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UNTANGLING THE ‘POTTED’ WEB OF KHEM ORGANICS’ ‘GRASS’BID

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BY DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI NEWS AND COMMENTARY

Part Two 

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY MARCH 7, 2017) — In Part 1 of our probe into Khem Organics‘ bid to open a licensed marijuana facility at 501 Dalton Ave. in Pittsfield, we revealed the network of associations that have led to the application receiving provisional state approval. As THE PLANET presented the details, the political bindings illustrated the common belief that these licenses will only go to the “Connected.”

THE PLANET revealed former state rep. and registrar of deeds Andrea Nuciforo Jr. as a key investor ($450,000) in Khem Organics (KO), with his relatives, the Wojtkowski Brothers, leasing out a storefront at 501 Dalton Ave. Other “family” connections came with the use of 100 North St. as KO’s HQ. That address is in a building where Dan Bianchi, former mayor, long had an office. The building owned by a Bianchi buddy and is one and the same where Bianchi rented 9,000 square feet of space for the city with taxpayers footing the bill. Bianchi, who had served Nuciforo’s aunt as finance director when she was mayor, also signed a key piece of paper without which the KO bid in Pittsfield would not have progressed.

It brings to the musical staff a rendition of Disney World‘s “It’s a Small, Small World.”

BIANCHI’S LETTER

In addition to getting Pittsfield into a superfluous lease of space in a building owned by one of his buddies, Bianchi, as mayor, provided KO with a “Letter of Support.” As part of its requirements for a “siting profile,” the state Department of Health requires applicants to provide such a “letter of support” on official letterhead  from the mayor of the city in which the pot store will go. Nowhere can THE PLANET find a disclosure from Bianchi to the state that he had such a close connection with Nuciforo, one of KO’s key investors.

Consequently, on Dec. 9, 2015, the mayor furnished KO and CEO John E. Mullen IV with the following letter, on “Office of the Mayor” letterhead:

“I, Daniel Bianchi, do hereby provide support to Khem Organics Inc [sic] to operate a Registered Marijuana Dispensary (“RMD”) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. I have verified with appropriate local offcials that the proposed RMD facility is located in a zoning district that allows such use by right or pursuant to local permitting.”

Bianchi’s role in KO’s application to the state raises a serious question — and a series of questions: Should he have revealed his connection to Nuciforo and the Wojtkowski Brothers? Should he have recused himself from the matter entirely? Does this failure to disclose now change anything in the application process? Would it invalidate the application? Would Bianchi’s letter not be valid? Does the application need a new signature from the new mayor?

THE PLANET doesn’t have the answers, although it’s fun to speculate what Mayor Linda Tyer would do if KO needed her to sign a similar letter.

THE COMMERCIAL LEASE

On May 13, 2016, KO Resources (KOR) entered into a five-year lease (three extension options of five years each) with Wojtkowski Bros. Inc, 1548 W. Housatonic Ave., for land and building at 501 Dalton Ave. To make this space available for the Nuciforo group, the Salvation Army was booted from its long-time space, providing Pittsfield with a bah, humbug! story for the ages. Note that no new taxes will be entering city coffers, since KO is a “non-profit” agency and thus tax exempt.

KOR will pay the Wojtkowskis annual rent of $70,125, with annual increases tied to the Consumer Price Index. Total for the first five years: $350,625 + CPI increases. That fee is based on $5.50 per sq. ft. In each of the five-year options, the annual price rises to $6.50, $7.50, and $8.75 per sq. ft. If KO Organics exercises the options, the Wojtkowski Brothers will make $1,800,937.50 in rent + CPI increases. As you can see, we are not talking trifling amounts.

Here’s the kicker. On the signature page (36) of the 40-page lease, we find signatures of LANDLORD, Wojtkowski Bros. Inc., and TENANT, KO Resources LLC.

Lo and behold! Amazingly, the same man — Albert S. Wojtkowski — has signed for both parties! — as “President” of Wojtkowski Brothers (LANDLORD) and “Manager” of KO Resources (TENANT).

Did Albert fall into a duplicating machine out of DC Comics? Did he sign a lease with himself while singing “Me and My Shadow”?

The answer comes buried on page 40 of 40. There we find a letter of “Assignment” on KO Resources LLC letterhead, from Albert Wojtkowski, KOR “Manager” to John E. Mullen IV, President, Khem Organics Inc. In it, as of June 16, 2016, KOR “assigns its rights and obligations” to Khem. There’s more money moving around there than peas move in a crooked shell game.

There’s nothing illegal about any of this. There is, though, the matter of perception. Is the awarding licenses to sell pot legit, or is the game rigged? The questions concern (a) morality and ethics, (b) fairness when there are such tangled webs of political connection, and (c) the ability of non-“Connected” parties wanting in on a lucrative business opportunity getting a fair shot.

There may not be criminality, but tell THE PLANET why it’s good to have the perception of dishonesty hovering over such a deal like pot smoke?

