Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I turned 39 (2014)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I DESPISE both Jimmy Ruberto & Massachusetts "Ethics" - Also see Andrea Nuciforo, Carmen Massimiano, Denis Guyer.

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http://urbancompass.net/?p=1475#more-1475
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www.boston.com/news/specials/wilkerson/
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Dan Duquette
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"Luciforo" (Andrea Nuciforo) swears in Jimmy Ruberto as Pittsfield's Mayor in early-January, 2008
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July 1, 2008

Re: http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&tab=bn&q=%22Ruberto%22&btnG=Search

My thoughts on Mayor Jimmy Ruberto & the Massachusetts "Ethics" are that they are both DESPICABLE in their own respective rights!

First, Jimmy Ruberto is NOT a man of the people! What DISGUSTS me about Ruberto is that he knows better than to run a city government exclusively with INSIDERS and their perversely-incentivized SPECIAL or CORRUPTED Interests that makes Pittsfield totally SUCK. When Ruberto ran against then-Mayor Sara Hathaway in 2003, he falsely spoke for grassroots democracy, building the best schools in the state (Pittsfield's schools are now among the BOTTOM TEN!), economic development and job growth (PITTSFIELD/Berkshire County is now #1 for job LOSS!), and the like. The following is what Jimmy has negatively produced for Pittsfield, Massachusetts:

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www.jonathanmelleonpolitics.blogspot.com/2007/10/mayor-jim-ruberto-pittsfield-regime-of.html

(see the link again, below)

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www.jonathanmelleonpolitics.blogspot.com/2007/11/pittsfields-revitalization-via-perverse.html

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www.jonathanmelleonpolitics.blogspot.com/2008/04/pittsfields-high-teen-pregnancy-rate-is.html

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www.jonathanmelleonpolitics.blogspot.com/2008/04/berkshire-countys-healthcare.html

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As for the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission, IT IS A JOKE. Moreover, it should be re-named the Massachusetts State "Henchmen" Commission because the powerful are not only protected from their own CORRUPTION, but also, they use the "Ethics" bureaucracy like Nazi's used the German State to persecute those that fall against their favor! I have witnessed this first-hand! To read more, please visit my blog pages:

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www.jonathanmelleonpolitics.blogspot.com/2007/12/pittsfields-persecution-of-peter-arlos.html

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www.jonathanmelleonpolitics.blogspot.com/2008/05/andrea-nuciforo-jonathan-melle-month-of.html

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www.jonathanmelleonpolitics.blogspot.com/2007/10/andrea-f-nuciforo-jr-luciforo-devilish.html

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www.jonathanmelleonpolitics.blogspot.com/2008/01/nuciforos-corruption.html
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IN DISSENT!
Jonathan A. Melle
E-mail: jonathan_a_melle@yahoo.com
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www.jonathanmelleonpolitics.blogspot.com
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http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&scoring=d&q=%22Jonathan+Melle%22+blogurl:http://jonathanmelleonpolitics.blogspot.com/
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http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&q=blogurl%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fjonathanmelleonpolitics.blogspot.com%2F&btnG=Search+Blogs
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For more information on Jimmy Ruberto & his Pittsfield REGIME, please visit my Blog page:
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www.jonathanmelleonpolitics.blogspot.com/2007/10/mayor-jim-ruberto-pittsfield-regime-of.html
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(A Boston) GLOBE EDITORIAL
"Duquette's new field of dreams"
July 5, 2008

MASSACHUSETTS IS bookended by the oldest stadium in the majors, Fenway Park, at one end and one of the oldest in the minor leagues, Pittsfield's Wahconah Park, at the other. Except for a brief period decades ago when Wahconah housed a Red Sox farm team, the two had little to do with each other - until October 2004.

That was when the former general manager of the Red Sox, Dan Duquette, sold two tickets to the second game of the Sox-Cardinals World Series to Mayor James Ruberto of Pittsfield. According to the state Ethics Commission, Duquette's offer of the tickets was an inducement to the mayor to look kindly on Duquette's request to use Wahconah as a home for his team in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, now known as the Pittsfield Dukes.

The mayor paid Duquette face value for the tickets, $190 each, but the state Ethics Commission says that does not necessarily make it an aboveboard transaction, since tickets for the games were being advertised on the Internet for up to $2,000 each. A special advisory by the commission in January 2004 alerted public officials to the possibility they will violate the state's illegal gratuity law if they get "special access" to coveted tickets, even if they pay face value.

Duquette says there was no quid pro quo in the deal, but in its show-cause order, the commission says he told investigators he had offered the tickets to the mayor with the park deal in mind. "That's not true," he said in an interview Wednesday, adding that he is paying the city $10,000 annually and $300 per game, "above market value," for use of the park, which had been standing empty. In fact, the Dukes are paying more than any other team in the league for their home field. Another possible defense for Duquette is the state's antiscalping law, which prohibits sky-high prices for resale of tickets. As for the mayor, his lawyer, Leonard Cohen, says he is a "long-suffering" Sox fan who simply took advantage of a chance to see a dream come true.

The commission, which could fine the two as much as $2,000 each, must hold a hearing on the case within 90 days. In his defense, Duquette will doubtless bring up another clause in the 2004 advisory: Gifts or transactions between officials and individuals doing business with them can be OK if there is "friendship prior" to them. Duquette, a native of neighboring Dalton, is rattling off family-friend connections between the Duquettes and the Rubertos.

