THE PLANET IS NOT FOR SALE, plus, BORING BROADSHEET EATS DUST ON DPW LAND DEAL, & NEW INFO on LAND DEAL YOU WON’T FIND ANYWHERE ELSE
BY DAN VALENTI
How these things start is often a source of amusement and always one of conjecture, but it has gotten around that Media News Group has inquired into the purchase of this website. The Planet is not for sale, though everything has its price. We can categorically state that no one from the Berkshire Eagle has approached the owners of The Planet for purposes of discussing purchase of this site.
The Planet has grown far beyond our projections of where we thought we’d be at this point, on Jan. 31, a pleasant development that brings with it the attendant responsibilities of managing growth. This is a problem that all start-ups anticipate and enjoy.
The Planet remains independent from all editorial pressure. It has as its only aim the principles articulated a few posts ago. A “free press” is crucial for the working of government in the name of We The People. There is no free press operating in and serving the city of Pittsfield currently, and there is only one media outlet that remains completely free from all political and economic pressure: This One. We intend to remain that way.
We know our exact numbers (hits per day, unique hits per day, hourly breakdowns, etc.) and will only share them internally. If the time comes that The Plant goes commercial, we will share numbers with advertisers. Until then, what matters is that our menu of news, commentary, features, and scuttlebutt has been found appealing to many, more than we thought at this point. Our aim is continued growth and expanded coverage.
You, the reader, are a vital part of our plans. We are going to give you coverage you want. Please pass the word that there’s only one site of fearless journalism, only one site that’s slinging stones at Goliath, one site that has We The People always at the front: The Planet.
Send your friends here. One, tell two. Two, tell four. Four, tell eight. Let’s get a revolution going. The pod is rattling. The living seed is about to emerge from the cocoon.
Boring Broadsheet Eating More Dust
Speaking of the Boring Broadsheet, they finally ate our dust regarding, though they never caught up to, the story of 1644 East Street and the failed land deal that would have saddled taxpayers with a leaky building on PCB-laced soil next to wetlands all for a ruinous price.
The Boring Broadsheet presented a page 1 above the fold story with Mayor Jimmy Ruberto on the land grab that he has scuttled … for now. The mayor told the BB’s Dick Lindsey that the project has “taken on a life of its own” and that emotions need to cool off before the deal is revisited. Lindsey didn’t have a peep in his story about PBCs or about the shadowy figure behind “1644 East St. LLC,” the realty trust that was looking to make the deal. We hear he was ordered to stay away from that aspect of the story. Lindsey also didn’t think to ask Ruberto what he knew of Patrick J., Sheehan, the front man for the trust.
Reading in between the lines of the story, it’s clear that this is the Boring Broadsheet’s attempt to help the mayor revive the deal, hence, the remark about waiting until the heat dies down before trying again. The “cat is out of the bag” on this one, though, as chief administration Stooge Jonathan Lothrop admitted. Lothrop used to be Ward 5 representative, but he stopped sticking up for his constituents when he flipped on the airport issue. He traded that in for a seat at the banquet table. No more crumbs and morsels for Mr. Sellout.
J-Lo told Lindsey the council gave the mayor no direction and did nothing. Translation: “I was put in charge of fixing this deal with my colleagues, and it didn’t happen.” The council gave the mayor plenty of direction: It told him the deal was dead. The council did plenty: It saved Pittsfield residents a $4 million+ bill for a polluted piece of property that no one in the free market wants to touch, let alone at a ruinous price and an artificial value.
More on Mysterious Mr. Sheehan
The Planet’s investigators found a couple more tidbits on the mysterious “Patrick J. Sheehan.” At Secretary of State William Galvin’s website, you’ll find an address on line 7 of this link:
It lists the address of Sheehan’s lawyers: 69 East Housatonic St.
Does that sound familiar?
That was the address of “Concerned Democrats of Berkshire County” on the letterhead that the Gang of 23 signatories used to send a muscle-down letter to congressional candidate Andrea Nuciforo requesting that he take himself out of contention for the District 1 House seat. The bilocation of 69 West Housatonic St. is either a remarkable coincidence or its something else.
