Article

COREY THURSTON OF PEDA: HIS OWN MAN, or THURSTON J. HOWELL III? plus, the LATEST ON STEROIDsGATE

BY DAN VALENTI

We started this modest enterprise at the tail end of September 2010. Why? Print is dying. Cyberspace is alive.

The Planet recognizes that cyberspace is the dominant communications forum for pertinent issues and will remain so until a holocaust of some sort drives us all back to smoke signals and writing on clay tablets. That day could come. Until then, we shall continue to explore and learn this new medium.

The Planet has taken out no commercial advertising to let people know of this site’s existence. Two reasons: First, we needed to learn the protocols (including technical issues) of running a site like this. Second, we needed to see if we could produce at a high level of quantity and quality on a daily basis. We have done that. Our numbers are growing every day, mostly by word of mouth. The Planet has seen exponential growth.

That has attracted commercial interests (some local but most not). We have thus far refused accepting money to run ads. We remain “Unbought & Unbossed.” We operate on the philosophy that if we share good information, make it lively and entertaining, and not pull punches, PlanetValenti Dot Com will find readers.

We Won’t Bother You with Commercials … Yet, At Any Rate

The Planet judges that for at least the remainder of the year, we shall stay that a non-commercial site. We are examining options in terms of growing the site such as redesign, new content, etc. The possibilities are numerous. At this moment, we want to keep the site as is: a main story every day and other items of interest. Our indications of growth suggest that me will have to manage it, not sooner or later, but now.

There may come a time where you see the main news and commentary “hole” as well as content blocks for “Arts” and “Sports.” If we expand content, it won’t be boring listing of events. No Arts Calendar. No plug for the Rotary’s artery clogging pancake breakfasts. That is done to death. Our content will be like no other local medium can now boast. It will be hard, no holds barred coverage — accurate, entertaining, and provocative as we can make it.

Yes, if we expand, there will be the occasional soft features, but our critics will be demanding, our writers will be the sharpest, and our interests the most eclectic. Arts and Sports have as much intrigue and politics as do other types of news. None of that is being covered now. One concrete example, on the “feature-y” : We are negotiating with the interested parties to cover Pittsfield Colonials baseball this summer, game stories and features. The Planet may write SOME of the content, but basically we will hire a baseball writer and it will be his or her “beat.” We will mange the content.

Bottom line: For now, no changes. Later this year, MAYBE content changes and redesign.

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Will Corey Thurston Be What PEDA Needs, or Will He Be Another Thurston J. Howell?

Yesterday, The Planet broke the news — Yes, you heard it here first, ahead of the BB and everyone else — that the PEDA board of directors named Corey Thurston as its new director.

The essential first point: Thurston will need at least a year on the job before we can make any judgments approaching definitive. In short, people will need to give the guy a chance. Thurston may turn out to be to PEDA what Henry Ford was to the automotive industry. He may also turn out to be what Thurston J. Howell III was to “Gilligan’s Island.” Good God, Lovey.

Is he the right person for the job? Does he have an instinct for business? Is he aggressive enough? Is he enough of a salesman? Does he or doesn’t take crud from fools? Time will tell, oh my brothers and sisters.

We can safely make the following observations:

* Since 1998 to present, the project has been a colossal bust. Only one tenant is on the site, WMECO with its solar panels on Silver Lake Boulevard. WMECO put the panels on land that it already owned plus some real estate from PEDA, so it’s a fable to call the electric company a bona fide tenant. It’s a something’s-better-than-nothing tenant.

* The PEDA board had a chance to set a different tone. If whiffed.

* PEDA has the opportunity to get rid of the wall of secrecy that has been its chief tool to date, a surreptitious exercise in clandestine activity that has over nearly 13 years created a PR disaster equal to the amount of poisons left there by General Electric.

* The board chose not to be transparent. It kept virtually all the pertinent information relating to its search for the new CEO hidden. Former councilor Ben Kaplan headed the search committee. He did not make the information available. In announcing Thurston as the winner (though we’re not sure “winner” is the correct term), neither board chairman Gary Grunin, Kaplan, nor any board member said much beyond 13 initial candidates, narrowed down to five to two and to one.

* Who were these people? How were they selected? What were the criteria? None of that was shared in making the Thurston announcement. Would that not have been the PERFECT tine? You betcha.

* How far and wide did PEDA search for its new director? Who were the other applicants? What is there background? How do we know Thurston was the best qualified? Are we simply supposed to take PEDA’s word?

* Thurston is the son of Don Thurston, a man who created his radio empire in North County. Corey Thurston did not build his father’s business, so: Was he simply a guy born on third base who thought he had hit a triple? Did he play a large part in the business on his own? That’s not clear.