Whatever the commission decides, the hearing will have an only-in-Massachusetts quality to it. Where else would paying $380 for two tickets to an event be considered tantamount to a freebie?

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"Park Commission made irrelevant"
The Berkshire Eagle - Letters
Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It seems that no one is talking about the State Ethics Commission investigation of Pittsfield mayor James Ruberto for receiving 2004 World Series tickets from former Red Sox GM Dan Duquette at face value while negotiating the deal for Duquette's use of Wahconah Park, at a time when most other long-time fans were paying up to $2,000 apiece for the same tickets. It occurred to me that if the mayor had let the people he had appointed to the Park Commission negotiate the deal with Duquette, as is their responsibility, not the mayor's, then there would be no state investigation, no squawk, no trouble at all for the mayor.

The mayor and Ms. Ruffer, the czar of the Community Development Dept., have made the Park Commission not matter much anymore by putting the operations of the parks under the control of Community Development, which means under the control of Ruffer and Ernie Fortini, neither of whom are qualified, by any stretch of the imagination, to control them. If the Park Commission had done the deal with Duquette, I believe that the city would have gotten a deal more fair to all of the people, and one that gave Duquette less control of what goes on at Wahconah Park.

Jim Gleason
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

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Pittsfield, Massachusetts
"Ethics hearing sets 'discovery' deadline"
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff
Saturday, August 23, 2008

PITTSFIELD — The state Ethics Commission yesterday conducted its first hearing in its case against Mayor James M. Ruberto, who allegedly violated state law for purchasing a pair of 2004 World Series tickets at face value from former Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette.

The date for another hearing has not been set, but both sides are required to complete the discovery process, in which documents relative to the case are discussed, by Dec. 31, according to the Ethics Commission.

Both Ruberto and Duquette, a Dalton native and president of the Pittsfield Dukes, have been charged with violating the state's conflict of interest law.

Both men face civil fines of up to $2,000.

The Ethics Commission claims the two men violated the law when Ruberto purchased the World Series tickets from Duquette while negotiations to move the Dukes from Hinsdale to Pittsfield were taking place. The Dukes, who moved to Pittsfield in 2005, recently completed their fourth season at Wahconah Park.

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Miguel Salasar, working yesterday at Wahconah Park, digs a trench for a new irrigation system.
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Baseball in Pittsfield
"Changing the game: Duquette, sporting goods firm and touring team join forces"
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff, Tuesday, October 28, 2008

PITTSFIELD — Baseball at Wahconah Park will have a new look and feel next summer: Dan Duquette, owner of the Pittsfield Dukes, has joined forces with the founder of a military baseball tour and a sporting goods company to run Pittsfield's New England Collegiate Baseball League franchise.

Boston Baseball All-Stars LLC, which includes Duquette, military tour founder Terry Allvord, and Gerry O'Connor and Buddy Lewis, two executives of the Texas-based Nokona Athletic Goods Co., are the new owners of the team, whose name has been changed from the Pittsfield Dukes to the American Defenders of Pittsfield.

Lewis, Nokona's managing partner, owns a summer home in Richmond and helped bring Red Sox ace Daisuke Matsuzaka to Pittsfield during the 2007 All-Star break.

The American Defender is a new baseball glove made by Nokona, which was founded in Texas in 1926 as a leather goods manufacturer. Nokona is the only baseball glove sold in the United States that is actually made in this country. The company currently operates facilities in Fall River and Worcester. The firm also sells bats — used by Major League Baseball stars such as David Ortiz, Vladimir Guerrero and Miguel Cabrera — and camouflage clothing.

Nokona plans to open a retail store adjacent to the team's offices, which will relocate from the Dukes' offices in the Clocktower Building on South Church Street to the former A.G. Edwards Co. office on South Street in the Berkshire Common.

The U.S. Military All-Stars are a separate entity from the NECBL team. Allvord, 45, a Navy veteran, who served as vice president, general manager and head coach of the NECBL's Newport Gulls in the early 1990s, founded the U.S. Military All-Stars' "Red, White and Blue Tour" in 1990. The U.S. Military All-Stars consists of two baseball teams, one stateside, the other overseas, that are made up of active military personnel who conduct barnstorming tours against all comers during the summer.

"The Harlem Globetrotters of baseball," said Allvord, a native of Santa Monica, Calif. "That's what it is."

Nokona has assisted Allvord with the U.S. Military All-Stars, and was one of the primary sponsors of the professional baseball league in Israel that Duquette helped to create.

"This partnership will bring baseball to another level in Pittsfield," Duquette said yesterday.

"I didn't have the resources to do that by myself and with the Sports Academy," said Duquette, referring to the sports camp he runs in HInsdale.

Duquette, a Dalton native and former Red Sox general manager, has said the Dukes, who moved from Hinsdale to Pittsfield in 2005, had the highest lease agreement in the 13-team NECBL.

Although the Dukes signed a one-year lease agreement with the city of Pittsfield in December 2007 to use Wahconah Park during the summer of 2008, Duquette failed to pay some $8,500 of the team's previous year's expenses until this past spring.

Acrimonious negotiations

This summer's lease agreement has expired, and Duquette said he plans to seek a new three-year agreement with the city's Park Commission that would keep the Defenders in Pittsfield through 2011.

