Crisis at Connecticut Innovations as State Agency Runs Out of Money for Entrepreneurs.
The cupboard is bare for dynamic innovators in Connecticut. Connecticut Innovations, the 25 year old quasi-pubic agency, is out of money for applicants, Daily Ructions can report. CI, which describes itself as “the leading source of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut innovative, growing companies” has become a model of Malloy administration mismanagement. The agency has run through its most recent bond appropriation and does not expect to see the public spigot re-opened until after the November election.
CI can no longer claim that it “proudly serves great Connecticut companies, no matter what stage of growth they’re in.” Applicants have been told not to expect funding until 2015, as CI abandons its mission. There was $100 million on offer to build a heliport for a thriving Fairfield County hedge fund but nothing for budding innovators.
The fiasco at CI will prove an embarrassment for CI board member and State Treasurer Denise Nappier as she struggles to make a coherent argument for re-election to a fifth term. Malloy’s commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, Catherine Smith, is also on the CI board. Smith’s agency oversaw the shoveling of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, now lost, to former Hartford and Katmandu insurance agent Earl O’Garro.
Sources tell Daily Ructions that CI is a somber place where office morale is low. No need to worry about short-term employee prospects. There’s enough money to pay everyone. That includes political hire Leslie Larson, wife of the Democratic congressman. Larson was hired over 199 other applicants in 2012 because, as one gushing reference noted, Claire Leonardi, head of CI, “loves Leslie.”
Connecticut lost 3,600 jobs in August.