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Hartford Courant from Hartford, Connecticut • B2

Publication:
Hartford Couranti
Location:
Hartford, Connecticut
Issue Date:
Page:
B2
Extracted Article Text (OCR)

B2 TUESDAY, APRIL 2017 THE HARTFORD COURANT I ONNECTICUT RECORDS IN GRANDFATHER'S DEATH Carman Wants Warrant Sealed CAPITOL mother, Linda Carman, when the boat they were in sank, according to Nathan Carman, during a fishing trip in Long Island Sound last September. Nathan Carman managed to get off his boat, the Chicken Pox, before it went down. He survived for eight days on a raft before he was rescued by a freighter a mile off the coast of Martha's Vineyard. Linda Carman is presumed dead. In July 2014, Windsor police searched Carman's George Street apartment in Middletown looking, according to the warrant, for evidence that could tie him to the unsolved killing of his grandfather John Chakalos, who was shot to death in his home the previous December.

The warrant indicated Nathan Carman was the last known person to see Chakalos alive on Dec. 20, 2013, when the two had dinner. The next morning, one of Chakalos' daughters found the 87-year-old man dead in his home shot three times in the head and torso. The search warrant states that Carman, who was then 20, became a suspect after police interviewed his mother, who told them that her son was supposed to meet her in Glastonbury at 3 that morning to drive to Rhode Island but that he didn't show up. During the search of Carman's apartment on July 18, 2014, police found a Remington tactical shotgun, a rifle scope and several boxes of ammunition, the search warrant states.

The rifle did not match the caliber of the gun used to kill Chakalos, the search warrant says. Authorities confiscated the weapon. In the motion to seal, LaLima wrote that the allegations in the warrant are "extremely serious" and have not been vetted by the court system. "While Mr. Carman has been in the news over the past year, the effect of these articles may fade; in contrast, the continued public nature of this affidavit would allow unsubstantiated, negative rumors to persist or be re-raised at any time," LaLima said.

Nathan Carman has also been under investigation in connection with the condition of his boat. He has not been charged. According to an affidavit insupportof a search warrant for Carman's Vermont house, police sought evidence to support a charge of "operating so as to endanger, resulting in death." The affidavit contains information from witnesses describing mechanical and other issues with the boat before Carman set sail with his mother to go fishing. By DAVE ALTIMARI daltimarcourant.com Nathan Carman, the man rescued at sea last year, is asking a state judge to seal a warrant that reveals he was a suspect in his grandfather's slaying. Windsor police used the warrant to search Carman's former Middletown home looking for the gun used to kill John Chakalos in 2013.

"The facts contained would seriously threaten Mr. Carman's reputation and ability to seek and maintain employment," lawyer Trent A. LaLima wrote in his motion to seal the warrant, which has been widely reported on. "Mr. Carman is a very young man.

These documents, if not sealed, could be discovered by potential employers, business partners, or others, for decades to come." A hearing is schedule for April 20 at Superior Court in Middletown before Judge David Gold on the motion to seal the warrant as well as a court order in which Carman agreed to forfeit for one year a gun found at his apartment during a subsequent search. Carman has been under intense scrutiny by investigators from at least four New England states and the FBI following the disappearance of his CONNECTICUT POLITICS Malloy Asks Legislators To Follow Moody's Caution In a letter to top legislators released Monday, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said that lawmakers must make tough budget decisions because of warnings by Moody's Investors Services. Moody's and other Wall Street bond rating agencies have influence over state deliberations because ratings downgrades mean higher interest rates.

Malloy highlighted the report, telling lawmakers that it "presents a sobering and credible view" of the fiscal problems as Connecticut faces a projected deficit of $1.7 billion in the fiscal year that starts July! "We should be especially mindful of the guidance provided by rating agencies given the very real danger of significant downgrades in the coming year if we do not pass a responsible budget," Malloy wrote. "If we allow Connecticut to lose its investment-grade bond rating this year, it will make our efforts at fiscal recovery and economic development in the years ahead extraordinarily difficult." Christopher Keating Graduation Continued from Page B1 didn't improve in 2016 are white and Asian students; both groups declined slightly. The graduation rate for white students in 2016 was 92.5 percent, and for Asians it was 94.6 percent. Special education students also showed a decline of 0.4 percentage points with 65.2 percent graduating last year. More than a fifth of the special education students, however, are still enrolled in school and might eventually graduate.

The gap in graduation rates between School went from a 54.9 percent graduation rate in 2011-12 to an 80.4 percent rate last year. During the same period, Wilby High School in Waterbury went from a 63.1 percent rate to 78.1 percent and Hartford Public High School Law and Government Academy went from 47.4 percent rate to 65.5 percent Schools showing notable declines in the same period included Hartford's Culinary Arts Academy which slipped from a 65.2 percent rate to 52.5 percent; Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford which dropped from a 97 percent rate to an 85.7 rate; and Bridgeport's Harding High School, which went from a 66.1 percent rate to 56.9. female and male students, meanwhile, appears to be widening with girls graduating at a 90.6 percent rate up 0.5 percentage points from the previous year while boys graduated at a rate of 84.3 percent a decline of 0.1 percentage points. The rate for students learning to speak English also went up slightly by 0.6 percentage points to 67.3 percent, as did the rate for students who are eligible for a free lunch up LI percentage points to 74.4 percent. Wentzell said the five-year improvement for the 30 lowest-performing school districts showed gains, increasing from 7L2 percent in 2011 to 78.3 percent in 2016.

