Article

!!PLANET EXCLUSIVE!! TES IN END RUN ON COUNCIL? SOURCES SAY MAYOR LOOKING TO MOVE 40% of CITY HALL to 100 NORTH ST. AND SIGN LEASE IN BUILDING REPPED By BUDDY … BUILDING ALSO HOUSES TES’ GLOBAL OFFICES … QUESTIONS ABOUND … plus … PLANET REVIEWS ‘BENEFACTORS’

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEEKEND EDITION, JULY 25-27, 2014) — During our many years doing talk radio on WBRK, we got on intimate terms with 100 North St., the venerable and august First Aggie Bank building. It’s a fine structure, with its classical architecture and a size that casts an elegant shadow. The Dan Valenti Show studios were located on the second floor. It just so happens that Dan Bianchi‘s offices at Larry Global Mondello were then where they are now, on the third floor of 100 North. Global occupied then and now a cozy two-room suite overlooking North Street.

Many a time we got off the air and headed upstairs for a visit with “Dan’l” to talk politics and life with our long-time friend. Truth be told, we miss those days.

Bianchi still works out of suite 302. He still schleps energy for the Mondellos, whose father finds himself perpetually in Cincinnati. Judging by his recent appearance, Bianchi is disproportionately many years older now than he was then. As for THE PLANET, we were so much older then, quoting from the Tales of Zimmerman. We’re younger than that now.

My, how things change.

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With that, let’s break some news. Don’t tell anyone, because you’re not supposed to know, par for the course for the mayor who, as a candidate, promised transparency. The mayor has this info on Super Secret Triple Lock Down. Naturally, it was a piece of cake for our rhetorical safe crackers.

Credible, independent, and reliable sources tell THE PLANET that Mayor Bianchi “is going ahead with his plan to move the building department, some police and fire inspectors, the health department, the engineering department, and the public utilities department out of city hall (at 70 Allen St.) into the second floor at 100 North St.” Those offices represent about 40% of the current occupancy of 70 Allen St.

The First Aggie Bank Building, 100 North Street

In one of his earlier budget proposals, the mayor had put in $100,000 for this move, but the council “stripped it out, because there were no details and no mention of who was moving or why.” In other words, The Empty Suit‘s opaque request was premature, void of detail, and lacking in all critical respects.

The hundred grand that the mayor proposes to waste … er, spend … were included in the capital budget, and it called for the renovations of a space in anticipation of a move. What space? Didn’t say? Who was moving where? Didn’t say. As it turns out, according to our sources, it was for leased space in the same building where he has his Global office.

This means that Bianchi wanted, and wants according to our sources, to use taxpayer money to renovate space in a private building for a landlord with whom sources say is “good friends.” That would be David Carver. Carver is the manager of real estate development for Scarafoni Associates, owners of the building.

The landlord at 100 North has canyons of empty space on his hands at that once-prestigious address. Currently, Scarafoni officially lists three office spaces in the building, a total of 10,445 sq. ft., for a combined monthly rent of $12,070 a month.

Like most downtown commercial buildings, seems there are difficulties renting to the Dreaded Private Sector. It also appears — appear — that Bianchi wants to come to the rescue of his buddy, with taxpayers on the hook for the costs. Such a deal!! Of course, we would normally contact the mayor for comment, but he’s made it clear he has nothing to say to THE PLANET. Moreover, need-full to say, THE PLANET obtained this information without the least bit of respect for the mayor’s “press policy”-cum-gag order.

Just When You Thought the Sleaze Couldn’t Get Slicker

Now, it appears TES is trying to pull an end-run on our Right Honorable Good Friends on the city council. Sources familiar with the details tell us that Bianchi is in the midst of negotiations with Carver for the move, even though the council stripped the hundred grand out of Bianchi’s original capital budget request. It is unclear if a lease has been signed on the space, but it is clear to THE PLANET that, if our information is correct, the council faces a showdown with the mayor. It can take the mayor’s attempt at an end-run and stuff it for a three-yard loss. It is, you see, an opportunity for the council to reclaim its self-respect and its rightful place as an equal municipal co-governor.

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Bianchi’s end run raises only a million and one questions. Some of the most obvious ones include:

(1) How can the mayor lease space without authority of the city council? It’s unclear as to how much the lease will call for, but one knowledgable source told us, “I assume it’s at least over $25,000.”

