STEROIDsGATE: BUZZ SAYS CHIEF TO SPEAK TOMORROW, plus, PPD CASE 11-5954, and PEDA’s COREY THURSTON, DECLARE YOUR INTENTIONS
BY DAN VALENTI
FIRST ADD, 4/5/11
Chief Wynn, Attorney Dohoney to Speak?
The Planet had learned that Pittsfield Police Chief Mike Wynn and City Attorney Rich Dohoney may be making a statement tomorrow about SteroidsGate. We haven’t confirmed that officially, as a call into city hall was not returned, but we believe the information is true.
We are trying to get confirmation. We are not sure if this will be a press conference, a statement, or what. One version, again unconfirmed, is that Wynn and Dohoney would only be speaking to the Eagle. We would hope that is not the case, and that, if a press conference or statement is held, all local media be invited or at least given the same information at the same time.
We commend the pair, if, in fact, they do make an appearance. Transparency is the best policy in matters such as this. The rumors, as they do, get out front and gallop like steeds in a thunder storm. Used to be they crawled more slowly, but that was before Don Ameche invented the “smart” phone. Now, everyone “knows” everything yesterday.
The Greatest 0-3 Team in Baseball
Idle thought. The Boston Red Sox, the Greatest Team Ever Assembled on paper, are off to an 0-3 start. It illustrates the old axiom: You can’t go 0-162 without first going 0-3.
It’s been since early March that federal investigators, we think from the Postal Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration, contacted Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn about a probe they were conducting into illegal us of steroids. The feds informed Chief Wynn that they were eyeing the use of the drugs within the PPD as part of a multi-jurisdictional investigation.
PPD Internal Probe Showed “Criminal Conduct’
The chief authorized Capt. David Granger to launch an internal probe. Five days later, an unusually fast time for an internal investigation according to police sources, Granger’s probe issued a finding that plainclothes investigator David Kirchner, who is also a member of the elite Berkshire County Drug Task Force, was guilty of criminal conduct regarding steroids and had acted in a manner unbecoming a member of the PPD.
This was an internal finding. The courts have not acted as of yet against Kirchner or anyone else within the PPD. Kirchner accepted the findings through his union attorney, essentially admitting his guilt. He was busted back to uniform, suspended without pay for five days, and put on the midnight to 8 a.m. shift.
THE AMAZING THING IS THIS: MORE THAN A MONTH LATER, NO ONE IN A COMMAND POSITION FROM THE PPD HAS MADE A PUBLIC APPEARANCE TO OPENLY ADDRESS THIS ISSUE. NO ONE HAS STEPPED FORWARD TO SHARE INFORMATION. NO ONE HAS TAKEN ONE QUESTION FROM THE PRESS OR SHARE MEANINGFUL INFORMATION WITH CITIZENS FOR WHOM THEY WORK. NO ONE HAS MADE A PUBLIC STATEMENT INTENDED TO CALM THE PLETHORA OF RUMORS, MANY OF THEM WITHOUT DOUBT WILD AND UNFOUNDED IN TRUTH, THAT SURROUND THE PPD AND OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT ARMS.
Nice Time for a Vacation
Chief Wynn has been on vacation. He either does not have access to a phone, cell or landline, and computer, or he does and has chosen not to use them. He has also decided that this matter was not serious enough for his return to the city and address the issue, as one of his own told The Planet, “head on.”
We respect the chief’s right to run his department as he judges best. Command is only an easy job when you aren’t the one sitting in the hot seat. Any yet … and yet … many in the city and several among his staff who have communicated in various ways with The Planet are:
* Not happy with what they term the “lack of leadership” shown on this issue.
* Not happy with the way so many good men and women who serve on the PPD have been painted with the brush of suspicion by the department’s refusal to comment speak to the issue.
* Insistent that the illegal use of steroids is common within some of the ranks, that is, not confined to one lone, rogue officer.
This last point could be settled easily. All it takes is for Chief Wynn or his authorized spokesperson to publicly state, unequivocally, words to the effect of “officer David Kirchner is the only member of of the PPD who is involved with illegal use of steroids.”
If that is the entire scope of the use of illegal steroids in the PPD, then publicly say so on the oath. We shall take that as Gospel and drop the story.
