NEW INFORMATION EMERGES IN FEDERAL PROBE OF LEE POLICE DEPARTMENT TOY FUND … REVELATIONS POINT OUT THE FAILURE OF MAINSTREAM MEDIA, PARTICULARLY THE BB AND LOCAL RADIO, TO DIG INTO A STORY … IT ALSO SHOWS THE VALUE OF ALTERNATIVE MEDIA
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, APRIL 2, 2013) — New information has emerged about the slow-moving federal investigation into the Lee Police Department‘s administration of a toy fund. Long-time Lee cop and current police chief Joe Buffis is the fund’s manager. Buffis remains the central figure in the proobe.
Emerging key findings of the ongoing probe include, according to the Attorney General’s office:
* The Lee Police Association (LPA) has not filed required paperwork with the state Attorney General since 2004, according to the AG’s office. The eight-year lapse pertains to the Laliberte Toy Fund, managed by the association and Buffis.
* Emalie Gainey, AG Martha Coakley‘s mouthpiece, said the association “would need to register and file annual financial reports for the … funds it raised.” In other words, just because it is a “non-profit,” it must file with the AG. That procedure and requirement is the public’s best safeguard that raised monies are used as advertised.
* During the years for which the association did not file reports, the LPA raised $62,000.
* To be able to raise funds in this way, state charities “must register with and file annually” with the AG. Gainey said. “There are, to our knowledge, no additional annual filings received by this office past 2004.”
* No evidence has surfaced that the LPA has ever filed a federal tax return as required by law. This presents a major red flag.
* The IRS said it has no records that the LPA has a Federal Employer Identification Number, which it would be required to have in order to file federal taxes required of a non-profit organization — and yet, something strange can be evidenced in the LPA’s state filings for 2001, 02, 03, and 04. The association’s four Form 990 filings leave blank the space for its employment identification number. It doesn’t add up.
* The LPA’s 2004 filing with the state lists an amount raised that is less than what the toy fund told the Boring Broadsheet for that year. Wherein lies the truth?
* In 2001, the toy fund told the state it raised no money that year. However, it told the Boring Broadsheet it raised $8,406. Which is it?
* The documents list Buffis as the manager of the funds. For the LPA’s address, the form lists Buffis’ home address.
Nobody Knows Nuttin
Buffis has not returned THE PLANET’s requests for comment. Buffis has also ignored other requests for comment. Bob Nason, Lee town administrator, has refused the request for comment. The Lee Police Department has consistently refused requests for comment. Right. Nobody knows nuttin. When everybody clams up like this, it’s a pretty good indication that the authorities are barking up the right tree. Likely, a skunk’s that’s been cornered.
While noting the presumption of innocence of and and all who may be involved and also pointing out that as of this date no criminal charges have been filed, it doesn’t take John Kenneth Galbraith or Karl Marx to realize that:
1. When funds are raised from the public
2. Without proper filings and accounting practices,
3. Temptation raises its repellent head
4. And people, particularly those who hold public office and power and can be considered to some extent to be above reproach, can succumb.
This is money kind-hearted members of the public gave to support a toy fund. There needs to be a stiff accounting. if the fund has been ripped off, the fullest extent of the consequential law must be leveled.
Berkshire Beacon Steals the Boring Broadsheet‘s Lunch
Much of this information was first published in a March 21 piece by reporter Bera Dunau in the Berkshire Beacon. This story should have been owned, positively possessed outright, by the BB. In another era, the Eagle would have sold bales of papers with its coverage of this story. Instead, while the BB was covering the Rotary Club‘s Pancake Breakfast and how “excited” Mayor Bianchi was about the second grade science fest, the other BB, the Beacon, pulled the scoop. It’s a measure of both how the former Eagle has become a tired, timid, and toothless shell of its former shell and how more-hungry alternative media can swoop in for the kill, provided that the ownership has some guts.
Nonetheless, the more media the merrier, because it allows a greater chance for stories to find their way into daylight that would otherwise be hidden and deliberately buried. THE PLANET’s adventures in cyberspace journalism has certainly been a game changer in terms of an additional way for stories to “get out.” We presently take no ads and have remained non-commercial as a way to assure everyone of our independence — “Unbought and unbossed,” as our motto phrases it. No other local or regional media outlet that is offering serious news, journalism, and commentary on a daily basis can make that claim. So-called “non-commercial” public radio broadcasts as many “commercials” as its commercial counterparts, only it plays a game of pretend by calling its advertisers “underwriters.”
THE PLANET — Free to Look, Quick to Expose, and Even Offer a Little Poetry to Boot
Besides, public radio and TV take federal money. THE PLANET uses 100% internal funding. We don’t take from anyone, and that’s why we, alone, remain independent in the fullest sense of that word, free to look into anything and expose everything — or share poetry, if that is what we wish.
With that kind of autonomy comes a fearlessness to look behind the curtain when The GOB Establishment Wizard desperately tells you not to do that very thing. THE PLANET does not have to battle with sponsors, as we’ve done throughout our career in other media, commercial media, and thus we look where we please, when we please, and how we please. No one will scare us off a story.
With these remarks as preamble, we commend alternative outlets such as 1Berkshires, the Berkshire Beacon, the Berkshire Record, the Pittsfield Gazette (although it has lately been suffering a serious case of torpor), WTBR and its programming, Berkshire Magazine, and even such house organs as the Berkshire Jewish Star, the Berkshire Senior, the animal newspaper, and the like. Any one of these might unearth a story or even provide a piece of information that can be used to triangulate with other data, knowledge, and intelligence to help us make sense out of public life.
“Shall one man drive before him ten / Unstrung from sea to sea? Let thought be free. I speak / Of the spirit’s weaving, the neural / Web, the self-true mind, the trusty reflex.” — Richard Wilbur
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.