(2) Where is the money going to come from, given that there is no budgetary line item for this expense?

(3) Why is Bianchi bypassing the council? This risks a procedural nightmare that could end up with the AG’s office or even in the courts.

(4) How long is Bianchi looking to lease the space and at what terms?

(5) What is wrong with the current arrangements of the mentioned city offices at 70 Allen Street?

(6) Why rent space at a premium when the offices stay rent-”free” in a building the city owns? Just who, if anyone, stands to “make out” if this deal comes to pass? “Follow the money,” once again, seems to be wise advice.

(7) Why 100 North Street? Is it because Bianchi has an office there and could find it easier to disguise any city time (on the taxpayers’ dime) he wants to spend working for Global Mondello?

(8) Has a lease been signed? If not, THE PLANET would hope the council steps in and cuts this off at the pass. The council (or some other authority) must take steps to void the measure, which has “conflict of interest” written all over it given his reported friendship with Carver and given the location of the Global suite in the building. If a lease has been signed, when is the mayor looking to make the move? When and how is he planning to announce it?

(9) The move would create a lot of empty space in city hall. What would fill it? In all, the vacated offices account for approximately 40 percent of the space at city hall.

(10) Was there only one bid (Carver’s), as sources claim? Doesn’t the state require at least three competitive bids?

(11) Why was the one bid from a friend, as sources state?

(12) What did the bid package look like?

(13) Did the bidding process comply with existing law?

(14) Was the bid rigged based on the way the bid package was written?

(15) Why wasn’t the bid for rental space re-bid? Sources tell us that Bianchi told councilors the lease  would be re-bid, but they say none of the councilors has given any indication of that. Did Bianchi lie to the council?

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If the bid was not entered into correctly, that’s the city council’s best method to stop this nonsense. Sources on the inside at city hall tell us “the bid and lease deal isn’t legal based on the numbers” they are hearing. They also say claim there is a plan to push it through “legally,” presumably involving the office of city solicitor Kathy Degnan.

Call to arms. Councilors take action.

We recently stated that Bianchi’s intentions to run for re-election, this time to a four-year term, are delusional based upon his epic failure as the city’s CEO. Well, forget re-election. THE PLANET can only wonder now if TES can survive the remainder of this present term without being tossed out of office. What will be the tipping point to a recall effort?

We ask citizens to get involved. Contact your city councilors and the at-large reps and tell them to put an end to a deal that, if sources are giving us good information, seems as questionable (corrupt?) as they come.

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CLARIFICATION ON WATER SAVINGS

THE PLANET stated previously that Craig Gaetani is proposing a plan that he claims would save Pittsfield taxpayers $40 million or so with respect to federally mandated upgrades needed at the water plant. These changes would come from the sewage treatment plant off of Holmes Road and not from the Cleveland drinking water plant in Hinsdale. Gaetani says that he and Dr. Lawrence Wang can offer “slight modifications” to the Cleveland plant to save about $100,000.

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THEATER REVIEW

UNGENEROUS “BENEFACTORS” SHOWS ITS AGE

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

 

Benefactors

Benefactors PosterWebNew York Times’ Summer Stages Pick
by Michael Frayn
directed by Eric Hillat The Unicorn Theatre, Stockbridge
The Larry Vaber Stage
Sponsored by Crowne Plaza, Pittsfield; Furlano & Arace PC; and Haddad Dealerships
Previews July 9-July 11
Press Opening/Opening Night: July 12 at 8pm
Talkback: July 14
Closing: July 26
Tickets: Preview: $42; A: $48

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Thirty years after it was written, Michael Frayn’s Benefactors is a “memory play” with the onset of Alzheimer’s.

The four protagonists representing two married couples put their relationships not so much under a magnifying glass but on an architect’s table, where, though the wisdom of hindsight, they reverse engineer what went wrong “then” from the perspective of a more settled “now.” They look back with selective recall, wiping out aspects of the past that might otherwise prevent “coming to terms.”

