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Ex-Dillon Stadium developer gets three years in jail

BY Patricia Daddona

12/7/2017
PHOTO | HBJ File
PHOTO | HBJ File
Mitch Anderson (left) pleaded guilty to money-laundering charges related to a scheme to redevelop Hartford's Dillon Stadium. His business partner TJ Duckett (far right) was found guilty of similar charges. Duckett was sentenced to three years in prison on Wednesday.
Former Dillon Stadium developer James C. Duckett Jr. has been sentenced to three years in prison for his role in a fraud scheme involving a $12 million redevelopment of the Hartford stadium.

In July, Duckett Jr., was found guilty of bilking the city out of more than $1 million as part of a scheme to bring pro soccer to the Capital City. A jury found Duckett guilty of conspiracy, fraud and money laundering offenses stemming from the scheme.

According to the evidence at trial in Hartford federal court, in Sept. 2014, the city of Hartford entered into a professional services agreement with Mitchell Anderson and his company, Premier Sports Management Group (PSMG), to secure a professional soccer team and to develop a new, 9,000 seat facility at the Dillon Stadium. In Feb. 2015, Anderson joined with Duckett, who agreed to be the majority owner of the professional soccer team.

But beginning in March 2015, Duckett and Anderson directed more than $1 million that PSMG received from the city to themselves, PSMG, and other entities not related to the Dillon Stadium project, court records show. Duckett was arrested on June 23, 2016.

The government advocated for a sentence of 60 months of imprisonment, and U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport imposed the 36-month sentence over the government's objection.

Underhill will issue a restitution order after further submissions by the parties, the court said. Released on bond, Duckett must report to prison on Jan. 31.

On Feb. 6, Anderson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, and one count of conducting illegal monetary transactions. He awaits sentencing and has agreed to make restitution in the total amount of $1,134,595.37 to the city of Hartford and two subcontractors of the Dillon Stadium project.

The matter was investigated by the Connecticut Public Corruption Task Force, which includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division.