* What were Don Thurston’s ties to Pittsfield politics? What are Corey Thurston’s. PEDA acting CEO Bill Hines turned into a contortionist to tell the Boring Broadsheet’s business writer Tony Dobrowolski that one factor in selecting Thurston was the fact that he wasn’t a PEDA insider and does not have ANY connection with Pittsfield politics. Right. Fair question: Would that be possible with a father of the caliber of Don Thurston?

* Is Thurston his own man? Is he the kind of CEO who is going to rile the board if necessary to make PEDA succeed. We know FOR A FACT that PEDA’s methods to date have failed. The site is empty, save WMECO. There has been NO economic development there, despite hearing time after time that there were “prospects but we can’t talk about them.”

* PEDA has kept pretty much everything hidden and out of view. That worked in 1998. It won’t work in 2011 in he same way the Pittsfield Police Department was unable to bury SteroidsGate: the Internet. Thurston takes over at a time when a simple tweet to the right place will make public news.

All in all, given the manner in which this announcement was made, it wasn’t a good debut for Cory Thurston.

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Mayor Ruberto Asked a Great Question of PEDA, but the Lawyer had no Answer. Will the taxpayer again be paying through the nose?

In other PEDA news, The Planet loves the way Mayor Jimmy Ruberto asked the big and awkward question at the last meeting.

The board discussed the concrete cap that has to be put over the 150,000 square feet of flooring from the original GE buildings. GE is supplying $750,000 for that job. Will that be enough?

As we understand it, the old floors have to be capped with a thick layer of concrete because of the toxins, essentially to “emtonb” whatever is there (one shudders to imagine).

Mayor Ruberto questioned what happens if the costs go above $750,000? They probably will, since these estimates invariably are low balled. Again, it’s a case where GE wanted to get off as cheaply as possible. Great question. PEDA’s attorney, sweet girl, fumbled for an answer and didn’t have one except for a Ralph Kramden “homina homina homina.”

How did PEDA arrive at $750,000? Did they fight GE for more? What happened when foundations, footings, and pilings need to be put in and must be driven down underneath the cap? Who pays for remediation if toxins are exposed? Who pays the overage if the casing costs exceed $750K.  The city taxpayers? The mayor didn’t get an answer. He expressed deep concern on this issue.

* Is this the REAL reason why no outside company has, from PEDA’s conception to date (going on 13 years) wanted to locate on what would otherwise seem an ideal location? Think about it: Great site, next to water and rail, with large inducements, yet not one bite. What aren’t they saying? Is that why every time PEDA says it’s talking to a company, it NEVER identifies the company? Are there records of these negotiations? Is GE’s industrial toxins keeping industry out of Pittsfield? CORY THURSTON: THE PEOPLE WANT AN ANSWER.

* One can only guess about all this, because there has been no exhaustive listing of what’s in that ground. If GE doesn’t know or isn’t saying, if PEDA knows and isn’t saying, why would any company want to move there? What’s in the five feet of toxic goo that covers the bottom of Silver Lake? A reasonable person must conclude that companies want no part of this site because of the uncertainties in cost, the potential liability for the poisons GE left there, and the secrecy by which PEDA operates.

We hope that with Corey Thurston on board as CEO, there will be more hard questions from the board of the kind that Mayor Ruberto raised. People will expect Thurston to RAISE these questions and demand from the board, from GE, or from anyone with information, the answers.

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SteroidsGate: New Revelations

And now, the issue you’ve all been waiting for: SteroidsGate.

Yes, there have been numerous developments in SteroidsGate, a term that The Planet is using as a catch-all label to describe the present internal workings of the Pittsfield Police Department. The atmosphere in the PPD is roiled.

They are turning over tables and chairs to try to find out who’s talking to The Planet. There are complaints from within regarding the leadership of Chief Wynn, who also has his defenders. There are complaints from within with the way union boss Marc Maddalena tried to muzzle the membership from talking to the press. There are those who defend that action. Meanwhile, does use of the juice extend beyond one officer. Are there others? If so, who? If so, how many? Or is the PPD exceptional in what seems to be a nationwide problem of cops (mostly young and male) using illegal steroids.

Use of the Juice: Rampant, It Would Appear

The Planet has talked to members of several Berkshire County police forces in the course of covering this story. Each member reports a rampant problem with young male cops juicing and an institutional dysfunction that’s trying to pretend it’s not a problem. We hope to present soon a story on the devastating effects of steroids use. Good, honest cops are disgusted by this but feel intimidated from speaking out.

For those who want to refresh their memories, review previous coverage. The Planet will share developments as they warrant and after we have had a chance to make judgments on the veracity of information.

We repeat: The Planet is on the side of the PPD. In saying that, we mean we are against all illegal and unethical behavior from bad cops, and we support 100% the good cops who feel the same way. It’s unfortunate that because of the cloak of secrecy on relevant issues, good cops bear the taint of suspicion. Is only one officer guilty of using steroids? The police internal report names one. It found that this man engaged in criminal conduct unbecoming a member of the force. Those are internal findings.

