The Hartford Yard Goats are slated to finally play ball at Dunkin Donuts Park in April, but the construction of the stadium has been so problematic that now the FBI has stepped to investigate.
Opening day at Dunkin Donuts Park is just weeks away, but after all the headaches surrounding the construction, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin knows better than to brag.
“Until that first pitch is thrown out, I’m not hanging any banners that say mission accomplished, but we think they’ve been making some very good progress,” Bronin said.
Sources say the FBI is looking into how Centerplan paid subcontractors, and that some subcontractors at the stadium were not paid, even though the city paid Centerplan.
Mayor Bronin heard the same complaint.
“We started hearing from a lot of subcontractors that told us that despite the fact that they had performed the work despite, the fact that the city confirmed the work was done and paid for, the work Centerplan didn't pay that money to their subcontractors which they were obligated to do,” Bronin said. “I believe in accountability so if turns out Centerplan did something that violated the law then I believe they should be held accountable.”
Mayor Bronin stresses the investigation is not focused on the city, but one Hartford council member has drafted a resolution designed to distance the city from Dunkin Donuts Park.
“The taxpayers are being put at risk to build a ballpark whose future we do not know yet,” said Hartford City Councilor Larry Deutsch.
He believes building the stadium was a lousy idea from the start, and he believes city leaders should try to sell Dunkin Donuts Park to ease the financial burden on city residents.
“It's very much worth taking a swing and having the public give their opinion,” Deutsch said.
Bronin said he disagrees and admits the plan was messy but at this point, city leaders need to play the hand that's been dealt.
“What we're focused on is getting that stadium done, making sure that we've done everything along the way to protect tax payers and getting baseball played and getting that broader development around it,” Bronin said.
Centerplan did not respond to a request for comment.
According to the state judicial website, the company is involved in a number of lawsuits.
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