TOMORROW: Barry Clairmont stars in Part 3

—————————————————————————-

“I’ve smoked ’em all my life and I ain’t dead yet.”Willie Nelson, best sung by Phil Harris

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

The views expressed in the comment section or opinions published within the text other than those of PLANET VALENTI are not those of PLANET VALENTI or endorsed in any way by PLANET VALENTI. This website reserves the right to remove any comment that violates its Rules of Conduct, and it is not liable for the consequences of any posted comment, written word, or information from any source other than PLANET VALENTI as provided in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and PLANET VALENTI’s terms of service. All users of the services of PLANET VALENTI agree to these conditions by virtue of this notice

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Shelly Liver
Shelly Liver
4 years ago

Holy Up Front Money Batman!

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
4 years ago

The bank is bankrolling itself!

h
h
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
4 years ago

Think funnell.

heh heh
heh heh
4 years ago

Are they just selling the magic smoke or are they also growing it there?

They may need to spray some juice towards Trumps buddy Jeff Sessions cuz he be talkin bout kibashing da whole business opportunity. And he don’t be caring who this Bianchi guy be.

The School Committee
The School Committee
4 years ago

Remember when President Trump said Ted Cruz dad was with Lee Harvey Oswald before shooting President Kennedy and that should be investigated……could we please investigate what is wrong with him…..do followers of Trump see red flags here?

.

heh heh
heh heh
Reply to  The School Committee
4 years ago

Just a matter of time before he complete implodes. Everyone, Including Pat, are just praying he does not take the whole country down with him.

12 Gauge
12 Gauge
Reply to  heh heh
4 years ago

Progressive led Pittsfield is such a treasure

Pat
Pat
Reply to  The School Committee
4 years ago

I see so many red flags with Progressives behavior.

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  Pat
4 years ago

I see a rainbow flag with your behavior.

Paul
Paul
4 years ago

I have long wondered why medical pot is not dispensed thru pharmacy’s just like any other drug. A prescription is required and after all it is a drug.

Thomas More
Thomas More
Reply to  Paul
4 years ago

Your right about the pharmacies. Right now they sell drugs that are far more potent than weed. The renters may be making a couple of million but an awful lot of that money is going to pass through an awful lot of hands before the first license is granted.

LoneGunMan
LoneGunMan
Reply to  Paul
4 years ago

Federally marijuana is schedule 1. No legitimate medical uses.

If it were dropped to Schedule 2 or 3 they could and probably would sell derivatives in pharmacies. Such as Cannibol

joetaxpayer
joetaxpayer
4 years ago

Dan, I think your site has a Trump Troll Virus.

heh heh
heh heh
Reply to  joetaxpayer
4 years ago

Maybe he should ban free speech. If there is one thing I can’t stand it is an objective viewpoint.

12 Gauge
12 Gauge
Reply to  joetaxpayer
4 years ago

The moonbats here and elsewhere need TrumProzac.

h
h
4 years ago

Does Andy get a TIF?

mi
mi
Reply to  h
4 years ago

The mayor should have some free cash available in case the equipment breaks down so we can keep those pot rollers working.

Fugimoto Hockalugi
Fugimoto Hockalugi
Reply to  h
4 years ago

He gets a FART……Fiscal arrangement reaming taxpayers,

heh heh
heh heh
Reply to  Fugimoto Hockalugi
4 years ago

I like that. Really sums it up without all the fancy buzzwords.

amandaWell
amandaWell
Reply to  h
4 years ago

Council Grades:
Mel Maz A
Amuso B
Krol A
Caccamo A
White A
Morandi A
Tully A
Marchetti A
Sim A
Rivers A
Connell A

The School Committee
The School Committee
4 years ago

Praying that Trump can make it through the day without more crazy.

Bill Q
Bill Q
Reply to  The School Committee
4 years ago

Maybe crunching and scamming for fifty years has taken a toll on his seventy year old brain. He wouldn’t be the first leader that was insane.
Can you imagine the convo between the pot investors Pryor to the P D application, probably would sound like something out of a Puzo novel.

Pat
Pat
Reply to  The School Committee
4 years ago

Praying that Progressives can make it through the day without doing more harm to Berkshire County and the country.

joetaxpayer
joetaxpayer
4 years ago

I was praying you would go a day without talking about Trump.

joetaxpayer
joetaxpayer
4 years ago

You guy’s could give a aspirin a headache.

P Hewton
P Hewton
Reply to  joetaxpayer
4 years ago

Someone ought to tell the stooge, his show sux.

Don t
Don t
Reply to  P Hewton
4 years ago

LOL funny crit! P

The School Committee
The School Committee
4 years ago

Joe let me guess ,you voted for Trump to drain the swamp.You and others voted for a logo.That just great.You voted against a email server.In New York Trump was considered a Joke.

LoneGunMan
LoneGunMan
Reply to  The School Committee
4 years ago

SC just seeing you not only rant on and on, but seeing how you completely change comment topics back to whine about Trump truly shows your colors.

I like to speculate that with your handle and the fact that you clearly have more time than most to troll online you are one of the PPS School Committee and, like your facebook pages, are nothing but Democratic Propaganda.

