PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, FEB. 21, 2012) — As you could see from yesterday’s post, THE PLANET doesn’t stop for President’s Day. We have ceased caring about the White House, in truth, since 1:31 p.m., EST, on Nov. 22, 1963. If we have to explain the significance of that date, congratulations: You fit right in with a generation of culturally and historically clueless young people for whom culture is Lady Gaga and history is the day that Paris Hilton let got out of he backseat of a limo.

We do have some interesting items on the menu today. No, nothing as exotic as shark-fin soup, known NOT to be a favorite of President Barack Obama, but with the bad blood flowing from the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, the city council’s injurious treatment of mayoral appointee Jeff Ferrin continues to resonate.


We won’t recap, since almost everyone knows what happened at the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre at the council meeting this past Tuesday. THE PLANET waited until we heard from a good cross-section of councilors and citizens, and we posted our thoughts on Friday. Basically, we thought the council — specifically, the Gang of Four councilors (Lothrop, Clairmont, Yon, and Capitanio) had (1) treated Mayor Dan Bianchi‘s appointee, Jeff Ferrin, shabbily (2) set a dangerous precendent, and (3) aggravated a never-healed political fissure that threatens to erupt like Vesuvius.

Our piece quoted councilor Melissa Mazzeo, thus:

“Jeff is an EMT and a good fir for this board,” Mazzeo said. “J-Lo objected to Ferrin based on Jeff’s civil service record and ‘character.’ He was followed with support from [Barry] Clairmont, [John] Krol, [Paul] Capitanio, and [Chris] Yon, who questioned his work ethic and character. Capitanio actually said [he was objecting to Ferrin because] he ran against him! I strongly encouraged them to be careful going after ‘character,’ since we have a few questionable people sitting on boards right now. I’m sure you can figure that out. This is going to open up a Pandora’s box. Everyone now is open to having their past looked into and their character debated.”

Krol vs. Mazzeo: Dueling Messages

Councilor Krol reacted to Mazzeo’s quote with the following e-mail. Krol addressed the e-mail to Mazzeo and copied in THE PLANET:


On Mr. Valenti’s blog, he writes comments that he attributes to you. In your comments you mention me and my actions Tuesday night as it relates to the appointment of Mr. Ferrin to the Ambulance Review Board. Your comments that pertain to me are at-best misleading, but in reality, a complete misrepresentation of my actions and statements. Perhaps you were misquoted, and in that case, I hope Dan would fix his error. Either way, I will set the record straight.

1.      I did not “follow in support” of Councilor Lothrop or the other councilors that you mention in your comments. After hearing the concerns of these four councilors, and then after hearing from Councilor Cotton who said that he, like me, had not seen the civil service report (we also learned during the discussion that the report had not been seen by Councilors Connell and Simonelli), I suggested that the matter be tabled so others could see what our colleagues were alluding to in their comments. I chose not to make the motion to table myself, in order to allow others the opportunity to voice their thoughts and provide input (as you know, our rules do not allow discussion after a motion to table is made). Ultimately, Councilor Connell made the motion to table, agreeing that we all ought to have the opportunity to see the information before making a decision.

2.      Your comments may also mislead the reader into believing I “questioned [Mr. Ferrin’s] work ethic and character.” To be clear, I did not question Mr. Ferrin’s work ethic and I did not question Mr. Ferrin’s character.

You certainly are free to voice your thoughts on this issue. However, if you choose to characterize the actions of your colleagues, I suggest that you have your facts straight. I look forward to allocating our time and energy on many of the important issues that will shape our community now and for years to come. I hope you will join me in not letting this issue serve as a wedge to divide this council, which would not be in the best interest of anyone – particularly the people we serve.