And the state's Opportunity Districts the 10 lowest-performing districts in the state went up 9.4 percentage points over the last six years, to 73 percent last year. "That's a big deal," Wentzell said of the increase at the struggling school districts. She attributed the improvements to a myriad of efforts through the state's Alliance District program that provides additional funding and attention to low-performing districts. Most of the graduation rates in high schools around the state went up or down by a small number of percentage points in recent years, but there were some that showed substantial improvement or decline. In New Haven, James Hillhouse High value, the manipulators sold, or dumped, their holdings, at a profit When the stock prices collapsed, the unwitting investors lost everything.

Meissenn has pleaded guilty to tax and fraud charges. His prosecution has been postponed while an investigation continues. Additional arrests are expected. Brinson is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday. He has said he deserves less than a year in prison because he was tricked into committing crimes, has a history of good deeds and is a veteran.

Prosecutors have asked for a "significant term of imprisonment." "The defendant's wrongdoing was a daily, sustained course of misconduct that spanned nearly six years and involved hundreds of separate transactions," Perry wrote. Prosecutors said one retired 72 -year-old victim of a stock swindle had to return to work as a school bus driver. An 84-year-old lost the money he planned to use to join an assisted living home. Other victims lost educational savings for grandchildren. Brinson, now 37, was struggling with his one-man law office in about 2010 when he met Meissenn.

At the time, Brinson portrayed himself as a Hartford success story. He survived his violent North End neighborhood, became a professional and was contemplating a political career. In 2010, he won a Hartford council seat, but failed to become secretary of the state. Meissenn hired Brinson for real estate Brinson was not involved in most of the stock sales rigged by Meissenn and others, prosecutors said. But when investors bought stock directly from the issuing companies, they mailed checks to Brinson's law office, where prosecutors said the money was deposited in the firm's trust account and stolen.

"Although unsuspecting investors frequently sent the defendant money earmarked for the purchase of stock, virtually none of that money went to the issuing companies," Perry wrote. "Instead, Mr. Meissenn and others directed Brinson to distribute nearly all the money to relatives, associates, and shell companies associated with, or under the control of Mr. Meissenn and his co-conspirators." Prosecutors said the swindlers laundered about $4.4 million through Brinson's law firm and he knew that at least $3.04 million of that had been stolen from unsophisticated investors. Brinson is accused of transferring money from the trust account to a dozen or so shell companies controlled by Meissenn and others.

Two hundred withdrawals worth more than $500,000 were for Meissenn alone, prosecutors said. They said one of those $189,500 paid for renovations to a striking Victorian home purchased in the name of a Meissenn relative in Suffield. Brinson also wired $22,000 to Classic Vehicle, a limited liability corporation he and Meissenn control. Brinson Continued from Page B1 one of the conspirators, Christian Meis-senn, and listening as Meissenn used an alias to gull a retiree out of his savings. "Mr.

Brinson describes himself as assistant U.S. Attorney Avi Perry wrote, "but he is no naif." "He participated in the scheme for nearly six years, or roughly half his legal career," Perry wrote. "In that time, he laundered more than $3 million in funds stolen from investors. He did so by flagrantly misusing the tools and trappings of his trade his standing as an attorney, his trust account, his opinion letters, and his Hartford law office where he leased space to Mr. Meissenn." Over about six years, Brinson collected at least $200,000 for his role in a conspiracy that manipulated stock prices in what are known as pump-and-dump schemes.

The government claims Meissenn was running the swindles from Brinson's offices in the Travelers Tower. Typically, Meissenn and his associates acquired blocks of stock in essentially worthless companies and used bogus trades, phony announcements and other fraudulent means to inflate the share price. After persuading unwitting investors to buy on what was pitched as a continuing rise in work in Bloomfield. Not long after, Brinson was working for the swindlers and collecting 5 percent of the millions in crooked stock profits that he allowed Meissenn and the others to launder through his law firm trust account. Prosecutors said others in the stock scheme collected far more than Brinson.

Federal prosecutors described Brinson as a nominal "securities counsel" for the swindlers. "Because Mr. Brinson apparently had no knowledge of securities law, his position entailed no real work," Perry wrote. One of his duties was to write opinion letters certifying the legitimacy of stock offerings or clearing stock for unrestricted trading. Within a year, prosecutors said, one of the associates had become so dissatisfied with Brinson's letter writing that with Brinson's approval the associate began writing the letters himself and forging Brinson's signature.

In April 2011, after reviewing a Brinson draft, the associate fired an email to Brinson complaining, "It's totally wrong. Send me the word file so I can change it." After making revisions, the associate replied to Brinson with a copy and wrote, "Here it is do I have your permission to file?" Brinson, en route to Martha's Vineyard, responded on his BlackBerry, "Yes do you need my signature?" "No," the associate replied, "I copied and pasted Haar Under the bill, the state could reject Millstone's bid price. And the sale would ensure the stable operation of Millstone for years to come, averting the risk that the two reactors would retire before their licenses expire in 2035 and 2045. Sounds reasonable. But this idea, which won a strong majority in the legislature's energy committee, isn't a fly.

It's a scorpion. Millstone claims ratepayers would save money. Its opponents led by, you guessed it, the owners of the big gas-powered plants say it would cost ratepayers more because we'd have to pay a premium over the wholesale price. Experts on the complex power markets can't say whether ratepayers would win or lose. It could go either way and it is impossible to predict in advance.

This much we do know: Connecticut's battered ratepayers, who shell out the highest prices in the continental United States on average, have no reason to take on the risk of a long-term Millstone contract, a possible millstone. "We're fearful they'll have no competition," said Jim Ginnetti of Dynegy, which owns power plants in Killingly and Mil-ford. "It would just be overpriced energy." The New England regional grid has plenty of protections against an early plant retirement, which would require at least a four-year notice by Dominion. Besides, as the market rules stand right now, Eversource or UI could buy long-term power contracts from Millstone or anyone else if they so desired. But of all the arguments against the special auction, the best comes from Dominion itself.

Back in 2007, Millstone was making money at chain-reaction volumes. Under the rules, to oversimplify, every generator collects more or less the same price for a megawatt-hour, based on the "clearing price" that's determined by supply and demand. Millstone, humming along, was the big winner in a time of high oil and gas prices and insufficient generation. Richard Blumenthal, then the state attorney general, was hopping mad. He calculated that Millstone and one smaller coal plant in Bridgeport were making $806 million a year in excess profits above the 20 percent level that seemed reasonable.

He led the charge for either a windfall profits tax, or a rule to make Millstone collect money based on its actual costs, or both. Millstone executives scoffed. Let the market sort out the winners and losers without meddling from the state, they said. "These one-sie, two-sie ideas are just going to damage the market here," said Daniel Weekley, then director of Northeast government affairs for Dominion, in January 2007, referring to which companies would be taxed. "I can't imagine a situation that would raise customers' rates quicker," said Week-ley, now a Dominion vice president.

Dominion spokesman Kevin Hennessy doesn't see the irony of the company's request for help now. "The market is not being bent to accommodate us," Hennessy said this week, because the bill authorizes the state-run auction, it doesn't mandate it Lots of generators are eligible for state auctions, he said, including gas-powered plants. True, the legislature and governor did authorize auctions for gas-generated power in 2015, for the purpose of raising money to pay for regional gas pipelines. No such auctions have happened, but the point is, that plan like the auctions for renewable power envisions a broader social good that the market can't deliver. The only social good in a nuclear auction would be keeping Millstone open, with its 1,500 employees and contractors.

That's important, and some perfectly good nukes have shuttered because of market forces, including one owned by Dominion in Wisconsin. But before a shutdown could happen, ISO New England, the regional system operator, would be able to offer Millstone a special rate as an incentive to keep the fuel rods hot Customers in all six states, not just Connecticut, would share the cost. Rep. Lonnie Reed, D-Branford, the energy committee co-chairwoman, said the bill isn't a subsidy. "I didn't come in all ginned up to do a nuke bill," said Reed, a former CBS News reporter who covered nuclear power.

"We're going to create a transitional, rational plan." Good thought, not necessary unless we want to move to a state-run auction for every generator as a way to control retail prices. The opposition group issued a report last week claiming to show that Millstone's profits remain very high and that the auctions would cost ratepayers hugely. Hennessy shot back that the report made bad assumptions. Good debate, not necessary. Millstone is making money.

How about we let the market do its thing? Continued from Page Bl wants special treatment. Some of us who recall the years leading into the 2008-10 recession, when Millstone was making profits too big to meter, find the request ironic. More on that in a minute; first, let's get to the favor. Natural gas prices have come way down due to fracking fields. Old, inefficient oil-fired plants have gone the way of the scrap heap.

Those and other trends mean wholesale power prices are down, lowering the take for Millstone, which generally sells its power to bundlers such as hedge funds and investment banks. The bundlers, in turn, sell it to utilities such as Eversource and United Illuminating. So Dominion approached the General Assembly. Instead of making us bid into the wholesale market like most of the other big power plants, why not create a state-run auction for our power? That would give us a chance to win long-term contracts with utilities. Under the bill, the state would run the auction the way it runs bidding for producers of renewable power such as solar, wind, river dams and biofuels.

Those generators can't compete on the market based on price, but bring a social good. Millstone would be the only bidder at these auctions, but let's not worry about that Connecticut ratepayers would gain full access to all that cheap, nuclear power without the middlemen of Wall Street..

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