Except for last year, Duquette's previous two negotiations regarding lease agreements with the Park Commission were acrimonious following the fallout regarding the previous two proposals by other groups to play at Wahconah. The majority of the current Park Commission members who presided over Duquette's first two negotiations are no longer on the board.

Park Commission Chairwoman Sheila LaBarbera could not be reached for comment yesterday, but Mayor James M. Ruberto said the new ownership group has already had informal discussions regarding the lease with Park Commission representatives.

"The representatives have already met with them on a couple of occasions," Ruberto said. " There's certainly going to be no surprise as to who they are, and what their interests are.

"I can't speak for the Park Commission," Ruberto said. "But I sense that (LaBarbera) is very, very, very interested in seeing this partnership at Wahconah Park."

Besides the NECBL team and the two touring military all-star squads, the Boston Baseball All-Stars recently purchased the Nashua (N.H.) Pride, of the independent Canadian-American League, and renamed the team the American Defenders of New Hampshire. The NECBL team's new general manager, Jon Tosches, worked for the Pride last year. The Can-Am League was formerly the Northeast League, which included the now-defunct Berkshire Black Bears who played in Pittsfield in 2002 and 2003.

The ownership group has renamed their Can-Am League team's facility in New Hampshire Nokona Park at Holman Stadium, and wants to rename Pittsfield's historic 3,100-seat baseball park Nokona Field at Wahconah Park, Allvord said. The new name is already listed on the team's Web site as Nokona Stadium at Wahconah Park.

"That's something legally that we would have to discuss," Ruberto said, believing that the Park Commission would have to approve any name changes associated with the ballpark.

Park name prominent

Ruberto said a name change like the partners suggested is a possibility, but that any name for the ballpark would have to prominently feature the words "Wahconah Park."

The mayor said he believes all of the matters involving the Park Commission can be wrapped up by the end of this year.

Allvord said the U.S. Military All-Stars and the Can-Am League team will conduct preseason training in Pittsfield in May.

"The Military All-Stars will play against the pro team every night to get ready," Allvord said. Those games will take place Tuesdays through Fridays until the NECBL season opens in June.
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To reach Tony Dobrowolski: tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com, or (413) 496-6224.
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"Nokona at Wahconah"
The Berkshire Eagle - Editorial, Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The creation of Boston Baseball All-Stars LLC to operate what used to be known as the Pittsfield Dukes of the New England Collegiate Baseball League should add stability to the city's fragile baseball situation. The commercial aspect of what used to be the equivalent of a mom-and-pop operation may rattle baseball purists, however.

Dan Duquette, the owner of the Dukes, has joined force with Terry Allvord, founder of the U.S. Military All-Stars, and Nokona Athletic Goods' executives Gerry O'Connor and Buddy Lewis to operate the franchise. The stateside version of the Military All-Stars will conduct part of its spring training in the city prior to the summer arrival of the Dukes. The agreement will provide a much-needed financial boost, as Mr. Duquette and the city have clashed over lease terms, and the new ownership group also plans to introduce some fan-friendly features to Wahconah Park, such as a hospitality area.

The name "Dukes" will be replaced by "American Defenders," the name of a baseball glove manufactured by Texas-based Nokona. Ownership is already referring to its home park as Nokona Field at Wahconah Park, which city defenders of the historic (read: aging) park could find presumptuous. Ballparks like Fenway Park are becoming rare, however: Tampa Bay's stadium is named after Tropicana, and Houston's ballpark was once named after Enron. So it could be much worse.

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"Pittsfield still paying for stadium vote"
The Berkshire Eagle - Letters, Thursday, October 30, 2008

I do not get upset by reading too many Berkshire Eagle articles but the article on Oct. 28 entitled "Changing the game" really struck a nerve with me.

First and foremost changing the name of Wahconah Park is absolutely ridiculous. They should be showing a little more respect for a ballpark so rich in baseball heritage. Growing up in Pittsfield I have many fond memories of the summers I spent at Wahconah Park watching hundreds of Pittsfield Mets and Pittsfield Astros games. Those are some of the fondest memories of my childhood.

Ever since the Pittsfield Astros left the city in 2001 I have felt that there was always something missing from my summers. I realize now that what was and still is missing is professional minor league baseball. I love Wahconah Park for its rich baseball history but it will never be up to minor league baseball standards again.

I strongly feel that back about seven years ago when we had the chance to vote to construct a new baseball facility and it was voted down by the residents that it was one of the biggest mistakes that we've made. Pittsfield is a minor league baseball town not a collegiate summer baseball town. Pittsfield is rich in professional baseball history and with that we should be continuing to pursue the avenues to attract professional baseball back to the city of Pittsfield.

I mean no disrespect to the Pittsfield Dukes or should I say the American Defenders of Pittsfield but that is not the caliber of baseball I want to see played in Pittsfield. Having affiliated baseball would not only give Pittsfield its rightful place back as a minor league baseball town but also would attract many more people to Pittsfield to watch these games and in turn dine at our restaurants and shop at our stores.

Pittsfield deserves something much better than what were getting and it's about time we take the steps to do something about it.

GARY LEVANTE
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

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"Patrick appoints 12 to public integrity task force"
November 7, 2008, 4:30 PM, By Boston Globe Staff

Governor Deval Patrick today announced the appointment of a 12-member public integrity task force that will include lawmakers, good government advocates, and ethicists.

