More Troubles For Storied Hartford-Area Basketball Tournament

For roughly two decades, the Greater Hartford Pro-Am has given local high school, college, and pro basketball players opportunities to play in summer tournaments.

However, NBC Connecticut Investigates has learned that financial woes have kept the tournament out of the city of Hartford this year.

At a July audit commission meeting, Hartford auditors noted the Greater Hartford Pro-Am basketball tournament still owed Hartford Public Schools over $40,000 from 2018 expenses and the city of Hartford another $20,000.

Efforts to collect the money, the audit said, have been unsuccessful and it’s not the first time this has happened.

Founder of the Greater Hartford Pro-Am tournament Peter Higgins admitted to NBC Connecticut Investigates that he has had trouble coming up with the funds to pay Hartford for using its gym facilities.

Higgins said because the Pro-Am is an NCAA sponsored organization, the Pro-Am is not allowed to charge for tickets or raffles and has relied upon sponsorships to pay referees, security guards and custodial fees.

The Pro-Am has since moved to New Britain due to what it calls high and in Higgins’ words, unexpected costs in Hartford.

But Hartford Public Schools said this has to do with something else, explaining that since so much is owed from last year, the Pro-Am was not asked to come back to the city’s facilities this summer.

A schools spokesperson explained "services were provided and are expected to be paid for,” but the district did not say how it expects to recover those funds.

Higgins said he hopes to bring the Pro-Am back to the Hartford area in the future.

For now, the program has moved to New Britain, where Higgins said the costs have been more bearable. He did not say how much they are.

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