Article

MAYOR-ELECT DAN BIANCHI SCORES FIRST TRIUMPH FOR WE THE PEOPLE IN HIS HANDLING OF ‘THE STRACUZZI INVITE’

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, DEC. 20, 2011) — His administration still awaits for its cue to enter into City Hall council chambers on Inauguration Day, and mayor-elect Dan Bianchi has scored his first “victory” not just for We The People but also for everyone who upholds integrity, honesty, and decency in local government.

Bianchi Racks Up First Political Win as Mayor-elect

The story got out that Angelo Stracuzzi, disgraced former CEO of Greylock Federal Credit Union, the county’s largest financial institution, had wormed an VIP invitation to attend the swearing of Bianchi and new city officials in January. That he had was never confirmed. Nonetheless, populist outrage was soon to follow. Stracuzzi, you will recall, got busted in Maine on consecutive days in July 2005 on four counts having to do with teenage boys: two counts of soliciting prostitution of a minor and two counts of assault. The release of this story five years later resulted in Stracuzzi’s shame-filled ouster from his huge job at Greylock.

A quiet howl of protest could be heard throughout the city regarding Stracuzzi’s inaugural invitation. It’s clear that We The People wanted him nowhere near the dais or VIP section. He can attend as a private citizen, though it would take some nerve to show his face after what he did. THE PLANET contacted Bianchi early yesterday about this potentially ugly scene. He got back to us late last night.

“[Stracuzzi's] not on our list of invites,” Bianchi said. “I put in a call to the [city] clerk’s office to see if they are aware of this.” Later, Bianchi had a bit more information: “I just talked to [city clerk] Linda Tyer. She said the auditors suggested that she couldn’t use city funds to send out invitations, therefore she didn’t. Theresa [Bianchi's wife] sent out some. No Angelo.”

“No Angelo.”

With those words, Dan Bianchi scored a first triumph on behalf of reclaiming government in the name of We The People. It’s not evidence of anything more than that, but it could have been handled so much worse. The behind-the-scenes political pressure brought to bear to have Stracuzzi as part of the swearing-in ceremonies waned in light of the backlash against it.

Stracuzzi Case Not About One’s Man’s Failure; It Disgraced the Entire City

You could argue that this is not a big deal. THE PLANET would not be convinced.

Let’s be clear: We bear Angelo Stracuzzi no ill will. Whatever graces he has as a man, we applaud. His inner demons, whatever they may be, are his own, except, of course, to the extent that other innocent people have been hurt by them. As a person, we hope he receives whatever help he needs, or if he needs none, then moves on to reclamation and personal fulfillment. We’ve known Angelo since he was a kid and graduated in the same class at PHS (Class of ’69).

But Angelo Stracuzzi isn’t just another Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski. He was “Tell ‘em Angelo sent you.” He was the self-proclaimed community pillar, a master of self-promotion. He was the GOB’s GOB. He had the plastered-on smile that the blue-ahired ladies and grandmothers loved. Most of the guys, though, except those in his inner circle, saw right through him.

Stracuzzi held positions of power. He headed the largest financial institution in Berkshire County. He served as council president. He ran for mayor. He served on a million boards and committees. What he did in Biddeford, Maine, became not just the personal legal ordeal of Angelo Stracuzzi but, in a way, an indictment on the corrupt GOB network of which he was a key part. And not once since his removal at Greylock, for an alleged severance package said to be in the millions, has Stracuzzi publicly apologized to the city. That’s all it would take for Angelo to right the ship: A full admission of his wrong-doing and an apology.

The charges stemming from Biddeford, Maine, July 2005, mattered — and still do.

The Arrest of Stracuzzi and the Ensuing Situation with His Court-Ordered Sentence Revealed the GOB System in Berkshire County Operating at its Worst

Prosecutors in Maine dropped the two prostitution charges, Stracuzzi copped a plea [guilty] on the assault charges, and he got off with a one-year suspended jail sentence, court-ordered psychological counseling, and probation. Why prosecutors dropped the prostitution charges isn’t known, though stories circulate in York County, Maine, about that. Our own trip to Biddeford, Maine police department, and our off-the-record talks there, say as much.

