!!PLANET EXCLUSIVE!! BARBALUNGA ISSUES STATEMENT IN NILAN-MOORE CASE … WHY ARE THE BYPers SCARED, AND WHO ARE THEY AFRAID OF? … WHO, IF ANYBODY, IS NATHAN BYRNES … plus … LETTERS TO THE EDITOR AS THE PLANET KEEPS THE HEART IN, AND THE HEAT ON, THE MEREDITH NILAN CASE
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, JAN. 24, 2012) — Yesterday, THE PLANET sent the following e-mail to Alfred “Alf” Barbalunga, probation officer for the Southern Berkshire District Court, Pittsfield School Committee chairman, and member of the Berkshire Young Professionals:
As a court officer and also as a BYP who was at the party in GB on Dec. 8, can you shed some light on Meredith Nilan?
You were pictured with her.
* Was she drinking that night?
* If so, can you give me your estimate of the amount of alcohol she consumed?
* This is subjective question, admittedly, but did she appear to be drinking heavily or excessively?
* Can you say anything about that night? Was there the usual amount of drinking going on?
* Do you know if she drove herself to the party?
* Do you know if she drove herself back after the party or if she was driven home?
* If driven home, who gave her the ride?
* Please feel free to add any comments you wish.
I am on deadline, and need to hear from you no later than 11 a.m. tomorrow morning (1/24).
This morning at 7:11 a.m., THE PLANET heard from Barbalunga. Before we print his reply, let us acknowledge his speedy and thorough cooperation. As far as this address is concerned and his relationship with us, Barbalunga has been a stand-up guy. He has answered every inquiry we’ve made of him in the past, and he has done so in a straightforward manner. THE PLANET wishes more of the Berkshire power structure would learn from his example in press relations.
Word Comes from Alf: Resignation in BYP Conincidental with Dec. 8 Networking Social
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Barbalunga was one of 60 members of BYP who attended a “networking” gathering at Allium Restaurant on Railroad Street in Great Barrington in the early evening of Dec. 8. We don’t know the names of all 60l but we can confirm the names of 17, according to photographs posted at BYP’s Facebook page. They were:
1. Alfred E.’Alf’ Barbalunga
2. Ryan Belanger
3. Morgan Blastoff
4. Jillian Brothers
5. Jackie Dolan
6. Brad Felix
7. Brianne Forrest
8. Melissa Guyer
9. Jessica Havens
10. Christine Hoyt
11. Ron Kelly
12. Kathleen McCormick
13. Jenine Moro
14. Meredith Nilan
15. Rick Rotti
16. Jason Shepard
17. Brent White
We include this to note an interesting, somewhat odd situation. It may be irrelevant, it may hold the key to the entire Nilan-Moore case, or it may be somewhere between these extremes.
As of last evening, among the 17 confirmed attendees, there were active Facebook pages for everyone on the list except for Barbalunga, Meredith Nilan (driver of the car that hit and almost killed Peter Moore; also daughter of GOB Clifford “Cliffy” Nilan, head of Berkshire County Probation), Morgan Blastoff, and Kathleen McCormick. Barbalunga and Nilan HAD active pages, but apparently do no longer. THE PLANET doesn’t know if Blastoff or McCormick had FB pages (though it’s hard to imagine two BYP females NOT having a FB presence) and quickly took them down.
As one source put it to THE PLANET: “I’m pretty sure I have seen Barbalunga’s [Facebook page]. I have seen Meredith’s. Are the others just private people or do they feel involved in the situation?”
THE PLANET takes Barbalunga at his word, and much of what he says triangulates accurately with other information we’ve obtained regarding the Dec. 8 get together at Allium’s It seems that those who were planning more heavy-duty partying had the rest of the evening. It was 8 p.m. when the gathering ended, and 8 p.m. to partygoers is early morning, if you get our drift. “The night is young,” as they say in such situations.
Berkshire Young Professionals: Why All of a Sudden the Silence?
Our source asks a telling question: Other than Barbalunga, who was working the table and would have less opportunity to mix, why have no members of BYP come forward to tell us what they know about Meredith Nilan’s behavior at the party on the night in question? It’s a well-known fact that little if any “networking” sometimes gets done at the monthly BYP booze fests.
Actually, there’s a strata among BYP: Those 30 and over, and those under 30. As Barbalunga says, the crazy drinking (our words, not his) takes place among the younger members. Meredith Nilan is 24. Evidently, none of the younger set wants to come forward with information about Ms. Nilan on the night in question or the day after.
From a veteran Chamber source who insisted on anonymity: “Just about everyone who’s a member [of BYP] is scared of saying anything, especially those in Meredith’s circle. Guilty by association, I guess. They’re afraid that one wrong word will get them blackballed. That’s how it [the GOB Network] works, or so they believe. Fear. The whole f*****g thing is held together by fear. Someone saw something that night or she told someone something, I have to think. They got to come forward.” [EDITOR'S NOTE: Berkshire Young Professionals is a subgroup within and under the auspices of the local Chamber of Commerce].