THE PLANET believes we quoted councilor Mazzeo correctly. We contacted her asking for a response. On Saturday, she copied us in on her response to Krol. Here it is, sent to Krol on 2/18/12, 11:47 a.m.:
John, I see you sent this  email from your work address at 3:07 pm on Friday. And since you are able to do your city council business on company time, I hope you had time to email your constituent who is asking you to acknowledge his email from a month ago. My response to you saying that you were misrepresented in my email is this… does it feel?
You misrepresent me all the time on your morning show and on the council.  I’ve called you out on this yet you continue to say” a certain councilor did this or did that” and it’s incorrect what you are saying. For and Lew Markham spoke on Wednesday Feb 15 on your show, at the 57 minute mark you start to talk about last nights tabling of Jeff Ferrin.
Lew states that councilors in the past have tabled appointments and how ironic this year that they( and you are both talking about me) were angry that this appointment was to be tabled. You went on to say that the ” slippery slope” already had begun last year when “councilors” asked to table many appointments…. John , I have never tabled or questioned an appointment based on a personal issue…..yet you MISREPRESENTED me by making this statement.  So I ask again, how does it feel?
I can’t believe we are going to waste space on planet valenti over this issue, if you in fact only wanted to give your fellow councilors more time and didn’t even want to put the motion forward, can I assume that you will be casting a yes vote for Mr Ferin when his appointment comes back up? In closing…John itnis obvious that you and I disagree on many issues but when you are questioned or painted in a negative way you in public you get upset. And since we both feel that we both  have been misrepresented, I welcome a open discussion with you on ALL the issues that are talked about and more….maybe Dan can moderate!
Krol then sent this to Mazzeo on 2/18/12, 2:05 p.m.:
I think this is good progress. As you know you’re always welcome on my show, and I’m willing to discuss any city issues in any forum and with any moderator. Let’s do this soon.
In regard to the discussion with Lew, I believe it is ironic because we had very similar discussions last year. In fact I do agree with your revised view of the council’s role regarding mayoral appointments and would have voted in favor of Mr. Ferrin’s appointment until information (that not everyone had the opportunity to see) came to light. I’ve always been consistent on my view of mayoral appointments and I believe there is a very high threshold for challenging such an appointment, and my general inclination is to allow the mayor to choose the people who will best reflect his/her administration.
Mazzeo responded on 2/18/12. 5:50 p.m.:
    Do you tape the council meetings so you can go back and watch them? I do and its not to look at  myself…i do it so i can replay any particular debate and things that were said by councilors, dept heads or even the Mayor are there forever. So when you just said ”  In fact I do agree with your revised view of the council’s role regarding mayoral appointments” I am not sure what you are talking about? I will say it again, every appointment that i had an issue with during this last administration was about the procedure or the policy, it was never ABOUT THE PERSON. For example, I had the appointments of the SBNC tabled so the Mayor could re-read the Order that set up this commission and realize he only was allowed 11 appointments, not all of them as he was doing. When i wanted to table( but was not successful) appointments for the Licensing board it was the fact that these members ALL had expired terms, yet the Mayor chose to re-appointment them in July2011 giving them terms that will run through this administration and the next. Now that is an important board…did you not think that the next Mayor would have liked to have been able to place some one on that himself?? I guess not. I challenge you to find even one instance where i revised my view on Mayoral appointments..John, we can all pretend that this “tabling” of Jeff was to give the other councilors a chance to read the documents that where not only talked about for 2 years, the Berkshire Eagle even did a story on these papers when they some how found there way onto peoples door steps during the ward 3 race…did you miss that story? But back to the appointment process…If you go back and watch the meetings from March 2011 you will find yourself saying…..IF we continue to debate Peoples ability or qualifications to do a job…no one will want to come and work for the city of Pittsfield….you were referring to the Director of Admin and the Commissioner of Public Service jobs…so now you seemed to have revised your view on how much involvement should the council have in scrutinizing a Mayoral appointment. You could have made that speach again instead of suggesting to table this so everyone could have a chance to read this ” document”. What will it change? are we going to deny Jeff’s appointment because of his past? Now that is a Slippery slope….
 To which Krol answered on 2/18/12, 8:04 p.m.
I do not agree with the conspiratorial idea that somehow the tabling of this appointment took place for reasoning other than it was only fair to allow all councilors to have access to the information that others had alluded to. You clearly know more details about Mr. Ferrin’s than I do, and was not a consideration of mine until the issue was raised. Also, as a reminder there were others who felt the same way, and I did not actually make the motion to table. Again, I have always been consistent on my view that the mayor should have his/her pick for appointments to reflect the needs and desires of the administration.
Thank you.
PLANET Agrees to Moderate Krol-Mazzeo ‘Discussion’ … They Accept the Challenge
We thank our two Right Honorable Good Friends. As to Melissa’s reference in the last line to “an open discussion … on ALL the issues that are talked about and more,” we think that is an excellent idea. We agreed to moderate such a discussion. THE PLANET has been in touch with JK and MM, and both immediately accepted the challenge. We are now working on a mutually agreeable venue (we’re thinking the small auditorium K-111 at BCC, PCTV studios, or on one of the commercial radio stations). This will be “must listen/watch” programming, and perhaps it might be the pioneering broadcast in a series of shows, moderated by yours truly, that pit two opposing public figures in a public discussion centered on vital issues.

