EV WORLDWIDE: THE STORY THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE NEVER DARED TO LET YOU KNOW BECAUSE THEY NEVER CARED TO COVER IT
BY DAN VALENTI
Our change of plans has us posting The Letter in the next few days. This is the “you better not run if you know what is good for you” letter 23 Democratic players sent to Andy Nuciforo regarding the latter’s congressional bid. Of course, they didn’t word it that way, but the effect is the same. Even better is the reply, in which Nuciforo tells them go fuck themselves. Of course, he didn’t say it that way, but the effect is just the same. [EDITOR’S NOTE: We were going to to use the “F— word”, but decided that since we are all adults, we can use the full expletive. We can do that in cyberspace, and we will, when warranted]. Nuciforo’s letter may be his finest hour as a stand-up politician.
Today, we share, for the first time locally, the story of what really went on at EV Worldwide (later known at ElectroStor). The Planet posts this story with the links to back up the claims.
We mention this story because of all of the promised jobs that keep coming Pittsfield’s way without actually materializing, usually after someone’s made off with taxpayer money. We should remember EV Worldwide, the Michael Armitage brainstorm. Amitage got quarter million from Pittsfield taxpayers courtesy of the mayor and city council. City Hall’s shill, the Berkshire Eagle, trumpeted “1,000” jobs. There were two jobs created: a snow job and a con job.
While the Eagle was enabling crooks, “The Dan Valenti Show” protested the $250,000 gift outright to EV. We also warned our listeners that someone was pulling a fast one. It took some time for the truth to come out. One of The Planet’s investigators put this report together, based on information he uncovered and from information in the links below.
We urge you to explore the links below. Here’s is information from one of them on EV/EletroStor:
On July 9, 2008, we issued our audit of FTA’s Oversight of Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) Electric Bus Cooperative Agreement. Our audit was related to PVTA’s agreement with ElectraStor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Our audit found that ElectraStor could not provide complete or reliable records to support the $4.04 million in Federal reimbursements it received or support the progress claimed [THE PLANET’s UNDERLINES]. We also found that neither FTA nor PVTA adequately carried out the oversight specified in the agreement. The audit recognized that FTA has taken positive steps to improve its oversight of research grants and cooperative agreements since our audit began. FTA agreed with our recommendations that included developing an action plan to seek recovery of the funds and obtaining a final PVTA report disclosing research results. FTA also agreed with our recommendations to review all projects associated with the FTA manager responsible for the cooperative agreement and establish milestones and reporting requirements for the internal group it plans to establish to ensure its corrective action plan is implemented and functioning.
NO OVERSIGHT. NO ACCOUNTABILITY. MORE THAN $4 MILLION of TAXPAYER MONEY WASTED. PITTSFIELD CITY GOVERNMENT LOOKED THE OTHER WAY. THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE PROMOTED THIS CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE.
With that, we present this guest column from Francois Arneau.
BY FRANCOIS ARNEAU
EV worldwide and its 1000 jobs that never materialized cost taxpayers more than $4 million in federal earmarks, this to a company that changed its name midstream to ElectroStor. The principal, Mr. Armitage, was handed the checks for millions at a time. Pittsfield city officials and local reps touted him as the 2nd coming.
Never did the Berkshire Eagle do any background checks on him. If they had, they would have found out he hadn’t payed taxes in years. In fact, not only did he not pay, he didn’t even file taxes for years. Armitage has subsequently plead guilty to tax evasion, fraud, etc. You never read all about Armitage’s conviction in the Eagle, also known as the Boring Broadsheet. Barley a mention of it there. Is it because they used the editorial page to besmirch anyone who dared question the wisdom of rushing into this without a bit of prudence?
On “The Dan Valenti Show,” the managing editor of this website questioned the $250,000 the city council approved on a request from Gerry Doyle. It was all last-minute, unreviewed, and hurry-hurry-hurry. Turned out Valenti was right and the entire city government as well as the Berkshire Eagle were wrong.
