Article

‘THE CONOR BERRY CHRONICLES’: PROOF THAT ANDY MICK SPIKED THE STRACUZZI STORY, THE FIRST OF MANY SUCH ‘INTRUSIONS’

BY DAN VALENTI

How the ‘Newspaper’ is Run … into the Ground

For months, we have offered evidences and assertions supporting our argument that the Newspaper Formerly Known as The Berkshire Eagle no longer exists. In its place is a fraud and fake called The Boring Broadsheet. The BB began operation in 1995, replacing the Eagle’s 100+ history of superb journalism, Pulitzers, and local ownership.

The paper was purchased by a bird of prey named Dean Singleton and his chain, a man known in newspaper circles as a vulture — a businessman who didn’t care about journalism or a newspaper’s responsibilities to its local community but only about the coveted Bottom Line. Singleton’s Media New Group (MNG) has a well deserved reputation of scorn for the way it would by distressed papers at fire sale prices, run them into the ground, the move on.

The Denver, Colo., based MNG existed for one purpose only: The makes its owners and board and shareholders as much money as possible. Singleton’s game was based on highly leveraged properties, using credit and mortgages to add to the empire. When the economy tanked in the 4th quarter of 2008, the dance ended and the piper had to be paid. Today, MNG exists only in bankruptcy court, a shell of its former shell.

Micknewspaper: Anti-Community

In Pittsfield, Singleton installed a publisher, Andy Mick, who would follow orders in return for commensurate financial compensation. They made the mistake, though, of hiring as editor a real newspaper guy, David Scriber, for whom The Planet had the pleasure of working for a bunch of years as a columnist. Scribner tried to pitch a fair game, but even he was stifled in the end. Scribner left in the early 2000s, to be replaced by a sports guy, a decent enough chap, who knew nothing about how to run a newspaper and wouldn’t think to ask questions. That man’s name was Tim Farkas.

The Planet has tried to reach out to Farkas any number of times, but he would have none of it. We empathize with his position, actually, knowing that he has a family to support, mouths to feed, and a publisher who, seemingly, will throw him under the bus if he rocks the boat too much.

Shortly after Farkas was hired, The Planet took him to lunch at Patrick’s Pub in downtown Pittsfield, to introduce him to the community and invite him on our radio show, “The Dan Valenti Show,” then the hottest a.m. ticket in town. He declined. He said he needed to get acclimated to the community, and then he would come on as a guest. He never did. He’d duck our calls and do his best to avoid being asked to guest the show again.

Farkas learned quickly that The Planet wasn’t afraid to ask of him the tough question and that we knew the newspaper-communication-media game inside and out. For him, that apparently was a dreadful combination. He never came on. In fact, he never met with us again. We understand, and we want him to know that.

With Mick, the Boring Broadsheet’s makeover from feisty, even great local daily into a toothless rag meant as the GOB house organ Pittsfield was complete. The paper began ignoring big stories and trying to make solidity of pure fluff. In the process, the Boring Broadsheet bailed out of its responsibilities as the Local Daily.

The Berry Chronicles

Several years ago, they made the mistake of hiring an enterprising reporter. This man could also write. He had a nose for news, a reputation for honesty, and that fearless quality that makes for a potential star. His name was Conor Berry.

Berry had to fight tooth and nail to go after some of the scandalous stories he soon learned were hidden, buried, and begging to be unearthed. Mick, however, ordered Farkas to muzzle the guy. It worked, but only partially. Berry managed to get some important stories into the light of day. Three come to mind: The Carmen Massimiano accusation story; the arrest and shameful exit of Angelo Stracuzzi, former CEO of Greylock Federal Credit Union; and SteroidsGate.

Finally, this man of integrity could no longer stomach his employers. Berry was probably kept sane by Kevin Moran, the managing editor of the BB, who has The Planet’s full respect and sympathy. Moran is a local guy, unlike Mick and Farkas. He “gets” Berkshire County and Pittsfield. He cares about he community. He knows the pulse of the community, something about which the tone-deaf Mick-Farkas combo remain clueless. Moran is in an awkward position. He’s the link between Farkas and the newsroom. He sticks up for his reporters and editors, but he also has to tiptoe the tightrope. Mick holds it over his head: He knows Moran wants to remain local, and there’s no other gig in town.

Mick has essentially told Moran, “Keep your mouth shut, dummy up when we tell you, and you’ll be fine.”

The Truth is Out: Mick Spiked the Stracuzzi Story

Conor Berry left for a job at the Springfield Republican. We have wished him well, and we would advise the editorial managers there to give this guy free reign. He’ll boost circulation for you, garner the community’s respect, and win you awards.