Don’t forget: The REAL Pittsfield Benefit for PEter Moore and Family is this Sunday, 12:30 to 5 p.m. at Chameleon’s Nightclub, 1350 East St., Pittsfield, Mass. Please attend and show everyone the REAL Pittsfield, the one of good, caring, compassionate people.



Only one time in baseball history has a player been traded for himself. It happened in the early 1960s, when the Boston Red Sox sent catcher Sammy White to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for catcher Russ Nixon. When White retired from baseball rather than report to the Tribe, the commissioner of baseball nixed the deal, which technically meant that Nixon was on the Cleveland roster. The Red Sox, meanwhile, were allowed to keep a space for “Russ Nixon” on their 40-man roster. To square this off, the commissioner ordered Boston to send cash to Cleveland, who would send Boston a player to be named later. That player turned out to be Nixon.

We thought of this when Mayor Dan Bianchi was put in the bizarre position of receiving a referred petition from the city council filed by … Ward 6 councilor Dan Bianchi. It all stems back to February 2008, four years ago. Councilor Bianchi at that time asked DPW’s Bruce Collingwood to prepare a list of “unaccepted or unrecognized roadways” in the city of Pittsfield.

The request sees straightforward enough, but it took Collingwood four years to get around to the request. AtCollingwood’s request (and likely a little thunder from MAYOR Dan Bianchi, the petition, which had been rotting in a cell on the council’s public works subcommittee, was taken off the table. The council referred Councilor Bianchi’s petition to Mayor Bianchi.

We also mention this in light of the tabled appointment of Jeff Ferrin to the ambulance advisory board. THE PLANET somehow doesn’t think the tabled request will languish for four years. Something tells us that the matter will be taken up at the Feb. 28 meeting. By that time, all councilors will have had time to digest whatever information they need to vote on the Ferrin appointment.

Why they hadn’t all read this material PRIOR to the St. Valentine’s Massacre is a good question, one that’s been asked by commentators to this site. Is it too much to expect that councilors will come to meetings prepared and having done all the necessary research and reading in advance? Of course, in Pittsfield, home of the illegal wheeling and dealing out of the public’s view, certain members apparently do not need to research anything or read nuttin’. For them, the GOB issues its orders. End of discussion.

THE PLANET predicts this will come off the table soon, and Ferrin will be approved, 8-3.

Tomorrow, we bring you city council president Kevin Sherman’s take on the Ferrin matter. You won’t want to miss it.



In case you missed it, Bianchi and Peter Marchetti filed their final finance reports recently. During crunch time, defined as the period from Oct. 22 through Dec. 31 (with the bulk, of course, spent prior to the November election), Marchetti outspent Bianchi $18,963 to $17,285. You tell us what this means, if anything.

