plans, their failure to follow through on their commitments concerning Phase II has a profound impact on the project and the credibility of those behind the entire Hartford Downtown North Development scheme.

The Hartford Courant reported on importance of Phase II this past summer in an article entitled, Developers To Break Ground On Downtown North Grocery Store In October,

City officials and developers of the Downtown North project, which includes retail, housing and a baseball stadium, said Wednesday that they will break ground on a parcel that includes a grocery store by late October.

Yves-Georges A. Joseph II, vice president of development for Centerplan, said the developers don’t yet have a supermarket operator on board, but they are in conversations with operators.

Joseph, who attended a forum on the Downtown North project Wednesday at the city’s public library, said the deadline to begin construction is Nov. 1.

The area, known as Parcel E, is the first phase of housing and retail in the project. The parcel, which would include 328 apartments, a grocery store, a fitness center, other shops and parking, would be located across Main Street from a 9,000-capacity minor league baseball stadium.

Joseph said Wednesday that if developers don’t reach a deal with a supermarket operator, “we as an organization will own or operate a supermarket.”

The Hartford Courant’s June 2015 story ended with,

Panelists at Wednesday’s forum, sponsored by Hartford 2000, expressed skepticism about the developer’s ability to bring in a supermarket.

Denise Best, a North End activist, said many promises have been made and broken by city leadership.

October has come and gone and there is no sign of any construction related to the grocery store, or the associated housing, fitness center, shops and parking.

The developers now want retroactive permission to delay and modify Phase II of the project.

With the cancelation of tomorrow’s Special Meeting of the Hartford Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, the question now becomes what will the Bronins do about their conflict of interest regarding the Stadium and the entire DONO project.

Campaign Finance Violations will follow Bronin (Win or Lose)

Call it Pay-to-Play or Play and Pay…

Greenwich native and Hartford mayoral wannabee Luke Bronin has not only run the most expensive mayoral campaign in Connecticut history, but his campaign that has made a mockery of Connecticut’s Campaign Finance Laws.

Win or lose, Luke Bronin will be facing the State Elections Enforcement Commission to address his significant and far-reaching violations of the State’s laws about who can donate and how campaign donation’s must be reported.

As part of his unprecedented effort to buy the Hartford Mayor’s Office, Bronin and his political operation violated numerous provisions of the Connecticut’s election laws including the failure to properly disclose contributions from lobbyists and from companies and individuals who have contracts with the City of Hartford.

As Bronin’s campaign finance reports indicate, his campaign failed to accurately identify more than 80 percent of the lobbyists who donated to his campaign and well over 100 individuals who have contracts with the City of Hartford.

The reports suggest that Bonin and his campaign have also violated even more significant provisions of the law.

Any issues that have not already been raised in complaints to the State Elections Enforcement Commission will be included in a wrap-up complaint that will be filed with the state authority in the next couple of days.

Interestingly, while the breadth of campaign violations are obvious, the Hartford Court chose not to cover the issue at all.

The following are some of the Wait, What? posts about Bronin’s campaign, others can be found on the Blog;

Do I hear $170 a vote? Going Once, Going Twice, Sold to the man from Greenwich

Billionaires for Bronin

Bronin reports another $174,000 collected with seven days to go until Election Day

Once home to WFSB Channel 3 – the upscale apartment project is now a source of campaign donations for Luke Bronin.

And now Luke Bronin is collecting big bucks from developers of the Hartford Dunkin’ Donuts Stadium

Luke Bronin and his campaign know – Campaign Donation Limits are for Losers

Luke Bronin the “outsider” is looking more and more like an “insider” – the Carlos Lopez Story

Outside money turns Hartford Democratic Town Committee into a Luke Bronin slush fund

Will City of Hartford take a stand on Bronins’ ethics problem?

The Wait, What? post on Saturday, October 31, 2015 was entitled – Stadium Developers give big to Luke Bronin – Sarah Bronin responsible for approving big changes that Stadium Developers want.