“Then” are the years from 1968 to 1970. “Now” is the great Orwellian year of 1984. It’s left to director Eric Hill to take this “look back” dealing with something no director ever had to handle when the play debuted in 1984. In its first years, 1984 was truly Benefactors‘ “present.” In 2014, however, it is Benefactors’ past, with a generation of technological, artistic, and social tumult behind us. There’s no way this is the same play it was 30 years ago, and the benefactions of yesterday don’t seem as generous today. Hill struggles mightily with this problem in the current production, which ends today.

Hill realizes that the key insights in this play highlight the ferocious edge that good intentions often disguise in the present moment. They cut at their fiercest not long after. Only time, the great provider of perspective, allows the salve of understanding. These are meaty ideas, but from a 2014 long view of a mid-80s perspective, the characters in Benefactors engage more in tiresome self-absorption than meaningful introspection.

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The play centers around a redevelopment contract that architect David (David Adkins) wins to build new housing in a London slum. The job doesn’t go as planned, and David has to abandon his designs for individual homes. Due to an inhospitable slice of land, he has to sacrifice principle and build high-rises instead.

As the building project develops, his marriage to the confident Jane (Corinna May) deconstructs with inverse proportion. Their intrusive neighbors Colin (Walton Wilson) and Sheila (Barbara Sims) add to the demolition. Caustic Colin, David’s long-time school chum, can’t stand his friend’s idealism and success. He quits his job as a journalist, becomes homeless, and cleverly employs his cynicism in a rise to fame as a populist hero protesting David’s “skyscrapers.” Colin’s wife — the needy, mousy Sheila — yearns for change. She leaves Colin, and the enabling Jane — trying to help — gives up a job as her husband’s secretary and hands it to the timorous Sheila, who falls in love with David.

Jane helps Sheila, who tries to help David, who reconciles with Colin, who never stops helping himself. Got it? Benefactions run amok.  To make sense of it all, throughout the play, each character steps out of time (today, an ancient 1984) and reflects back the events of the past, circa ’68-70.

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Seeing Benefactors from 2014 necessitates a look back at the mid 80s — when a synthetic sterility took hold of culture and the arts (Ronald Reagan, anyone?) — looking back at the late 60s (Jerry Rubin?). John McDermott‘s kitchen set is suitably Partridge Family orange, green, and brown — as effectively bland as David Murin‘s costumes, with the dull and lifeless colors so much in vogue in the mid-80s after disco, Lord help us, had its run.

Frayn’s play depends entirely on dialogue … LOTS of dialogue. Adkins, May, Wilson, and Sims know their voluminous lines, but they have mixed success in making the lines their own. They are not helped by the static set or the drab costuming. One keeps wanting something to happen beside a solipsistic talk-fest — a bomb blast, a murder, a singing telegram … anything.

May fares by far the best, with a sharp, focused portrayal of Jane, a classic liberal “do-gooder” whose “can’t do enough” keeps falling short. She delivers a crisp portrayal, particularly in her “flashbacks” from the present to the past. She’s a one woman Greek Chorus, a solid, substantial, reliable witness to the past.

Adkins seems a force-fit as David. The character’s idealism comes off more as wishful thinking and whiny day dreaming. Adkins’ David speaks with a nasally thin timbre, with line readings that at times call for a hydraulic jack for a lift. Wilson’s Colin is suitably boorish but boring, technically fine but in need of … what, exactly? More. We don’t like Colin, and we are not supposed to like him, but Wilson doesn’t have enough to make Colin an anti-hero, something that happens with the best villains.  We envision a laudable villainy for the character, but Wilson doesn’t pull it off. Sims does well as alternately a friend in need, a secretary, a third wheel, and a home wrecker.

Director  Hill has chosen an “un-Hillian” vehicle for this production in the intimate confines of the BTG’s Unicorn Theatre. In the smaller venue of the Unicorn, one expects a more daring, experimental, pushy Hill and not this “talkie” from the mid-80s. There is no magic, no dreams, and no myth. There is only the self-absorbed parlor tricks of four characters trying to justify the mistakes of the past.

