WHAT WENT ON LAST NIGHT AT THE COUNCIL MEETING? … MEANWHILE, LOTS OF HUSH HUSH AND WEIRDNESS SURROUNDING OFFICIAL SILENCE ON $10Gs in STOLEN PHS PROM MONEY, BUT THE PLANET KEEPS HAMMERING AWAY … NEW NUGGETS, CLUES UNEARTHED
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, FEB. 12, 2014) — While THE PLANET sorts out the feverish “intelligence” from last night’s city council meeting, let’s let the cipher machines cool off. We’ll try to get to 30,000 feet to present a coherent view of the strange doings involving our Right Honorable Good Friends. We had our spies in the room, we’ve put feelers out, and we can only note the unusual amount of “chatter.” Stay tuned.
While that takes place, we can tell you, folks, that the PTBs (Powers that Be) are still, after 20 months, guarding any shred of information that might leak about the $10,000 in prom money stolen out of a locked teacher’s desk back near school-year’s end in 2012.
The theft occurred at about the same time as “prank night,” when up to a couple hundred students and others were allowed by the administration to rampage the halls. This occurred with the administration’s blessings and under the watchful eye of the school police officer on duty that night.
The administration then consisted of Trevor Benson, principal, and Frank “Free House” Cote, vice principal. Benson has since moved on, a move that was never satisfactorily explained for our liking. For that matter, his hiring never made sense. Benson was in so far over his head his top hair barely touched the grass roots. As for Cote, the move to vice principal continued his baffling meteoric rise, set in gear the moment Jake III Eberwein plucked him from the culinary scrap heap and sent him on his way to the toppermost of the poppermost. In one of the most stellar career advancements ever recorded in PTB-GOB annals, Free House left PHS that summer to become — voila! — assistant superintendent of schools, heading up the vocational segment for six figures, not including bennies. What a school system!
THE PLANET, however, has many sources, in every city department and under most of the rocks. This crack assortment of spies, gumshoes, secret agents, and Z-Operatives — collectively known as The Secret Squadron — has had feelers out about the PHS Prom Theft. The Squadron moves with a persistence of running water, which, given enough time and patience, has the power to carve out canyons from mountains of solid stone.
From various sources with connections to the Pittsfield School Department, THE PLANET has learned the following information. We point out that while none of this has been officially confirmed (officially, you could more easily get Harpo Marx to talk than school officials or Mayor Photo-Op), the information comes from sources that in the past have been completely reliable.
THE PLANET has learned that:
* The locked desk drawer belonged to a classroom used for English
* The teacher whose desk it is/was belonged to the English Department
* The teacher is an honest person who was mortified when he or she learned that the theft had happened.
* The teacher tried earlier in the day to follow protocol for the handling of cash. That’s a key piece of evidence, and it may contain within it vital clues to identifying the culprit(s). School policy calls for cash to be delivered to the principal or vice principal for safe keeping in the school safe. Every school principal has a safe for such purposes. The only problem is that both Benson and Cote left early on the day in question. We would only ask how wise was that move, leaving the school, essentially, with no one in charge?
* The person who broke into the desk drawer to steal the money used a crowbar.
* The break-in wasn’t random, The thief knew exactly where the money was hidden.
This makes one pause to ask:
— Why was the investigation shot down so quickly and a seal of silence imposed on the entire incident so tightly?
— Who knew about the cash being present in the desk drawer? It had to be a rather short list.
— What do these two questions suggest, especially when you triangulate them with (a) the thief knowing exactly where the money was and (b) both administrators being absent — conveniently or otherwise — so that the large sum couldn’t be deposited in the safe? What is the connection?
— Where is the “Document” pertaining to this theft that then-school committee chairman Alf Barbalunga referred to in open session? What does that document contain? Why has it never been produced? Why has no member of the school committee asked about it, save former committeeman Terry Kinnas? How committed is the “new” superintendent to finding the answers?
— Where are the security tapes of “prank night?” Sources say Cote had access to them and possession of them after the incident occurred. Does he still have control of the tapes? Can they be produced? Have they been altered? What do the tapes show? Those tapes are by law considered “public documents.” Why hasn’t a member of the school board demanded copies of the tape? Why hasn’t the public been given access either to the “Document” or the security tapes?
— Is the new Jake, Jason “Jake” McCandless, aka, JIV, interested in getting to the truth and, more importantly, letting the truth be known to the public, which, after all, is only footing the bill for his $92 million department.
— Is there a ongoing coverup?
— If so, who is hiding what?
— Who is protecting whom, and why?
— Why hasn’t the Boring Broadsheet, which claims it isn’t afraid to go after stories like this going after this story? Why hasn’t executive editor Kevin Moran assigned a reporter to this story, full time, with a assignment of bringing home the goods? The answers are there for someone willing to spend enough time digging. Apropos to nothing, everything, and all in between, we would also remind any interested and affected parties, if there be such, that any information — including documents, physical items, and security tapes — should be considered evidence in a possible criminal investigation. All evidence must be preserved. Destruction of evidence is a crime.
— Why so much weirdness, so much aversion of eyes, so much fear whenever one asks questions about the theft?
Add it all up, dear readers, and sleuth if for yourself. In the meantime, we shall keep Channel D open. There’s still a lot of “chatter.”
“Happy trails to you, until we meet again. Happy trails to you. Keep smiling, until then, happy trails to you, ’til we meet again.” — Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, “Happy Trails,” (1955).
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.