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.
The big issue originally raised by Hartford school officials was whether treasurer Cloud steered city business to O'Garro, a man who does business with Cloud's family. Cloud denied any wrongdoing. But the city's auditors have said that he, at least, had an apparent conflict of interest.
In an interview last month, we asked Cloud what he knew about O'Garro. "I really don't know his business," he said. "I don't know what his business is and what it does."
Cloud told WNPR he didn't interact with O'Garro when it came to the Lewis Street office that O'Garro's company, Hybrid Insurance Group, rented from the Cloud family. "I removed myself from the operations of Lewis Street right before I took the oath of office of treasurer," he said. "So I left all of that operational stuff. I don't collect his check. I don't talk to him. I don't deal with him on a day-to-day basis."
But then there's this. Records obtained from the city include a receipt for an August 2012 stay at the W Hotel in New York City. O'Garro and Cloud were booked as guests in the room, according to the receipt. The reservation appears to have been made and paid for the same night it was used.
In emails to WNPR, Cloud said that the hotel bill was originally paid with a city credit card, and that O'Garro later paid the city back. But what were they doing in New York?
O'Garro won't talk to WNPR. So we asked Cloud if he was in New York on a business trip. In an email, he said, "Yes." We asked him if he would elaborate. He said, "No."
The treasurer referred further questions to his private attorney, John Droney. In an email, Droney confirmed what we already knew: Cloud was in the city on business, and O'Garro reserved a hotel room that was "charged to Adam by mistake."
This leaves two questions. Was it city business that brought Cloud to New York, or some other kind? And how could a private citizen charge a hotel room on the city treasurer's credit card by mistake?
We called Droney to ask. He declined to comment.
One last note. Kevin Rennie writes that O'Garro was arrested on November 7 by state police.