Dillon Stadium in Hartford was supposed to get a massive makeover, but the project is hitting a major snag.
The stadium is in need of some serious repair, as the paint is coming off of a building and the gates are rusted.
“We need more places for our kids to play games,” Wooden said.
City Council President Shawn Wooden said he believes the man entrusted with overseeing the renovations should be fired.
The stadium was supposed to look like a brand new 15,000 seat facility, with four locker rooms, a training facility and executive seats.
Wooden said that under the direction of the city’s Development Services Director Thomas Deller, the city hired James Duckett, CEO of Premier Sports Management Group.
The consultant was supposed to develop a plan to recruit a minor league soccer team to play at the stadium.
Wooden said the firm started partnering with Black Diamond Consulting Group, but he hasn’t seen documents.
It was after the city paid Duckett about $1.8 million that the city realized something was wrong.
The city said it was unaware that the company Duckett worked for merged with another.
“Some of the invoices looked like expenditures (that) we should not be billed for as a city. One invoice referred to indoor soccer engineering services,” Wooden said.
Then, Wooden said there is the CEO’s criminal history. He said he didn’t find out about the alleged embezzlement conviction until after the deal was signed.
“I think the ball was dropped at a few places but clearly at development services, this should have been vetted,” Wooden said.
Now, Wooden is asking Segarra to fire Deller for not disclosing Duckett’s criminal history and not catching discrepancies with how the city was billed.
The mayor’s spokesperson said in a statement to Wooden, “It is premature to take any personnel action without having all the facts. Moreover, as you know, it may expose the City to civil liability. While I am very disturbed at some the facts that have emerged thus far, I strongly believe that we need to give those who are responsible for investigating these transactions and processes time to provide an analysis of what has transpired.”
Wooden said he hopes the stadium will still somehow get renovated.
Police said they have a fraud detective looking into the matter.
They have notified the state’s attorney’s office as well.
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