In a comment made to this website, Berry finally told the inside story of how he was ordered off the Stracuzzi investigation. Stracuzzi was initially charged with four counts involving 13-year-old and 15-year-old teenage boys in incidents that occurred on consecutive days in July 2005. He was charged with two counts of assault and two counts of soliciting the prostitution of a minor.

The child molestation charges were dropped, as was one of the assault charges. The Planet obtained court documents that confirmed the initial charges by police. We visited the police department at Biddeford, Maine. The Biddeford chief wouldn’t let us examine the initial police reports, because he said they involved charges of sexual assault of minors — again, confirmation of the charges.

Berry wanted to pursue the story. Mick ordered him off, as Berry now reveals here for the first time. Read Conor Berry’s account, and ask yourself: How can anyone ever trust the Boring Broadsheet again?

The Planet urges you to make this column viral. Send to all your friends. Have them send it to THEIR friends. Let all finally be convinced that the Boring Broadsheet has not earned the support and trust of the community. It will ignore the stories it is ORDERED to ignore about whatever dark secrets and unsavory affairs that may be polluting community life as much as GE’s toxins have polluted our air, land, and water.

CONOR  BERRY’s FULL STATEMENT

The Planet presents: “The Conor Berry Chronicles” (the underlines and italics have been added by The Planet):

2011/04/21 at 12:13 pm

So, I’m feeling some pressure, as a reporter, to peel the onion further, especially since the “citizen journalists” of the online world are mentioning the awful, tawdry details of the Greylock CEO case and I haven’t written word one — though I did, in a rather Delphic way, allude to some bizarre sets of circumstances.

Didn’t the CEO’s mother warn him against picking up hitchhikers?!

I was originally told, point blank, by two well-placed law enforcement sources that the underlying charges, the ones The Eagle avoided covering initially, stemmed from allegations that the CEO in question solicited sex from a group of boys or pre-teens up in Biddeford, ME.

At that point, I had no idea the allegations stemmed from two separate incidents spread over two evenings. I actually learned that from [Glenn] Heller. My source said, and I quote: “He offered money to some boys for a [blank].”

Once I learned of the disposition of the case from Maine law enforcement officials, I was disturbed by the underlying charges — the ones that were dismissed by the state of Maine.

I was fully prepared to report on these original, more disturbing charges, but my editor told me to hang tight until he ran it by the publisher (understandably, my editor didn’t want another Massimiano story on his hands, and frankly I didn’t want to be maligned in another full-page color ad in my own paper! Incidentally, what kind of thought goes through a publisher’s head when he accepts $20,000+ for an ad mocking his paper, his editor and, arguably, the only reporter at his paper who was asking any intelligent questions?).

Hold on, here it comes: The publisher barred us from reporting the awful details in the CEO story.

My editor told me that, according to the publisher, if the bank CEO had incurred more recent charges, whether they be in Maine, Connecticut or Massachusetts, for that matter, we could proceed. But we were NOT to focus on charges that were, by then, already a half-dozen years old. Particularly charges that weren’t ultimately pursued by the state of Maine, but rather dismissed by the state of Maine. …

Not for nothing, but this sort of back-and-forth discussion is nothing new in the world of newspapers, but rather something that boils down to “news judgment.” Every paper in America, depending on its trajectory and mission, has its own sense of news judgment. Some papers are more to the left, others more to the right.

For a small, regional daily such as The Eagle, there is a pronounced sensitivity to the “names in the news,” the “power structure,” or, as you fellows frequently refer to them, the “GOBs.”

During my 3 1/2-year tenure at The Eagle, I was called into my editor’s office several times so he could give me “heads-up” about the publisher hearing such and such about me … that the publisher had heard that I was asking this guy about this matter, and that gal about that matter, etc., etc.

It wore on me, frankly, and I did feel that it inhibited me from doing my job as a reporter, which is to dig and ask questions, regardless of how unsavory the issue at hand is, or regardless of how powerful (or delusional?) the subject of the questions may be.

Very disheartening, indeed.

And I can honestly report that this was the first time, in my relatively long journalism career, that I ever felt the long arm of the publisher’s office sticking itself into places it had no right to be stuck. Pardon whatever unsavory imagery that phrase may conjure …

I won’t detail other cases of publisher intrusion, but I often found myself in a defensive posture, defending myself against crimes, rumors and innuendo that simply weren’t true. In a word, I was disgusted, and my frustration was well known in the newsroom.