THE PLANET sends out a blanket appeal to anyone who can provide information on Meredith Nilan’s behavior on the day or night of the accident or anytime thereafter. They can e-mail information in complete confidence to email@example.com. Please leave an operable return address for us. Thanks.
NATHAN BYRNES: HE’s GOT THAT FRESH-SCRUBBED, AMBITIOUS, GO GETTING YOUNG MAN LOOK, DOESN’T HE?
Here’s a photo (below) taken from the website of the Massachusetts Court System. The staff of the of the Westfield District Court poses around the Christmas tree. The man standing at far left is Nathan Byrnes, first assistant clerk magistrate who gave Meredith Nilan her belated Christmas present.
Who is Nathan Byrnes? Why was he chosen as the ringer to decide the show-cause hearing involving Meredith Nilan? Why did he close the hearing to the public and press? Why was the victim, Peter Moore, not present? Why was Mr. Moore’s lawyer not allowed to attend? Who in the Pittsfield courts selected Byrnes to hear the case? Why Byrnes?
You can’t tell much from this picture, but with your indulgence, allow us a purely subjective, non-factual observation: Byrnes certainly doesn’t look like a crusader. He has that fresh, squeaky-clean “politician” look — the look of a young make on the move, Going Places. He doesn’t appear to be the kind that would rock the boat. He doesn’t appear to be the type who’s going to be satisfied with an “assistant” job for long. Just an observation: How does an ambitious young person get ahead in the Massachusetts Court System? There’s two ways. First, you apply yourself, pay your dues, work hard, and do a great job. That is the long way. Second, you start doing favors for those in power. That’s the short way. Interesting, isn’t it?
THE PLANET asks: Who, if anybody, is Nathan Byrnes?
These, we feel, are fair and urgent questions. We shall be making inquiries to the Westfield courts and will try to find answers.
So far, local court sources we’ve asked aren’t saying much. The atmosphere at the Pittsfield courthouse, one person who works there said, is “poisonous” with “a lot of people walking on egg shells.” We can advance this much: The good, hard-working court employees, and there are many, are disgusted to be put under the dark cloud resulting from the Meredith Nilan-Cliffy Nilan-Nathan Byrnes troika.
Not good, is it, for the all-important confidence that We The People must have in the courts if our so-called democracy is to have any chance of being considered fair?
THE PLANET now shares several letters than have come in one the wire regarding the Nilan-moore case:
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
‘She left a human being in the road, for dead’
I know at least twenty people that are pissed of about this incident [the Nilan-Moore hit and run], Dan … and I only talk[ed] to that many. This is clearly the opportunity for you to be our Beacon and exemplify yourself as our shining advocate, for justice. This incident just isn’t right. We all know the scenario. I think she was distracted, probably drunk, and likely couldn’t wait to party. Her problem was, she hit a human being and likely knew drink-drive would be devastating to all. The problem I have with the young woman is it looks like she knew she had hit and left a human being in the road, for dead. Inexcusable. — UNCHY
‘An example of the power of the pen’
We’ve been following your blog recently with great interest, and it is being used as an example of ‘the power of the pen’ in my classroom.
Keep flipping those rocks, despite their enormity…many craven crabs are sheltering beneath.
We appreciate your tenacity…the truth must prevail! — THE COLONEL
‘The best investigative journalism I have ever read’
I believe this is possibly the best investigative journalism I have ever read, bar none. This certainly could be the defining moment in Berserkshire County corruption, and justice for the little guy, but your talents not only as an Author and investigative journalist far exceeds anything I have ever read, in years. — TITO
An Ironic Motto
benigno numine. By the favour of the heavens…..
In light of all that’s going on it’s a little ironic —DB
’It Makes Me Want to Scream’
Hi DanThe more I see what’s going on Pittsfield in general makes me ill, but when I see the crap going on in the judicial system and the good old boy network, it makes me want to scream. If this stuff going on with Nilan and his daughter and Stracuzzi and the rest of the clowns that travel in that group — Were it any of us, we would be in jail. I’m fed up, I sent an email airing my frustration to a major media outlet, Dateline NBC. I am going to forward their response to me about some of the stuff going on. I admire that you seem to be the only journalist with the balls to say what half the city wish they could say. If you have any thoughts or input I would love to hear it. This crap has got to stop. It is ruining Pittsfield.SincerelyRM——————————————————————TH..TH..THE…THAT’S ALL FOLKS. THERE IS PLENTY PERCOLATING ABOUT THIS STORY AND OTHERS, AND WE SAY THAT THE PLANET WILL CONTINUE TO DO WITH NO OTHER MEDIA OUTLET WISHES, APPARENTLY, AND THAT IS TO FIGHT FOR TRUTH, JUSTICE, AND THE AMERICAN WAY …“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”LOVE TO ALL.