Apparently, the city leaders thought all the dumb taxpayers of Pittsfield needed to know about Armitage was Congressman Olver and Senators Kerry and Kennedy said Armitage was “a good guy,” and we were off and printing money. How much? From 1999-2005, we the taxpayers through the infamous earmarks
paid out to Mr. Armitage and company more than $4 million, of which he contributed nothing. Remember, he didn’t even file tax forms. We’re supposed to believe that no one in authority on the federal, state, or city level noticed?
An alphabet soup of government agencies has done audits and not a word of them in the Eagle. What started out as a bus-making venture while the funds were being secured quickly turned into a battery-making venture once the money was handed out, yet no bells no alarms in anyone’s head?
The audit conducted by the alphabet soup gang of agencies on July 9, 2008 says on page 4 that ElectroStor was paid $4.04 million for ineligible claims. Read that again: “ineligible claims,” as in ain’t right, no, shouldn’t happen, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Why where these claims deemed ineligible? The audit specified that there were no records, incomplete records, and unreliable records.
All the while, when this was going on, the party was continuing at the Allen Street Asylum. City Hall and certain residents there were getting theirs, while the taxpayers were getting screwed. How, you ask? Well, there was some $115,000 of lobbying expenses. Mr. Olver and others received campaign contributions. Could that explain why he and others were so quick to vouch for Armitage. Check the campain contribution forms.
There was no mention to city taxpayers by city officials or the Berkshire Eagale how, when questions started to pop up about ElectroStor, Armitage arranged for a tour for city councilors. It was time to take the city council on a field trip to the offices of ElectroStor. They were shown a battery that could hold a charge for a few seconds and was too large to fit into a bus. The council, with its make up of rocket scientists, was duly impressed with Mr. Armitage’s “way back machine” and figured flux capacitors were all the rage now. Hell, they had seen it with McFly in the movies.
The Federal Transportation Agency, with their lack of sophistication and being way behind the Pittsfield city council in terms of scientific knowledge, was less than impressed. The Feds asked ElectroStor’s chief scientist if he was questioning their intelligence. The chief scientist then went on to acknowledge that the claims of the company, both scientific and fiscal, could not be supported.
Caught in that pickle, what did ElectroStor do? It hired a press agent. The scam was on the verge of being found out, and ElectroStor conducted a nationwide search for a press flack. As luck would have it the greatest press agent in the world lived right here in Pittsfield at the time. He was at the time gainfully employed by the City of Pittsfield as Mayor Gerry Doyle’s spokesperson. Doyle had plucked this butt kisser from WBEC radio, where he was the Good News Only When It Came to the Illegal Actions of the City News Director. After what I’m certain where tumultuous negotiations, Mr. Curt Priesser was on his way as to ElectroStor to be the spokesperson.
One of Preisser’s immediate duties that was to ensure the feds didn’t cut off any funding, you know, the taxpayer funded gravy train that was parking boatloads of money into the company’s accounts. The way to do that was to show that research and development was in fact taking place. How could this be done, especially when there wasn’t much R&D going on?
The company’s brain trust, and I use that term lightly, decided to show auditors the patents that they had developed right here in Pittsfield. That’s what they did. However, those pesky auditors were better than the local oversight group, and they actually looked into the patents. They found out that THE PATENTS DID NOT BELOG TO ELECTROSTOR.
Mr. Armitage and company had no patents they handed the auditors a line of rubbish. Mr. Preisser became the mouthpiece for this fraud. He either knew about the scam and lied, or he was duped by his own company and left to peddle falsity.
The company lived high, though. In the first year alone, dinners charged to the taxpayers totaled $17,000.
All this, and what did the daily print of it? Not one word. One can only wonder who was eating rich at those dinners? Thanks in no part to the Berkshire Eagle for bringing up this information. Please follow the provided links and read all about the incident that the daily has failed to tell us, and that PLANET VALENTI now is.
FINALLY, we present this picture, showing The Planet presenting our First Orbit Award to Pittsfield City Councilor Mike Ward, for his votes against the meals tax and other meritorious actions. Ceremonies were held in the Grand Ballroom at the Hotel Pierre, at Central Park South: