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Whalers and Danbury remain at standstill over debt for services

Talks are still at a standstill over whether the Danbury Whalers will be paying debt owed to the City for fire and police protections at hockey games.  A City Council ad hoc committee found the Whalers in default of financial obligations to the City and recommended that Corporation Counsel, the Finance Director and others do whatever necessary to collect the debt.


The representatives of the Whalers proposed at that meeting paying $600 per game going forward and $13,000 toward the nearly $105,000 debt.  The $13,000 was calculated by taking the 90 games at the $600 reimbursement rate, less the $44,000 previously paid.  At the time of the meeting, the Whalers were presented with an invoice of $1,400 per game for two weekends worth of games. 


Danbury Whalers CEO Herm Sorcher said the team would not make any payments for current fire and police presence until the City agreed to accept $13,000 for the past debt, not including this year's games.  Committee chairwoman Colleen Stanley told the Whalers that the Committee was willing to negotiate on the past due obligation, though advance payments must be made as a sign of good faith.


Fire Marshal James Russell told the ad hoc committee that fire watch is needed at all games to look for locked or broken doors, which he says have been found routinely.  The watchmen are also trained to address other public safety issues such as a shooter and crowd control in an emergency situation.  If attendance is less than 500, the event only requires one Fire Marshal. 


Police Chief Al Baker told the ad hoc committee that events like hockey games require four police officers and one supervisor, due to the size of crowds, past activity and the potential for firearms.

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Rich Valdes

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