ethics

By most accounts, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie passed the leadership challenge posed by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

But the political storm created by the George Washington Bridge scandal is testing him in different ways, fueled by a combination of factors that make it difficult even for a politician as manifestly self-assured as Christie.

Christie will have a promising opportunity Tuesday to move beyond the mess caused by the politically inspired closing of toll lanes on the nation's busiest bridge in his State of the State speech.

Baseball superstar Alex Rodriguez is suing Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association in federal court, trying to overturn a 162-game suspension.

The judge hearing the complaint also agreed to allow the Yankees third baseman and his lawyers to release an unredacted version of the decision handed down by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz.

ESPN reports:

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is going to examine how the state of New Jersey spent $25 million of the federal aid it received after 2012's Hurricane Sandy, Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., has announced.

In the end, Mark Darr had to give in.

Darr, the Republican lieutenant governor of Arkansas, announced Friday that he will resign Feb 1. Earlier this month, he agreed to pay the state ethics commission $11,000 in fines for making personal use of campaign funds and receiving improper expense reimbursements from the state.

Darr called his errors "careless and lazy," but said they were not intentional violations of the law. In a series of interviews with Arkansas news outlets Tuesday, Darr said he would refuse to resign.

A New Jersey State Assembly committee released a trove of documents Friday that shed more light on the bridge lane-closure scandal that is embroiling Republican Gov. Chris Christie's administration. The panel is seeking details on what's seen as an act of political retribution, which targeted the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, N.J. It obtained the documents under a subpoena.

What New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Thursday may have mattered less than how long he took to say it.

With his presidential ambitions and, potentially, his governorship put at risk by a scandal over lane closures on the George Washington Bridge, the Republican Christie fielded dozens of questions from reporters during a midday news conference that lasted nearly two hours.

Mike Priggins and Kyle Reyes / under30ceo.com

It's not getting any better for troubled insurance broker Earl O'Garro. The man at the center of a federal grand jury investigation in Hartford may soon be arrested for not paying his employees. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It’s been one month since State Comptroller Kevin Lembo announced the expansion of Open Connecticut -- an online source for state finances -- to include financial information for Connecticut’s quasi-public agencies and federal programs.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Established in 1965, the Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority has earned its title as the oldest quasi-public agency in our state. Now, it’s one of eleven quasi-public entities in Connecticut, agencies like Connecticut Innovations, Inc.; the Connecticut Development Authority; the Connecticut Lottery Corporation; and the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority -- to name a few. 

After striking a deal with federal prosecutors, JPMorgan Chase has agreed to pay $1.7 billion to the victims of Bernard Madoff's multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

The bank will be criminally charged with two violations of the Bank Secrecy Act and will admit to the violations. But under the agreement, the bank will receive a deferred prosecution.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images News / Thinkstock

Jury selection begins on Tuesday in the trial of Matthew Martoma, a manager for SAC Capital, who's accused of insider trading. It's the latest court action in an investigation of the Connecticut-based hedge fund that has lasted for several years.

Fortnight Journal

There are new questions about the business background of Earl O'Garro -- the insurance broker at the center of a federal grand jury investigation in Hartford. 

In emails obtained from the city of Hartford, it's clear that O'Garro's former employer considered suing him once he left.

Town Of Marlborough

Lawyers for the state are moving to seize property owned by embattled Hartford insurance broker Earl O'Garro, according to the office of the state attorney general.

Courtesy of Chris Meisenkothen

An Italian organization representing victims of asbestos exposure has asked Yale University to rescind an honorary degree awarded to the owner of the company they once worked for.

Heather Brandon / WNPR

Ever since news broke that a federal grand jury was looking into dealings between insurance broker Earl O'Garro and the city of Hartford, there's been a question: How well do O'Garro and city Treasurer Adam Cloud know each other? Now we have a few more answers. 

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

An auditor for the city of Hartford said he has no confidence that the kinds of protocol breaches that got the city treasurer and former finance director in trouble won't happen again.

Ray Hardman / WNPR

In a press conference at the legislative office building in Hartford on Monday, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal called on energy drink companies to stop marketing their product to children through toys bearing the energy drink's logo.

An anti-casino group wants a Massachusetts gaming commissioner to recuse himself from voting on a casino project in Springfield.

   The chairman of Springfield’s anti-casino group, Citizens Against Casino Gaming says state  gaming commissioner Bruce Stebbins should not vote on whether MGM can proceed with an $800 million casino project in downtown Springfield.   Michael Kogut said Stebbins’ previous position with the city makes it impossible for him to be impartial

Fortnight Journal

It turns out that Earl O’Garro, the man at the center of the federal grand jury investigation in Hartford, owes the state a lot more money than we first thought.

A batch of internal documents recently leaked to The Guardian has revealed new insights into the goals and finances of the secretive group called ALEC. The American Legislative Exchange Council is a group that brings together state legislators and representatives of corporations. Together, they develop model bills that lawmakers introduce and try to pass in their state legislatures.

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.   

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.

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.  

Former chemist Annie Dookhan began serving a 3-to-5 year sentence in a Massachusetts prison on Friday after pleading guilty to falsifying tests of drug evidence and helping to create one of the nation's largest drug lab scandals.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley says the state is taking steps to improve forensic testing:

"It is certainly lessons learned," she says. "We hope that we've made changes in the system that will mean this unique case will not happen again in Massachusetts."

State and federal regulators have hailed Tuesday's $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase & Co. over faulty mortgage assets it sold in the years leading up to the financial crisis as a big victory for the judicial system.

But like other big settlements to emerge from the financial crisis, the deal leaves unclear just what the bank did wrong.

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.

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. 

Mark Pazniokas / CT Mirror

We’re less than a year away from the 2014 midterm election, but we’re still wrapping up a major story from the last congressional election. One of the key figures in the Chris Donovan scandal involving illegal campaign contributions was sentenced on Monday.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Another chapter in the political scandal that derailed former House Speaker Chris Donovan’s congressional campaign has come to a close as one of the key figures in the case was sentenced earlier this week. Our weekly political news roundtable The Wheelhouse will discuss this and what the Obamacare delay means for Connecticut. And will Foxwoods get a casino in Massachusetts?

In an agreement settling many U.S. claims over its sale of troubled mortgages, JPMorgan Chase will pay a record $13 billion, in a deal announced by the Justice Department Tuesday. The plan includes a $4 billion payment for consumer relief, along with a payment to investors of more than $6 billion and a large fine.

The latest updates on this story are at the bottom of this post. We've also added a few key points to the main post.

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