In recent weeks Hartford mayoral candidate Luke Bronin has taken tens of thousands of dollars from the developers of the Dunkin Donut Baseball Stadium despite that fact that Luke Bronin’s wife, Sara Bronin, is the chairperson of the Hartford Planning and Zoning Commission and the developers are seeking approval to make major changes to the scope of the Stadium and DONO project.

With a Special Meeting of the Hartford Planning and Zoning Commissioner scheduled for Wednesday, November 4, 2015 -the day after Election Day – to approve the changes the developer is seeking, the immediate question is whether City Officials will act on the Bronin’s conflict of interest and remove Sara Bronin from her position as Chair of the Hartford PZC?

The following is the repost of the Wait, What? article on the Bronins’ and the Stadium.

Stadium Developers give big to Luke Bronin – Sarah Bronin responsible for approving big changes that Stadium Developers want

The City of Hartford Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a special meeting on Wednesday, November 4, 2015 at 260 Constitution Plaza, Plaza Level Conference Room, Hartford, CT 06103 at 6:00 p.m. on the developers plan to modify the DoNo Hartford Development Project.

Sara Bronin, wife of Harford mayoral candidate Luke Bronin, is the Chair of the Hartford Planning and Zoning Commission.

The contact between the City of Hartford and the developers of the Dunkin Donut Baseball Stadium and the entire DONO Downtown North Development Project required that construction on Phase II (Parcel E), which includes the desperately needed north-end grocery store, was to begin no later than November 1, 2015.

However, the developers failed to fulfill that responsibility and now want permission from the City of Hartford to delay and modify the construction plan related to Phase II (Parcel E).

The conflict of interest that Sara (and Luke) Bronin face is obvious.

As reported in a Wait, What? post on Wednesday, October 28, 2015 entitled, Bronin reports another $174,000 collected with seven days to go until Election Day, the Greenwich native who moved to Hartford and now wants to be Hartford’s next mayor revealed in his latest campaign finance report that he had raised another $11,750 from the developers of Hartford’s new Dunkin Donuts Yard Goats Baseball Stadium and the DONO Project.

The latest bundle of stadium money comes in addition to the thousands of dollars Bronin had already collected from those whose who are directly benefiting financially from the stadium contract.  (See: And now Luke Bronin is collecting big bucks from developers of the Hartford Dunkin’ Donuts Stadium)

Having sharply criticized the stadium project earlier in the campaign, Bronin waited until after the reporting deadline for the September 16, 2015 Democratic primary to start collecting a large amount of campaign money from the contractors hired to build the DONO project including the new baseball stadium.

In recent weeks, Luke Bronin has raised tens of thousands of dollars from a number of the DONO contractors including Centerplan Development, Centerplan Construction Company, JCJ Architecture, Freeman Companies, BETA, McDowell Jewett and Greenskies Renewable Energy.

Four of the leading companies involved in the DONO Development Project are owned by lead developer Bob Landino who is a former member of the Connecticut House of Representatives.  The developers are represented before the City of Hartford by the law firm that is led by Tom Ritter, the former Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives.

While Luke Bronin’s flip-flop on the stadium issues is newsworthy on its own, the immediate and more incredible news development may very well be that the developers of the Hartford Stadium donated to Luke Bronin at the exact same time that the stadium developers are seeking to modify the project after having failed to break ground, as required, on Phase II of the DONO project.

With no construction taking place on the grocery store, housing and other elements of Phase II (Parcel E), Luke Bronin’s wife will be convening a Special Meeting of the Hartford Planning and Zoning Commission on Wednesday – the day after Election Day – to approve changes that release the Stadium Developers from their commitment to begin Phase II and to make significant changes to the scope of Phase II.

While the developers have sought to trivialize their change in plans, their failure to follow through on their commitments concerning Phase II has a profound impact on the project and the credibility of those behind the entire Hartford Downtown North Development scheme.

The Hartford Courant reported on importance of Phase II this past summer in an article entitled, Developers To Break Ground On Downtown North Grocery Store In October,

City officials and developers of the Downtown North project, which includes retail, housing and a baseball stadium, said Wednesday that they will break ground on a parcel that includes a grocery store by late October.