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“27 April: Old father, old artificer, stand me now and ever in good stead.” — Closing line to Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, Dublin 1904, Trieste 1914.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

60 Responses to “!!PLANET EXCLUSIVE!! TES IN END RUN ON COUNCIL? SOURCES SAY MAYOR LOOKING TO MOVE 40% of CITY HALL to 100 NORTH ST. AND SIGN LEASE IN BUILDING REPPED By BUDDY … BUILDING ALSO HOUSES TES’ GLOBAL OFFICES … QUESTIONS ABOUND … plus … PLANET REVIEWS ‘BENEFACTORS’”

  1. B
    July 24, 2014 at 11:33 pm #

    Time to recall TES! Is there anyone out there who knows how to do a recall on the mayor? I do not have the knowledge to get it going, and I also have poor health. If it is true that the mayor is signing a lease at 100 North St.? I believe he definitely needs to be out. He’s evil pure evil. Can the A.G. look into what is going on in Pittsfield? Can we picket in front of 100 North St. to let the taxpayers know what’s happening? We should picket every entrance leading into 100 North St. and question the mayor as to why he’s not at his oval office at 70 Allen St.

    • dusty
      July 25, 2014 at 1:02 am #

      I think a recall needs to be initiated. The city does not need a bunker mayor. The citizens need a leader, preferably someone with a legal background as Bianchi is sure to bob and weave to delay any such action.

      I will vote for a recall and can probably garner another 10 votes at least. time to stop the talk and walk the walk.

      If he is deposed that might make Mazzeo the mayor but if she witnesses a recall it might wake her up.

      • Tim
        July 25, 2014 at 4:41 am #

        I just threw up in my mouth a little.

      • levitan
        July 25, 2014 at 5:41 am #

        Sure, a lawyer is every common man’s best friend.

    • levitan
      July 25, 2014 at 5:31 pm #

      “Evil, pure evil”

      That sets the bar a little low in my honest opinion.

    • danvalenti
      July 25, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

      THE PLANET shall be posting a “how to” next week.

  2. Pat
    July 25, 2014 at 3:55 am #

    Government is corrupt” That was shouted out yesterday at the conviction of John O’Brien in Boston. It was highly emotional (O’Brien’s wife fainted) and pretty much sums up Massachusetts right now whether we are talking local or state politics. Corruption is out of control. O’Brien was convicted of course of patronage in the Probation Department. Will we even read any of this in the Berkshire Eagle? I didn’t see any mention of it in todays online BB.

    Democratic New York having problems with Cuomo as well. Just don’t listen to Alan Chartock who predicts that despite his ethics issues, Cuomo will be re-elected again in New York. Why? Because like here in Pittsfield and Massachusetts voters will look the other way when their Democrats do bad things. No mention by Chartock about the moral implications of what Cuomo is involved in. Only concern that he gets elected again. It’s disgusting to listen to Chartock and his cronies on 90.3 so I inevitably turn the dial when they come on. I really only listen to that station for news from that area.

    • levitan
      July 25, 2014 at 5:43 am #

      Chartock is trying to make nice with the Cuomo family. Things went sort of downhill since the Green/Cuomo election (not sure if Green is right, just came to mind) and he’s most likely hoping to ressurect that profitable friendship.

      Who even listens to that fool anyway.

    • Scott
      July 26, 2014 at 2:42 am #

      Did to read thee tyre from the lovely Roselle petitioning for dogs to accompany their masters in eateries? They’re both nuts I think the dog us the only sane one in the house!

  3. Pat
    July 25, 2014 at 4:11 am #

    “Government is corrupt” was actually screamed out by an O’Brien family member after the verdict. I will be shocked if the BB actually prints that part because God forbid people see their state government for what it really has become.

  4. Pat
    July 25, 2014 at 4:18 am #

    Read this and weep Massachusetts residents who are ethical. It was not just the Probation Department, but the Trial Court as well. The problem isn’t solved either as they only got the most obvious players in this corrupt system.

    “After weeks of testimony it became clear that there was serious corruption in the practices of the probation department,” said U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz. “This is especially troubling to those of us in law enforcement who understand the critically important role probation plays in the criminal justice system.”

    Prosecutors spent 10 weeks arguing that O’Brien, Burke and Tavares conjured up a fixed hiring process in which they chose sometimes-unqualified applicants under the guise of a legitimate process, and in return saw their department’s budget and staff boosted.

    An all-star defense squad argued that their clients did nothing wrong — they were part of a business-as-usual approach to hiring in the Bay State. They vowed to appeal the verdicts to both the judge, first, then a federal appeals court.