As for the probation sentence on the other two charges, Stracuzzi convinced the courts to transfer his probation to Berkshire County, Mass., instead of York County — not typical but no unheard of. Of course, it was just a wild coincidence that Stracuzzi’s close friend, Clifford Nilan, headed the county probation department. Nilan also happened to be a key executive on the board of … you guessed it … Greylock Federal.

There’s no record of Stracuzzi serving his probation period. If he served probation like any other convict, we would like to see the records on that.

When the story of his arrests broke, based in large part on the work of Conor Berry of the BB, Stracuzzi told the press that when he went to the courthouse, someone would ask him if he wanted to see an officer. He said, no, and that was it.  THE PLANET had never heard, and hasn’t since, of a convict being able to dictate the terms of probation, including and especially should I even do it in the first place. There’s no record also no evidence that Stracuzzi received court-ordered psychological counseling. It may have happened, but we just don’t know.

For five years, from 2005 to 2010, Stracuzzi managed to keep the story of his arrest hidden. John Bissell, a VP at Greylock and a spokesperson for the company after the Stracuzzi story broke, did his best at spin and damage control. He claimed the Greylock board had no inkling of Stracuzzi’s brush with the law, something THE PLANET quickly corrected when we pointed out that Nilan served on the board.

Bianchi Stepped in and Took Charge 

Anyhow, the  affair “ended” when Stracuzzi “resigned” from his position at Greylock. Since then, he has been a shadowy figure hanging around on the sordid outskirts of the more poisonous side of city politics. Stracuzzi’s alleged VIP invitation to Bianchi’s inauguration rattled many in the city, including just about everyone who looks to the new mayor to set a new tone — one more transparent, one less secretive. People have placed great symbolic importance on this change of captains, seeing in the ascendance of the Chosen One, Bianchi, and the minimization of the other, which is the GOB.

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AS WE LOOK FOR ENOUGH SNOW TO MAKE A SNOWBALL, WE LEAVE YOU WITH YOUR THOUGHTS OF SUGAR-PLUM FAIRIES, WAFERS, AND “A CHRISTMAS CAROL,” PLAYING TONIGHT AT 7 P.M. AT THE COLONIAL.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

44 Responses to “MAYOR-ELECT DAN BIANCHI SCORES FIRST TRIUMPH FOR WE THE PEOPLE IN HIS HANDLING OF ‘THE STRACUZZI INVITE’”

  1. Bull Durham
    December 20, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    The entire probation system is a scam, as we’ve discovered from the articles in the Herald and Globe, and all of the commissions in the state won’t fix it, because it’s too hard-wired to both the local and state GOB network. The only people who are made to do anything in the probation system are the ones without connections, and many have “submitted to facts” in very minor cases. They are treated like cattle, required to pay money they don’t have, and if they ever miss a visit to the probation officer’s cubicle, watch out.

    A friend of mine went through this exact scenario. He submitted to facts on a case far less serious than the Stracuzzi case, got six months probation, after which everything would “go away.” He had to pay something like $200 a month, and if he missed a payment by a day, his probation officer threatened him with jail time. He didn’t have friends in high places, and was treated like dirt (and he wasn’t one of those repeat offenders who go through this system like a revolving door, he made a mistake and learned from it).

    It’s simple – if you know someone, you can skate through probation. If you don’t, plan to pay through the nose and be treated like you’re a murderer.

  2. joetaxpayer
    December 20, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    Just checked the mail,still have not got my invite.Must have been some sort of oversite.

  3. Molly
    December 20, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    There was suppose to be a follow-up investigation of Stracuzzi’s parole (or lack thereof) but we’ve never heard anything more on that. What happened to Cliff Nilan? Does he still head up the Probation Dept or no? What was the outcome of the investigation into Stracuzzi’s parole? If he never received court-ordered counseling nor the requirements of any parole, will he be made to now? Why isn’t this information made available to the public?