I’m going to refer to you as “Pea Brain Pammy”

Thomas More
Thomas More
Reply to  LoneGunMan
4 years ago

He is not a member of the school committee. 100% certain. Like everyone else here he has given himself a silly name that is license to post anything you want. Apologies to Clairmont, Heller, Kitterman and the others who use their given names.

LoneGunMan
LoneGunMan
Reply to  Thomas More
4 years ago

They use their names because they are already connected enough not to receive backlash for anti-progressive comments

I’d gladly give my name if I wasn’t in fear of repercussions. Those who know me in my personal life are aware they anything I say online I have no issue saying directly to someones face.

And since I my name is synonymous with Pittsfield politics, I must remain in the shadows.

Pat
Pat
Reply to  The School Committee
4 years ago

Berkshire County is in serious need of swamp draining of all politicians.

heh heh
heh heh
Reply to  Pat
4 years ago

Absolutely. And can we get some people from Goldman Sachs and wall street to take over and fix things?

12 Gauge
12 Gauge
Reply to  The School Committee
4 years ago

Take your TrumProzac and be a good boy

joetaxpayer
joetaxpayer
4 years ago

Can only take so much Trump talk. Why can’t you let it go. Stay focused, talk about the subject at hand. I’m pretty sure everyone knows you hate Trump, and anything he does will be wrong. I get it you hate Trump,. Why do you have to tell us ever day?

Pat
Pat
Reply to  joetaxpayer
4 years ago

I agree joetaxpayer. Berkshire County is turning into a safe space for addicts while people on this board truly believe that Trump is the biggest problem we are facing.

So sad that the Salvation Army was closed to make room for a pot business. I remember all the suits coming out for the grand opening of the Salvation Army in that location and getting photo ops in the local media. There has been no talk of reopening it anywhere in the city that I’m aware of.

Gene
Gene
4 years ago

Great coverage DV on the medical marijuana shenaningans. All “legal” as you say.

Tricksie
Tricksie
4 years ago

Great coverage on this DV – may be legal but does it pass the smell test ??? NO –

Baffled
Baffled
4 years ago

I was wondering why one of the city’s parking police vehicles came out of Boylston Ave this morning around 10:15 and drove along South Street into Stop & Shop on Dan Fox Drive. Are there any parking violators there? If they were on a break, why were they using a city vehicle? If it was on taxpayer time, why were they at Stop & Shop? Hmmmmm

southeast
southeast
Reply to  Baffled
4 years ago

handicap space and fire lane violations….

heh heh
heh heh
4 years ago

So if the city is going to pay for the needles for drug addicts will they pay for pot brownies for an elderly man with a bad back?

Uh,…. NO! Why? because you cannot get hepatitis from a bad back.

Ghidora
Ghidora
4 years ago
Pat
Pat
Reply to  Ghidora
4 years ago

I saw that yesterday. Richmond teachers salaries skyrocketing, but so are all of them. Supposedly Richmond teachers salaries are not really almost $100,000.00 per year and they are going to fix that on the list.

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
4 years ago

Left Winged Parrot had an article about PEDA planned scamming the state, for 1/2 million “to study” why the rail spur at the superfund site has mysteriously rotted away the last 20 years, while under the stewardship of the Good Ole Boys at PEDA.

mi
mi
Reply to  Mad Trapper
4 years ago

Without question, tonight was a Ten Ten Planet, thanks Dan? And that was with S S !

H
H
4 years ago

Does ingesting and smoking pot have the same effect? I make a mean peanut butter cookie?

P Hewton
P Hewton
4 years ago

Seems like the Potty( Pot Dispensary) has evolved into a perfect Political Storm, of course,without the Planet’s contribution it would just be another day at the office. The other interesting tidbit about the locations of Khem amd the Daltonn Ave location, just a coincidence I’m sure, is that not only is Khem wtf, at 100 North,Tes’s buddy rental to the City, but the freaking Health Department is also in that Building, you can’t make it up.By the way, a lot of these programs have to sign in that Department, ask the Cigarette guy on Lyman and East. Planet delivers Again!

P Hewton
P Hewton
4 years ago

Dan, do the faraway studio shot, then add the Twilight Zone.

Dilly Dally
Dilly Dally
4 years ago

Who says the Planet’s Pen is mightier than the Sword? WE DO!

The School Committee
The School Committee
4 years ago

Trump is doing the full Monty for business. You all want to deregulate business get ride of Healthcare cut Corp tax build up the military…..drain the swamp is a logo a diversion for huge business tax cuts….This must be a 2%blog.

Demetrius T. Gladiator
Demetrius T. Gladiator
4 years ago

Planet– if the BB had an investigative series like this one its circulation would rise through the roof. Great job, thanks for keeping them …i was gonna say “honest”. Lets just say not as corrupt.

heh heh
heh heh
4 years ago

Is the Eagle raising prices?? Must be doing well

Nota
Nota
4 years ago

The Eagle probably has seed money which would be required for a Good Business to survive. Any business must have long term guaranteed customers for their business plan.Doubt it that it would be losing, however if they had the Planet it would be more successful, we have a real pro here!

Miss Vito
Miss Vito
4 years ago

Agree, Planet Dan is in the Courier now,and he’d be the only one to read, so it’s a win win, for free.