That aside, I can’t say enough good things about my managing editor, a native son of the county, who never shied away from hard news or news that may have rocked the boat. He was my rabbi, and I’ll always respect him for that.

On a final note, when an editor picked up a proof of the full-page ad (the one in which Massimiano, that powerful little man, maligns me as a reporter and threatens to sue me) and brought it into the executive editor’s office so we could digest its contents, the publisher very angrily stormed into the executive editor’s office and chastised we goofy news guys for examining the ad, which was promptly taken away from us. Again, welcome to bizzaro world.

Respectfully,


CONOR

‘Publisher Intrusion’

The Planet notes that Berry refers to “other cases of publisher intrusion.” It happens, from my sources in the newsroom, virtually every day. Mick is running water for those that are dictating his orders, be they from Denver or right here in GOB Land.

Andy Mick: Come to your own defense. The Planet would love to hear your side of the story.

Tim Farkas: We withdraw our offer to fight. We regret having offered. We have lately come to a fuller understanding of your position, and The Planet acknowledges as much. We apologize if we went over the top in our treatment, and we ask forgiveness. You have a tough enough road. We offer this in all sincerity and, accept it or not, friendship.

Kevin Moran: Keep up the fight. If you need a shoulder upon which to lean, The Planet is here for you. You have many friends in the community who love you, respect you, and know what you’re up against.

Reporter and Editors of the Eagle: Throw off your chains. Organize. Fight back. You are a talented bunch. Reclaim daily journalism for the city and county.

Conor Berry: Godspeed.

TOMORROW, THE PLANET GIVES YOU PART THREE OF “THE GRANGER MEMO,” EXCLUSIVELY! Now, “Open the window, Aunt Millie.” Love to all.

72 Responses to “‘THE CONOR BERRY CHRONICLES’: PROOF THAT ANDY MICK SPIKED THE STRACUZZI STORY, THE FIRST OF MANY SUCH ‘INTRUSIONS’”

  1. scott
    April 25, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    This is confirmation for what we all new is going on already you can’t deny fact but I’m sure some of the delusional types will be on here doing it anyway.

  2. NFM
    April 25, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    It costs $20,000 for a full page ad in the Berkshire Eagle? Holy moly! I’ve seen some people – obviously multi-millionaires – run lots of full page ads.

    Can you imagine running thirty or fifty of those? That’s upwards of a million bucks. And if you are spending a million bucks in advertising, you figure that you’ve got a whole lot more just to throw away.

    Wow! I had no idea how much money the Eagle makes!

    • scott
      April 25, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

      You are also naive to what exactly that type of funding can buy you when it’s put in the right place.

      • NFM
        April 25, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

        And you, good sir, make assumptions in regard to matters you know nothing about.

        Me: naive?

        Scott: ignorant!

        • scott
          April 25, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

          I provided documented proof to back up what I believe you’ve provided nothing but your word.

          • NFM
            April 26, 2011 at 11:53 am #

            I provided my opinion that $20,000 is a lot of money for a full page ad, and I provided my expectation that someone who bought 30 – 50 such ads would be rich (by my definition of rich).

            I did not provide my word.

            You DID NOT provide any documentation. Documentation to what? My alleged naivete? Are you sure that you are not intending to have a dialogue with someone else? Your posts are making no sense.

            I am worried about you…Are you hearing voices in your head?

          • danvalenti
            April 26, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

            Agree with NFM. There’s no way the BB is getting 20 grand for a full page ad. It’s easy enough to find out. Call the ad department, tell them you want a rate card, or go on the website.

  3. GMHeller
    April 25, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    Mr. Valenti,
    You write:
    “They made the mistake, though, of hiring as editor a real newspaper guy, David Scriber, for whom The Planet had the pleasure of working for a bunch of years as a columnist. Scribner tried to pitch a fair game, but even he was stifled in the end. Scribner left in the early 2000s ….”

    It would have been more accurate for you to state exactly why David Scribner left the employ of The Berkshire Eagle.

    • scott
      April 25, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

      Well let’s have it scoop why did he leave?

      • Dusty
        April 25, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

        I seem to remember it was during or just after Gerry Doyle turned the city upside down. The Eagle loved Gerry at first then went after him. But when Doyle and the Eagle were working together they did a good job of dismantling the city. Ruberto has done a pretty good job of finishing it off.

      • danvalenti
        April 25, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

        It’s irrelevant why Scribner left. I think he’s way too much a newsman for the BB’s good. He knew it and so did they.

        • GMHeller
          April 25, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

          Mr. Valenti,
          You write:
          “It’s irrelevant why Scribner left.”