The task force includes Kimberly Budd, director of the Community Values Program at Harvard Business School; Scott Harshbarger, the former state attorney general; and Joseph Savage, the former chief of the Public Corruption and Special Prosecutions Unit for the US attorney.

“The members of this task force offer a broad range of professional backgrounds and experience," Patrick said in a statement. "All of them share a commitment to ensuring the highest standards of honesty and public integrity.”

Led by the governor’s chief legal counsel, Ben Clements, the task force was prompted by the rash of ethics and legal issues unfolding around Beacon Hill.

Task force members will study existing regulations that govern ethics, lobbying, and public employee conduct, and seek input from public officials, experts, and the public, according to a press release from the governor's office. After 60 days, the task force will make recommendations to strengthen current laws, regulations, investigative and enforcement mechanisms, and penalties, according to the release.

Other members appointed to the task force include Pam Wilmot, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts; Charlie Baker, president and CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care; professor George Brown from Boston College Law School, a government ethics specialist; Peter Sturges, the former executive director of the State Ethics Commission; and Andrew Tarsy, the former New England Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League.

It will also include four members of the Legislature: Democratic Senator Benjamin Downing of Pittsfield, chairman of the Committee on Ethics and Rules; Republican Senator Michael Knapik, a member of the Senate ethics committee; Democratic Representative James Fagan of Taunton, chairman of the House Committee on Ethics; and Republican Representative Mary Rogeness of Longmeadow, a member of the House ethics committee.

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A BOSTON GLOBE EDITORIAL, "Drain the ethics cesspool", November 13, 2008

WITH DRAMATIC exceptions, such as recent FBI photos allegedly showing state Senator Dianne Wilkerson palming cash bribes in a restaurant, corruption in Massachusetts is well-shielded. Governor Patrick's new task force on public integrity will need to push aside a lot of underbrush on Beacon Hill to uncover the rot.

Suspicion that some officials are putting their own interests above those of the public are probably greater now than at any time since 1977, when former state senators Joseph DiCarlo of Revere and Ronald MacKenzie of Burlington were convicted in federal court of shaking down a consulting firm overseeing the construction of UMass-Boston. Allegations of wrongdoing at the time reached all the way to the offices of the House speaker and Senate president.

Today, key legislative leaders are again under a cloud. The state inspector general reported recently that three close associates of House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi received more than $1.8 million in unreported lobbying fees from the software firm Cognos. DiMasi, meanwhile, is blocking efforts by the state Ethics Commission to determine what, if any, role he may have played in steering contracts to Cognos.

Another high-profile legislator, House majority leader John Rogers, fell under the scrutiny of the Office of Campaign and Political Finance regarding payments that a political adviser made on Rogers's vacation home. Toss in an FBI complaint indicating that more elected officials may be linked to Wilkerson's alleged extortion of undercover agents posing as developers, and the view of public servants grows dimmer still.

The 12-person task force, chaired by the governor's chief legal counsel, Ben Clements, will meet for the first time next week. It has less than 60 days to make recommendations on how to strengthen ethics and lobbying laws. That may not be enough time to address needed changes in legislative rules and chairmanship appointments that concentrate power and foster too-cozy relationships between top lawmakers and lobbyists. But the panel should have time to address the more obvious weaknesses in the system.

Straightforward fixes

The maximum penalties for violations of conflict-of-interest and financial disclosure laws are a joke - just $2,000 per violation. They should be raised to at least $10,000 per violation. The $5,000 criminal penalty for bribery, which hasn't changed since 1962, should be raised to at least $25,000. Requiring public officials to report income, property values, debts forgiven, and other financial information by actual dollar amount instead of in broad ranges would also allow more sunshine into the system.

Corruption and conflicts of interest not only undermine public confidence but bump up the cost of government. Politically wired firms with little fear of competition, for example, are not likely to be cost-conscious or adhere to basic bidding rules. The task force should explore efforts in other states, such as Wisconsin, to provide searchable databases that reveal the nuts and bolts of state contracts, including lobbyist activities.

But nothing would likely get the attention of legislators as much as a recommendation on ways to cut the pensions of those who violate ethics laws. Currently, it takes a criminal conviction to put a public official's pension at risk. But establishing a link between pensions and civil infractions of the kind enforced by the Ethics Commission would shake up complacent officials. Increasing the statute of limitations on ethical violations from three to five years might also keep public officials on their toes.

Deeper problems

Sixty days surely won't be long enough to deal with all the scandals sapping the public's confidence in their supposed servants. The ethical deficiency extends far beyond Beacon Hill. Just look at the federal investigation of suspected disability pension fraud by Boston firefighters.

But Patrick's task force can at least begin to contemplate the big picture. Fortunately, the panel includes several former corruption prosecutors known as heavy hitters. That should level the field for an overmatched public. Legislators come out swinging when defending themselves against possible corruption charges, and they know all the angles. To quiet the public's concern about bid rigging in the late 1970s, the Legislature created an inspector general's office. But it shielded lawmakers from the IG's subpoena power. It's typical of the way the game plays out.

Ethics investigators sometimes refer to cases as "pre-Scaccia" and "post-Scaccia," a reference to state Representative Angelo Scaccia, who tangled with the Ethics Commission in the 1990s for taking free meals and golf games from lobbyists. Scaccia pushed back, leading to a Supreme Judicial Court ruling requiring a direct link between a gift and a specific act, such as a vote, to bring a case under the state's illegal gratuity law. It's an unrealistically high bar that does not factor in how lobbyists insinuate themselves over time into the legislative process.