Is It Fishing Season? Don’t Know, but Something’s Fishy.
Piece that together with the fact that in September 17, 2009, Sheehan contributed 2,400 to “Citizens for Nuciforo” as “Sheehann Health Group/Principal.” Sheehan also wrote a $250 check for Nuciforo sometime in the reporting period between May 1-31, 2008. This time he’s listed as “Healthcare Administrator, Cranveville Place.”
Taken together and on the surface, the two pieces of information — the 69 W. Housatonic address and the two contributions to Nuciforo — don’t add up. Then again, not much in the attempted DPW land purchase does. Sheehan has also contributed to Lynch for Congress.
Sheehan owns a slew of corporations in Massachusetts and has them registered under both “Patrick Sheehan” and “Patrick J. Sheehan.” Each uses one of two Dalton, Mass., addresses: 45 Main St. or 355 Washington Mountain Road. Only 1644 East St. LLC is connceted to the lawyers at 69 W. Housatonic St. The rest employ Boston or New York firms. One can only wonder why.
Questions: No More, No Less
Sheehan also has his fingers in “Hospice Services of Western Massachusetts LLC” (45 Main St., Dalton, address) and “Hospice Services of Massachusetts” (365 Washington Mountain Road, Dalton, address), plus a listing as “Director, Berkshire County ARC Inc.” (365 Washington Mountain Road).
This is public information. This is also neutral information. It doesn’t mean good or bad, up or down, in or out. To be sure, the labyrinth of corporate LLCs associated with Mr. Sheehan is odd bordering bizarre. An interesting question is why does only one of these LLCs, the 1644 East Street LLC involved in the DPW attempted land sale, have lawyers with local ties, with Sherwood Guernsey no less, the chief cosigner on the Gang of 23 letter to Nuciforo? Questions, no more, no less.
Which enterprising sort on the Boring Broadsheet tried to answer them? None, because they didn’t even want to look at the questions, as Lindsey’s sycophantic interview with Ruberto illustrates today. Did Lindsay talk to Joe Nichols, who was the first to point out PCB problem at the 1644 East St. site? Did he try to talk to citizens about their feelings over the land sale? Did he attempt to locate Sheehan? I didn’t think so.
What’s Worse than a Kissing-Up Interview? A Inaccurate Kissing-Up Interview
Lindsay, meanwhile, for mysterious reasons continues to inflate the square footage of the leaky building at 1644 East St. by 2,400 — He eats the city’s 18,000 sq. ft. figure right out of their hand. The Planet didn’t. We checked the deed, which lists 15,600 sq. ft.
We cut Lindsay some slack: He was a long-time radio news guy, used to writing one-minute stories and fluffing them up poof poof. Lindsay’s not a real “news guy” in the muck-racking tradition of Pulitzer-Hearst independent journalism, which is likely why the Boring Broadsheet hired him and put him on the City Hall beat, where the main requirement is a writer who sees, hears, and writes no evil of the Sacred Cows.
Which councilors attempted to find answers to the strangeness surrounding the 1644 East St. land deal? What else didn’t councilors know before almost (thankfully, we can say, “almost”) caving in and rubber stamping a $4 million turkey. Nichols, Melissa Mazzeo, and Christine Yon deserve credit for looking deeper than the subsommitte’s 4-1 recommendation to approved the deal.
Yon cast the lone vote against the purchase in subcommittee. It is her signature moment thus far as Ward 1 councilor.
Yes, this DPW land deal is both a white elephant and a turkey. If the deal remains alive much longer, it will resemble Noah’s Arc.
Councilor Mike Ward said in the BB story today that maybe the building makes sense at a different price, leased. Maybe, he says, which is, of course, a clever way of saying “maybe not.” If Sheehan wants to sell the city the property for $1 AND assume all liabilities from pollution, The Planet will be the first to recommend the purchase.
Meanwhile, there are plenty of other options for the DPW garage. We’ll b back tomorrow for that.
Love to all.