          That’s an opinion on your part.
          For the sake of transparency, why not give your readers the facts and let them decide?

        • Guy N
          April 27, 2011 at 5:24 am #

          Dan Could it be that the reason Scribner left is the real reason he rants about the Eagle? Come on Dan give us the facts! Don’t evade the truth!

          • danvalenti
            April 27, 2011 at 5:55 am #

            GUY
            If it’s so important to you, call David. He’s at the Berkshire Record. Easy to reach.

  4. Still wondering
    April 25, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    I always figured that Scribner got the boot because he failed in getting the new stadium built. The Eagle would have been a part owner.

    • GMHeller
      April 25, 2011 at 11:34 pm #

      It sounds like Mr. Valenti’s long friendship with David Scribner (aka ‘Scribby’) might be hampering his giving an honest assessment as to what transpired to cause Mr. Scribner and The Berkshire Eagle suddenly to part company a few years back.

      • danvalenti
        April 26, 2011 at 8:15 am #

        GMH
        Fixate all you wish about David Scribner. He left the Eagle because he has integrity as a newsman. Simple as that, if you look at the bottom line.

        • GMHeller
          April 26, 2011 at 11:01 am #

          Mr. Valenti,
          No intention here to fixate on anything except facts.
          You are claiming here that David Scribner “left the Eagle because he has integrity as a newsman”.
          Seriously, Is THAT what you claim is the rationale for Mr. Scribner’s sudden departure from The Eagle’s employ a few years back?
          What you are claiming here is totally contrary to what my sources have told me were the actual reasons for Mr. Scribner’s exit from the newspaper and those reasons have nothing to do with the altruism you allege.

          • danvalenti
            April 26, 2011 at 11:08 am #

            GMH
            I will not divert the attention of what’s going on at the BB to long-ago side issues that have no bearing. I will not respond to any more badgering about. Save your energy and resources, Glenn, to more relevant matters. As we know, there are plenty to go around.

          • GMHeller
            April 26, 2011 at 4:16 pm #

            Mr. Valenti,
            What you call “long ago side issues” are what got Mr. Scribner terminated from his employment with The Berkshire Eagle.
            The matter never got reported in The Eagle (or anywhere else), so it is just as newsworthy and ‘fair game’ as any other covered-up matter around Berkshire County, covering-up for sacred cows apparently being standard operating procedure in these parts.
            Mr. Valenti, please note you chose to censor my comment from earlier today on this subject so I am repeating it here again as well as posting this entire exchange on Topix so that readers can decide for themselves the validity of the subject material:
            When David Scribner was editor at The Eagle, many people — including myself — considered him to be part of The Eagle’s problem at the time.
            Why don’t you just present the facts surrounding the circumstances of Mr. Scribners’s departure from the newspaper and let your readers weigh these issues for themselves?

          • danvalenti
            April 26, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

            GMH
            Your fixation with David Scribner is odd. Say what you wish. I’ll let this comment stand, for now. Your talents are needed elsewhere, my friend. Leave Scribner alone. You should be looking more deeply into the publisher of the BB. CAn you get his salary, for instance? You think that would play well with newsroom staff, who are working for peanuts. Get that. We’ll publish it.

          • GMHeller
            April 26, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

            Mr. Valenti,

            You write:
            “Your fixation with David Scribner is odd.”

            Then you proceed to change the subject.

            Fixation?
            Sorry pal.
            Sounds like you are now guilty of doing the same thing, however subtly, as the GOB’s you deplore.
            You cast doubts upon the motives of the messenger because either you don’t like the message or you don’t want that message circulated.

            Fact is your buddy David Scribner suddenly and mysteriously parted ways with The Berkshire Eagle a few years back, the circumstances about which were never reported anywhere.
            You now sing praises to Mr. Scribner’s abilities as a journalist but you simultaneously avoid dealing with the serious issues that undermined his trusted position as editor at the newspaper and which ultimately caused his termination.
            Note these were apparently NOT issues of journalistic conscience or principle (as appears to have been the case with Conor Berry’s exit from The Eagle).
            Rather, Mr. Scribner’s troubles apparently stem from ….. well, Mr. Valenti, this is your blog and your friend, so in the interest of fairness to your friend, why don’t YOU (rather than me) present the facts in the best light possible and let your readers judge.

          • danvalenti
            April 26, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

            The story is irrelevant. Simple as that. It appears that your Scribner fixation is part of your blind hatred of “liberals” or some such. We have no interest in such games.

