Skip to main content

Hartford Housing Authority investigation records

Identifier: RG003_HHA

Scope and Content

The records consist of interviews; summonses; police material including reports and notebooks; correspondence; Hartford Housing Authority material; financial records including bank statements and cancelled checks, incorporation papers and tax returns; and newspaper clippings.


  • circa 1940-1951

Language of Materials

The records are in English.

Restrictions on Access

These records are stored at an off-site facility and therefore may not be available on a same-day basis.

See the Rules and Procedures for Researchers Using Archival Records and Secured Collections policy.

Historical Note

The one man grand jury was the final stage of an investigation of the Hartford Housing Authority that began in 1950. In February, the Hartford Courant began publishing articles by reporter Gerald L. Demeusy about the Hartford Housing Authority and the conditions of the housing projects. Demeusy documented that trouble that large families had in getting a place in the housing projects. He learned that purchasing furniture from a certain store would constitute enough criteria to approve an application for housing. These exposes led the Hartford City Council to request that City Manager Carleton Sharpe conduct an investigation into the allegations against the HHA. Sharpe appointed a seven person Housing Board of Inquiry in April 1951. In late May, the Board began public hearings at which officials and employees of the HHA were questioned. It learned that individual members of the commission determined whose application for housing in the projects was approved, that its financial housekeeping was unprofessional and that contracts were given to only one architectural firm. In June 1951, before the Board ended its investigation, the Hartford Housing Authority Commission resigned en masse. This resulted in the termination of the investigation by the Housing Board of Inquiry. The Board submitted its report to the City Manager, citing the need for a "competent executive director" and a "trained staff" at the Hartford Housing Authority. Sharpe appointed four members of the Board of Inquiry to the Authority's commission.

However, serious questions about possible criminal behavior remained unanswered. For a couple weeks, Chief State's Attorney Albert S. Bill conducted an investigation with the assistance of the State Police. Governor John Davis Lodge recommended to Bill that he ask Hartford Superior Court Judge Thomas J. Molloy for the appointment of a one man grand jury to investigate the issues raised by the City of Hartford's inquiry. Molloy appointed the newly retired former Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court, William H. Maltbie, as a one man grand jury to "determine whether or not there is probable cause to believe that a crime or crimes have been committed within the county in connection with the affairs of the Housing Authority of the City of Hartford." In an editorial, the Hartford Courant praised the choice of Judge Maltbie, whom, it emphasized, "can be depended on for an impartial, judicial, and searching examination of the facts." "It is good that the matter has now reached this determinative stage," the Courant continued, "after all the previous detours, circumlocutions, and circumambulations." ("The Significant Phase of the Housing Inquiry," HC, July 12, 1951.)

Maltbie started his investigation on July 11 and examined documents and witnesses about the Authority's operations stretching back eight years. In his final report, the judge stated that he had "confined" his investigation to the period starting in September 1947 to June 1951. He had the power of subpoena and heard testimony in private with State's Attorney Bill participating in the questioning. At the same time State Auditors examined the Authority's business records, and their findings made the daily headlines. On October 18, Maltbie ended the taking of testimony from witnesses and on January 3, 1952, he issued a 16 page report of his findings. He found "no reasonable grounds for a prosecution for a crime," he did find "a lack of competence on the part of the commission and certain of its officers and employees" and "a lack of appreciation" by them of "their obligations to act fairly and disinterestedly in carrying on the large public service entrusted to them." ("Old HHA 'Controlled By Outside Influences' Says Maltbie; No Grounds For Prosecution," HC, January 4, 1952.) As the Courant concluded, "All is now past. But here it stands in the record as a warning, in the city and indeed in the State, that public office is still a public trust." ("The Verdict on the H.H.A.," HC, January 5, 1952.)


3.5 cubic feet


In the summer of 1951, State Supreme Justice William Mills Maltbie conducted a one-man grand jury investigation of the Hartford Housing Authority.


Series 1. Interviews, 1951. Arranged chronologically.

Series 2. Summonses, 1951. Arranged chronologically.

Series 3. Police Material, circa 1950-1951.

Series 4. Correspondence, circa 1940-1951. Arranged alphabetically

Series 5. Hartford Housing Authority, circa 1948-1951.

Series 6. Financial Records, circa 1940-1951.

Series 7. Newspaper Clippings, circa 1940-1951.

Related Material

RG 005:032, Governor John Davis Lodge records, Box 577, Hartford Housing Authority.

Newspaper Clipping Files, 1932-1992, for the years 1950-1951.

Daniel Radcliffe, Charter Oak Terrace: Life, Death and Rebirth of a Housing Project, 1998 [CSL call number HD7288.78.C82 H37 1998].

RG 003, Hartford Housing Authority Investigation, Hartford Superior Court, One-man Grand Jury, Judge William Maltbie
Inventory of Records
Finding aid prepared by Henry A. Arneth. Revised by Mark H. Jones.
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Connecticut State Library Repository