HARTFORD -- "There was no way baseball was going to be played this year" under the current contract, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said Monday during a press conference regarding Dunkin Donuts Park, the future home of the Hartford Yard Goats baseball team.
"We are, as of today, terminating DoNo Hartford LLC and Centerplan from the stadium project." Mayor Bronin said.
The Hartford Stadium Authority, including Bronin, is cutting ties with the stadium developer DoNo Hartford LLC and its construction company, Centerplan.
As of Friday, DoNo and Centerplan told the Stadium Authority it would be another 60 days before the park would be code compliant and ready for inspection, Bronin said. At that point "we lost faith," he added.
"It's a drastic move, no question, but it's the only move we could make to protect the interests of the city," said I. Charles Mathews, chairman of the Hartford Stadium Authority.
While the Yard Goats were originally supposed to play their first home game in April, then delayed until mid-May, the team has been playing at Norwich's Dodd Stadium as construction delays are worked through. Now, it's highly unlikely the team will get to throw a pitch in Hartford this season.
"We're angry," said Josh Solomon, owner of the Yard Goats. "I think we stand with the city and the stadium authority but we're incredibly disappointed in the broken promises and the lack of professionalism and execution on the part of Centerplan."
Last month, the Hartford Stadium Authority unanimously decided to file a claim with the developers insurance company for the value of the stadium. The passage of the resolution is also a symbolic vote of no-confidence in the developer's ability to get the job done. That puts the responsibility on the insurance company to get the project finished and handle any cost overruns.
Meanwhile the manager for DoNo Hartford LLC, Jason Rudnick, called a press conference shortly after the announcement from Bronin blasting city officials.
"Old administration, new administration, same administration," said Rudnick, alluding to problems with the prior Hartford leadership of Pedro Segarra, whose administration approved the ball park. "They both have problems. The bottom line is that from the very beginning of this process, it's been mangled and there's been issues.
Rudnick claimed "hundreds" of late requests from the city which added to costs and delayed construction. "What do we get for that?," He said. "Being honest and transparent? We get terminated."
Rudnick said he was not informed of the city's decision until the Monday afternoon press conference was called by city leaders. He went on to claim there wasn't enough transparency in the process and there was more to what was going on than what was being announced by city officials.
Bronin dismissed Rudnick's claims that the city had a role to play in the delays. "There were a number of things that our inspectors found that were not done right, that were not done to code and the idea that us notifying them that they are not building a code compliant building as the cause of the problem is patently absurd," said Bronin.
Meanwhile Hartford Police have secured the building and locked all the gates to the stadium.