          • GMHeller
            April 26, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

            The comment above (and this whole thread on David Scribner) has been posted simultaneously to Topix:
            http://www.topix.net/forum/city/pittsfield-ma/THBPHGMU09SQFUH4V

          • danvalenti
            April 26, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

            Very good. We would prefer they get such irrelevancies there, not here. Thank you.

          • GMHeller
            April 26, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

            Mr. Valenti:
            Will you at least acknowledge that your buddy David Scribner was terminated by The Berkshire Eagle on legitimate legal grounds?

  5. John
    April 25, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    Planet, who’s covering the Royal Wedding?

    • Jim Gleasen
      April 25, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

      Jim GleasON is. He is taking a few days off from name calling and mud slinging to witness and write about history…at least that what he thinks it is.

      On to a more important topic, it’s really too bad that a select group of people (GOB) can control the media. If this were a big city like NYC, LA, or even Boston, and a CEO of a bank attempted to solicit under age boys and was arrested, it would have been front page news for a solid week or more. From reading some previous posts, I read that he was attempting to get a job at a veteran’s home in Pittsfield. Is this true? How ironic to put a group of heros who fought for this country with such a person. Unreal!!

    • danvalenti
      April 25, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

      Bullet Bob Shade.

      • Jim Gleasen
        April 25, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

        I heard he calls HS football games pretty good also.

        • danvalenti
          April 25, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

          You heard right, my good friend! Also great with hockey and basketball.

  6. just saying
    April 25, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    Mr. Berry-

    Your revalations about the BB support what I and many others have said on The Planet . Nice of you to show us that we were correct in our statements.
    If we were to revisit your statements on this site from several weeks ago, we would find that your posistion on the BB’s coverups have turned 180 degrees.
    Understandable.
    Now that you are no longer employed at the BB, please give us more insight into the inner workings of this puppet of the GOB in Pittsfield.

    • Conor Berry
      April 25, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

      Just saying,

      I’m not so sure about “coverups” plural, per se, but one could definitely make the argument that there appears to be varying standards of fairness. I was waiting for people to make that argument since I couldn’t, but there was relative silence. Not in the online realm, of course, but that doesn’t elicit the same sort of response as printed letters to the editor or calls for an investigation, etc.

      In typical Pittsfield fashion, it all just blows over, and each “side” of the debate continues to distrust and dislike the other, etc.

      In terms of the preferential treatment I alluded to, I call it the black-kid-from-the-Bronx syndrome. If a black kid from the Bronx comes up to Pittsfield, shacks up with a local girl and runs afoul of the law, the paper has no problem writing about the guy’s current/past indiscretions.The color of the subject really doesn’t matter; I’m only using this mythical black kid from the Bronx to make a point. He could just as easily be a white, trust-fund ski bum from Vermont, mind you.

      The point is, so long as the person screwing up ain’t local, the gloves are off. But when the object of censure is a wealthy, white businessman, the sensitivity levels go through the roof.

      Me, I live by a pretty simple credo: A dirtbag is a dirtbag (I don’t know the Latin translation, unfortunately), regardless of the dirtbag’s background, pedigree, political yank or fancy college degrees.

      In my case, I was completely ignorant of the county’s power structure when I started at the paper, so I routinely found myself bumping into sacred cows. I initially got a lot of open-jawed “don’t you know who he is” looks, and I’d typically say, “No, I don’t know who he is. I do know that he’s accused of [fill in the alleged misdeed], though.” The whole ignorance is bliss thing, in other words.

      When I pointed out to superiors at the paper that suppressing certain elements of the CEO’s story was unfair in light of the full treatment afforded to the black kid from the Bronx, assorted drug suspects and other anti-social punks, I found myself bumping into a wall.

      Needless to say, as the online community continued to reveal all of the details of the CEO’s Maine mishaps, I eventually started alluding to them in stories, as if testing the waters of termination. Yeah, I got around to this rather late in the game, and I never shed the sort of light on the allegations that many thought should be shone, but it is what it is.

      And what little was revealed was done so without the blessing of my superiors, it should be noted, so I did engage in some degree of brinksmanship. I figured what the heck — the information is already out there anyway, so it’s not like the public can’t handle it. Obviously, I felt strongly that certain details should have been included in the initial reports about the CEO’s out-of-state criminal record, but that simply wasn’t going to happen.

      Once the more disturbing details (a sanitized description of what allegedly transpired) made it through the editing process unchanged, and those original charges were published in the paper, the sky didn’t fall. Again, as was the case with the Massimiano matter, that information had already gone public long before The Eagle ever got on board. Subsequent reports continued to include the original charges against the CEO, the ones that were dismissed by the state of Maine.