    I disagree, Dan, that all Stracuzzi had to do was to apologize to the city. There are times when an apology just isn’t going to be nearly enough – and topping the list of those times is when someone abuses a child. No excuses, no second chances – they should be punished very severely!!! Period! No apologies and I, for one, wouldn’t accept an apology from him. Just the thought of Ruberto and Doyle and the rest of the scumbag “GOB’s” allowing him into their “inner circle” and still playing the dirty politics of this city, tells me that they think what he did was “just fine”. Disgusting!

    • Joe Blow
      December 20, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

      Just like the steroids case..what ever happend with that? The powers that be just wait for things to blow over. I voted for Bianchi but I doubt things will ever change around here. Thankfully for me I’m moving back out west in 2 months!

  4. Molly
    December 20, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    Good for Dan Bianchi for refusing to be associated with scum like Stracuzzi!!! Gives me a glimmer of hope that perhaps things will start to change somewhat!!!

  5. Molly
    December 20, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    Thanks, Dan, for bringing this to the forefront! Good job!

    • Boom
      December 20, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

      Bringing what to the forefront…a rumor he started? Hey Dan, I heard Jerry Sandusky was invited too.

      • Molly
        December 20, 2011 at 8:51 pm #

        Considering that Stracuzzi was on the “original list” done by Linda Tyer, it would not surprise me in the least if Jerry Sandusky was also on the “invite list”!!! Why not – if it’s ok for Stracuzzi, it’s ok for Sanusky, right? Besides, those scumbags like to hang around together and trade tips on how to get little boys to trust them anyway…

        It sure doesn’t sound like it was a rumor – didn’t Linda Tyer say, “the auditors suggested that she couldn’t use city funds to send out invitations, therefore she didn’t. Theresa [Bianchi's wife] sent out some.” And, therefore, NO Stracuzzi!!! Auditors “suggested”?? They out and out TOLD her NO WAY! And likely after someone on here posted a similar thing. How many times has she done this and she didn’t know that before now? It would be interesting to go back and look at Ruberto’s inaugurations to see who sent out invites, to whom, and who paid for them… Thanks, Boom – I think I’ll start looking into that! :-)

  6. CONCERNED
    December 20, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    Ditto Molly!!!! Why doesn’t he just move away, has he no shame??? Or is there a reason he is hanging around here ummmmm!!!!

    • Molly
      December 20, 2011 at 9:00 pm #

      He’s still here because his good buddies, the “Good Old Boys” of Pittsfield, including Ruberto, welcomed him back to the GOB Club!! As I said before, absolutely DISGUSTING! And obviously, no – he has no shame — he’s “Angelo” and he can do whatever he wants and get away with it! And he did! I think come the 1st of the year, we should all start making telephone calls to the State AG’s office, asking for status updates of this investigation… Because sure as hell, the BB won’t do it!

      • Joe Pinhead
        December 20, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

        :-)

      • Joe Pinhead
        December 20, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

        I have always found it interesting that the financial institution where he worked was unaware. I mean let’s be real here; let’s say you drive a company vehicle for your job get a speeding ticket and see how long it takes the home office to ask you about it. You mean to tell me a person with that kind of Fiduciary responsibility doesn’t have a bond ? I think the law demands he carry one. Do you think the underwriter didn’t ask any questions? Did they up the rates based upon the risks? Did no one ask why? It just doesn’t seem plausible. Next question Stracuzzi as the director of the credit union that has a “partnership” with an elementary school ….yes children the same age that he allegedly solicited, did he ever visit the school? If so should he have been CORI checked? Or can just anyone be in the school partnership or not?
        I too have heard of a retirement in the millions I bet his victims never see a penny of it; I can only pray he never gets a chance to prey again

        • danvalenti
          December 20, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

          JOE P
          As usual, you ask pertinent, incisive questions that get to the core of the issue. I agree: It does not seem credible that NO ONE at Greylock, save Cliffy Nilan, knew about this. That’s the story John Bissell gave last year. What’s more likely: That no one knew, save Nilan OR that others in positions of power knew, and they used that power to kill the story?