THE PLANET also shares several of the more interesting individual contributors during this period. For Marchetti: Paul Capitanio, Barry Clairmont, Jonathan Lothrop, and Christine Yon — yes, the Gang of Four that wanted (please, try to refrain your laughter) “character” involved in the assessment of a person’s fitness to serve the city. No, as in not one, sitting councilor contributed to Bianchi’s war chest.

Again, tell us what this means. We do not know. We are Gentiles.






  1. berktransplant
    February 21, 2012 at 7:27 am #

    When do we get to hear more about Ms. Nilan’s previous police record and encounters, as reported today by Connor on masslive?

      • Joe Blow
        February 21, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

        How can a victim request charges be dropped? Sounds like another cover up!

        • CONCERNED
          February 21, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

          Joe Blow: No this happens all the time in courts all over the US. If it was your daughter, you would not want her to have a record either comm on lets use some common sense. All people arrested or charge with a crime and are guilty don’t all have to leave the court with a record. There are ways Judges use to avoid this as much as possible. Example: Attend anger management, etc.

  2. Irvin Corey
    February 21, 2012 at 7:38 am #

    PITTSFIELD – The daughter of Berkshire Superior Court Probation Chief Clifford J. Nilan is facing two criminal charges in connection with an alleged hit-and-run incident that seriously injured a Pittsfield man, but this is not the first time the 24-year-old woman has been charged with a crime.

    In October 2007, Meredith D. Nilan was arrested for allegedly assaulting a family member in Pittsfield. The Berkshire District Attorney’s office handled her arraignment, but the case did not proceed after the family member requested that the charges be dismissed.

    • berktransplant
      February 21, 2012 at 8:50 am #

      ears to the ground say that the previous offense was a result of her punching her mother in a fit of spoiled brat rage. I bet that daddy had his hand in the fix of that one too.

      • Andrew
        February 21, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

        “Ears to the ground”

        So that just means you made it up or somebody else made it up right? You feel comfortable just making things up?

        • berktransplant
          February 21, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

          You should able to verify this via FOIA, unless daddy had this one sealed, and covered up too.

          • Andrew
            February 21, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

            I’m not the one who just made something up, you did. Since you can’t verify it or won’t I’ll just chalk it up to you simply perpetuating a lie.

          • Nancy P. aka Molly
            February 21, 2012 at 11:25 pm #

            It is in the court records, as reported by Connor Berry of the Springfield Republican newspaper, also on their website of

      • ambrose
        February 21, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

        her mother’s a pain in the ass

        • Andrew
          February 21, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

          Wonderful. Personal attacks that have nothing to do with anything are permitted on this message board but I critique Dan’s writing skills and that gets deleted. Ambrose, if you truly feel that way stop being a coward and tell her yourself. Hiding behind anonymity on the internet while attacking people’s character is pathetic.

          • Nancy P. aka Molly
            February 21, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

            I don’t consider that to be a personal attack – and it is, indeed, a fact. And it does have something to do with this case as Connor pointed out – whether it requires her to show up in court for her arraignment or not. Like it or not, it IS news! And it should be covered by the media. You must be the one telling the Berkshire Eagle what to print and what not to print, ehe?

          • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
            February 22, 2012 at 6:03 am #

            Just because you post your FIRST name Andy my boy doesn’t mean your revealing who the hell you are…if you don’t like the blog then go elsewhere

  3. Irvin Corey
    February 21, 2012 at 7:39 am #

    On Dec. 15, precisely one week after the alleged Dec. 8 hit-and-run incident, Clifford Nilan and his wife, Lynne D. Nilan, established their residence at 72 Winesap Road as the couple’s legal homestead, according to Massachusetts Land Records kept by Secretary of State William F. Galvin’s office.

    • danvalenti
      February 21, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

      Most interesting.

    • Scott
      February 21, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

      That’s because when you have homestead no one can touch your house correct? Like in a lawsuit for personal injury???