      What all of this clearly shows is that newspapers, even in the 21st century, are still susceptible to favoritism. That’s why it’s very difficult for fair-minded people to sit back, passively, and watch from the sidelines. I don’t blame readers for being frustrated. I was frustrated. And I’d be wicked frustrated if was that black kid from the Bronx, the one whose transgressions were/are dragged through the paper ad nauseum, ad infinitum.

      Again, where were the angry villagers with torches? Where were the defense lawyers, the ones who could have decried the seemingly preferential treatment afforded the CEO? It’s not my job to spark moral outrage. It’s my job to inform people of what’s going on in their community.

      CONOR

      • danvalenti
        April 25, 2011 at 6:56 pm #

        CONOR
        Thank you for these clarifications. Hope your new bosses realize what they have in you and let you do some real enterprise work. Wished I could have worked with you and been a mentor for authentic crusading journalism.

      • GMHeller
        April 25, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

        Mr. Berry,
        You write:
        “Again, as was the case with the Massimiano matter, that information had already gone public long before The Eagle ever got on board.”

        Mr. Berry, in re: former Sheriff Carmen Massimiano, whatever happened to the lawsuit which Mr. Massimiano publicly proclaimed he was going to be filing naming The Berkshire Eagle, Conor Berry, et al. as defendants?
        Were you ever served with legal papers in the matter?
        Or was Mr. Massimiano’s aggressive public stance merely for effect because a lawsuit for slander and/or libel would have collapsed under the weight of evidence showing that the fellow who phoned-in to Sherman Baldwin’s radio show was speaking truthfully?

        • Conor Berry
          April 25, 2011 at 9:27 pm #

          Excellent questions, Mr. Heller. Frankly, it seems to have evaporated into thin air.

          But, boy, would i have loved to sit in on the good sheriff’s deposition.

          If I sound as if I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder, you have to understand how incredibly absurd it is to be the subject of an ad attacking you and your paper, when the publisher of the paper greenlighted the Massimiano story in the first place.

          There were numerous, numerous back-and-forths between Denver attorneys and my editor on that story, all of which was designed to build a story that was libel-proof, ostensibly.

          In walks Massimiano in a huff, and he barks some threats, and the whole thing comes to a screeching halt. I have no idea what sort of contact Massimiano’s people had with the newspaper’s management, but I’m guessing lawyers must have contacted someone in the front office.

          I just don’t know what actually transpired, but I do know what it’s like to be thrown under the bus by your employer. The more I scrutinized the language of that ad, the more I believed I had legal grounds to sue. But suing isn’t my style. I’d rather wrestle the sheriff in a charity event to combat the proliferation of lakeside campgrounds for kids.

          CONOR.

          CONOR

          • GMHeller
            April 25, 2011 at 11:41 pm #

            Mr. Berry,
            You write:
            “There were numerous, numerous back-and-forths between Denver attorneys and my editor on that story, all of which was designed to build a story that was libel-proof, ostensibly.”

            Mr. Berry, do you have a digital copy of that report you wrote about Carmen Massimiano back then, the story that apparently went unpublished when you were “thrown under the bus”?
            If so, would you please post it here, or email it to me and I will gladly post it on Berkshire Blog under your byline.

          • GMHeller
            April 25, 2011 at 11:44 pm #

            Mr. Berry,
            And on the subject of unreported scandals, did you ever happen to take a looksee into the Pittsfield DPW scandal to which so many on Topix keep referring?
            Not sure if it had to do with theft of unearned overtime pay or equipment or what, but posters keep bringing it up.

          • danvalenti
            April 26, 2011 at 8:17 am #

            CONOR
            Thanks for your openness and honesty in discussing these matters. We shall be in touch.
            DAN

      • Dusty
        April 26, 2011 at 2:01 am #

        Conner, I always wondered about the Baran case. The Eagle seemed to stand up for him a couple of times even though Capeless wanted him put away forever. How did that slide through?

        I think the man got a very raw deal.

        • danvalenti
          April 26, 2011 at 8:11 am #

          The Baran Case. Don’t be too surprised to see that making news locally in a big way in the not-to-distant future. If so, it could rattle the windows and tear down the walls. Baran DID get the most egregious of raw deals. They took decades of his life. Payback may be a brewing, but it’s all with lawyers at this point.

  7. John
    April 25, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

    The BB doesn’t want real reporters, just payroll patriots and advertising geeks. Loyalty is a two way street,Conor left when the street turned to a dead end. This paper wouldn’t know a good story if J D Salinger wrote it for them.

    • Guy N
      April 25, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

      Are you calling Dan a payroll patriot?

