Friday, March 25, 2005

A Questionable Police Force regarding Ethics Investigating Ehtics

The UCONN Scam Posted by Hello The University of Connecticut opened the new Hilltop Apartments in 2001. (PATRICK RAYCRAFT) Mar. 25, 2005
-->Copyright 2005,
Hartford Courant


Troop C, Tolland, Connecticut State Police overseas one of the
heaviest ticketed stretches of section of roads in the nation. It’s not about
the law it’s about the dollar and retribution against those who dare complain.

That particular force deserves the
label, ‘Armed Revenue Collectors’ not police or law enforcement, as I know they
do as little of that as possible.

Someone didn’t make their bribe payment or pissed off someone full
of themselves for this latest Grand Standing to take place. How, now, over some
investigation, the Connecticut State Police can paint themselves as Lilly White
in a sea of sleaze they have been swimming in for centuries, I just can’t
imagine, but people in Connecticut have a history of being either gullible until
is too late, or part of the SleazeFest.

Probe's Focus: UConn Deals Officials Consider Building Problems, Contract Missteps
March 25, 2005

By GRACE E. MERRITT And DAVE ALTIMARI, Hartford Courant Staff Writers

STORRS -- State police have launched an investigation into how the University of Connecticut has awarded up to $1 billion worth of building projects and whether some of its contractors "cut corners" during construction, leading to safety and fire code violations.

Many of the projects under review are part of UConn 2000, the legislatively approved building program that virtually gave the university carte blanche to choose contractors and manage projects with no state oversight.

But now there are questions about whom the university chose to do some of those projects, how they were carried out and whether anyone was watching what contractors were doing.

Specifically, state police are investigating whether contractors knowingly violated fire and building codes. More than 100 violations were discovered recently in three new dormitory complexes.

"We are looking into whether it was done purposefully, whether someone knowingly made that decision or was it just a mistake," said John Blaschik, deputy state fire marshal.

Sources said that part of the investigation centers on whether contractors charged the university full price for certain materials and then installed less costly materials that don't meet code standards.

Blaschik said the investigation was spurred by safety-code violations found at the dormitory complexes and has been going for at least two weeks. A detective assigned to the fire, building and emergency services division of the Department of Public Safety has been reviewing documents and interviewing university employees.

Sources said the investigation is about to be expanded, with detectives being assigned to help interview contractors, subcontractors and current and former university officials and employees.

Asked about the investigation, UConn spokeswoman Karen Grava said: "To the degree that there is any information-gathering occurring, the university is fully cooperating.

"UConn has come under increased scrutiny after The Courant reported that the dormitory safety violations will cost the university at least $15 million to correct.

The complexes are among more than 70 construction projects worth more than $1 million each that the university has completed through the authority of UConn 2000.

UConn 2000, approved by the legislature in 1995, gives the university nearly unprecedented authority to manage $1 billion in construction projects at Storrs and satellite campuses. In 2002, the legislature extended the program by 10 years, adding $1.3 billion for construction.

In addition to the safety violations and the state police investigation, a report by state auditors released last month is highly critical of how the university has awarded the contracts.

The auditors claim that UConn has designed a system that has all but eliminated competitive, open bidding for contracts.

The process has raised eyebrows among in-state construction companies that have seen companies from Alabama, Colorado and Illinois walk off with a large share of the UConn 2000 money.

The auditors found:

No evidence as to why or how construction companies were chosen for

A lack of clearly established budgets to which the university adhered.

A lack of a centralized and standardized record-keeping system.

That UConn selected contractors before the project design details were

Auditors also questioned whether university officials skirted state statutes when they hired an Alabama company to build Husky Village, dormitories that house primarily fraternities and sororities, at a cost of $12 million.

The auditors claimed that the Husky Village project was not on the original list of construction projects to be funded using UConn 2000 money. The UConn 2000 statute specifically requires the university to go back to the legislature and the board of trustees to add any projects to the original list.

University officials denied the allegation in their response to the auditors' report, claiming Husky Village was just an extension of an already approved project, the renovation of the Towers dormitory complex.

But the auditors pointed out that Husky Village is several hundred yards from the Towers and is a cluster of new buildings, not renovations to existing ones.In its response, UConn disagreed with the auditor's criticism of the bidding process. UConn said it selects contractors by first pre-qualifying them and then running a competitive selection process.

The process, UConn said, increases the probability of a successful, on-time and on-budget project.

Grava pointed out that UConn just won a national award for the method it uses to hire architects and engineers to design new buildings and renovations.

State Auditor Kevin P. Johnston said that when legislators originally approved UConn 2000 in 1995, they wanted to give university officials flexibility when it came to building on campus, rather than have all the projects fall under the control of the state Department of Public Works.

"You can't give them this kind of flexibility and not expect problems," Johnston said.

"We don't think anybody has been watching what they've been doing out there."

The problems at the Hilltop apartments were first discovered last summer when carbon monoxide released from water heaters started to build up in a couple of apartments.

UConn says it plans to take legal action to recover the cost of the corrective work from the contractor, Capstone Development of Birmingham, Ala.

Jimmy Goodson, the head of Capstone's northeast office, said Capstone disputes the cost estimate and the extent of the problems.

Capstone has been negotiating with UConn to try to reach a "meeting of the minds," he said.

Goodson was surprised to hear about the police investigation.

"I really have not heard anything and we have not been contacted," he said.

In addition to the water heater problem, engineering consultants hired by UConn also found damaged roofs, inadequate venting systems and fire code violations at the three dormitory complexes.

For the most part, UConn has relied on its construction management company, Bechtel/Fusco, as well as the architect and contractors to certify that the buildings were properly designed and built to meet codes.

The buildings were inspected by UConn project managers and a code compliance employee. Buildings over four stories tall, however, were subject to inspection by the state building inspector.

Legislators, reacting to news of the safety violations, are now considering a bill that would require all newly constructed state-owned residential buildings with a minimum occupancy of 25 to be inspected by the state.

State Building Inspector Chris Laux declined to comment on the state police investigation. However, he said UConn failed to notify his office of a couple of projects under his jurisdiction.

Grava declined to comment on Laux's allegations.

Laux said his office is now helping the university try to address some of the problems.

UConn, meanwhile, last month announced that it would create an independent office with two building inspectors and three fire officials to inspect all new campus construction.

A discussion of this story with Courant Staff Writer Dave Altimari is scheduled to be shown on New England Cable News each hour today between 9 a.m. and noon.

The above came from the Hartford Courant website.

Fair use of copyrighted material

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My email to incoming Gov. Rell of Connecticut regarding Rowland and corruption

How can there not still be sleaze in the Connecticut Governor’s Office, if former Rowland aids are answering Rell’s phones? (post)

Can cops rape, rob, beat, and murder with immunity?
(post contains pictures of young adults brutalized by police, and picture of a 1978 Chevrolet Corvette and one of the houses I fixed up from a boarded up condition)

This blogger's email:

* * * *

Names named, criminals in Stafford Springs, Connecticut, reported but nothing is done by the armed revenue collectors and the money collecting, not criminal correcting, court system


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