The PPD, Not The Planet, Found Ofc. Kirchner Acted Criminally and in a Way Unbecoming an Officer of the Department

Some have criticized The Planet for revealing the facts behind the case. We shared the internal report conducted by Capt. David Granger.

* Capt. Granger, not The Planet, determined that officer David Kirchner acted criminally and in a way unbecoming the code of the PPD in connection with his involvement with steroids.

* Capt. Granger, not The Planet, determined the facts that led to his conclusions.

* Chief Wynn, not The Planet, signed off on Capt. Granger’s report.

* Ofc. Kirchner, not The Planet, agreed with Capt. Granger’s findings, essentially admitting guilt. AGAIN: This is NOT guilt as a finding of the courts. No criminal charges have been filed by the courts. Federal investigators are still looking into it. Never has The Planet alleged criminality outside of what Capt. Granger uncovered in his internal investigation.

In short, don’t blame the messenger when he has to deliver news that is less than pleasant.

This Could Have Been Headed Off at the Pass, but No

Much of the intrigue that now swirls about Pittsfield, planting doubt in citizens’ minds because of this, could have been avoided in toto had Chief Michael Wynn — along with any others he would have included such as the city attorney, the mayor, DA David Capeless, and the like — called a press conference to address the funnel cloud of rumors that began in early March.

The PPD and the Chief did not do that. The department acted like this was 1958 with no such thing as the Internet, cyberspace, texting, and Twitter. It thought it could secretly conduct its investigation, mete out punishment (five-day suspension and demotion), and that would be the end of it.

Meanwhile, from early March to about two or three weeks later, the story was buzzing. Conor Berry ( whom we haven’t heard from lately either on this site or in the papers on this story) says he heard about it in early March. Others did as well, who use computers and not typewriters.

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Bulletin Board Material

Finally, to show that The Planet has reliable sources (multiple) within the PPD who are sharing factual information, we present this “Bulletin Board Bard.”

After police union President Marc Maddalena sent out an e-mail to his members not to speak to the press (complete with excerpts from The Planet’s reportage), someone posted a hard copy of the e-mail on the bulletin board within PPD.

This is in an area where only an officer, commander, or someone else working in there with full access could see. Some wag hand wrote below it, in big capital letters for all to see, “ARE YOU KIDDIN ME??”.

The e-mail didn’t go over well with many members of the union, who are in support of airing this story so that all of it surfaces. It is from among these good cops that we have learned what we have learned.

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MARES EAT OATS, AND DOES EAT OATS, AND LITTLE LAMBS LIKE IVY, BUT THE PLANET LIKES TO SIGN OFF. FRESH CONTENT MONDAY, BECAUSE SUNDAY IS OUR DAY OF REST. LOVE TO ALL.


33 Responses to “COREY THURSTON OF PEDA: HIS OWN MAN, or THURSTON J. HOWELL III? plus, the LATEST ON STEROIDsGATE”

  1. Dusty
    April 2, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    Oh, Grunin is still on the PEDA board? That explains a lot. I was hoping he and Doyle left town years ago.

    and I hope Connor Berry is ok…….someone said there were dangerous people involved in this whole mess

    • Aaron
      April 2, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

      Yeah dangerous people on drugs! Have you been following the Barry Bonds trial? Scary stuff!

  2. rick
    April 2, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    if i were capt winn i wold give the juicers a grace period to get off the steroids or lose their jobs, and then mandatory drug testing for the offenders for years to come. if this problem is as wide spread as it seems then we have a bunch of time bombs out there with short fuses getting ready to explode.

    • GMHeller
      April 2, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

      Yeah, and guess who is forced under penalty of forfeiture of private property to pay for all this, including all the future medical costs associated with extensive steroids usage.
      Thank you to the City of Pittsfield, the SEIU-affiliated Pittsfield Police Patrolman’s Union and that wonderful collective bargaining agreement that determines just how much the taxpayer is on the hook paying for all this.

  3. Fan Dan Go
    April 2, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    Thurston was a John Barrett stooge when he took over runnig radio from his dad in No Adams. He wouldn’t make a move without barrett’s OK meaning if Barrett called over and said “no go” it was no go. Doesn’t bode well for PEDA, for pittsfield, for taxpayers for residents for berkshire county but looks great for the GOB network

  4. GMHeller
    April 2, 2011 at 8:58 pm #

    It’s pretty clear that PEDA is simply another patronage haven.
    Mr. Thurston must need the $90,000.
    And does anyone here seriously think any intelligent corporate CEO with a responsibility to shareholders and keeping employees healthy (or end up paying through the nose in the company’s future health care obligations) is going to set up operations on top of what is perhaps the most toxic waste dump in the U.S.A.? Especially when there are non-toxic building sites in right-to-work states where taxes and the costs of doing business are dramatically lower.

    Entombing isn’t the answer. What GE needs to be forced to do is to remove all those toxins because otherwise those toxins WILL migrate — as they already are — into the groundwater and local air.