    The case, which explored the crony-rich hiring process in Massachusetts state government, brought to light the fact that patronage hires weren’t limited to the Probation Department. Defense attorneys showed that the Massachusetts Trial Court maintained an extensive list of job candidates sponsored by a veritable who’s who of top pols, prosecutors and judges.”

    • MrG1188
      July 25, 2014 at 6:42 am #

      Isn’t Cliff Nilan a probation dept. employee?

  5. Dirty Politics
    July 25, 2014 at 4:42 am #

    Once corruption sets in, like it looks like it has in Pittsfield, any number of things can be done to bamboozle the system. Corruption appears to be deeply entrenched at top levels of this city. Is that perception accurate or inaccurate?

    • Dirty Politics
      July 25, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

      Dan,

      I understand what you did or rather why you did it.
      Just one question though:
      How close was I?

  6. Franz Kafka
    July 25, 2014 at 6:31 am #

    Dan,

    No doubt this part-time ribbon cutting, full-time Global Mondello employed mayor is on a tirade today trying to find the leak. This site has added 30 years to his face.

    Children would get the death penalty for riding their bikes or skateboards on North street and not obeying the stickers the city went to great expense to lay down. At least now they’ve banned smoking — OUTSIDE. These are the important issues of our day.

    The lock down of information at city hall does not appear to be successful. At least the padlocked city water treatment plants are working.

    The new tax rates should be well above the over-bloated city budget to generate more “free cash”. Capital city projects will have to resort to borrowed money and payback will be passed onto future generations of Pittsfield youts.

    What a way to run a city.

  7. Spider
    July 25, 2014 at 6:32 am #

    Barry Clairmont should be able to answer the questions about the 100 North St. lease.

  8. Bull Durham
    July 25, 2014 at 6:56 am #

    If this is all true, then it also puts Bianchi in direct conflict of interest and in violation of state law. As an employee of a company that has a financial relationship with the landlord, and being the main person ‘in control’ of furnishing that property owner with a high paying tenant, he indirectly ‘profits’ from this, because we all know somewhere along the line his employer will get a discount on rent.

    David Carver’s title is also a little misleading. He’s Dick Scarafoni’s son-in-law and Scarafoni Realty owns much of both downtown Pittsfield and North Adams real estate. Carver is the main guy and has established lucrative contracts for space for decades with government agencies (including the space used by the Registry of Motor Vehicles in North Adams). He’s no neophyte at this game and plays it well.

    As for you revealing this Dan, you will now have to be put on double secret probation by the Mayor.

  9. PopKornSutton
    July 25, 2014 at 7:16 am #

    If all this is true, it seems unpractical. Looks as though TES wants to work from home? One of these times the Planet is going to get set up, hope this isn’t one of them, accusations such as this can easily be made up and don’t really think this transaction is possible without scrutiny from someone other than the mayor.

  10. Nota
    July 25, 2014 at 7:18 am #

    BARRY, you’re loosing ground in the stretch, you need to get back on track and weigh in on this.

  11. B. Clairmont
    July 25, 2014 at 8:45 am #

    Nota,

    I’m not sure what you mean.

    With that said, I’m looking into this. Dan appears to have the scoop. My understanding is that a lease has not been signed yet, but will be. The whole reason for the move is to have all the permitting people under one roof.

    I’ve already obtained some documentation and have made a records request for much more.

    I can’t say if I’m for or against this yet because I don’t have all the facts. On the surface, this move makes no sense to me, but I want to give the benefit of the doubt for the moment.

    I’ll weigh in again when I have obtained the facts on the move and an understanding of the cost benefit analysis. I hope they have a cost benefit analysis.

    Barry

    • B Scofo
      July 25, 2014 at 11:06 am #

      We all appreciate your forthcomingness and your research into this story.

    • Spider
      July 25, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

      Thank you, Barry. Looking forward to the rest of the story!

    • maxwell edison
      July 25, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

      Did you know about this deal before The Planet published it?

    • BOC
      July 25, 2014 at 6:20 pm #

      Barry, you can be pretty sure that if it make no sense on the surface, it will make no sense no matter how dig anyone digs into it.

