If you've been to Hartford in the last twenty years or so, you've likely seen this long abandoned building that has loomed over the city for years. It's become a Hartford landmark of sorts and internet searches for the Butt-ugly building pulls up articles reporting its imminent demise all the way back to 2005. Still the building stands. The long vacant eyesore outlasted disgraced Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez and even played a roll in his downfall.
It was this property for which Eddie Perez and former State Rep. Abraham Giles were arrested for attempting to extort a local developer. Giles, renting the property from the City for a far below market rate of $500 per month initially demanded $250,000 from the businessman. He lowered his demand to $100,000 and Perez told the developer that he would have to pay the Giles for the developers project with the City to continue.
While most of the Eddie Perez coverage has revolved around the free home improvements that Perez received it is these types of dealings that do the most damage to the City. What Perez and Giles did wasn't essentially stealing from the City and the taxpayers. It was stealing from the City and taxpayers. Eddie Perez wasn't merely helping himself to a free counter top, he was betraying his constituents.
While small City politicians exploit Hartford's assets for personal gain schools continue to fail, the police are under-manned and jobs and workers flee the City. But don't worry people, we can all yearn for the possibility of an ESPN Zone or Whole Foods to magically surface on Front Street.