  4. Irvin Corey
    February 21, 2012 at 7:40 am #

    A homestead declaration generally safeguards a residence from claims against the homeowner, including lawsuits. Couples over the age of 62 who file a joint declaration are protected by up to $1 million.

    • berktransplant
      February 21, 2012 at 8:58 am #

      Can this be reversed, revoked, or nullified once it comes to light that it was done to protect them from potential liability for a big boo-boo? Would it be considered fraud of some kind if they attempt to have the decree cover any potential liability retroactively?

      Also – there shouldn’t be any reason to do this unless the daughter was not listed as a driver and additional insured?

      If this doesn’t reek of a guilty coverup, I don’t know what else would.

      • Silence Dogood
        February 21, 2012 at 9:18 am #

        I would think the homestead declaration protected them from the day they did it not the week before but they must have done it on advice of the barister dso maybe they are covered

        • TruthbeTold
          February 21, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

          The law states that the residence can be homesteaded and be protected as long as it is done before a judgement is made.

  5. Still wondering
    February 21, 2012 at 8:04 am #

    The unaccepted way situation in Pittsfield is one of my pet peives. Did you know that 10% of all the roads and streets in Pittsfield fall into this category? And, if you are unfortunate enough to live on one of these streets, YOU and your neighbors must go thru an expensive and complicated legal process to get your street “accepted” by the City of Pittsfield?
    Meanwhile, you pay taxes for your property just like everyone else. Go figure.
    (There are one or two gadflies on these pages who will insist that a. it is your fault that you live on an unaccepted way, and b. you pay less in property tax. Total nonsense.)

  6. Steve wade
    February 21, 2012 at 8:39 am #

    Dan to be fair which councilors donated to Mayor Bianchi committee?

    • Steve wade
      February 21, 2012 at 10:23 am #

      Dan just wondering if Mayor Bianchi got a good deal on his election night victory party at Ms Mazzeos restaurant? If the shoe was on the other foot would you be bringing this up ? Me thinks so!

      • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
        February 21, 2012 at 11:13 am #

        What does that have to do with anything Steve, please tell me….1) its not her restaurant and 2) what someone charges for an election party hosting is between the business owner and the customer, its called Capitalism my dear boy, have you heard of it?

        • jimbo
          February 21, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

          HB: Point being, as was said here: “the Ferrin debate became the excuse for the Ruberto-Marchetti supporters to take it to the Bianchi camp.” I think MM recognizes that and is defending the choice of the candidate she supported. Had Marchetti been the one to nominate Ferrin, she’d likely be on the opposite side of the debate? Politics my dear boy.

          • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
            February 21, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

            @ Jimbo..understood, I’m still not sure that makes SW’s comment relevant though…Also, it’s interesting that the Gang of 4 calls character and work ethic into the equation considering the sources and how dumb and uninformed can one be about Jeff Ferrin. For Pete’s sake, the Eagle did a huge story on it as did iBerkshires and this website..kinda makes the councilors who “claim” to not have known anything, somewhat naive and downright ignorant if you ask me..

          • danvalenti
            February 21, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

            That’s what doesn’t wash, for councilors who claim they had no idea of Jeff Ferrin’s past involvement with Civil Service. He has been up front on this since his mayoral bid in 2009. When he ran against Cappy in 2011, again, all this came out. It would he difficult NOT to know, especially if you are charged with public office.

        • Steve wade
          February 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

          HB2nW4 Its not her restaurant ? Well then who is she married to? Hilly you would be the first to say something if Ruberto had a party at another councilors restaurant… You would probably say it was a illegal meeting. I still say its a fair question.

          • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
            February 21, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

            Well now Steve, now you can see into my mind and tell me what I would or would not say? Are you sure you’re not my wife posting as Steve Wade

        • Steve wade
          February 21, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

          Hilly if a restaurant gives free services to a political candidate that makes it corruption

          • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
            February 22, 2012 at 5:59 am #

            Trust me, I’m sure they didn’t give it away for free

    • Joetaxpayer
      February 21, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

      Steve no Councilor gave to Mayor Bianchi’s campaign,according to the Pittsfield Gazzette.