DiMasi is claiming legislative immunity in his refusal to provide records to the Ethics Commission on the Cognos matter. The obscure "speech and debate" clause of the state constitution offers lawmakers broad protections against prosecution for their legislative acts. But just how broad? Should this long-dormant clause bar a civil enforcement agency like the Ethics Commission from investigating schemes to defraud the public? The task force should consider these and other questions.

Any substantive recommendations by the task force will need to go through the Legislature. And lawmakers have shown little willingness in the past to shine a light on themselves, at least when it comes to ethics. Some public values can't be legislated. Ultimately, there might be only one way to disinfect Beacon Hill: elect better people.

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"Ethics board goes to bat: A pre-hearing is set to see if Pittsfield Mayor James Ruberto violated state law."
By Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle Staff, Tuesday, November 18, 2008

PITTSFIELD — The state Ethics Commission has scheduled a final pre-hearing for Dec. 4 in its case against Mayor James M. Ruberto, who allegedly violated state law when he bought two 2004 World Series tickets at face value from Dan Duquette.

The state agency claims the two men broke the conflict-of-interest law when Ruberto bought the tickets while the city was negotiating with Duquette to bring his New England Collegiate Baseball League team to Wahconah Park.

Duquette's Dukes relocated in 2005 from Duquette's Sports Academy in Hinsdale to Pittsfield's Wahconah Park, where the team had a four-year run. A new NECBL team, called the American Defenders, will replace the Dukes at the historic park in 2009.

The pre-hearing for Ruberto and Duquette will be based in Boston but will be held by teleconference because all parties involved can't be in the city on that date, according to Ethics Commission spokesman Daniel Gianotti.

Ruberto and Duquette, a Dalton native, have denied any wrongdoing. Both men face civil fines of up to $2,000.

According to the state agency, Ruberto accepted two tickets at $190 each to Game 2 of the 2004 World Series at Fenway Park.

The commission considers the tickets "of substantial value" to Ruberto because members of the general public were buying tickets online at a cost of $600 to $2,000.

Duquette is the former general manager of the Boston Red Sox, the team that played the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2004 World Series.

Gianotti said yesterday that an actual hearing into the case could be scheduled at the conclusion of the pre-hearing.

"The case is still in the discovery phase whereby both sides make motions, exchange documents and discuss witnesses," Gianotti said. "Both sides are working toward a hearing."

Gianotti said he couldn't "fathom a guess" as to when the commission and Ruberto and Duquette will present their sides of the case, but that it likely will happen after Jan. 1.

"The commission wants a hearing done as soon as possible so as not to let this case hang around," Gianotti said.

The case against Ruberto and Duquette began June 26 when the commission issued an order to show cause, similar to an indictment.
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To reach Dick Lindsay: rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com, or (413) 496-6233.
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An employee from Multi State Roofing Inc. works on the roof of Wahconah Park in Pittsfield recently. (Darren Vanden Berge / Berkshire Eagle Staff)
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Pittsfield, Massachusetts
"Ballpark retains name — for now: Team given new, 3-year license"
By Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle Staff, Wednesday, November 19, 2008

PITTSFIELD — Wahconah Park will still be called Wahconah Park.

Dan Duquette of the American Defenders of Pittsfield, formerly the Pittsfield Dukes, did not ask for a name change to the historic ballpark when he went before the Pittsfield Parks Commission Tuesday night.

"We could not work that out for this lease," Duquette said, responding to a concern raised by commission member Charles P. Garivaltis.

Duquette was representing Boston Baseball All-Stars, the new owners of Pittsfield's New England Collegiate Baseball League franchise, which did ask — and get — from the commission a three-year license for the team to keep playing at Wahconah Park.

Terry Allvord, who founded the U.S. Military All-Stars, and Gerry O'Connor and Buddy Lewis, who are executives with the Texas-based Nokona Athletic Goods Co., are the other partners.

While naming rights were off the table, Duquette didn't rule it out in the future.

"(The partners) would like to name it Nokona Field or Nokona Diamond at Wahconah Park," said Duquette, a Dalton native and former general manager of the Boston Red Sox. "They did it in Nashua (N.H.), and they would be pleased to do it here."

The American Defenders of Nashua, of the independent Canadian-American League, play at Nokona Field at Hollman Stadium.

He said in return for the naming rights, Nokona provides baseball equipment to youth groups throughout the city.

Duquette said the forming of Boston Baseball All-Stars will allow the organization to reach out to the community year round, as well as during their team's 25 home games at Wahconah Park.

"I think you'll like the more fan-friendly atmosphere," Duquette said. "It will be more of a community event."

Concerts and games

"We'll still have a good baseball team for ya," he quickly added.

Boston Baseball All-Stars also are planning events for 15 other days allowed in the licensing agreement.

Duquette said the team from Nashua will play a couple of exhibition games at Wahconah park before their season starts. General Manager Jon Tosches said "two to three" concerts will also be scheduled with the rest of the days remaining open so far.

Meanwhile, a majority of the renovations to Wahconah Park are complete.

James R. McGrath, who manages the city's parks and open space, said the upgrade of the baseball infield is nearly finished.

"The sod was laid down a couple of weeks ago and the infield mix brought in," McGrath said. "(The infield) should be completed in the next week or two."