    • joetaxpayer
      July 25, 2014 at 7:15 pm #

      Barry, thanks for your response, not sure of the logic of spending money we don’t have. Why can’t the Mayor and Council come up with cost saving measures, instead of spending money on wants,not needs. If putting people under one roof is the answer, start with consolidation of the high schools, a couple elementary schools and one of the 5 fire departments.

      • winchester 73
        July 27, 2014 at 10:31 am #

        Apprecaite councilor Clairmont for jumping on The Planet’s scoop. I only hope other councilors join him in getting to bottom of what looks like more corruption from those we elect

  12. C. J.
    July 25, 2014 at 8:53 am #

    The mayor is a guest of WBEC’s City View, this morning. A Bianchi supporter called in crticizing Dan Valenti and anyone who diagrees with the mayor.
    Strange, it was the same voice and same person who always calls in to support the mayor, and organizes turn outs at the council chambers. Who directs her vocal activities and constantly apprises her when and where the mayor is going to be within the public forum ?
    Honestly, it is well known. Right Phyllis ?

  13. outfox
    July 25, 2014 at 10:14 am #

    All I can say is whiskey tango foxtrot…

    • DowagerHat
      July 25, 2014 at 10:16 am #

      Foxy Lady.

    • levitan
      July 25, 2014 at 11:02 am #

      Wordplay! I had to resort to google for that.

      • Scott
        July 26, 2014 at 2:50 am #

        Lev, what the f#*!

        • levitan
          July 26, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

          How very subtle.

  14. amandaWell
    July 25, 2014 at 11:25 am #

    The radio show on berk today was like watching paint dry, give it up deep.

  15. Nota
    July 25, 2014 at 11:45 am #

    A lease hasn’t been signed but will be? that says it all TES!

  16. Carolyn Barry
    July 25, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

    Before signing a lease with that company go door to door and ask current renters how happy they are. It will be eye opening!!!! Also ask former renters why they left.

    • Two Cents
      July 26, 2014 at 10:30 am #

      Amen Carolyn! You obviously know from which you speak. There’s a reason that company never achieves 100 percent occupancy at any of their multi-unit properties and its name has already been mentioned.

  17. T
    July 25, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

    My dog is hungry, I hope I don’t have to dip into the TES fund (taxes) to buy more food.

  18. Ron Kitterman
    July 25, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

    I heard the first couple of minutes of the Mayor with Tom Conklin this morning. Gee, Dan use a little levity, you were tighter than a drum. Last time you thought you were Jimmy Fallon today Vladimir Putin, you know the game work with us for God sake.

  19. Gatos
    July 25, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

    I have it on good authority that negotiations occurred regarding the 100 North spaces BEFORE an RFP was put out. Now that’s fishy.

  20. amandaWell
    July 25, 2014 at 3:38 pm #

    Off topic, maybe TEs can use this…..Quote by John Kerry, the reason for a cease fire is there is terminology in the context of the framework to work through?.. I succumb, we are screwed?

  21. Nota
    July 25, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

    Putin is just warming up Mando!

  22. Ron Kitterman
    July 25, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

    @Gatos even more fishy than Silver Lake before the cleanup ?

  23. Nota
    July 25, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

    Heard a rumor of Condo’s @ Silver Lake is on the Horizon…stay tuned!

  24. ShirleyKnutz
    July 25, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

    I find it rather humorous that someone will stand in park square and hold a sign about bombs in Gaza but no one will stand there to hold a sign about our corrupt government and impeachment!! Orwell had it right in his book just the year should have been 2014.

    • Pat
      July 26, 2014 at 5:54 am #

      I totally agree with you Shirley. The corruption is taking over locally and state wide and in the federal government.

      I saw no mention of the conviction charges of John O’Brien and his sidekicks in the BB. Did I miss it? I only look at the online version, but for them to not have it on front page of the newspaper would be incredible.

      Locally, our politicians engage is so much patronage that its disgusting. You can’t get a decent job in Pittsfield unless you have connections, but those with power make sure their family members and friends get good jobs at places like BMC and other well paying companies. Patronage is alive and well here in Berkshire County. Bianchi is doing nothing for the citizens of Pittsfield and is more concerned with giving wage increases to himself and his cronies.