      • Steve wade
        February 21, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

        Thank you Joe for the answer.

      • Hearse Driver
        February 22, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

        your wrong joetaxpayer…go to and search for political and campaign finance reports and u will be able to see who gave what to mayor bianchi and mr marchetti;s campaign.

        Does anyone care that both the city solicitor and asst solicitor gave money to bianchi?

  7. Richard
    February 21, 2012 at 9:07 am #

    I would not be surprise if the next time the Mayor wants to appoint someone to a board
    No one applies. The gain of 4 should remember the story about casting the first stone. I hope there house isn’t made of glass

  8. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    February 21, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    Can’t wait for the debate/discussion with Melissa and Mr Krol…I think Melissa will eat his lunch…

    • holy cow
      February 21, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

      while I agree it will be interesting, I don’t see the point.
      Just what we need, extend the election season with two
      councillors debating and in the end we can’t get rid of one
      of them!

      And I don’t think Melissa is the type of person to steal
      Mr. Krol’s lunch

      cmon man

      • danvalenti
        February 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

        Agreed. It IS just what we need. This isn’t a campaign debate. This will be a moderated public discussion in which two councilors can deliberate in a less formal setting, on issues of interest to their constituents and the city as a whole.

        • holy cow
          February 21, 2012 at 1:35 pm #


          While I agree discussion is good, the demeanor of the
          e-mails back and forth lead me to believe that the only
          thing this “debate” will do is further divide.

          • danvalenti
            February 21, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

            It may be as you say, but we won’t know unless we try. I see a lot of potential good coming from such a broadcast.

      • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
        February 21, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

        Figureatively speaking Holy

        • holy cow
          February 21, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

          cmon man

    • Jim Gleason
      February 21, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

      Would that lunch consist of Thomas’s English muffins, with peanut butter?

  9. Ron Kitterman
    February 21, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    I was under the impression that Councilor Kroll asked the ethics commission if there was a conflict of interest with his show the propaganda hour and him being a city councilor and was told no. But, enlisting him to debate with Councilor Mazzeo on his own show just seems to hint at a conflict of interest situation in my opinion. If he got the answer to his questions from Mr. Ferrin why doesn’t he remove the appointment from the table and have it voted on up or down, instead of grandstanding on his radio show ?

    • danvalenti
      February 21, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

      To the best of my knowledge, Councilor Krol did ask for a finding from the State Ethics Commission on his show. I think they said “no problem.” Also, note that when he’s campaigning, Krol does not do the show. I can’t tell you at this moment where the Krol-Mazzeo discussion will take place, but I can tell you where it WON’T take place: On “Good Morning, Pittsfield.” Everyone has agreed to that much.

  10. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    February 21, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    @ Ron …great questions…Krol does what Krol does because he is Krol…He has no sense of self reflection at all, he can’t hide his super ego no matter what he does, it always comes out…

  11. Jim Gleason
    February 21, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    Krol throws select councilors, in this and the last term, under the bus constantly on the propaganda hour. I’ve protested about this from the start but nothing has been done about it. I guess when you’re the ex-mayor’s boy you can do what you want. It still sucks for some people though.

  12. Swen
    February 21, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    According to the Homestead Law in Massachusetts under our state laws people get $125,000 and if they file for thier home to be under the Homestead Law is for $500,000 not for a million. Just go to Massachusetts laws and hit Homestead and read it for yourselves.

    • Conor Berry
      February 21, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

      My reading of the law is that it contains a clause that provides up to $1 million in protection for couples over age 62, or to couples in which both partners are legally disabled.

      The new law, which took effect on March 16, 2011, also creates an automatic $125,000 protection on homes that do not have a homestead declaration filed at the Registry of Deeds. This protection, of course, only applies to homes that are a principal residence.