  5. GMHeller
    April 2, 2011 at 9:09 pm #

    @Mr. Valenti:
    RE; PlanetValenti’s future offerings.
    Recommend as soon as possible you engage Seth Rogovoy to write music and theatre reviews, and Clarence Fanto to come up with sycophantic celebrity treacle.

  6. GMHeller
    April 3, 2011 at 12:42 am #

    Mr. Valenti:

    Recommend you and other PlanetValenti inhabitants check this guy out.
    He appears to be the real deal, despite all the slime and ad hominem attacks being thrown his way by multiple posters, all or most of whom appear to be SEIU-affiliated IBPO (International Brotherhood of Police Officer) public employee union partisans.
    Below, I took all Kris Knutson’s responsive comments which he posted Saturday April 3 to a Topix thread entitled “The Berkshire Eagle Buries Federal Steroids Probe”.
    It makes for revealing testimony about the drug problem infesting Pittsfield’s police and correctional institutions.
    All you are reading here are Mr. Knutson’s responses.
    If true, it’s all pretty damning stuff.
    Mr. Knutson appears to be absolutely straight-forward in his responses — even when being insulted outright by detractors.
    And those apparently union-affiliated detractors — slimers — have so far not offered up any specifics to refute a single thing Mr. Knutson is alleging.
    Also, be aware that Mr. Knutson acknowledges he was a guest of the Jones unit at BMC (Berkshire Medical Center’s Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit).
    This has been used by his public employee union-affiilated detractors to slime Mr. Knutson’s credibility in an effort to detract from the veracity of his statements.
    Please note though that singer songwriter James Taylor was for years a guest at Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, offering to its guests psychiatric intensive care and treatment similar to that found in BMC’s Jones unit, albeit for those who can afford the high price tag that Riggs charges to its guests.
    In other words, BMC’s Jones unit is the poor man’s Austen Riggs Center.
    Note also that Mr. Taylor’s credibility is not challenged and in fact Taylor is given presidential medals.
    If anything, Kris Knutson’s credibility in the face of his detractors certainly appears to have credibility on a par with James Taylor.

    Read on:

    Kris Knutson:
    True, true. When I worked for B.C.H.C. [editor's note: Berkshire County House of Correction], I did steroids myself. There were approximately a dozen other officers doing the same thing. The source of the steroids was a member of the Berkshire County Drug Task Force. When that source got found out due to circumstances out of contol, that source was allowed to resign from the police department and he is apparently still dealing to his old buddies in the law enforcement circle. I worked with this source at the jail until he moved on to work for the Pittsfield Police. Yes, this individual was dealing while he worked at the jail and then as a police officer and he was even given a job at the Pittsfield Fire Department after his felonious activities were found out. I tried to tell Sheriff Tom Bowler about all this but don’t you know, they are friends. They worked closely together at the police department when Tom was still a detective. The sources name was and is Dave Sinopoli. And how about Roberto Mazzeo as his little lieutenent (sic). I suspect there is a pedophile ring and it is protected by certain thug types in law enforcement. That’s why they get away with dealing drugs. They are protected by powerful people. And since the drug dealers are protected, you can be sure that they are willing to return the favor, even if that favor be illegal or immoral. So they all work together. If the feds are involved, they probably don’t know what to do due to the enormity and complexity of the situation. Collectively they have all gone past the point of no return and will not let go of the stranglehold they have on Berkshire County, no matter what! They are who they are and they feel entitled to be in “power”. And absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    ———————————————-
    Yes, I admitted myself to Jones due to my conscience. I expressed to Dr. Pryjma the trouble I was having and that I had been using steroids and was having some difficulty controlling my anger. I told him I was pissed and didn’t trust anyone at the jail. Then, without my consent, The “Dr.” called a friend of his, Dennis Bates, who worked at the jail. And that was all she wrote.

    ———————————————
    I didn’t realize it at the time but in hindsight, I think the steroids were a contributing factor which led me to decide to admit myself to a hospital. Don’t get me wrong though, I would have been pissed without the steroids. Mainly pissed at myself for my choices. I came to realize that what I was doing was immoral and illegal. And I stood by as better men than I were in cages. And I was puffed up as one of them. Both in mind and body. A bad combination amongst those who profess to serve the people.

    ————————————————
    It’s true that my being hired was the result of a political favor. My late grandfather knew people and I applied. I thought it was a good fit for me because I believed in doing the right thing. I believed in law and order but I lost my way and had to step down, for myself. I was not forced to resign. If I wanted to, I could have caused a lot of trouble for them. But they shook me with fear when I saw that they were working together with the hospital to violate me. My hope was that I could work it out behind the scenes but the doctor got the jail involved.

    ————————————————-
    I worked in the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Program. Imagine that. I was the one abusing the substance. The director of that program was using too. In his fiftees, he was benching 500 pounds.

