October 20, 2005

Kelo Update: As New London Turns (102005)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:25 pm

Thursday’s Drama Unfolds:
(link requires registration immediately, and a subscription within a few days)

Governor Jodi Rell has told the New London City Council to cancel its planned divorce from the New London Development Corporation (NLDC). Council has agreed to rescind the divorce:

Hartford – Bowing to pressure from state officials, the New London City Council will rescind its motions severing ties with the New London Development Corp.

In a meeting at the headquarters of the Department of Economic and Community Development, Mayor Jane L. Glover said the council would convene a special meeting tomorrow to formally repeal its vote of Monday night, when councilors unanimously voted to terminate the NLDC’s control over the Fort Trumbull project amid discord over the agency’s failure to keep the city apprised of its actions.

State officials, taken aback by the move, immediately asked the city to reconsider, and apparently offered new assurances that the state supports the city in its effort to force a change in the NLDC’s leadership.

The council will back off its earlier motion, city law director Thomas J. Londregan said, “with the expectation that the concerns and demands and regrets of the city will be addressed.”

Concern? Demands? Regrets? NEW LEADERSHIP? Oh my.

It turns out that Governor Rell’s messengers are expecting a personality transplant at NLDC as a condition of reconciliation:

State officials have consistently declined to directly address the city’s most pointed demand – that NLDC President Michael Joplin and chief operating officer David M. Goebel must step aside.

But on Thursday, they threw themselves firmly behind the city in its dispute with the agency.

“We’re not going to say what they need to do,” said James F. Abromaitis, the DECD commissioner. “I think it was obviously clear today that they need to change the way they do business, and I think a component of that probably can and should be a leadership change.”

Meanwhile, the Grand Overseer, whose allegedly handpicked and/or influenced executives at NLDC appear to be in jeopardy, stews on the sidelines:

The redevelopment project, part of a package of improvements conceived in conjunction with Pfizer Inc., which built a research complex on an adjoining parcel, has been paid for almost entirely with $73 million in state bond funds.

Stay tuned for the next installment of “As New London Turns.”

Oct. 22 Update: On Friday, The Council rescinded its decision to sever ties with NLDC. There’s no word on whether the personality change requested at NLDC will take place.

Oct. 22 Update 2: Will Brady has more pictures of the affected area, and that, as far as “The Big Drug Lord” is concerned, “Pfizer executives and state economic development officials were discussing the company’s plans, not just for a new research facility but for the surrounding neighborhood as well” (contrary to claims of non-involvement by Pfizer representatives this year).

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