      • danvalenti
        February 21, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

        Great job on the Nilan-Moore coverage. I speak for many readers of THE PLANET. I had a chuckle out of the reference to the “tabloid coverage” of the case. Hmmmm … I wonder to whom or to what site that could be referring.

        • Andrew
          February 21, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

          So you readily admit that your coverage of the Nilan case mostly consists of tabloid commentary with the rare foray into actual journalism? Humility is a virtue Dan.

      • danvalenti
        February 21, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

        This filing by the Nilans also indicates their realization of the seriousness of what has transpired. It will be more than interesting to see the lengths to which they are willing to go to prevent certain parties from being called into court to testify under oath, at criminal proceedings, civil proceedings, or both.

      • Conor Berry
        February 22, 2012 at 11:12 am #

        According to, both Mr. and Mrs. Nilan filed for a declaration of homestead on Dec. 15 (a day after the PPD received a warrant to search the Forester), which means both are eligible for up to a half-million in protection (or a combined $1 million) on their principal Winesap Road address. That’s all I was trying to say.

    February 21, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

    Another armed robbery tonight, this time at Palmer’s Variety Elm St. Guess someone just trying to put food on the table for their family. Boy with all these robbery that family will have to go on a diet.

    • danvalenti
      February 21, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

      Terrible. Palmer’s, as you long know, Concerned, has forever .been one of our favorite stops. Crime has gone off the charts in the Pitts.

      • Scott
        February 22, 2012 at 6:19 am #

        I’ve been making it a point to go to these stores being robbed even the one on Linden street I will make a point to go into Palmers as well now other people should as well let’s not avoid these stores they need community support especially after going through an armed robbery.

    • Pittsfield Berever
      February 22, 2012 at 6:10 am #

      50 bucks says the robber’s nose or arm absorbed the proceedes from the robbery.

      • Scott
        February 22, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

        That we can both agree on.

  14. Jeff Ferrin
    February 21, 2012 at 7:41 pm #


    Just to let you know I have formally requested of the council president to leave the discussion regarding my appointment on the table until my return from “OF ALL THINGS” the 5 day Emergency Medical Services conference I will be attending in Baltimore at that time that was planned prior to this.I requested it be broought up at the first March meeting so I can be present and speak before the council at the open mike. I expressed that it would anly be fare that I be present for any further debate or discussion and also be given the fare chance to speak in light of the unbelieveable uproar all this has caused. He agreed and stated it will remain until my return.

    • danvalenti
      February 21, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

      JEFF Thank you. This is news, and we think this is a reasonable approach. Also, it shows President Sherman has a healthy perspective on the issue. He has handled this well. Tomorrow, we shall, in fact, present his take on the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

  15. Ron Kitterman
    February 21, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

    No problem Jeff, however prior to your departure if you could drop off the last 10 yrs of your Federal / State tax returns and your K-12 progress reports, any physiological, dental or medical files we can examine would be helpful also. And if it isn’t too much trouble any DNA samples, but other than that have a nice trip. And maybe a contact number if we have any questions.

    • Gary
      February 21, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

      lol…too funny :))

    • dusty
      February 22, 2012 at 2:24 am #

      Perhaps we should put an ankle bracelet on Jeff. It seems very strange that he would be sneaking out of town in the middle of an investigation. Who is this guy? Where did he come from? and what is he really doing here in Pittsfield? And does he really think he will make it through airport security?

  16. kevin jennings
    February 21, 2012 at 9:18 pm #

    anyway to find out who is paying mr. moore’s medical bills?
    I bet his personal health coverage is going to go after the insurance carrier of mr.nilans vehicle. If Merideth is NOT covered on the policy, well that will open a huge can of worms for cliff. Hence the homestead.

  17. GMHeller
    February 22, 2012 at 8:04 am #

    Mr. and Mrs. Nilan’s filing for Homestead protection after daughter Meredith’s hit/run while driving the family car would appear to be ‘too little, too late’, an act the equivalent of “closing the barn door after the horses have left”.

