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City of Hartford fires Centerplan from development around Dunkin’ Donuts Park

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HARTFORD The City of Hartford terminated Centerplan, DoNo Hartford LLC, and the associated entities created to develop the land in and around Dunkin’ Donuts Park Monday.

The office of Hartford’s Mayor Luke A. Bronin, said the city now intends to find developers with the interest and capital to invest in the Downtown North neighborhood.

“Centerplan should never have been chosen to build the ballpark, and their lack of capacity and experience was compounded by a lack of honesty and transparency,” said Mayor Luke Broni in a release.

Bronin said in failing to deliver the ballpark on time, failing to do the work well, and failing to pay numerous subcontractors, Centerplan violated the development agreement that covers the surrounding parcels.

By terminating the Master Development Agreement with Centerplan, Bronin said they hope that they can begin to move forward with finding a strong and capable partner for the next phase of development that is essential to Hartford.

Bronin said the city also filed counterclaims to Centerplan’s lawsuit alleging wrongful termination from the stadium project.

Bronin’s office added:

The city alleges that Centerplan engaged in fraud, both in its inducement of the city to begin the stadium project and its conduct after the project got underway, and civil theft during the course of construction of the stadium.  The city alleges that overall, Centerplan’s fraudulent actions constitute a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.

For example, the city alleges that Centerplan falsely certified that it had paid approximately $8 million to subcontractors in order to collect reimbursement from the Hartford Stadium Authority.  In fact, Centerplan never paid the contractors and vendors – instead paying for its own debt on other projects were unrelated to the city.  Centerplan has maintained that using money that was supposed to pay for the ballpark to pay for other debts is “done all the time” and normal construction practice.  The city alleges that’s fraud, especially when public funds are involved.