Jeff Cohen

Reporter

Jeff Cohen is a proud New Orleans native who now calls New England home. Or at least his second home.

He started in newspapers in 2001 and joined WNPR in 2010, where he is a reporter and an occasional fill-in host for All Things Considered.

In addition to covering state and Hartford city politics, Jeff covered the December 2012 Newtown shootings and the stories that followed.  Much of that work was featured on NPR.  Also in 2012, Jeff was selected by NPR and Kaiser Health News for their joint Health Care In The States project. That work resulted in several national stories, including ones on the Affordable Care Act and medical education.

Jeff was also selected by the Tow Foundation and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice as a fellow in their 2012 juvenile justice reporting project.

Before working at WNPR, Jeff worked as the city reporter for The Hartford Courant.  While at the Courant, he won a National Headliner Award for a Northeast Magazine story about the ostracized widow of the state's first casualty in Iraq; wrote about his post-Katrina, flooded out home in New Orleans; and was part of a team of reporters that broke the stories of alleged corruption at Hartford City Hall that led to the arrest of former Mayor Eddie A. Perez. 

He also worked at the Meriden Record-Journal and as a freelancer for The New York Times.

Jeff lives in Middletown with his wife, cats, and two trouble-making kids. Thanks to the kids, he's now writing children's books. The first, published by HarperCollins Children's Books, comes out in early 2014.  He likes to make bread and wine.

Pages

The Fate of Eddie Perez
11:46 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Court Orders Two New Trials For Former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez

Eddie Perez walks to court with family and supporters.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

The state's appellate court has thrown out the 2010 corruption convictions of former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez and ordered two new trials.

The court ruled that there was a enough evidence to convict Perez, but that the trial court judge made a procedural error that merits two new trials. Perez was convicted over three years ago on separate charges relating to bribery and extortion while he was mayor. A judge sentenced him to three years in prison.   

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Hartford Insurance Investigation
11:48 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Hartford Releases Documents Given to Federal Grand Jury

Earl O'Garro.
Credit Fortnight Journal

Last month, the city of Hartford gave a series of documents to a federal grand jury looking into the business dealings of troubled insurance broker Earl O’Garro. Now, the city has released those documents publicly.

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Hartford Insurance Investigation
12:51 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

For O'Garro, Debts Large and Small

Earl O'Garro.
Credit Fortnight Journal

The line of people who want their money from Earl O'Garro continues to grow.

O'Garro is the man at the center of a federal grand jury investigation looking into $670,000 in missing taxpayer money. The city of Hartford paid him to pay its insurance bills, and he apparently never did.  

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Sandy Hook Investigation
6:24 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Task Force Tries to Balance Victim Privacy and Public Information

Don DeCesare, the panel's co-chair.
Credit CT-N

A state task force met today as it works to find ways to balance victim privacy with freedom of information laws. But consensus is still hard to come by.

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Sandy Hook Investigation
2:07 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Judge Orders Release of Newtown 911 Tapes

The Associated Press is reporting that a state court judge has ordered the release of 911 recordings from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. But the tapes won't be immediately unsealed.

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Ethics In Hartford
4:52 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Ethics Codes, Labor Law, and Adam Cloud

Hartford City Hall.
Credit Heather Brandon / WNPR

Hartford city auditors have said that Treasurer Adam Cloud had an apparent conflict of interest when it came to his family's business relationship with a city insurance broker. But this isn't Cloud's first run-in with the ethics code.

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Hartford Insurance Scandal
5:59 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Cloud's Attorney Sheds Light on NYC Hotel Stay

Hartford Treasurer Adam Cloud.
Credit City of Hartford

Earlier this week, we reported that there were unanswered questions about a receipt for a New York City hotel room billed to the city of Hartford. On the reservation were city treasurer Adam Cloud and embattled insurance broker Earl O'Garro -- two men named in a federal investigation into nearly $700,000 in missing taxpayer money.

Now, Cloud's attorney is providing some answers. 

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One Family's Story
3:05 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Coming Home From Typhoon Haiyan

Jack and Fe Shanahan, who live part of the year in Enfield, recount surviving Typhoon Haiyan inside their Tolosa home.
Mark Mirko Hartford Courant

Typhoon Haiyan reportedly killed more than 4,000 people and affected millions more when it struck the Philippines nearly two weeks ago. Among those touched by the storm were Jack and Fe Shanahan, a Connecticut couple with a home in one of the heavily affected towns.