We’re Getting Good Info and are Not Making Up the Facts
The Planet has never outed a source in our 36-year career as a professional journalist. We will continue that skein. The sources who are supplying us with inside information of course are doing so secretly, with the understanding of anonymity, and with great care and caution. They have openly said they fear what would happen to them and their careers, to their families, should they be discovered.
Their caution suggests a climate of intimidation with the department — certainly not the atmosphere conducive to the citizenry feeling secure with those who are charged with protecting them and enforcing, in a moral manner, the law. That’s all we want — the assurance that the good cops are recognized as such and the bad apples are weeded out. Every honest person will stand with We The People on that score. As The Planet has repeated for my good friends in the PPD, we stand with you. We recognize you have tough jobs. We admire the way you carry yourselves, professionally.
Case in Point
Again, the majority of the PPD, the men and women who are the proverbial “good cops,” chafe at being tainted by the actions of a handful of bad apples. That’s why they continue to share information.
All of what The Planet has reported a fact has been borne out by the facts. To illustrate that we have an accurate information stream from reliable sources, we share with you call number 11-5954. Anyone who wants to file a Freedom of Information request may do so. They will learn of a man, last initial H (first initial a consonant), arrested on Feb. 25, 2011. We will not publish any names here, although this is a public record and we would be within our rights.
According to sources: “Blank, Blank, and Blank (NAMES REDACTED; INFORMANT SUPPLIES NAMES OF THREE PPD MEMBERS, ONE A LIEUTENANT) tasered Consonant H something like six times before taking him into custody. H was later found doing cocaine in his cell at the PPD. He apparently smuggled it in somehow and it was missed during the season by [Lt.] Blank (NAME REDACTED) et. al. Later,Consonant H was taken to BMC for treatment and remained there for a full day. Prisoners doing coke in the cell after being tasered.”
If sounds like fiction but read it as fact, because, according to the police’s own records, that is what happened.
Our information is good. We vet it as best as we can. If someone wants to obtain the records, they will find the details.
Who, If Anyone, Is Controlling PEDA’s Corey Thurston?
If PEDA’s Corey Thurston has no economic development experience, why would he be selected to head a quasi public-private economic development agency that for 13 years has failed to produce one bona fide tenant for the for GE campus in Pittsfield, adjacent to Silver Lake? WMECO occupies a tiny sliver of PEDA land on its western perimeter for its solar panel project, but most of the panels are on WMECO-owned property. The Planet agrees, it’s better that than nothing, but for 13 years, it’s not much to show.
Why would the board take on another “project”? Another bloke with a steep learning curve? Why not get the best? Is it because “the best” wouldn’t come here? Is it because “the best” wouldn’t put up with the Pittsfield way of doing things? Is he or she “the best” who has the intelligence not even to step into the tar pit that its Pittsfield politics, where plenty a Mastadon has been caught?
There are two ways to get by in public life in Pittsfield. One is the GOB way, where you “play ball.” The other is you try to do the right thing, acting on high moral ground from conscience and the good of the city. Guess which way brings the grease?
An Early Test for Thurston
As we have said, Thurston has a year to prove worthy of his selection. He could get off to a fast start by telling GE that the company must not put a $750,000 ceiling on its payments for the needed capping of 150,000 square feet of old factory floor.
The costs could greatly exceed $750K, and, if nothing is changed in the understanding, Pittsfield taxpayers will be footing GE’s bill. PITTSFIELD TAXPAYERS WILL BE PAYING TO CLEAN UP GE TOXINS. That is unacceptable, as Mayor Jimmy Ruberto rightly pointed out at the last PEDA meeting. The Planet asks Thurston to state what he intends to do on this issue.
Several North County businesspersons have spoken high of Thurston. At the same time, several have claimed that he is controlled by former North Adams mayor John Barrett. They claim that when Barrett was mayor, he basically had the say in programming at WMNB, especially if the mayor didn’t like a story or a guest at the radio station. They say Thurston knuckled under to Barrett. Other Northern sources dispute that.
The Planet adds this curiosity to the question. This is a story that ran in the Berkshire Eagle in 2004. Main charaters: Coreydon Thurston, John Barrett, Kurt Bricault, with minor roles by John Krol and Dan Bosely.
