$510,000 TAX BREAK TO NUCLEA BIOTECH RAISES QUESTIONS … DOES THE CITY HAVE A GRIP ON THE RIGHT ANSWERS?
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, FEB. 26, 2014) — Last week, The Boring Broadsheet ran a page one story notifying poor taxpaying citizens that $510,000 of their hard-earned dollars — “appropriated” from them by state revenuers — were being given to Nuclea Biotechnologies in the form of tax breaks. The company has offices at 46 Elm St., Pittsfield.
Tax breaks: Isn’t that a laugh? THE PLANET wonders how hard the Suits would jeer at Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski — you know, the proverbial underrepresented “Little Guys” in Pittsfield — if they were to ask for a nickel in tax breaks, let alone a half million. Tax breaks? Just wait until this year’s 2015 fiscal budget, when the mayor passes and council approves millions more for government at the expense of homeowners and businesses.
The state put in some token qualifiers for the Nuclea deal, for example, that the company had to create 17-20 jobs in Pittsfield to receive the dough. That’s all well and good, except that the history of these giveaways for private-public “partnerships” shows that too often the private part grabs after the public is forced to loosen its grip. What’s bad business for taxpayers, though, is good business for The Suits. Isn’t it all that matters in Pittsfield?
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“This was huge for our region, said Pat Muraca, Nuclea head honcho. “We’re very happy.”
THE PLANET doesn’t doubt that Muraca is “very happy.”
As we recall, Michael Armitage was happy, too, when he conned the Feds out of millions and the Pittsfield coffers out of $250,000 for EV Worldwide. Remember how The BB reported in “Second Coming” type the 1,000 jobs the initiative would create? The only jobs it created were a con job and a snow job. Armitage was sentenced to prison for fraud and tax evasion. He pleaded guilty to embezzling $4.2 million in federal grant money that he said would be used to develop a battery-powered bus.
THE PLANET points out the obvious, of course, which is that Muraca is not Armitage. Nonetheless, the EV Worldwide case should give federal, state, and city officials pause before they throw money around like Monopoly bucks. The other “of course,” of course, is that maybe — just maybe — the half-a-million+ tax break will payoff for Pittsfield. THE PLANET hopes the investment in Nuclea does wonders and spits cucumbers.
Until we see how it, though, we’re from Missouri. That’s the “Show me” state. They claim it’s great. Our response: “Yeah? Show me.” We gotta see, touch, and taste it. We can already smell it.
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A Feb. 20, 2013 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission lists Muraca as “Executive Officer” and “Director” of Nuclea. Other company executives on the filing include Robert Pierce, Paula Evans, William Harman, Richard Victor, and Charles Stetson. All list their address as “46 Elm St., Pittsfield.” Gee, do they all live together, kind of like “The Waltons”?
The SEC form asks Nuclea to list a “Revenue Range” or “Aggregate Net Asset Value Range.” They chose the former.
“Revenue Range” lists the following eight options:
( ) No Revenues
( ) $1—$1,000,000
( ) $5,000,001—$25,000,000
( ) $25,000,001—$100,000,000
( ) Over $100,000,000
( ) Decline to Disclose
( ) Not Applicable.
Nuclea put an “X” in front of “Decline to Disclose.”
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THE PLANET also found a website called: “Nuclea Biotechnologies — A Tissue of Lies?” The site address is http://nucleabiomarkers.blogspot.com/. The site contains interesting reading, but THE PLANET cautions that we do not vouch for the veracity of the information. We let our readers judge for themselves. We include it simply to add another point of view in a case highly relevant to taxpayers.
Here’s more information to feed into the Big Red Magic Pothole Machine, which, we’re told, has been transformed into the world’s smartest and fastest computer, one of such magnitude as to make IBM‘s Big Blue look like Gainsborough‘s “Little Boy Blue.” It’s sure not being used to fix potholes.
According to Secretary of State Bill Galvin‘s website, Pittsfield former state rep Peter Larkin represents Nuclea as one of Larkin’s “clients.” Larkin is a registered lobbyist. A lobbyist is often a former legislator who, after leaving office, sells his or her Rolodex to the highest bidder.
You might recall how Larkin resigned shortly after winning re-election as state rep, paving the way for Chris Speranzo to continue his meteoric, miraculous rise to the top. One hand washes the others, both hands dunk the taxpayer’s head in the apple-bobbing bucket — and hold it there. Here’s iBerkshires‘ story from Jan 11, 2005:
Reminds us of the joke: Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, and honest lobbyist, and an old drunk were walking along when they simultaneously spotted a hundred-dollar bill laying in the street. Who gets it? The old drunk, of course, the other three are mythological creatures.
Galvin lists Larkin’s business name as Public Policy Advisers. PPA’s address is 496 Cross St., Boylston, Mass. 413-441-7575, with an e-mail address of peter.larkin.@verizon.net.
On his disclosure form for the period July 1, 2011 to Dec. 31, 2011, Larkin reported income of $116,000. That included $15,000 from Nuclea Technologies. He listed $60,000 from GE and $19,500 from Sabic Innovative Plastics (the former GE Plastics). The latest disclosure we could find covers Jan. 1, 2013 to June 30, 2013, during which Larkin took in $80,000 over the six months. This included another $15,000 from Nuclea.
We wonder: What does a lobbyist do for all that money? For Nuclea in 2013, Larkin says he “Monitored MA Life Science Center.”
All of this is legal.
Remember that someone will have to make up the difference for the $510,000 in tax credits handed to Nuclea. Can you guess to whom that distinguished honor will be given?
Got a mirror?
“It was the time of the preacher in the year of ’01. Now the preachin’ of over and the lesson’s begun.” — Willie Nelson, “Time of the Preacher,” from the album “Red Headed Stranger,” (1975).
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.