SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT TO RESOLVE ALL LITIGATION WITH DONO/CENTERPLAN
Published on October 26, 2023
HARTFORD ANNOUNCES SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT TO RESOLVE ALL LITIGATION WITH DONO/CENTERPLAN AND ALLOW DEVELOPMENT AROUND THE BALLPARK TO MOVE FORWARD
HARTFORD, CONN (October 26, 2023) – Today, Mayor Bronin announced that after more than seven years of litigation, the City of Hartford has reached a settlement agreement that will end litigation between the Centerplan/DoNo and the City of Hartford. In 2016, the City terminated Dono/Centerplan from the baseball park construction project. Dono/Centerplan filed suit seeking $90 million in damages. After a lengthy legal process that included a unanimous jury verdict in favor of the City and a reversal and remand by the State Supreme Court in 2022, a new jury trial would have begun in the Spring of 2024, likely with another lengthy appeals process to follow. The City estimates that that litigation, had it gone forward, would have cost the city between $5 million and $6 million, while potentially preventing development around the ballpark for many years.
As part of this agreement, the City of Hartford plans to authorize, pending approval of the Court of Common Council, a $9.9 million payment to Arch Insurance Company, which had paid $34 million in 2016 and 2017 to finish the baseball stadium. As part of the agreement, Arch will make a payment of $1.8 million to DoNo/Centerplan. Because the City reserved sufficient funds for the settlement from its prior year surplus, the settlement will have no impact on the FY 2024 budget or require the City to draw down any funds from its unassigned fund balance.
“While I remain confident that the City would have prevailed again at another trial, and while I wish the 2019 jury verdict had ended the matter for good, the litigation would have cost many more millions of dollars in legal fees, would have left the city with ongoing risk, and could have prevented development from moving forward for many years," said Mayor Bronin. "This settlement is the responsible thing to do for Hartford, and it’s a clear validation of our decision to terminate Centerplan and call the bond in 2016, because it resolves this litigation for a fraction of what Arch Insurance Company paid to finish the ballpark.”
This settlement resolves the legal proceedings for less than 30% of the $34 million Arch Insurance Company paid to complete the ballpark construction project. Excluding anticipated legal fees, the case is being resolved for less than 15% of what Arch paid to finish the job, and just 4-6% of the damages that DoNo/Centerplan sought. The settlement agreement also means that the City can move forward immediately with development of the parcels around Dunkin' Park that had been frozen by litigation.
"The development around the ballpark will generate tax revenue for the City, reconnect neighborhoods that have long been kept apart by I-84 and the sea of surface parking lots, maintain our economic development momentum, and add hundreds of units of housing as part of the broader mixed-use development," said Mayor Bronin.