    ————————————————–
    I myself have a list about a dozen or so long. So the estimate of 100 may be close. As far as people who know, I say in the thousands. There are many who are not involved but they know. Collectively they are unfit to rule the affairs for the people. And when you consider some of the salaries that are paid out, it becomes unthinkable that these people are in positions of power.

    ————————————————–
    I tried to tell then, Detective Tom Bowler, that as of at least 2009, steroids were still being offered to officers and by someone with high rank within that facilty (sic), a captain. He didn’t want to discuss it with me. I wonder how he is going to clean house now that he is sheriff? And he hasn’t tried to contact me in order to remedy the existing problem at the jail. And I wonder about his relationship with Dave Sinopoli.

    ————————————————–
    It’s true that I had problems before hittng (sic) the “sauce”. But I don’t know anyone who can say that they have never had any problems in life.

    —————————————————
    I know, they hate me. I expect someone to try to shut me up somehow. So I sleep lightly

    ———————————————–
    It’s easy to call me the nut. Because I have been known as Kris Knutson. kNUTson, get it, the nut. Ha, Ha, Ha. The ones who want to call me the nut are the bad guys.

    ——————————————–
    It’s true, I didn’t like that name nutsack but I got over it. And as far as the government working with local officials on the matter of “domestic terrorism”, yes, in fact, that campaign has officially begun. The focus will be on quelling dissent and snuffing out truth based information for the purpose of maintaining control. We have already seen the direction that they wish to take when we look at the wikileaks mess. The game is to shut people up and pump out dis-information to the public. Because they rule by secrecy and in no other way. Their ring of corruption has to be tightlipped. Mum is the word for these jokers.

    ———————————————-
    (In response to a question from an anonymous slimer wanting to know if Kris Knutson wanted to air out dirty laundry.)

    Yes.

    ———————————————–
    I didn’t “come up” with anything. I falsely believed it was a noble profession and having considered my life experience, I saw it as the best way to make it by in the world. I didn’t know much about law enforcement. The money was good.

    ———————————————
    Tom Bowler is sheriff. Oh, I forgot the way the hierarchy works. Carmen is still actually in charge but the people needed a face lift, right?

    —————————————
    I started work at second street in the fall of the year 2000. I worked there for three months before we moved to the new jail. I worked at the new jail until the summer of 2004. I worked in the pods and I was a good employee. I never was written up and I had satisfactory progress in my file. When I took the “juice”, I went from 220 pounds up to 260. I was fairly lean at 6 foot four inches. It was not good. I actually swung at an inmate one night and I drew blood. I made a report and the review was that what I did was worth a laugh and was told not to worry about it. But I was worried. I felt like a wrecking ball.

    ————————————
    I found that I didn’t have the temperment needed in order to take on additional testosterone. I may have had enough natural testosterone already but it was not apparent to me I guess.

    ————————————
    On another occassion (sic), when I was juiced up, I had two inmates who were refusing to lock in their cell. They told me that I would have to call the troops. I told them no, and I bulled them in myself. Again, not good, as I had a radio and could have called for help. I didn’t want to because I was in charge, right? And when I walked down the stairs in F pod, the whole pod started yelling, “roid rage”. The inmates knew.

    —————————————
    Steroids were sold to at least one inmate that I know of. The steroid was Dianodol. 300 pills. That’s right, 300. Very toxic on the liver but gets you big and strong fast.

    ————————————
    Many people who love me know what is happening in their city and also know my aim. Me and my family had to move from the area, in part out of my concern for their saftey (sic). I’ve devoted a great deal of my soul to confronting the monster in Berkshire County called law enforcement. Coming to terms with it, is the most difficult part about it. The complexity is almost unbelievable. That’s why it has been so easy to dismiss it all. Because after all, what kind of monsters could sustain such a juggernaut of a system of control and supression and still get away with it. It’s all conspiracy theories.

    ———————————
    I think the bad guys who are posting on this forum, figured out that if they wanted to protect their criminal buddies, they would stop interacting with me because I can always come up with a response to you guys which ends up being damning to your buddies. So play nice guys and remember, you are the bad guys. Speaking truth does not make me a “good guy” but seeing that it makes the bad guys mad, it must be good. I should at least get points for that.

    ———————————-
    Of course, you could be a good guy, posing as a bad guy and saying mean and hurtful things in an attempt to keep me talking. But rest assured good guys, and bad guys, I am here talking regardless of who you are, or, who you say you are.

    ——————————
    Thanks

    —————————–
    They know who I am. Hell, they even got my iris scan in their compture system. When we punched in on the clock at the jail, we also had to confirm our actual presence by having our iris scanned. They know. They deal in information. They have all they need but they are not acting. The people are gonna have to deal them this blow, not the “feds”. And if the people don’t start talking and talking soon, they will lose their chance.

    ——————-
    I do not know of any parents out there who would be willing to stand by as their childrens future gets thrown under the bus. And as a result of their inaction against criminals.