      On the State level we are and always will be taxachusetts, As long as our liberal controlled one party system remains in place. We have a high sales tax, excise tax, they just raised the gas tax and connected future increases for automatic status, they just raised the inspection and registration fees after raising the driver’s license fees, They got rid of (with all the local pols blessing I might add) our free 1-6 turnpike exit that we
      should not have been ever having to pay tolls because many of us don’t use it that often and it mainly benefits Boston area. They continually raise taxes and fees and keep saying oh it is for the infrastructure -bridges – roads etc – but yet we see no improvement – only Boston, and the local pols in Berkshire all know it but are all corrupt. Yes we have a very corrupt system here and that is what you get with a one party system. So welcome to Taxachusetts – a nice place to visit – a
      lousy place to live.

      On the federal government side we have Obama wanting 4 billion dollars to care for illegal children at the border. Gee, do you think that would encourage even more children to come here when the word gets out about what he is doing? Putin and Russia are going wild with power because there is nobody to pull in the reins on their evil actions. We do not have a leader who knows how to keep Putin in check. Obama is weak and the rest of the world knows it. From his first days in office, all he wanted to do was apologize about our country.

      Where are the people with signs complaining loudly about all of this corruption?

      • Mad Trapper
        July 26, 2014 at 10:09 am #

        I’ve complained .

        Loudly.

        RESPIONSE:

        Senator Malerkey LOVES CRIMINAL ALIELS more than this resident.

        How is that DumboRATS?

        Put them up in YOUR house on YOUR expense

  25. Its only Money
    July 26, 2014 at 9:40 am #

    Renting and Leasing are always better than owning and paying no rent on building you already own.

    Besides, what’s another $400,000.00 or so? Heck we spent $100,000.00 just to make sure we got a methadone clinic.

    Colonial Theater
    New Airport
    Methadone Clinic
    New School buses
    New police cars
    New fire truck
    New High School
    New water treatment plant
    Raises for all city heads
    New city garage
    Pothole machine
    Raises for teachers
    North Street revitalization
    Bump outs

    Pittsfield is a very rich community.

  26. Spider
    July 26, 2014 at 9:43 am #

    Michael Dicenzo pleaded guilty and will be sentenced in Oct.. Again, the story mentions that he was involved with a local businessman (always unidentified). And again, nothing is said about possible charges against this man in the future.

    Am I the only one who thinks that there never will be charges?

    Speaking of corruption…..let’s add this to the list!

  27. Nota
    July 26, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

    BARRY, thank you!

  28. dusty
    July 27, 2014 at 11:44 am #

    Donna Todd Rivers is giving up her business because she wakes up every morning wanting to “give back to her community”. She and Mr Caccamo have similar mindsets.

    I do get nervous as hell though when anyone says they want to give back to their community. It is like code for,, I am going to join the GOB.

    • downtown dweller
      July 27, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

      Dusty, how is it that someone who wants to give back to their community is synonymous with joining the GOB? I volunteer in the city (which I consider giving back to my community) but I don’t consider myself part of the GOB network (unless it has come to mean Great Ol’ Broad then maybe). Just want to understand your thinking on this.

      • Hurdygurdy Man
        July 27, 2014 at 7:27 pm #

        I’ll let dusty answer for himself. I would say that unlike you, DTR is always letting everyone know how much she does in “giving back to the community.” She touts it way too much. Comes off as phoney.

    • Hurdygurdy Man
      July 27, 2014 at 7:26 pm #

      Im with you Dusty. DTR wears her political ambitions out in open. I don’t trust her and I don’t trust the “I just want to give back to the community” b.s.

  29. GMHeller
    July 27, 2014 at 11:38 pm #

    Mr. Valenti,

    Not sure if this is relevant, but it just might be.
    The following headline was buried in the BB a couple days back: “Former Pittsfield loan officer admits to federal tax fraud”.

    Michael Dicenzo, a former longtime Greylock Federal Credit Union official pled guilty to nine counts of tax fraud.

    Remarkably, Mr. Dicenzo appears to be just part of a larger story about which the public is left totally in the dark.

    The “local businessman”, the one for whom Dicenzo apparently took so many risks and now seems to be taking the big fall, is NEVER identified in court documents, according to the incredibly brief BB article by reporter Tony Dobrowolski.

