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City Treasurer's Family Moves To Evict Firm At Center Of Insurance Controversy [The Hartford Courant]

By Jenna Carlesso and Vanessa De La Torre, The Hartford Courant
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Oct. 31--HARTFORD -- The family of City Treasurer Adam Cloud has moved to evict Hybrid Insurance Group -- the business at the center of a Hartford controversy -- from their building at 30 Lewis St.

Sanford "Sandy" Cloud Jr. said he gave the state notice that he would evict the company, which did not pay its October rent. A 60-day notification is required because Hybrid received a $100,000 loan and $26,320 matching grant through Connecticut's Small Business Express program to move the company from Windsor to Hartford in 2012. Cloud and his sons, Adam and Christopher Cloud, own the Lewis Street building.

Hybrid and its chief executive officer, Earl O'Garro Jr., are being investigated for allegedly failing to pay $670,000 in premiums to two of the city's insurance carriers. Federal authorities last week notified O'Garro that he is a target of a grand jury investigation, a source told the Courant.

O'Garro, 30, is also the subject of a probe by the state insurance and labor departments.

Sanford Cloud said a state marshal on Wednesday served Hybrid with a notice to quit. O'Garro has until Nov. 4 to pay rent or vacate, he said.

O'Garro had a three-year lease with the Clouds that began in January 2012. Records show O'Garro put down a security deposit of $7,650 for the space and paid $7,650 for his first month's rent.

Hybrid defaulted on the relocation loan and owes $105,792.46, including $73,858 for the loan principal and $26,320 to repay the state grant, according to the state Department of Economic and Community Development.

O'Garro could not be reached for comment.

A memo by the Hartford schools department stated that $669,997 in insurance premiums has been unaccounted for since Adam Cloud's office wired the money to Hybrid on July 18. John Griffin, the city's director of risk management, filed a complaint with the state's insurance regulator on Sept. 19, alleging that Hybrid never paid the premiums to insurance carriers Starr Indemnity and National Casualty.

The city's excess liability coverage remains in place, city officials have said.

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The schools memo said that the city's "standard operating protocols" were apparently violated in the wire transfer to Hybrid and that "there may be a conflict of interest" involving Cloud.

Cloud has denied that a personal relationship had anything to do with the city's hiring of Hybrid, saying the company was recommended by an insurance agent, Wentworth DeAngelis & Kaufman Inc. He said he passed along that recommendation to the city, but had no oversight in hiring Hybrid.

The city's internal audit commission said earlier this month that it found no criminal or fraudulent activity on the part of Cloud or former Finance Director Molleda with regard to the wire transfer.

___

(c)2013 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)

Visit The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.) at www.courant.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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