    • danvalenti
      April 25, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

      When its gets real reporters, the real reporters realize the paper doesn’t want their talents. Talent like Ellen Lahr, Jack Dew, and Conor Berry leave for better pastures. The talent at the Eagle often has to tip toe around. You’ve read from Berry how the publisher controls what’s going on — kiss of death for any newsroom. The publisher should stay OUt of the newsroom. Not happening at the BB, and the paper is on the road to extinction. Who’s going to keep paying for the junk that gets served up every day? Not with the Internet doing a much better job.

  8. rick
    April 25, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

    its a shame that a stand up guy like conor had to leave to pusue his trade, it seems like pittsfield eats its young……. the thing about the good old boys is in their thinking they feel their doing good for the city but their doing just the opposite. if anyone listened to roberto today on the kratka show you would know what the gobs thinking is all about.one thing roberto said that stuck in my mind was that anyone goining against him is an obstructionist. conor i would love to read the stories you werent allowed to write.

  9. Dusty
    April 25, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

    so one might ponder what would make a newspaper let itself be led around by the nose of the GOB. If the paper is in the business of making money one might wonder if it was somehow more lucrative for them to ignore a story than print it. And if so, what might the mechanics of this be? Could the GOB somehow be funneling money to the paper?

    Strange things happen in Pittsfield and if this were happening not too many folk would be surprised.

    • danvalenti
      April 25, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

      It may be more conducive to the bottom line NOT to go after real stories and stick with the fluff. That’s the likely explanation.

  10. Guy N
    April 25, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

    Somebody please tell me why on earth would The Eagle hide a story about Angelo? REMAINDER OF THE NOTE REDACTED.

  11. rick
    April 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    the thing that gets me is in this town , you hear all the gossip about everyone but the gobs, they hid this one well..gotta give them credit,great cover up almost. disgrcefull is all and that comes to mind.and the bb is at the top of the shame list.

  12. GMHeller
    April 25, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

    Mr. Valenti:
    You write:
    “Stracuzzi was initially charged with four counts involving 13-year-old and 15-year-old teenage boys in incidents that occurred on consecutive days in July 2005. He was charged with TWO counts of assault and TWO counts of soliciting the prostitution of a minor.”
    (Caps added for emphasis.)

    Mr. Valenti, Your information is similar to, but does not quite jell with the data on file with the Afred County Maine court clerk.
    As posted to Berkshire Blog:
    “According to York County Superior Court records, Biddeford Police charged Mr. Stracuzzi with ‘Patronizing Prostitution of a Minor’ – Class D; ‘Assault & Battery’ – Class D; and ‘Criminal Mischief’ – Class D.
    “In two separate cases filed with the York County Superior Court, Mr. Stracuzzi was charged with the same three identical counts in each case.
    “The criminal complaints stemmed from separate incidents occurring a day apart, each incident involving a different underage male.
    “The first incident took place July 26th, 2004 (Criminal Docket No. 05-194) and was reported to Biddeford Police that same evening at 9:36 P.M..
    “The second incident occurred July 27th (Criminal Docket No. 04-2288) and appeared on the police blotter at 10:00 P.M. same night.
    “The boys’ ages at the time were approximately 15 and 13 years-old, respectively.

    SEE:
    http://berkshireeagle.blogspot.com/2010/06/angelo-stracuzzi.html

    • scott
      April 25, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

      You’ll also notice in the Eagle story they only owned up to the final charge as if it was a one timer thing and they let Angelo tell his side of it only. I would also like to point out that the Eagle never lets people they plaster on the front page tell their side of it unless they’re connected.

      • danvalenti
        April 25, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

        Conjecture, but it would seem reasonable to assume that the gobs of money Greylock threw the BB’s way allowed them to dictate coverage. No self-respecting newspaper would have knuckled under the way the BB apparently has.

        • NFM
          April 26, 2011 at 11:59 am #

          Dan,

          I love your stuff, but I have got to point out that the Eagle not only attacked GFCU’s CEO, but also the entity’s reputation.

          The Eagle took a massive swat at the GFCU. That’s hardly the actions of a paper trying to stay nice with thier advertiser.

          Just my humble opinion.

          • danvalenti
            April 26, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

            If you read what Conor Berry wrote, he basically slipped that in and it saw light of day. They backed off the story faster than Paint winning in the third at Aquaduct. They on;y took the swat because of the initial reporting by Berry on the state probation scandal and probe. And THAT only came after the Boston papers named names in Berkshire County. They did everything BUT take “massive swat” at GFCU. They dropped the story as fast as Carmen Massimiano dropped his threatened legal action against Berry.