    ————————-
    –END–

    Here’s the link to Kris Knutson’s opening comment in the series:
    http://www.topix.net/forum/city/pittsfield-ma/TVSKQ9PC5ROBB2C42/p5#c91

  7. scott
    April 3, 2011 at 6:52 am #

    Thats a lot to take in.

  8. scott
    April 3, 2011 at 6:55 am #

    It would be nice if Mr. Knutson would meet with the Feds face to face and give a signed documented statement.

  9. GMHeller
    April 3, 2011 at 6:58 am #

    Mr. Valenti:
    Re: The PEDA patronage appointment
    It might be helpful to know exactly how much in addition to the $90,000 per year salary (another poster’s number not mine), are the other fringe benefits that accompany that cushy salary.
    For example, are full health insurance benefits included?
    Is full dental coverage included?
    When the appointment is over, are their pension benefits (and what is the amount of that pension annually)?
    Does the appointee retain medical and dental insurance coverage upon retirement?

    Also, is the outgoing PEDA patronage appointee, whom Corey Thurston is replacing, also being covered with pension and health and dental benefits, and how much is that already costing taxpayers?

    Note: It appears to be a common misconception that the money subsidizing PEDA is “GE money”.
    Wrong, it became taxpayer money once the check was cashed in exchange for getting GE off the hook.
    GE got the better of the deal (so far) because Pittsfield could have sued (and likely still can ) for $100 Billion, a suit that in time the City COULD EVENTUALLY WIN if anyone in the Mayor’s office or City Council had stones enough to see such legal action through.
    So any payout for any political appointee from PEDA is ultimately coming out of taxpayer monies along with any health insurance, dental, and retirement benefits.

    Here are excerpts from PEDA’s own web site as to how PEDA is constructed legally:

    “PEDA is a quasi-public agency created by a special act of the Massachusetts State Legislature, for the purpose of being the recipient and redeveloper of approximately 52 acres of General Electric Company’s former industrial facility located in the heart of Pittsfield Massachusetts.”

    “The transferee entity will be the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority (“PEDA”), which was specifically created by the Massachusetts Legislature for that purpose with the enactment of St. 1998, c. 194, §268, as amended by St. 1998, c. 486, §2.”

    “GE will make a redevelopment fund in the amount of $15,300,000 available to PEDA. PEDA may use the fund for redevelopment projects consistent with the Agreement associated with the property to be transferred. For example, PEDA may use the fund for the construction of new buildings, or as part of economic incentive packages to attract owner-occupants to construct new buildings on land leased by PEDA. PEDA may also use the fund for additional landscaping, insurance, roadway and infrastructure projects associated with the transferred property, and/or its administrative and support expenses. At its option, PEDA may either direct GE to conduct and pay for a redevelopment project (drawing down from the fund) or have GE make payments to PEDA or to third parties.”

    “GE will also make a gift to the City in the amount of $10,000,000, payable in ten annual installments. Pursuant to the Agreement, GE has already made a separate $100,000 gift to the City to pay for the economic reuse analysis.”

    SEE:
    http://www.williamstanleybusinesspark.com/peda2

    • Jenifer Jameson
      April 3, 2011 at 7:09 am #

      Dan Yet another Topix from Heller. If I want to read his blog I would log on to it! I want to read Planet Valenti not Heller” Blog. Please do something before your loyal viewer stop checking the “Planet”

  10. Dusty
    April 3, 2011 at 7:29 am #

    And the irony of the “GE” money is that the taxpayers never saw a dime of it or its benefits. It was pretty much turned into pork and spread amongst political donors pet projects…

    is there an accounting of where all this money went? Is there a book or account page that lists where it all dissolved to?

    in any detail?

    • GMHeller
      April 3, 2011 at 9:09 am #

      @Dusty
      Mr. Valenti would probably be able to find that quicker than anyone else ‘on the outside.
      But here is something else that most likely NO one here has ever read before (partly because it is so hard to find — it took over an hour to locate it on the Comm. of Mass. Legislature Web site).
      It is the actual enabling legislation that created the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority (‘PEDA’).
      It is lengthy, but contains all sorts of fascinating tidbits which the powers-that-be guaranteed don’t want you to know.
      Rather than take up PlanetValenti’s bandwidth and valuable column space, it is posted herewith on Berkshire Blog:
      SEE:
      http://berkshireeagle.blogspot.com/2011/03/pittsfield-economic-development.html

      Here is the original link to the Comm. of Mass Web site:
      http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/1998/Chapter486

  11. GMHeller
    April 3, 2011 at 10:30 am #

    Mr. Valenti,

    More on Kris Knutson:
    Below, is a continuation of Mr. Knutson’s responsive comments which he has now continued to post Sunday, April 4 to the Topix thread entitled “The Berkshire Eagle Buries Federal Steroids Probe”.