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Hartford Development
11:45 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

New Downtown Housing Planned for Old Hartford Buildings

111 Pearl Street in downtown Hartford, one of the buildings in question.
Credit City of Hartford

There are two office buildings in downtown Hartford that have long been vacant. Now, developers are about to buy them and turn them into something the city's core desperately needs: housing.

Hartford's recent wave of downtown investment has yielded a few lessons. One is that the city needs more rental housing downtown. More housing brings more people, and more people are what's needed to make a healthy downtown tick.

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Hartford Insurance Scandal
1:49 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Courant: O’Garro’s Wife Felt He Would Kill Her

Earl O'Garro.
Credit Fortnight Journal

Hartford Courant columnist Kevin Rennie broke news this weekend that Earl O'Garro had been arrested by state police earlier this month.

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Hartford Insurance Controversy
11:45 pm
Sun November 17, 2013

Unanswered Questions About Cloud, O'Garro, and a Trip to NYC

Hartford City Treasurer Adam Cloud.
Credit City of Hartford

Hartford continues to buzz with questions about insurance broker Earl O'Garro, city treasurer Adam Cloud, and nearly $700,000 of missing taxpayer money. Now there are unanswered questions about a 2012 trip to New York City.

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Hartford Insurance Scandal
4:38 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

State Revokes Insurance License for O'Garro, Hybrid Insurance

Earl O'Garro.
Credit Fortnight Journal

Earl O'Garro has lost his state insurance license, and his company has lost its license, too.  The state said O'Garro never responded to an extensive eleven-count complaint filed against him last month. As a result, the state has revoked the licenses he and his company held to sell insurance.

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Insurance Scandal
10:47 am
Thu November 14, 2013

O'Garro Speaks

NBC Connecticut's George Colli snagged a one-on-one interview with Earl O'Garro, the man at the center of the federal grand jury investigation in Hartford. It's worth a few minutes of your time.

Sandy Hook Investigation Continues
3:40 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Lack of Newtown Report Frustrates Malloy

Malloy faces reporters and talks about the delay of the Newtown report.
Credit Jeff Cohen/WNPR

It's been nearly eleven months since the school shooting in Newtown that left 20 children and six educators dead. And prosecutors have yet to release their report into the crime.

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Obamacare
4:00 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Malloy Says Federal Health Care Woes Keeping Connecticut Down

A new storefront in New Britain for Access Health CT.
Credit Jeff Cohen/WNPR

At a press conference announcing a new retail health insurance storefront, Governor Dannel Malloy called the rollout of Obamacare in Connecticut a success. But the Democrat said problems with the federal health care website have hurt the state's enrollment.

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Election 2013
5:15 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Official Hartford Election Results

There's a good deal of analysis to be done.

But, for now, here are the results

the worst haircut ever
2:06 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Rob Ford, Gawker, and My Kids

Rob Ford (r) and my kids (l).
Credit Gawker

We normally write about other people -- because other people are the news. Not us.

And then, sometimes, really strange things happen.

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Election 2013
1:10 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Hartford Election Results Still Unofficial

Credit Heather Brandon / WNPR

Here's an update for you -- I just got off the phone with the clerk's office in Hartford and they say that they don't yet have official results.

So I called Urania Petit, one of the city's three registrars.

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Hartford Insurance Scandal
1:54 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

In Wake of Controversy, Hartford Treasurer Makes Changes

Hartford City Treasurer Adam Cloud.
Credit City of Hartford

Once a federal grand jury enters the picture, every little detail counts.

And so.

Yesterday, we told you that Hartford city auditors issued their report on Treasurer Adam Cloud and Hybrid Insurance Group. Among other things, they found that Cloud and finance officials ignored standard operating procedure when they wired more than $800,000 to Hybrid's troubled CEO Earl O'Garro. 

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Affordable Care Act
7:52 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Call Centers Got Big Deals Under Health Law, But How Big?

Do you have questions about the bronze plan?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 5:08 am

Before the Affordable Care Act was even open for enrollment, Viviana Alvarado was already taking calls from people who wanted to know more.

She and about 40 of her colleagues are staffing the phones for Maximus, the company Connecticut has contracted to run its call center.

The government contractors running the troubled HealthCare.gov website have been under intense scrutiny in the past month, but those businesses aren't the only ones being paid to rollout Obamacare.

