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Hartford West Indian Club's Financial Records Subpoenaed

By JEFFREY B. COHEN And STEVEN GOODE | Courant Staff Writers

September 12, 2008

State criminal investigators probing allegations of political corruption at city hall have subpoenaed financial records from the city's West Indian Social Club and its charitable foundation, an attorney for the club confirmed Thursday.

"They are seeking information about deposits made from January 2004 to present date," said Sydney Schulman, the attorney representing the social club and its West Indian Foundation. "My understanding is that it's not related to the club or the foundation at all. It has to do with the ongoing [Hartford] investigation."

For nearly a year, Mayor Eddie A. Perez has been the focus of a state investigatory grand jury which continued hearing testimony Thursday in Superior Court in New Britain. The city's school reconstruction project and no-bid deals for at least one political ally of the mayor have been subjects of the investigators, as has work performed on the homes of city officials by city contractor Carlos Costa, who has done millions of dollars in work in the city remaking Park Street and working in city garages.

In August 2007, investigators searched Perez's home looking for information on roughly $20,000 in kitchen and bathroom work done there in 2006 by Costa. No permits were pulled for the job, and Perez didn't pay the bill until July 2007.

Investigators have also asked about work on a driveway for city employee Edward Lazu who oversaw Costa's contract compliance with minority-hiring regulations on his Park Street work.

And last month, those same investigators searched the home of city Councilwoman Veronica Airey-Wilson looking for information about work Costa did there, too.

Airey-Wilson, a Republican running for state Senate who nearly two decades ago was elected the social club's first female president, has said that she bought the counters at Costa's showroom and that someone from his company installed them.

She has also said that she intended to have more work done, but stopped it before it was finished. She wouldn't say why, or how much she paid Costa for the work. She has said she has "nothing to hide."

The West Indian Social Club was founded in 1950, according to its website; its charitable foundation was formed by the club in 1978.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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