Berkshire Eagle, The (Pittsfield, MA)
January 9, 2004
Article ID: 1880032
Radio station rescinds Bricault’s invitation to ‘Opinion’ program
Susan Bush Berkshire Eagle Staff
NORTH ADAMS — State Rep. Daniel E. Bosley did it last month and Mayor John Barrett III did it earlier this week, but the chance to talk at length on the radio about a proposed Discount Drugs of Canada affiliate opening at 85 Main St. has been denied to Kurt Bricault, the Houghton Street man who wants to open the business. Bricault had been invited earlier this week to appear this morning on the widely listened-to “Opinion” program on WNAW (AM 1230) and WMNB (FM 100.1).
However, Bricault said yesterday that “Opinion” host John Krol contacted him yesterday morning and told him that his appearance had been canceled by the radio station’s top management. The radio show is a live call-in program that permits listeners to phone in opinions about matters of interest at the local, state, and federal levels. Programs may be geared to a topic and feature in-studio newsmaker guests. Other broadcasts are “open,” meaning callers can voice their thoughts on any issue they choose.
Listeners calling in do not reveal their identities while on the air unless they choose to. Bricault said he was pleased to have been invited on the program. “I was asked to appear and I was very willing to have an opportunity to allow people to call with their questions,” Bricault said. “And I thought about what a wonderful opportunity this was for people to listen.”
Bricault has maintained that his venture is legal and permitted through the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996. Barrett, Planning Board members and others have questioned the legality of the proposal, and Barrett had said he is concerned the city could be held liable if a permit is approved for an illegal operation. Contacted yesterday, Krol declined comment on the situation and referred questions to the station’s general manager, Corydon Thurston.
Thurston said that Bricault’s scheduled appearance was canceled because “it seems inappropriate to do this now, with the city Planning Board meeting on Monday about his [Bricault's] permit. There is the question of legality [of the proposal] and the legal opinion of city solicitors.” …
… The Planning Board held a public hearing on the application on Dec. 8, but decided to postpone action on the permit until the next meeting, which will be on Monday night. Board members said they wanted to seek a legal opinion about the business, and Barrett said earlier this week that an opinion has been prepared by the city’s attorneys and will be announced during the meeting.
The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. at City Hall. Earlier this week, questions about the need for a special permit prompted Bricault to open his doors briefly on Monday and to withdraw his permit application. But after Barrett fined building owner David Carver $50 for the day the office operated and threatened to levy a $100 per-day fine against Carver if Bricault remained open without a permit, Bricault resubmitted the application and ceased doing business.
Since the Dec. 8 meeting, Bosley, D-North Adams, has aired his views about the proposal on a “Report from Beacon Hill” radio program aired by the station. Bosley’s comments included references to Bricault as someone who may be “out to make a quick buck,” and also incorrectly described his plan as involving drives to Canada by Bricault with consumer prescriptions in hand, which he would fill himself at Canadian pharmacies.
Barrett recently spoke about the proposal on a similar program, “Report from City Hall,” and said he believed it offers no benefit to the city. Barrett was also a solo guest on the “Opinion” program earlier this week and again spoke about the issues surrounding Bricault’s proposal. Bosley, Barrett and Bricault have all had specific comments aired during news broadcasts.
Thurston said the cancellation was not a reflection on Bricault or his business model; he insisted that the “pending [permit] application made the program timing “inappropriate.” The issue of prescription medication costs in the United States and related matters could be an appropriate topic at a future date, Thurston said.
Asked if other “Opinion” guests have been canceled in the past for similar reasons, Thurston said he couldn’t immediately recall such an instance but thought such a situation has probably occurred previously. Bricault said he believes the issue of Canadian medication access is an extremely timely topic for listeners, especially because others have been allowed to use the radio to voice their opinions. And he reiterated that he feels the issue should be about people and their struggles to pay for costly prescriptions, not a political football.
(c) 2004 The Berkshire Eagle. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.
At least in this case, it appeared that Thurston had two sets of rules, one for Barrett and one for Bricault. How will Thurston do standing up for the citizens of Pittsfield in driving economic development AND seeing that GE lives up to its responsibilities of attempting to make whole (which no amount of money will ever do) for the way they poisoned the Berkshire’s county seat)?
HELLO, WE MUST BE GOING. WE ONLY CAME TO SAY WE MUST BE GOING. LOVE TO ALL, GROUCHO.