          • smh
            December 21, 2011 at 5:30 am #

            Then what say you about NILAN’S fiduciary duty to his board?

          • danvalenti
            December 21, 2011 at 6:32 am #

            smh
            As for Nilan’s fiduciary responsibility to the board, he had one. If he knew about Stracuzzi’s arrest, and it’s hard to concoct a reasonable scenario where that would not be the case, he failed in that responsibility. One can only conclude, again, based on reason and revelation, that Greylock never came clean on the matter, before or since.

        • Molly
          December 20, 2011 at 10:16 pm #

          Great points, Joe. It never occurred to me that he would need to carry a bond, but I’ll bet you are right! There’s no way that others there didn’t know. And also, good point about the school partnership, too.

        • dusty
          December 21, 2011 at 1:41 am #

          And it has been said more than once that Angelo was Rubertos campaign manager and that Greylock Credit Union was the headquarters for his campaign. It is hard to shake the connection. Along with the GOB flag bearer Eagle newspaper this makes for a powerful entity.

  7. dusty
    December 20, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    Dan, you say in reference to Stracuzzi….”Since then, he has been a shadowy figure hanging around on the sordid outskirts of the more poisonous side of city politics. ” Well guess who also hangs around in that click and maybe even heads it??? None other than the guy you treat with kids gloves…Mr. “second coming of Christ”, Ruberto. But somehow what he does is a good thing as the Planet sees it. I am mystified as to why you see a halo on his head. I am guessing a business connection.

  8. Judas Priest
    December 20, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

    The site of Stracuzzi anywhere near city hall will be an insult to everyone. I too applaud mayor elect Bianchi for taking action to present this. I also agree with Molly, an apology is nowhere near enough. Thank you Planet for this website.

    • The Mighty Led Zeppelin
      December 20, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

      Stracuzzi should’ve been hung by his gonads from the highest tree we could find. He and his enablers should be looked upon with scorn, nothing else. That list includes Nilan, Ruberto, Capeless and Bissell, among other ancillary scum. Get them all out of our town and we’ll all be better off.

    • Nomad
      December 20, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

      JP

      Stracuzzi’s picture should be in city hall…on the wall with the other child molesters.

  9. Ray Ovac
    December 20, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

    DV, you really think Angelo Stracuzzi would attend a Bianchi related inaugural event knowing the likelihood of DV’s publishing on PlanetValenti photographs documenting that attendance?

    • danvalenti
      December 20, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

      One never knows, Ray O.

  10. CONCERNED
    December 20, 2011 at 9:10 pm #

    We all forget one name that knew about Angelo Stracuzzi arrest and crimes and kept it quiet. Matter of fact I heard he ordered others to keep it quiet. This person was a very very closed friend to Angelo. This person was ex Chief of Police Tony Riello.

    • Molly
      December 20, 2011 at 10:08 pm #

      Really? I hadn’t heard that one… Didn’t Gerry Lee become Chief of Police in 1995?

  11. joetaxpayer
    December 21, 2011 at 5:38 am #

    I believe Lee was chief from 1996 to 99.

  12. Jim Gleason
    December 21, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    @TMLZ (love that title BTW) Why didn’t ruberto, through Capeless, ask for an investigation on this matter and why is Nilan allowed to stay in his job after he treated his good friend specially? ruberto knew of these charges but still allowed Stracuzzi to go in to the schools and appear on the propaganda hour, Good Morning Pittsfield, with John Krol. Why hasn’t that been talked about. Why is John Bissell still a VP at GFCU after he covered this story up not once but twice? Why does ruberto still dine with Stracuzzi frequently in both Lenox and Pittsfield after what he did? To be friends with him after these charge stells me that ruberto has the same amount of character as Stracuzzi, which is none. These people should all be in jail.

