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BEACON BOONDOGGLE: MOTHER OF ALL PITTSFIELD SCAMS?

BY DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI NEWS AND COMMENTARY

ADD 1 — Happy Thanksgiving to all PLANETEERS. Enjoy the day, count your blessings, and reaffirm your commitments. We shall be back with new content on Monday. Until then, relax, have fun, refresh, and recharge.

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(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY & BEYOND NOV. 20etc., 2018) — To track back the hedge maze of financing that made possible the boondoggle known at the Beacon Cinema makes one realize the intent behind its implementation. Designers of the impossible-to-account-for project, deliberately built in financial confusion and chaos as a means of making a muddy swine appear as a white swan. How else can one account for the bewildering money-mish-mash?

A succession of duped mayors and council rubber stampers thought the pig looked immaculate, and acting in the name of Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski, gave developer Richard Stanley everything he asked for more, demanding little to nothing in return. Free public money for dubious “private” development with little-to-no accountability? Do you recognize the formula? Perhaps the names of EV Worldwide, WorhshopLive!, Spice, and Nuclea ring a solstice for you, just to name a few.

That’s to leave out the countless projects for which public money was absconded with insufficient rationale or public input, including the countless runway repaving at the airport, more than a million dollars to Hiccup Shaker Village, the new THS, and the Berkshire “Honey, I Stole the Rockwells” Museum. Meanwhile, businesses — coffee bars, restaurants, clothing stores, general stores, boutiques — on the wrong side of politics that tried to make it on their own found out the hard way found out that Pittsfield is a city where the rich go to the “thea-tah” two months of the year and the poor can suck the public tit for 12 months out of 12. There is no middle class. There is no discretionary income.

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It’s as if someone put a “Kick me” sign on the back of Pittsfield, Mass., luring every fore flusher and carpet bagger this side of Guam to the county seat. Or maybe the DPW put up signs that read, “Welcome to Suckerland, Mass.” The same rotten formula can be seen in the influx of drug addicts, Section 8 single moms, gangs, bums, alkies, mentally ill, group homes, and other assorted gimme-groups who expect taxpayers to provide them not with a hand up but a perpetual hand out. Pittsfield took the grant money, and the fine print said that the city would accept the human refuse from other tonier parts of the state, notably east of Route 128. As an aside, THAT is a story waiting for the picking that the alleged mainstream media, especially The Boring Broadsheet, is apparently too lazy or timid to investigate. Why doesn’t THE PLANET? We are a one-man band with a loose collection of sources, spies, gum shoes, and Z-agents. We don’t have a 40-person newsroom.

The Mother of All Mothers in this endless development game of Pick Pittsfield Clean might yet turn out to be Stanley’s Beacon Cinema, which has sucked up more than $22.1 million, of which the developer put up $150,000 to turn the crank on the “economic engine.” They hid the trail through four mortgages, a series of tax credits, unjustified grants, and other subsidies. When this project first surfaced under mayor Gerry Doyle, Stanley said that the most important aspect was “who might make a buck” off it. It was probably the only time Stanley ever told the truth about his intentions for the Beacon. Jimmy Ruberto called the flick house “the crown jewel of the revitalization of downtown.” How’d that work out, Jim?

As the city and others explain it, there are two options:

  • (1) Forgive Stanley the $2.55 million he owes and allow him to sell to a Michigan-based movie chain.
  • (2) The banks foreclose.

Which should the city council choose?

In a world where there’s a level playing field, it’s an open discussion, but this has been a fixed game all along. THE PLANET‘s examination of the financials, maze-y as they are, convinces us that Option (1) would allow Stanley to walk away with Who Knows How Much of the $22.1 million and be a bad deal all around. This should be a no-brainer for the city council: Select Option (2). Forgiving the loan lets Stanley off the hook, sends the wrong message, and keeps a losing enterprise on North Street. It’s far better to cut losses. Let the banks take the property, with the city getting a lien for money owed. Let the theater go dark and put the property up for sale at a competitive price to PRIVATE money. That should be followed up with a thorough audit of the project.

One other question that no one wants to ask: Why can’t the city and the banks sue Stanley for the money he owes? We can reasonably assume that he has a net worth in excess of $2.55 million. So why can’t the principals in the case foreclose and then then go after him? Perhaps there’s a good reason, but we haven’t heard it. THE PLANET comes from a place where people pay what they owe. Period.

Councilors are again facing a vote that tells us who is for Us and who is for Them. We heard through council sources that the mayor secretly polled “friendly” councilors before she put forth her plan, making sure she had the votes. THE PLANET couldn’t confirm that, but the vote will reveal all.

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“You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out” — Warren Buffet.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE”

LOVE TO ALL.

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272 Responses to “BEACON BOONDOGGLE: MOTHER OF ALL PITTSFIELD SCAMS?”

  1. mi
    November 27, 2018 at 5:25 pm #

    Lo,l that is the line of the year! Maybe all the successful businesses should take a coffee can and donate to Stanley.