    According to MALAWFORUM.COM (and please note the words capitalized):

    “What is a Homestead, and what does it do for me?– Anonymous

    “Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 188, Section 1 allows the owner or owners of a home who occupy that home as their principal residence to file a declaration of estate of homestead for that property. The declaration is a fairly simple document that becomes effective once filed at the Registry of Deeds in the county where the property is located.

    “A declaration of homestead protects the owner against most claims that arise AFTER it is filed, up to $500,000. For example, if, AFTER you file your homestead, you negligently injure another and that person is awarded damages in the amount of $100,000, he cannot force you to sell your home to pay the debt (except in some cases where the house is worth more than the protected amount).

    “Note, however, that the declaration of homestead only offers protection against claims that arise AFTER you file the declaration, not against claims ‘for a debt contracted prior to the acquisition of said estate of homestead.’ Also, the declaration offers no protection against certain types of claims, such as a forced sale for unpaid taxes or an execution issued from the probate court to enforce a judgment for support.”

    SEE: http://www .malawforum .com/content/what-declaration-homestead

  18. Bull Durham
    February 22, 2012 at 8:13 am #

    I disagree with your analysis, Mr. Heller. To the best of our knowledge no “claim” has been made in a financial sense yet against the Nilans. If a civil suit has been filed, and it was filed before they established the Homestead, then they are not protected. But if the suit is filed after the Homestead declaration, it’s valid and protects them from that suit. It’s not based on the date of the criminal allegation or incident – it’s based on a financial claim date, which may not have been filed.

  19. GMHeller
    February 22, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    Bill Durham,
    I’m just a country boy and I ain’t no lawyer, and I’m only going by what the wonks at MALAWFORUM.COM are claiming where they say, “For example, if, AFTER you file your homestead, you negligently injure another …..”

    Further BD, if anyone in Mass. can file for Homestead protection AFTER they have injured another party and before that injured party has had a chance to consult with an attorney and file a civil action in response, then what would be the result across the state for victims seeking redress?
    My inclination is to believe the interpretation put forward by MALAWFORMS.COM.
    BD, you are wiser than I on these types of matters; are you able to cite any case law in Mass. which would provide guidance either one way or the other on this subject?
    Have any opinions come forth from SJC on this?

    • Bull Durham
      February 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

      The website says… Note, however, that the declaration of homestead only offers protection against claims that arise after you file the declaration, not against claims “for a debt contracted prior to the acquisition of said estate of homestead.” By that definition, a formal claim must be filed prior to the declaration of homestead. The incident occurred before the filing, but the incident is not a legal financial claim. It’s a criminal complaint. I don’t know absolutely that Mr. Moore’s attorney hasn’t filed a formal civil action – if so, and it was filed before the homestead went into effect, then the homestead doesn’t count in this case. But I’ve seen no evidence of such a legal claim filed civilly, and that being said, if there is no legal action filed before the homestead action, any action filed after, even in regard to an incident that occurred before, would be covered by the homestead. The law says it must be “a debt contracted prior to the acquisition of the homestead declaration. I’m the first to say I’m not an attorney, but that sounds like a debt that has been filed for legally, not just someone saying they might have filed for a debt if they had known the Nilans would opt for a homestead. What would stop me, for example, from claiming verbally that you owed me some money dating from 2003, and yet you filed a homestead this year preventing me from collecting? Unless there is a legal and formal claim, I don’t think it counts as a claim in court.

      Again, not an attorney, but my reading of what it says seems to indicate the homestead will protect them from losing the home in the Moore case. I am sure the Nilans attorney told them to file for one, and regardless of what anyone says about Mr. Shugrue, he’s pretty smart and is a very good lawyer.

  20. GMHeller
    February 22, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    Bill Durham, I was hoping you were an attorney because my guess is there is case law on this that would be more dispositive of an answer than mere supposition.