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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.

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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:

MICHAEL ARMITAGE: He pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in October to failing to file tax returns, securing about $1 million in bank loans with a phony tax return and other bogus financial dealings, and defrauding the Federal Transit Administration. Photo Credit: Springfield Republican

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.

An electric vehicle battery: This one works. EV/ElectroStor's were a bunch of hooey.

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

PITTSFIELD CITIZENS TAX DOLLARS AT WORK.

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.

Your tax dollars, again, hard at work.

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.

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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:

Ward 4 councilor Mike Ward, left, accepts The Orbit Award from Dan Valenti.

29 Responses to “EV WORLDWIDE: THE STORY THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE NEVER DARED TO LET YOU KNOW BECAUSE THEY NEVER CARED TO COVER IT”

  1. Josh
    December 27, 2010 at 4:35 pm #

    Wasn’t Preisser also under the employ of Jonathan Fleisig’s front office when he “won” the bid for Wahconah Park following the Civic Authority rejection in 2001? Kind of makes you wonder a little bit…

    Also, while were on the subject of “Whatever Happened To…”, someday I’d also like to learn about what happened to the “Quinn’s Legacy” project planned for Dan Fox Drive. The Eagle promoted it heavily during the early 2000′s, and we haven’t heard a peep about the proposed project in at least five years.

    • danvalenti
      December 27, 2010 at 6:45 pm #

      JOSH As ever, you are on the ball. Preisser, as I remember what I’ve tried to forget, was Fleissig’s PR flack. As for Quinn’s Legacy, great question. The Eagle was all over that. That’s reason alone to suspect funny business. What happened to all the money raised?

  2. Fivestar
    December 27, 2010 at 5:16 pm #

    The Pierre is nice, if you are trying to save a buck.

    • danvalenti
      December 27, 2010 at 6:45 pm #

      Yeah, we were trying to cut corners.

  3. Evian
    December 27, 2010 at 5:47 pm #

    Wow. Great story. I was on the fringe of this. Was supposed to be given a job there. Making electric cars. They told me lots of great stuff but shortly before I was to start, they told me “never mind.” It sounded fishy back then. Now we know why. What a buncha phonies. Thing is if we aren’t careful, Pittsfield is still ripe for the picking because theres still no oversight.

    • danvalenti
      December 27, 2010 at 6:46 pm #

      EVIAN
      When there is no oversight, when the daily newspaper fails in its obligations as the 4th Estate, and when there is no accountability, you invite trouble like this.

  4. M Wood
    December 27, 2010 at 7:06 pm #

    Just think in tomorrows “paper” I get to read about yesterdays snow storm. On the planet I got to read abput the snow job that they are in part responcible for. Armitage was admonished by the Judge for using the proceeds from the sale of his house in Pittsfield not as restitution but to secure a new car for his wife. Would have been nice to have coverage of the trial in the paper. But that would mean exposing Olver and others for being dolts.

    • danvalenti
      December 27, 2010 at 7:28 pm #

      M WOOD
      That’s the point. Armitage plead guilty in October 2010. As far as I can tell, the Berkshire Eagle did not cover this trial. It should have had their top reporter in the courtroom, covering every “But your honor, I object.” No. Instead, it gave us huge page one stories on Christmas trees, ballerinas, and the like.

  5. Jonathan Melle
    December 27, 2010 at 8:05 pm #

    I hope you will join me in supporting U.S. Representative John W. Olver for re-election to U.S. Congress in 2012. Mr. Olver has a good public record of supporting progressive causes on Capitol Hill and valuable programs for his constituency and legislative districts. Mr. Olver is a proven leader. [NOTE FROM WEBMASTER: THIS REPLY HAS BEEN EDITED TO ELIMINATE REPETITIOUS CONTENT]

    • Mike
      December 28, 2010 at 7:50 am #

      Jonathan – do you have something NEW to share?

      • danvalenti
        December 28, 2010 at 8:51 am #

        TO MIKE and STILL WONDERING
        Note the edits to Mr. Melle’s comments. I shall be contacting him about this. Thanks for bringing it up.

  6. Still wondering
    December 28, 2010 at 7:26 am #

    It’s too bad that Melle has gotten access to these pages.

  7. DaNa
    December 28, 2010 at 8:41 am #

    The fleecing of Pittfieldby Armitage and EV Worldwide is a sad storythat happened only because of apathy. people get so demoralized at our “leaders” that they stay away from political process. Thats when the skunks get black checks, cashed on taxpayers accounts. Thanks for publishing this story.

  8. Craig A. Swinson
    December 28, 2010 at 9:56 am #

    Please in future articles make the font a bit more uniform…I love reading your stuff, but the super small font is a PITA to read…or should that be PEDA…same diff I guess.

    • danvalenti
      December 28, 2010 at 11:24 am #

      We shall do our best. Our webmaster says it comes from importing guest text, such as Mr. Arneau’s EV Worldwide article yesterday. There is an extra step to take with imported text. Now, if I can only remember what it is…

      • Craig Swinson
        December 28, 2010 at 11:31 am #

        If you copy and paste any web or email text into a generic text editor, it will strip out all the formatting then when you paste it into the fields on the website it will accept the sites formatting/ style sheet.

  9. rick
    December 28, 2010 at 10:56 am #

    you only wonder if its happening now,and no one knows it yet. with the millions of dollars that are given out,and the promises made for jobs. a lot of these people have already gone under. these people run great con games when the right marks and money are out their…..take alook at the mayor and most of the city council…ive got some lake front property to sell them in arizona.

