A court has disclosed bank records from the developer of a former Dillon Stadium initative, marking a turn in the case between the City of Hartford and the company.
The City of Hartford was previously working with Black Diamond Consulting and its subsidiary, Premier Sports Management Group, on an overhaul Dillon Stadium. This project was done with the ambition of turning the 1930’s-era facility into a modern soccer stadium that could host an NASL franchise.
In October 2015, Hartford backed out of the plan, a move that came after The Hartford Courant reported on previous legal problems for Black Diamond CEO James Duckett. The city is now in court against Premier Sports Management Group, with a lawsuit filed in April that alleged that city funds were illegally pocketed by the developers. In June, Duckett and Mitchell Anderson were indicted on federal charges that included allegations that they participated in a conspiracy to defraud Hartford and project subcontractors.
Court documents disclosed in the lawsuit between Hartford and Premier show expenses that have come under suspicion, including Tim McGraw concert tickets, purchases at a country club in New Hampshire, and charges at a resort in New Jersey. More from The Hartford Courant:
In one of at least three civil lawsuits against Premier, city officials are seeking the return of more than $700,000 paid to the stadium developers for work that was never performed.
No more than $170,000 of that money remains. And records show that Premier Sports employees, including Anderson, ran up a series of debit card charges and transferred large sums to the firm’s principals, steadily draining Premier’s bank accounts, even as contractors, soccer players, and later, officials at city hall, sought payment.
The expenses include flights on Lufthansa airlines totaling $1,627, McGraw concert tickets for $286, more than $100 in purchases at a country club and golf pro shop in New Hampshire and several domestic airline charges that combined exceed $2,500.
The records also show a $780 charge in early July 2015 for a stay at the Seaview resort near Atlantic City, N.J., a venue that includes a golf club and spa. On the same day, a $138 purchase was made at Clancy’s by the Sea, a waterfront restaurant in Ocean City, N.J.
Although Premier had general business expenses in Connecticut and is known to have recruited players from London and New York, there is no public record of the company having business dealings in New Jersey or New Hampshire.
The contract between Hartford and Premier called for the Dillon Stadium to be demolished, clearing the way for a modern $12 million, 15,000-seat soccer stadium. In response to the Courant, Duckett denied having access to Premier’s accounts while neither Anderson nor his attorney returned requests for comment.
Rendering from Quisenberry Arcari Architects.