    • Molly
      December 21, 2011 at 11:20 am #

      Agree

    • danvalenti
      December 21, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

      JIM
      I will add this. I have known Jimmy Ruberto for five decades. One thing I can say about him: He is loyal to his friends. That is a laudable trait, but not always when it is done to a fault.

      • Jim Gleason
        December 21, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

        I have friends who’ve been in trouble and have always stuck by them. None of them, however, did anything close to what Stracuzzi is accused of doing. That’s too much to take, even for a loyal friend. To put other kids at risk by letting Stracuzzi go into a high school which has kids of the same age as his alleged victims is inexcusable. He is alleged to have solicited prostitution from kids but he did, in fact, assault kids of this same age. That is a fact.

        • Ray Ovac
          December 21, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

          JG, not only did Angelo Stracuzzi assault those kids in Maine, he in fact pleaded guilty to it.

      • Molly
        December 21, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

        I totall agree with Jim Gleason on this — no one should be “loyal” to anyone who assulted a child!!! How many other innocent kids are there that he assulted and no one knows about, but for them it has ruined their lives? By Ruberto being loyal to his friend, in my mind he also shares in Stracuzzi’s guilt.

        First as a person and also as a City Mayor – a leader of the Community, he had an obligation to at minimum, put a big distance between himself and Angelo if for no other reason than as a leader relaying that this behavior is just not acceptable. To continue to accept Angelo as his friend, he is telling those kids that they don’t matter and it’s ok for adults to abuse kids in that manner! It just does! It speaks VOLUMES!!! And it is not acceptable – period! It is not just a “fault” of his to be loyal to Angelo, it is out and out wrong, vile and totally unacceptable.

        Why have I not heard anything from ANY of those “Good Ol’ Boy” friends of Angelo regarding concern for the KIDS???? Hello?

        • dusty
          December 22, 2011 at 2:10 am #

          Your post sums this up in fine fashion. The city fathers wanted an expensive skate board park for the teens. this was very important apparently. But protecting them from abuse? Not so much.

          • danvalenti
            December 22, 2011 at 8:02 am #

            DUSTY
            A GREAT posting here, especially the juxtaposition of these two items.
            Thank you for your contributions to this site.

    • danvalenti
      December 22, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

      JIM
      After looking into it, I have confirmed that Angelo Stracuzzi was never on “Good Morning Pittsfield” with John Krol. For that matter, Stracuzzi never went on the air with me, radio or TV, nor did he ever agree to sit down with me for any kind of interview, dating back to his days as council president. Looking back on it, my explanation was that he feared tough questions. We can all understand why, can’t we?

  13. Ray Ovac
    December 21, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    You realize of course that if Angelo Stracuzzi were to make a big show of it appearing at the Bianchi inauguration being seen stepping out of a chauffeured limousine with a young gay stud as his escort and strutting his stuff sporting a big lapel button that said “Gay and Proud”, that the Berkshire Eagle would hail Stracuzzi as the conquering hero and claim he was making a political comeback!

    • Steve Wade
      December 21, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

      Nice reply Heller!

      • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
        December 21, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

        Another great reply Steve-O

    • Scott
      December 21, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

      Ray that’s rad.

      • Molly
        December 21, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

        But true!! hahahaha Still, a visual that I didn’t want to have! But he’s not gay – he’s a child sex offender.

  14. dusty
    December 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    The question was asked about Nilans responsibility to Greylock. One might asked about his responsibility to the children of the community. One would think it would be his job to take some measure but what did he do? Nothing?

    • Scott
      December 21, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

      Good point Dusty.

    • Molly
      December 21, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

      Thank You!!! There has been next to no mention throughout that entire scandal about THE KIDS!!!! He shares in Stracuzzi’s guilt, too.

  15. CONCERNED
    December 21, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    Some of the people you mention would put Stracuzzi in charge of the Boys Club if they could.