    The public is thus left to believe that Dicenzo knowingly violated a pile of federal and state criminal statutes and tax laws — for one particular client and on multiple occasions — apparently for no other reason other than being a nice guy!

    So just what is really going on here?

    According to Dobrowolski again in the BB:
    “The local businessman is not identified in court documents. He is described only as a ‘Pittsfield-area businessman’ who owned and operated five construction and real estate development companies that each had loan accounts at the Greylock Federal Credit Union that Dicenzo supervised.”

    Say what? How’s that? Just how many “Pittsfield-area businessmen” are there in Berkshire County who own and operate FIVE construction and real estate development companies?

    And why hasn’t this “Pittsfield-area businessman” been indicted as co-conspirator with Mr. Dicenzo in his free-wheeling tax-evading schemes?

    There’s more. According to Dobrowolski, “Between March 1, 2005, and Sept. 5, 2008, Dicenzo authorized various loans and loan modifications to the businessman and his companies in ‘knowing and intentional’ violation of Greylock’s loan approval, loan aggregation, loan modification and documentation policies, federal court papers indicate.”

    So now we’re expected to believe that Greylock Federal senior management knew absolutely nothing of its senior loan officer’s machinations, business that on the credit union’s books, if nothing else, bolstered the firm’s bottom line?

    And just who was Greylock Federal’s CEO during this period, 2005 to 2008, when Dicenzo was allegedly making a mockery of the credit union’s loan practices?

    The answer: Angelo C. Stracuzzi.

    So who is Mr. “Pittsfield-area Businessman”, the guy for whom Dicenzo did all these valuable favors and is now facing federal time and huge fines?

  30. GMHeller
    July 27, 2014 at 11:39 pm #

    “Former Pittsfield loan officer admits to federal tax fraud”
    by Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff.

    SEE:
    http://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/ci_26220204/former-pittsfield-loan-officer-admits-federal-tax-fraud

  31. GMHeller
    July 27, 2014 at 11:46 pm #

    In case the BB tries to delete the news story from its servers:

    ‘Former Pittsfield loan officer admits to federal tax fraud’
    By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff

    Posted: 07/26/2014 12:10:34 AM

    SPRINGFIELD — A former commercial loan officer from Pittsfield has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to nine charges associated with a tax fraud scheme that involved a local businessman, according to federal court documents.

    Michael Dicenzo, who has worked for several Berkshire financial institutions, entered his guilty plea Wednesday when he was arraigned on those charges in federal court.

    Dicenzo is scheduled to be sentenced at 2 p.m. Oct. 16 in federal court in Springfield, according to court documents. He is represented by Attorney Alan J. Black of Springfield.

    Dicenzo pleaded guilty to four counts of tax fraud, four counts of receipt of money through transactions of a credit union with intent to defraud, and one count of making false statements to federal officials.

    The local businessman is not identified in court documents. He is described only as a “Pittsfield-area businessman” who owned and operated five construction and real estate development companies that each had loan accounts at the Greylock Federal Credit Union that Dicenzo supervised.

    Dicenzo was employed as a commercial loan officer at Greylock from Sept. 4, 2004, through Sept. 11, 2009. Between March 1, 2005, and Sept. 5, 2008, Dicenzo authorized various loans and loan modifications to the businessman and his companies in “knowing and intentional” violation of Greylock’s loan approval, loan aggregation, loan modification and documentation policies, federal court papers indicate.

    Dicenzo’s roots in the Berkshire banking community date back to 1977, according to Eagle files. He joined Greylock following 10 years as a commercial lender at Legacy Banks. He also held positions with Berkshire Bank & Trust, the First Agricultural Bank and with MountainOne Financial Partners.

    He was also active in the community, having held positions in UNICO of Pittsfield, the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, the Jimmy Fund Council of the Berkshires and the Kiwanis Club.

    –END–

  32. Spider
    July 28, 2014 at 6:49 am #

    I know we have corruption locally, but to think that a local businessman is involved in a federal criminal case and apparently has not been charged (and probably won’t be), is mind boggling.

  33. Larry
    August 2, 2014 at 6:10 am #

    I believe Mondello is in fact supposed to be Montello???