Jury Rules Hartford Was Justified in Firing Ballpark Developer

The City of Hartford is one step closer to ending a saga with the former developer of Dunkin’ Donuts Park.

On Tuesday a jury unanimously ruled the city was justified in firing and ending a development agreement with Centerplan, the company hired to develop Dunkin’ Donuts Park.

Mayor Luke Bronin fired Centerplan in 2016 after they missed their deadline to complete the ballpark.

“There was a lot of people that questioned if that was the right decision. I believe strongly then and I think it was clear today that that was the right decision for the city of Hartford,” he said.

 The developer argued they didn’t finish on time because of last minute changes made by the city. Centerplan sued the City of Hartford for wrongfully terminating its contract, leaving the land around the park in limbo. 

The trial lasted five weeks. As part of the ruling, Centerplan owes $335,000 in damages.

An attorney for Centerplan said they will appeal the decision.

Bronin said with the ruling the city can finally start focusing on developing the area around the ballpark.

“Our goal has always been is to put Centerplan in the past and move forward to develop these,” said Bronin.

While Hartford is hailing Tuesday’s ruling as a homerun, some subcontractors are still suffering from the saga.

Former subcontractor Tim Sullivan was surprised by the jury’s decision.

He believes there was culpability on all sides.

Sullivan’s company was hired by Centerplan to install millwork and do other jobs around the stadium until his work came to a halt, “Unfortunately, some of us either got put out of business or severely impacted by the process not being completed.”

NBC Connecticut Investigates spoke with the carpenter three years ago, in the infancy of the drama.

Now he drives a truck because of how the dispute impacted his livelihood.

“Never been to a game. I won’t go to a game,” he said laughing. “I mean I hope it’s finally successful for the city.”

While he says his wallet could never afford taking his matter to court, Tuesday Hartford collected a long-awaited win.

“We did what we felt was right to protect the city of Hartford and the people of Hartford,” said Bronin.

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