Legal Opinion Says Segarra Didn’t Violate Ethics Code

May 11, 2011

Last month, political opponents of Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra raised concerns about his ethics disclosures to the city regarding rental properties owned by his spouse. But as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, a legal opinion commissioned by the city says the mayor didn't violate ethics requirements.  In a seven-page letter, West Hartford attorney Matthew Conway says that while Mayor Segarra should have disclosed his spouse's rental income to the city, his omission of that income violated neither the city's conflict of interest rules nor its ethics codes. Further, the letter says that there is "no evidence that the omission was made knowingly or intentionally." Federal housing authorities also say they've closed their inquiry into the matter and that nothing inappropriate occurred.  The Hartford Courant initially reported in April that Segarra hadn't disclosed income earned by his spouse through a city low-income housing rental program. The issue was seized upon by possible mayoral candidate and State Representative Kelvin Roldan -- whose paid campaign aides first brought it up.  Segarra initially said he would amend his filings and that any omissions were unintentional. He said Roldan and other allies of former Mayor Eddie Perez were engaged in nasty politics.In a statement, Segarra called the whole matter a political distraction.  State Representative Roldan, who first raised the issue, didn't respond to requests for comment.  For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.