Hartford soccer developers wrote checks to selves with public money, stiffed players

More details are coming out in the case of the convicted embezzler who collected $1.8 million in Hartford city money to help plan a new soccer stadium, and they are exactly as you would expect given how this sentence started:

As unpaid bills piled up at Premier Sports Management Group, leaders of the effort to bring professional soccer to Hartford transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars to themselves and companies they control, leaving the firm with a fraction of the money needed to meet its obligations, records now under investigation show…

Among the transactions under law enforcement investigation are a check for more than $13,000 that Premier Sports President Mitch Anderson wrote to himself for “legal fees” in October as the enterprise collapsed, and a $120,000 bank transfer in August to James Duckett, the owner of Black Diamond Consulting, which merged with Premier Sports months earlier. The bank records include several other five- and six-figure transfers to Anderson, Duckett and others, The Courant has learned.

Duckett, if you’re scoring at home, is the guy with the felony embezzlement conviction on his record, and at this rate he may be headed for another one.

Meanwhile, Hartford City F.C., the new indoor soccer franchise that was supposed to transmogrify into an outdoor soccer franchise through this deal, is now not a soccer franchise at all after the Major Arena Soccer League booted them out for the 2015-16 season. Among those who are being stiffed on payments, according to the Hartford Courant, are several players and a 20-year-old college student who never received her final $410 paycheck. It’s tough to imagine how this scandal could get any worse, but I wouldn’t want to bet against it.


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