    Read on:

    Kris Knutson:
    I’ll tell you though, it’s no laughing matter when you find out just how naive you’ve been. I am who I say I am.

    —————————-
    I purchased injectable steroids from then officer Roberto Mazzeo. I did this in the presence of another officer who worked at the jail. And after that, we all smoked some cannabis. Because Roberto didn’t sell just steroids. And when he got found out, he was allowed to resign and given a job for the city of Pittsfield as a parking meter maid.

    ——————————-
    I asked Dave Sinopoli if he could recommend a particular steroid that would help lubricate my joints. I believe it was deca durabolin that he recommended.
    And when Roberto sold steroids to an inmate, it was brought to Dave Sinopolis attention, as he still worked at the jail then and Dave told the informing officer not to say anything and that he would take care of it. Nothing ever happened!

    —————————–
    After Dave was allowed to resign, he took a Job at Jiminy Peak selling time shares with a then friend of mine. This was in the down time before he was hired by the fire department. I was able to get steroids again through Dave via my friend. My friend delivered to me a drug called anavar. And there was no charge to me. I threw the steroids in the toilet and flushed them.

    ——————————
    I tell my story about my dealings with inmates at the jail not to puff myself up but to let those who are interested know, that steroids can and will cause you to do things that you normally would not do. The steroids made me feel invincible and ready to take care of business by myself. And this is dangerous and stupid. I am ashamed of some of the things I did when I worked at the jail.

    —————————-
    There’s a club? And none of the members are “rats”. And they all work in law enforcement? Sounds like a conspiracy to me. It’s too bad that the inmates and the citizens have to be violated in this way, isn’t it? A conspiracy amongst law enforcement to keep the people ignorant of their illegal and immoral behavior?

    ——————————
    Why don’t we ask the inmates how they feel about being locked up in a cage, when their captors are running amuck, filled with lawlessness. There are plenty who are locked up for much less than what we see law enforcement getting away with.

    ——————————-
    The administration was thrilled that they were receiving grant money to run the substance abuse treatment program. They decided to put a known steroid user in that program as the director. Now, this individual has been promoted within the department. It’s all about money and power.

    ———————————–
    Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t that what Carmen is accused of, being a pedophile. If it’s true, then all the stormtroopers, I mean “officers”, have been taking their marching orders from a pedophile. But the stormtroopers are not to concerned because they know they are safe as long as the big guys are safe. A well oiled machine of immoral and illegal activites. It’s a wall of silence. And if the “officers” are decidely keeping quiet, for whatever reason, probably fear, then what does that say about them? It suggests a fearful bunch of knuckleheads who have not the backbone to do the job that they swore to do. Besides, I did not have children at the time this all went down.

    ——————————-
    I suppose my “problem”, if you want to call it that, is the fact that over the years I have had an increasing problem with people who lie for the purpose of power and control. It’s a philosophical deal that I can’t seem to get away from. Sometimes I feel as though I am somehow cursed in that I can not tell lies. But then I realize that it is good to speak truth because without it, we are all reduced to victims.

    ———————————–
    And then our children will be victims too. And this, as the result of an unwillingness to stop them. And if this is the case, then we may as well tell them that they won. And then we can beg them to treat us good.

    —————————————
    Aaron wrote:
    Kris why didn’t you come forward before and are you willing to meet with federal investigators and give a signed statement????

    Kris Knutson wrote:
    The question is, do they want to meet with me? I say no, they do not. A signed statement is fine by me. I have no worries or concerns that way because everything I say is true to the best of my recollections.

    —————————————-
    It is true that there are many good officers at the jail. I don’t mean to suggest that they are all bad. When I use the word stormtroopers to describe them, I am referring to those bad apples in the bunch. But still, there are many “good” officers who know what is going on and their silence does not fit with their job description. I don’t think that Tom Bowler is in any position to do anything about those in his charge who are in some way actually beating him over the head. The ideologies of those in power in Pittsfield resemble that of a tyrant. Tyrants and those closely aligned with it’s ideologies are forced to pander to the most unsavory of characters. In this way, Tom Bowler could rightly be pittied, for he has to be a slave to those who think they are above the law. What an awful feeling to be the leading law enforcement official in Berkshire County and at the same time be helpless to stop the downward spiral into lawlessness.

    ————————————
    One thing I wonder about, is who in their right mind would want to take over as sheriff knowing the extent of the mess and still not do anything about it, while claiming to be a good guy who is also good friends with people involved in a criminal underground operation involving the sale of illegal substances. It only makes sense to me, when I consider the idea that this Tom Bowler is involved too, even if it’s against his will.

    ————————————-
    Chris wrote:
    May god have mercy on your soul Kris if and when you ever run into one of the people you keep mentioning. Not saying that you ever will but good luck especially with Lang .