Repairs and renovations

He added the new irrigation system, grandstand screening and baseball scoreboard are in place, while the locker room renovations were done months ago.

Next on the list is a new roof for the grandstand and renovating the bathrooms.

Last up will be the reconstruction of the parking lot, which is more than half of the entire $775,000 project.

McGrath said 197 of the 239 delineated parking spaces will be paved and the lot will be raised and pitched toward the Housatonic River, which flows behind the ballpark.

"This allows us to manage the storm water and flood water a lot better," said McGrath. "It will drain quicker and dry faster."

He cautioned, however, that the work will not prevent the parking lot from flooding.

In addition, the concourse between the grandstand and the parking lot will be enlarged to allow more fans to gather outside the ball field.

McGrath and other parks officials said if the weather cooperates in April, Wahconah Park will be ready for the start of the high school baseball season.
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To reach Dick Lindsay: rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com, or (413) 496-6233.
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"Tougher ethics penalties sought: Special panel hears call to tighten laws"
By Andrea Estes, Boston Globe Staff, December 4, 2008

The state's top ethics enforcer testified yesterday that the State Ethics Commission needs stronger tools to fight coziness, cronyism, and corruption in Massachusetts, including the power to levy larger fines.

"Two thousand dollars is simply not a meaningful deterrent," said Ethics Commission executive director Karen Nober, referring to the maximum fine the commission can impose. That fine, which has been the limit since 1982, should be increased to $10,000 or $25,000, she said.

Nober also recommended that Massachusetts make it easier for authorities to prove violations of the law banning gifts to public officials. Under current law, the commission must prove the gift was given to influence an official act. Most other states, she said, do not require that link.

Nober was among about a dozen people testifying at the first and only public hearing of Governor Deval Patrick's public integrity task force, which is expected to produce recommendations for strengthening state laws to combat corruption and scandals in local and state government.

The governor formed the 12-member task force earlier this month after a major corruption scandal and a series of ethics controversies roiled the State House, including the arrest of Senator Dianne Wilkerson on federal bribery charges and the investigation by several agencies into large payments made to friends and business associates of House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi. The task force is scheduled to present the governor with recommended new laws by the first week in January, when the Legislature opens its next session.

Ben Clements, Patrick's chief legal counsel and head of the task force, called the hearing to order with a short speech declaring, "The great majority of our public officials . . . are honorable public servants who do their jobs the right way.

"But when the small few do betray the public trust, it casts a shadow on the rest of government and it undermines the ability of government to operate effectively," he said.

But public deliberations of the task force are not in the offing. After yesterday's hearing about making government more transparent with disclosure rules and better enforcement powers, the rest of the deliberations would be conducted in private, said a spokesman for the governor.

"It is important that task force members have the opportunity to engage in open and frank discussion on a wide range of proposals," said the spokesman, Kyle Sullivan. "Some of these proposals may require consideration of matters that are confidential in nature."

Shirley Kressel, a Boston neighborhood activist, said corruption is rampant and called on the panel to hold its deliberations in public.

"I think we should establish it's not a problem of a few rotten apples," she said. "The public perception of the problem is that it is business is usual."

While some members of the public railed against corrupt courts and crooked politicians, few of those testifying offered specific ways to tighten the rules.

"What is happening today is nothing different than what was happening 43 years ago, " said H. Thomas Colo, who served as a state representative from Athol from 1965 to 1978. "It is happening because state government doesn't instill ethics and integrity."

Michael Sullivan, director of the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, suggested changing campaign finance laws so that large donations made close to elections are reported within 24 hours.

He also recommended that candidates be required to disclose payments made from campaign funds to "subvendors."

The limitation of existing law became clear this year when House majority leader John H. Rogers was found to have paid a consultant, who was his former law partner, $196,000. An investigation showed some of that money went to a consultant who made mortgage payments on a summer home owned by Rogers and his wife. Rogers maintained that the consultant also owned the home, although that assertion is not supported by the deed.

State Representative Jennifer Callahan, a Sutton Democrat, offered a number of proposals, including a bill that would ban lobbyists from contributing to political campaigns or paying for trips or conferences attended by lawmakers. She also wants to mandate ethics training for lawmakers every two years.

Callahan alleged earlier this year that she was threatened by supporters of House Ways and Means Committee chairman Robert A. DeLeo because she had not committed to back his bid to become the next speaker.

"Repeated headlines of corruption have undermined the ethical foundation necessary for good and trustworthy government," she said.

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"Ruberto hearing May 4, 2009: The state Ethics Commission will determine if the Pittsfield mayor broke the law when he bought World Series tickets."
By Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle Staff, Tuesday, December 16, 2008

PITTSFIELD — The state Ethics Commission has scheduled the full hearing for May 4 in its case against Mayor James M. Ruberto, who allegedly violated state law when he bought two 2004 World Series tickets at face value from Dan Duquette.

Commission Executive Director Karen Nober said the five-month lag time after the final pre-hearing was held two weeks ago allows both sides to prepare their cases.

"The time allows for the gathering of all information and witnesses in the case," said Nober. "Everything is proceeding normally."

Nober added the discovery process, whereby both sides have on record all the documents pertaining to the alleged conflict-of-interest charge, won't be completed until February.

The case against Ruberto and Duquette began June 26 when the commission issued an order to show cause, similar to an indictment.

Both men face civil fines of up to $2,000, if found guilty of the ethics law violation.

