Urban League CEO Resigns

Just days before a report on Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez’s corruption case is due, the president of the Urban League of Greater Hartford is calling it quits. 

James E. Willingham Sr., who was the president and C.E.O of the Urban League since 1999, said there was no connection between his resignation and the filing of a grand juror’s report on the Perez Case Monday, the Hartford Courant reports.

Willingham was vice chairman of the six-member committee that voted unanimously in 2001 and selected Diggs Construction out of Kansas to oversee what ended up costing a $1 billion to improve public schools in Hartford.  

“I had no ties to the company," Willingham told the Courant late last year. "I didn't know Diggs before he came to town and I saw it as an opportunity to make a couple of dollars in a bad economy. I didn't see it as a conflict."

The Hartford Courant reports that Willingham declined on Wednesday to expand more on his resignation or the circumstances that might have made him resign. Diggs hired him as a consultant and paid him $15,000. Among other things, he said the consulting arrangement began three or four years after Diggs won the schools contract, the Courant reports.

Lawyers told the Courant that there could be more investigation into the school contract after the report is filed.

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