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Hartford Insurance Scandal
12:50 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

City Auditors: Cloud Ignored Standard Procedure; Apparent Conflict of Interest

City Treasurer Adam Cloud.
Credit City of Hartford

Before a federal grand jury began investigating the relationship between Hartford City Treasurer Adam Cloud and insurance broker Earl O'Garro, city auditors took a stab at it.

And, in a report just obtained by WNPR, they found two things of note.

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New Britain
12:33 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

CCSU: Suspect in Custody; Campus Gets the "All-Clear"

A photo posted to Twitter at 2:35 pm on Monday showed what appeared to be an arrest at CCSU, following a lockdown.
Credit Olivia Maffucci

Central Connecticut State University in New Britain states that a suspect is in custody, and the school has given an "all clear" to people on campus following a three-hour lockdown Monday afternoon. The school's official campus website earlier told students and personnel to “get inside buildings and stay in place.”

While at Central, WNPR's Patrick Skahill said students were told that the focus of the police investigation was James Hall, a dormitory on campus. The school confirmed that in a tweet just after 1:30 pm on Monday.

Eyewitnesses said that campus security told students to stay in place at the student center at around noon. In a tweet just after 2:00 pm on Monday, CCSU said "police are looking for a man who reportedly was carrying a gun."

Skahill spoke with WNPR's Ray Hardman just after 2:00 pm on Monday. "The police presence is very strong here right now," Skahill said, with police support coming from nearby towns such as Newington and West Hartford. Listen below.

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Insurance Scandal
3:20 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

In Hartford Controversy, Feds Serve Subpoena on Two State Agencies

Hartford City Treasurer Adam Cloud.
Credit City of Hartford

The scope of the federal grand jury investigation involving the relationship between Hartford's city treasurer and an insurance broker continues to grow, as the state has confirmed that federal prosecutors served a subpoena on two of its departments.

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Insurance scandal
1:23 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Hartford Releases More Detail From Federal Subpoena

Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

The City of Hartford has released more information about the federal investigation into alleged corruption at city hall. Specifically, the subpoena confirms that the federal grand jury is looking into the relationship between the city and Hybrid Insurance Group. 

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Newtown
4:06 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

State Says No Drugs or Alcohol in Adam Lanza's Body

Credit Jeremy L. Grisham /

The gunman who killed 20 children and six teachers at the Sandy Hook Elementary School last year had no drugs or alcohol in his system, according to a statement from the chief state medical examiner. 

Read more
the long arm
2:18 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Before It Releases Subpoena, Hartford Waits to Hear From Feds

Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Attorneys for Mayor Pedro Segarra say they are still waiting to hear from federal prosecutors as to whether they can release a federal grand jury subpoena.

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Looking for answers
3:29 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Hartford Officials Refuse to Release Federal Subpoena

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra told reporters last week that federal prosecutors had served a subpoena on city hall. His attorneys won't release them.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Federal prosecutors served a subpoena on Hartford City Hall last week, and attorneys for Mayor Pedro Segarra are refusing to release it to the public.  But a recent case suggests that the city may be violating the state's Freedom of Information laws.

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Insurance Scandal
2:38 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Federal Law Enforcement Officals Subpoena Hartford City Hall Records

Hartford City Hall.
Credit mrceder / Creative Commons

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra confirmed that federal agents have served a subpoena on city hall. Segarra said he hasn't read the subpoena and doesn't know what it's for. "I have had a conversation with our legal department," he said. "They informed me that a subpoena was received in connection with a federal investigation. I have not read the subpoena, so I'm not familiar with what the subpoena states, or what it is requesting."

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Hartford's Cloud Controversy
12:29 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

How Well Do Adam Cloud and Earl O'Garro Know Each Other?

Earl O'Garro in a biographical video.
Credit Fortnight Journal

In our continuing coverage of the missing $670,000 in Hartford insurance premiums, there are at least two main players: city treasurer Adam Cloud, and Earl O'Garro, the CEO of Hybrid Insurance Group. Lots of questions remain unanswered. One is this: What kind of history do the two men have?

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Redevelopment
7:27 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Hartford Pays for More Apartments at Colt

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra announced a plan to borrow $5 million and build more apartments at the former Colt factory.
Credit David Panagore

More apartments are in the works for the city of Hartford, as the city has agreed to borrow $5 million to build 79 more units at the historic Colt Gateway complex.

The Colt is the structure with the blue onion dome just off I-91 in Hartford. And it was once home to the Colt Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company, which made “the guns that won the West.” 

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