The Ethics Commission claims both Ruberto and Duquette violated the law because the tickets were sold when Duquette was negotiating the move of his New England Collegiate Baseball League team — the Dukes — from Hinsdale to Pittsfield.

The Dukes eventually relocated from Duquette's sports academy to Wahconah Park in 2005, where the team recently completed a fourth season.

Duquette has since joined forces with two partners to create the Boston Baseball All-Stars, and will operate the team in 2009 under the name of American Defenders of Pittsfield.

The partnership last month received a three-year lease to allow the collegiate team to keep playing at Wahconah Park through 2011.
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To reach Dick Lindsay: rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com, or (413) 496-6233.
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"Subpoenas, wiretaps proposed for state ethics reform"
January 6, 2009, 2:52 PM, By Andrea Estes and Andrew Ryan, Boston Globe Staff

A governor's task force has recommended a sweeping overhaul of the state's lobbying and ethics laws, proposing a steep increase in penalties and a broad expansion of enforcement and investigative tools.

The report, which can be found here, suggests giving subpoena power to the office of the secretary of state, wiretapping authority to the attorney general, and significantly increasing the scope of the State Ethics Commission and giving it more teeth. The task force also proposed a change to the state conflict of interest law that would give the attorney general more latitude to prosecute corrupt officials.

At a press conference this afternoon, Governor Deval Patrick said he plans to file the reform bill on Wednesday, the first day of a new legislative session. Patrick urged lawmakers to act within 30 days and said he was optimistic that the measure would pass.

"No one can legislate morality, we all know that," Patrick said. "But we can assure ourselves and the public that the consequences for breaching the public trust will be serious, swift, and certain."

Massachusetts Inspector General Gregory W. Sullivan hailed the proposals as "extraordinary" after the press conference.

"I never thought I'd see this day," Sullivan said. "If this passes, I think it will be the most significant legislation since I've been inspector general by far."

The governor formed the 12-member task force in November after a major corruption scandal and a series of ethics controversies roiled the State House. Former state Senator Dianne Wilkerson was arrested on federal bribery charges. A series of Globe stories sparked investigations by several agencies into large payments made to friends and business associates of House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi. One of those friends -- Richard Vitale, the speaker's longtime accountant and campaign treasurer -- was indicted on charges of violating lobbying and campaign finance laws.

In a statement, DiMasi downplayed the importance of ethics reform, saying that the state faced serious challenges in the coming year that included balancing the budget amid a fiscal crisis and reforming the transportation system.

"The best way to maintain and build upon the public’s trust is by tackling these problems directly, leveling with people and engaging them in our solutions," DiMasi said. "In the process, I believe some common sense ethics reforms should be considered. The members of the House will thoroughly review the recommendations from the Governor’s task force and we will seriously consider any necessary changes in the new term.”

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Feb. 12, 2009: "Ethics in Massachusetts' Government"
Bill Fine, WCVB-TV (Channel 5) President and General Manager, thebostonchannel.com, EDITORIAL

BOSTON -- Across the country and here at home the long line of troubled elected officials has shaken public confidence. Despite Gov. Deval Patrick's task force on ethics reform and President Barack Obama's demand for transparency, it seems to be business as usual for some Bay State politicians.

Change cannot occur only from the top down. Where are the calls for reform from within city or state government? Accountability? How can we accept the defense that it's always been "done this way?"

We applaud the recommendations of the Governor's Public Integrity Task Force -- including an empowered ethics commission, clearer definitions of violations, rules on lobbyists and stiffer penalties for transgressors. But why must elected officials be forced, kicking and screaming, to change their ways?

They need to step up as individuals. Why not sign an annual pledge to obey ethics codes? And wouldn't it be great to disclose conflicts of interest on a public Web site?

Otherwise, whether due to willful indifference, sloppiness or entitlement, the abuse of power and influence will continue. Pride and greed remain a dangerous combination.

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"Former congressional aide hit with corruption charges"
By Associated Press, Friday, March 6, 2009, www.bostonherald.com, U.S. Politics

WASHINGTON — A grand jury has indicted a former congressional staffer on corruption charges for taking a free trip to the 2003 World Series.

Prosecutors have charged Fraser Verrusio, who worked under Republican Rep. Don Young when the congressman chaired the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Officials say Verrusio and another Capitol Hill staffer accepted an illegal gratuity when lobbyists gave them an all-expense paid trip to New York, including the World Series game and a visit to a strip club.

The indictment charges Verrusio helped the lobbyists get favorable language for an equipment rental company into a Federal Highway Bill.

The indictment is the latest in the investigation surrounding ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
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Article URL: www.bostonherald.com/news/us_politics/view.bg?articleid=1156739
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Pittsfield, Massachusetts
"New pitch at Wahconah Park"
By Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle Staff, Wednesday, March 25, 2009

PITTSFIELD — The game plan for renovating and upgrading Wahconah Park has changed as the City Council Tuesday night agreed to forgo work on the parking lot — which accounted for half of the $775,000 project.

The council voted instead that the $275,000 in city funds it approved two years ago for improved parking at the ballpark — coupled with about $125,000 from the $500,000 state grant awarded for the project — be used for other improvements.

"I don't think anyone disputes there are a lot of things to be done at Wahconah Park," said Deanna L. Ruffer, director of Pittsfield's Department of Community Development.

Ruffer said Pittsfield must spend the entire grant by June 30 or lose the funding and the parking lot upgrade can't be completed by then.