Yves-Georges A. Joseph II, vice president of development for Centerplan, said the developers don’t yet have a supermarket operator on board, but they are in conversations with operators.

Joseph, who attended a forum on the Downtown North project Wednesday at the city’s public library, said the deadline to begin construction is Nov. 1.

The area, known as Parcel E, is the first phase of housing and retail in the project. The parcel, which would include 328 apartments, a grocery store, a fitness center, other shops and parking, would be located across Main Street from a 9,000-capacity minor league baseball stadium.

Joseph said Wednesday that if developers don’t reach a deal with a supermarket operator, “we as an organization will own or operate a supermarket.”

The Hartford Courant’s June 2015 story ended with,

Panelists at Wednesday’s forum, sponsored by Hartford 2000, expressed skepticism about the developer’s ability to bring in a supermarket.

Denise Best, a North End activist, said many promises have been made and broken by city leadership.

So now October has come and gone and there is no sign of any construction related to the grocery store, or the associated housing, fitness center, shops and parking.

What has occurred over the last few weeks is that the developers have become a major source of campaign donations for Luke Bronin’s campaign for Mayor and, the day after Election Day, Bronin’s wife will be chairing the Commission that is supposed to hold the developers accountable for their failure to produce as promised.

Hartford parking lots a Goldmine for Luke Bronin

Operating pay to park garages and lots in Hartford is extremely profitable and campaign finance reports indicate that parking garage and lot operators in Hartford have been lining up to give Greenwich native Luke Bronin large donations for his campaign to become Hartford’s Next Mayor.

LAZ Parking, owned by Alan Lazowski, operates at least 12 major pay to park garages and another 5 pay to park lots in Hartford.  Lazowksi also owns that LAZ Fly Economy Airport Parking at Bradley Airport.  Lazowski, his wife and other corporate officers and employees have donated at least $7,000 to Bronin’s campaign.  Lazowski has kicked in two $1,000 checks, one before and one after the September 16 Democratic primary, while his wife, the company’s COO and other executives have donated thousands more.

While LAZ Parking dominates the parking garage market in Hartford, ProPark Inc. is the leader in the lot market with 11 pay to park lots and 2 garages.  Owned by John Schmid of Litchifield and other ProPark Inc. management team have dropped at least $5,000 on Bronin.

The story of Hartford’s Connecticut Parking Services owner Carlos Lopez was featured in the Wait, What? post entitled, Luke Bronin the “outsider” is looking more and more like an “insider” – the Carlos Lopez Story.  CT Parking Services operates a garage and lot in Hartford.

Lopez, who is a Farmington, Republican gave Bronin $1,000 and donated another $2,000 to the Hartford Democratic Town Committee to help with Bronin’s Get-Out-The-Vote effort. Lopez’s family, associates and employees gave Bronin an additional $5,000 on top of that.

The lucrative parking garage and lot contracts are handed out by the Hartford Parking Authority, a five member commission appointed by the Mayor.  The Chair of the Hartford Parking Authority is none-other-than state lobbyist Paddy LeShane, who along his her husband Patrick Sullivan run one of the most influential lobbying firms in Connecticut.   Both LeShane and Sullivan have become generous contributors to Bronin’s political aspirations.

Bronin has also collected checks form other parking companies including Park Ride Fly USA, Roncari and Park New Haven.

Companies that contract with the City of Hartford have proven to be among Luke Bronin’s biggest sources of campaign cash.  According to his campaign finance reports, at least sixty-six (66) companies with large city contacts have donated to his campaign, some having donated tens of thousands of dollars.

Calculating the full amount of money Hartford City contractors have given to Bronin is impossible because more than 100 donations from contractors are not coded as such, a major violation of Connecticut’s campaign finance law.  One of the problems with the Bronin for Mayor campaign finance reports is that the reporting errors are so prevalent that one might guess that they are miscoded to cover-up how much contractor and lobbyist money has flowed into his campaign war chest.