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Hartford City Hall
Mon April 11, 2011
Segarra Fails to Disclose Spouse's Rental Income on Ethics Filings
News broke over the weekend that Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra did not disclose in city ethics filings that his spouse accepted $120,000 in federal rent subsidies from tenants. The program's administrator says the link likely wouldn't have concerned federal officials -- had Segarra reported it. Ken Schultz is the president of Imagineers. His company has overseen the city's program for people who get federal rent subsidies for over 25 years. Segarra, he said... Schultz: Out of an abundance of caution could have made the effort to disclose that and really, as long as it was disclosed, there was really nothing that would have been a concern. Cohen: In your experience, would HUD have said, "This can't happen?" Schultz: In my experience, no, they would not have said that. The Hartford Courant reported Sunday that Segarra has two issues on his hands relating to rental property owned by his spouse, Charlie Ortiz. Ortiz rents the properties and gets federal Section 8 subsidies through the city. The first issue is that Segarra didn't note this on his city ethics filings. Second, federal housing officials are looking into whether Ortiz's income constitutes a conflict of interest for Segarra. The mayor has said he would amend his filings and would solicit a legal opinion on the matter. He also chalked the news up to politics -- he has for months said that he's been under attack by allies of convicted former Mayor Eddie Perez. "It's a distraction to distract people from the fact this administration has been able to accomplish things that the previous administration was not able to accomplish. It basically perpetuates an old political system that people are just tired of." The story in the Courant grew out of requests for information by a former Perez employee who is an ally of state representative and possible mayoral candidate Kelvin Roldan. Roldan wouldn't say whether he knew of efforts to dig into Segarra's background. The question, he said, was irrelevant. But Roldan says Segarra can't run from his own admission that he didn't make proper disclosures. "It is very clear that it does violate HUD regulations and it, subsequently, does violate city of Hartford ethics rules." Roldan has called for a state criminal investigation. Another mayoral candidate, Shawn Wooden, has called for a federal investigation. He says that it's time for Segarra to give more answers about his disclosures. "Once we have all the answers, maybe that's satisfactory and this is just another oversight. and there's nothing sinister, nothing criminal. But even once you get to, just another oversight, we've got to do better than that for leadership in the city." The city's ethics commission will meet to begin discussing the matter Tuesday.