    • danvalenti
      December 28, 2010 at 11:23 am #

      If is IS happening now, who is there to tell We the People about it? The Beserkshire Eagle?

  10. Swanie Riber
    December 28, 2010 at 11:20 am #

    Loved the story about EV Worldscam, and the duping of Pittsfield. On that note anything about Interprint and the jobs they “created” I’ve heard some of the rumblings, what did Pittsfield do to keep track of those jobs? What about an accounting of jobs that Spice has created, in terms of jobs per tax dollar/credit spent?

  11. rick
    December 28, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    exactly the point, this is the reason why independent thinking in our local goverment is so important. saying yes is to easy for the council…..some of them want out as soon as the sit down at the meetings u can see it. 3mins. only.i think they have it timed so not to miss last call..this goes back to what nichols has stated about lee trying to muzzel him and mazzeo.i like the questions mazzeo askes roberto,it almost seems like she knows the answers,but likes to watch him squirm, a man whos that uncomfortable speaking has got to have something to hide. i think that all these people who took the money/grants should be accountable monthly and books reviewed,by independent accoutants with no ties to this goverment.

  12. EV CAN BITE ME
    December 28, 2010 at 1:26 pm #

    @ rick, that funny: “it almost seems like she likes to watch him squirm.” melissa as jimmy’s dominatric, she’s bringing down the riding crop as he crwals at her feet. i hope i planted this image in the mind s of everyone who watches the council follies on pctv

    • Mike
      December 28, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

      indelibly

  13. rick
    December 29, 2010 at 6:00 am #

    dan,everyone know the eagle is fluff when there are no more local daily papers u can be. i wonder if someone wanted to start a daily paper to compete with the eagle,if roberto would give them our money(they would not have a shot in hell). compition is only good on north street.

  14. rick
    December 29, 2010 at 6:20 am #

    if u watched the stepford wives u would know whats going on here. it started with the press(mis information or in the eagles case no information) next dont drink the water, the put something in it. if u think im wrong ….just tune in to the next counsil meeting, scan the dais,and ill garentee you throw that glass of water your drinking right down the drain.you would think that the way the computer and internet is taking over news, that the eagle would try to reinvent it self if the eagles reporters told half the stuff that concerns them, they would sell a lot more papers…. if anyone knows a police officer, their stories can fill 2 pages……. yet ull never know…… so welcome to the city of stepford,go take a nap…wake up in a year…..then go back to sleep. same stuff will be going on..

    • Mike
      December 29, 2010 at 8:13 am #

      I don’t know about switching to bottled water, but I’m definitely taking my kids out of the public schools after trying to read your post.

  15. rick
    December 29, 2010 at 1:43 pm #

    i should have proof read. lol .. but good idea of taking your kids out of pittsfield school system.

  16. GMHeller
    January 2, 2011 at 3:32 am #

    Mr. Valenti,
    Please note that according to Masslive’s Oct. 20th, 2010 article, Michael Armitage is scheduled to be sentenced April 11, 2011.
    It might be worthwhile to be in U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor’s courtroom in Springfield that day to hear the sentence in person and perhaps even to get a few words out of Mr. Armitage.
    It is doubtful anyone from The Berkshire Eagle will be there so your perspective and your questions to Mr. Armitage would be refreshing (to say the least).

  17. GMHeller
    January 2, 2011 at 3:40 am #

    Also, RE; Mr. Armitage, did you see this from the Mortgage Fraud Blog?

    Tuesday, June 03, 2008

    Misreps Lead To Indictments
    Michael J. Armitage, 55, Pittsfield, Massachusetts and Fort Myers, Florida, was charged in an Indictment with three counts of false statements to a federally insured financial institution, three counts of bank fraud and one count of engaging in a monetary transaction in property derived from specified unlawful activity.

    The Indictment alleges that between February 2001 through April 24, 2006, Armitage executed a series of schemes to defraud United Bank, located in West Springfield, Massachusetts. It is alleged that the purpose of the schemes was to obtain three different loans: in 2001, a $975,000 commercial loan for one of his businesses, Venture Properties, LLC; in 2002, a $170,000 commercial loan for Venture Properties; and in 2003, a $400,000 personal residential mortgage for Armitage and his wife, Melissa J. Armitage, to refinance their home at 1 Eastbrook Lane, Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

    According to the Indictment, Armitage accomplished these schemes by executing or submitting to United Bank various false or fraudulent documents that misrepresented his finances and concealing the fact that he had embezzled more than $1 million from another of his businesses, Power Development Company, LLC (”PDC”). It is alleged that he owed substantial amounts of money to PDC as a result of this embezzlement, failed to file personal federal income tax returns from 1993 through 2006, and owed substantial amounts of money to the IRS for tax years 1995, 1996 and 1998.

    According to the Indictment, these false or fraudulent documents included the following: a 2001 personal financial statement that omitted any debts owed to PDC or the IRS, and that claimed his taxes were settled through 1999; two guaranties in 2001 and 2002 warranting that his financial statements and other financial information true and correct in all material respects; a 2001 personal federal income tax return that Armitage and his wife, Melissa J. Armitage, signed and dated but never filed with the IRS; and a 2003 residential loan application that omitted any liabilities owed to PDC or the IRS.

    Lastly, the Indictment alleges that on or about July 29, 2003, Armitage caused approximately $394,000 of his fraud proceeds to be transferred to another bank to pay off his initial mortgage, thereby engaging in a monetary transaction in property derived from specified unlawful activity.

    If convicted on these charges, Armitage faces up to thirty years imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $1,000,000 fine.

    SEE:
    http://www.mortgagefraudblog.com/index.php/weblog/permalink/misreps_lead_to_indictments/