    • CONCERNED
      April 25, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

      Mr. Heller Did Greylock Credit Union know what was going on with Stracuzzi all them years??? Oh wait his probation officer Mr. Nilan (President Parks Com.) was on board of directors ummmmmm

      • danvalenti
        April 25, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

        The Planet put this question to John Bissell, VP at Greylock. Going by our recollections of this conversation many months ago, Bissell said the board, except for Nilan, knew nothing about the behavior of its CEO in Maine on the fateful July days in 2005, for five full years. Many, including The Planet, found that hard to believe, but Bissell insisted and no one else on the board would talk on the record. Thus, that is still Greylock’s official position, as best we know.

      • GMHeller
        April 25, 2011 at 9:05 pm #

        @Concerned,
        Good question.
        In pursuit of an answer to this and other questions, members of the Greylock’s Federal Credit Union’s board of trustees were contacted by phone, specifically persons who sat on the board’s ‘Governance Committee’.
        One person, who agreed to speak not for attribution, had read The Berkshire Eagle’s report by Conor Berry on May 30, 2010 which had made reference to Angelo Stracuzzi’s guilty plea in Maine for Assault & Battery and for Destruction of Private Property.
        When first told on the phone of the original charges filed by Biddeford Police, this person made a sound as though the person’s jaw had just hit the phone’s microphone. The level of disbelief on the other end of that phone seemed very real. This person swore loudly, “No way! No way!” and proceeded to list various family events (Picnics, get togethers, etc.) in which that person and that person’s immediate family along with Mr. Stracuzzi and his family had all participated.
        The Governance person was plainly shocked at the news of the original criminal charges.
        To establish veracity, the name and phone number of the York County Maine court clerk was provided and it can be assumed that the Governance person did indeed follow through and do due diligence.
        That was Wednesday afternoon.
        48 hours later, Greylock’s board of trustees issued its formal announcement that Mr. Stracuzzi was no longer a member of that board.
        ‘Concerned’, Hope this answers your question.

        • CONCERNED
          April 26, 2011 at 5:39 am #

          thank you it did

    • danvalenti
      April 25, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

      Thank you for the clarification. Our synopsis was a rough, Reader’s Digest summation.

    • GMHeller
      April 25, 2011 at 8:23 pm #

      Correction: Your information is similar to, but does not quite jell with, the data on file with the York County clerk of courts in Alfred. Maine.

      • danvalenti
        April 26, 2011 at 8:18 am #

        Similar. Yes. That is the nature of a casual summary.

  13. CONCERNED
    April 25, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

    Of all the things this City needs, like jobs, road work, and the beat does on, what does Mayor Rubertp want. Re-name Columbus Ave. Are you kidding me, and watch the Council line up behind him, reason they have no guts to say to Ruberto “get real”
    Oh and the country has real money problems, but I didn’t know Pittsfield didn’t, guess not since we will build a muti-million dollar Hight School

    By the way re-naming a street has to cost money I would think

    • danvalenti
      April 25, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

      It is foolhardy to change the name of Columbus Ave. If we want a MLK Street, put a “Martin Luther” in from of the existing King Street, off Onota. Who wants it, though?

      • Josh
        April 25, 2011 at 7:17 pm #

        How about renaming Third Street in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., where the Samuel Harrison House is located? Couldn’t that organization use a little good publicity to support their worthwhile project? And how much more fitting it would be to do so.

        • rick
          April 26, 2011 at 2:27 am #

          have to look at the area josh, third street dosent fit the name mlk., to white. if i lived in the colombus ave area ..id tell roberto to stuff the name, and call him a patronizing a hole…this guy has no one of color in his cabinet, this guy aint right in the head.

  14. Jonathan Melle
    April 25, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

    I liked Conor Berry’s quip that a dirtbag is a dirtbag is a dirtbag!

    Pittsfield is full of dirtbags!

    • NFM
      April 26, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

      eff off.

  15. Dusty
    April 26, 2011 at 2:22 am #

    there is a story in Sundays paper signed by Connor Berry about nursing homes. Is he working part time for the Eagle ?

    • danvalenti
      April 26, 2011 at 8:11 am #

      DUSTY
      Can’t say for sure, but our guess is that Conor Berry wrote this prior to his exit as an “evergreen” feature to be run as needed. In other words, this piece has been in the can for a while and ran on Sunday to eat up space.

  16. John
    April 26, 2011 at 4:27 am #

    A man’s got to know his limitations…

  17. John
    April 26, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    SO DO YOU FEEL LUCKY, PUNK, DO YA?