    Kris Knutson wrote:
    You mentioned his name, not me. I don’t want to get anyone involved that I don’t think needs to be involved. Even if I did mention the scenario while leaving out his name. Truth be told, these people do scare me somewhat but that’s because I’m not stupid. More scared out of concern for my family than myself.

    ————————————
    –END–

  12. GMHeller
    April 3, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    FLASH: Pittsfield’s unfolding anabolic steroids scandal claims another victim.

    The following recorded message can be heard if one telephone’s Conor Berry’s phone extension at The Berkshire Eagle:
    “Hi, you’ve reached reporter Conor Berry at The Berkshire Eagle. I no longer work for the newspaper.”

    To hear Mr. Berry’s phone message, his contact number at The Eagle is: (413) 496-6249.

    Mr. Berry’s contact information can also be found at: http://www.berkshireeagle.com/contactus
    Scroll down to the sub-head: Newsroom Staff

    • Scott
      April 3, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

      All I have to say is wow…

  13. rick
    April 3, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

    and they say sunday is a slow news day

  14. Bonnie
    April 3, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

    Double wow. Who have thunk?

  15. dave
    April 3, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

    typical anyone remember theo stein, he wrote PCB stories

  16. edconnect
    April 3, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

    Ok Dan what is this (conor berry) all about? I know its Sunday but we need to know. Wil the gazette pick up the ball and go for the td? Or will the gob’s be able to run out the clock?

  17. GMHeller
    April 3, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

    Did Berkshire Eagle Publisher Andy Mick fire reporter Conor Berry or did Mr. Berry quit?
    And even more importantly: What aspect of the unfolding anabolic steroids scandal was Mr. Berry working on which brought the two newspapermen into conflict enough such that Mr. Berry no longer works for the newspaper?

  18. GMHeller
    April 3, 2011 at 6:59 pm #

    One does get the sense that the wrong guy is no longer working at The Berkshire Eagle.

  19. Who cares
    April 3, 2011 at 6:59 pm #

    Maybe because he got into stupid debates with Mr now it all GM Heller

    • GMHeller
      April 4, 2011 at 10:31 am #

      @Who cares:
      Why would The Berkshire Eagle have a problem with one of its senior reporters having an open dialogue on subjects of local interest with one or more readers of the newspaper?
      Would it be any different if this debate were being held onstage in a forum at Berkshire Community College?
      It’s obvious there are REAL problems at The Berkshire Eagle.

  20. arpaint
    April 3, 2011 at 8:38 pm #

    Some food for though.
    If you use steroids without medical necessity you are breaking the law. Under federal law and in many states selling steroids or possessing them with intent to sell is a felony and you will probably serve up to 5 years on first offense and up to 10 as of April 2009 it is concerned in the same class as barbiturates. It is also true that law enforcement is mostly interested in the one who is selling. But the fact remains that this officer I hope new he was breaking the law. So my question is did he get adequate punishment. And if it had been anyone other than a police officer would they have gotten off so light. It is never good when a law enforcement agency investigates itself. As far as the union president goes who you stop and for what has nothing to do with what happen.

  21. rick
    April 4, 2011 at 3:04 am #

    dan, if true about conor, hed be a great freelancer for the planet. i would love to read his stuff unfiltered.

  22. rick
    April 4, 2011 at 3:52 am #

    “ge, no taxes and a refund” sound familiar…. like welfare!!!!

  23. Still wondering
    April 4, 2011 at 5:25 am #

    This is insane! There is no one in charge anymore.

  24. Jenifer Jameson
    April 4, 2011 at 5:38 am #

    Dan so far 9 out of 26 responces from ” Heller.. Who’s blog is it?

    • GMHeller
      April 4, 2011 at 10:40 am #

      @Jenifer Jameson:
      Has anyone prevented you from posting and adding to the total number of responses here?
      Do you have anything of substance to add to the topics being discussed, or are you just angry because there are those of us who do have something to contribute?
      Which of my specific comments do you think has not been relevant given the number of breaking news subjects Mr. Valenti covers in his column?

  25. Richard
    April 4, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    Simple possession of any Schedule III substance is a federal offense punishable by up to one year in prison and/or a minimum fine of $1,000.
    In New York State, the Public Health Law classifies anabolic steroids as controlled substances. Possession of even a small quantity of a controlled substance can be prosecuted as a class “A” misdemeanor criminal offense under the Penal Law, punishable by up to one year in jail (although few first-time offenders are sentenced to jail time).

    The consequences of an arrest include being handcuffed, fingerprinted, and hauled before a judge, while the effects of a criminal conviction may include preventing or interfering with future employment opportunities in many fields such as law enforcement

    • GMHeller
      April 4, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

      @Richard:
      You write:
      “The consequences of an arrest include being handcuffed, fingerprinted, and hauled before a judge, while the effects of a criminal conviction may include preventing or interfering with future employment opportunities in many fields such as law enforcement”
      You left out the last part of your last sentence: “except in Pittsfield.”