Ward 4 Councilor Michael L. Ward said a "$500,000 grant is nothing to sneeze at," given the city's budget crisis.

The parking lot portion of the project is being delayed because two separate groups have petitioned state environmental officials asking they supersede the Pittsfield Conservation Commission's approval of allowing for 200 paved parking spaces and improved drainage to better handle flooding of the lot.

Jane Winn, executive director of the Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT), said the city has already violated the Wetlands Act on some of the improvements made and further accountability is needed.

"We have been abiding by all applicable rules and regulations," contended Ruffer.

Nevertheless, the petitions trigger a state review of the parking lot improvements — a review Ruffer said will not be done in time to complete the upgrade.

Environmental approval is necessary since the parking lot sits in the Housatonic River flood plain. The lot is well known for poor drainage and flooding, which is why there's never been paved parking.

Ruffer said the list of replacement work hasn't been finalized but it could include buying new bleachers and upgrading the bullpens, grandstands and utility service to the park.

Since last fall, Wahconah Park has received a new infield, irrigation system, baseball scoreboard and grandstand screening. In addition, the bathrooms and locker rooms have been renovated and the grandstand roof is currently under repair.

Ruffer said the ballpark is in the early stages of it's extreme makeover.

"I expect to be standing here the next two years talking about Wahconah Park," she told the City Council.

Despite the change order, Ruffer is confident Wahconah Park will be ready for the baseball season next month, starting with high school games.

"Whatever is scheduled," Ruffer said prior to the meeting, "Teams will continue to use the park".

Also scheduled to play at Wahconah Park for two months this summer is the American Defenders of Pittsfield, formerly the Pittsfield Dukes. The new owners of Pittsfield's New England Collegiate Baseball League franchise in January got a new three-year license from the Pittsfield Parks Commission to keep using the ballpark.
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To reach Dick Lindsay: rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com, or (413) 496-6233.
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"Defenders gearing up for NECBL season"
By Howard Herman, Berkshire Eagle Staff, Wednesday, April 15, 2009

PITTSFIELD — When the American Defenders of Pittsfield take to Wahconah Park in June, the park could look different and the uniforms will look different. The players remain the same, more or less.

Some of the country's top collegiate baseball players will play for the Defenders in their inaugural New England Collegiate Baseball League season.

However, don't expect the 2009 Defenders to be loaded with players from military academies.

"The NECBL is probably the second best college league in the nation. We have to find that balance of finding these military guys, because they're out there," Defenders general manager Jon Tosches said Tuesday, after the team's introductory news conference at the Crowne Plaza in Pittsfield. "They need to play at this level."

Jeremy Peed, a freshman outfielder from the Virginia Military Institute, is set to play at Wahconah Park this summer. Tosches said that a couple of other players from military colleges are scheduled to be on the roster.

"It's not just a courtesy invite. They had to be good enough to make the team," Tosches said. "It's a challenge in finding them, and we'll find them."

Peed and the other members of the Defenders will gather after their college seasons end to prepare for the start of the NECBL season. The Defenders open on Friday, June 5, at Vermont. The home opener is the next night against the newest team in the league, the New Bedford Bay Sox.

Pittsfield will play 20 home games at Wahconah Park this summer, with one designated home game being played in Nashua, N.H. That's because the Defenders have a new ownership group, led by Nakona Athletic Goods owner Buddy Lewis and Terry Allvord — who is also the founder of the Military All-Stars — who will be headquartered in Pittsfield and will train at Wahconah Park. The group also owns an independent minor league team in Nashua, and the Pittsfield team will play there twice this year.

While much has been made of improvements to Wahconah Park in terms of restrooms, concessions and fan amenities, one thing baseball fans will notice right away is a change in the park's dimensions.

The Defenders and the city are erecting temporary outfield fencing to shorten the left and right-centerfield power alleys. When the Defenders take the field on June 6, it'll be 305 feet down the left field line and 310 down the line in right. Eventually,the 420-foot power alley in right-center will be history. Just how much of the triangle will be excised remains to be determined.

"You know Wahconah Park, it's not going to be home-run heaven," said Tosches. "We hope to add a little more excitement baseball-wise."

The temporary fencing will be wood and will be a couple of feet shorter than the 10-foot fence out there now.

As far as the talent on the field, Tosches said he would love to have a team with a number of college players from the service academies, or from other military colleges. But he said that won't happen at the cost of a competitive team.

"If it's possible to win like that, we would do it. But we have to be realistic, we have to put a championship team out there," he said. "We know Pittsfield, and they love their baseball — they love their winning baseball. We're going to accommodate both."

The NECBL has made a couple of major changes this year. One is the switching of the divisional structure from North-South to East-West, with Pittsfield joining North Adams and Holyoke in a Western Division. The other major change is the increase of rosters.

"At the last NECBL meeting, we expanded our rosters to 28, which gives us a little bit of breathing room. We have locked in 22 guys right now, but we always like to leave a little room for guys who might come at us late and give us a little bit of flexibility," Tosches said. "Once there are injuries, and there will be injuries, it's hard to replace guys in the middle of the season."
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Pittsfield American Defenders general manager Jon Tosches, far left, with team CEO Terry Allvord and a statue given by the team to the city.
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Link: www.berkshireeagle.com/ci_12145661
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"150th Anniversary Williams vs. Amherst Print Chosen"
iBerkshires.com - April 14, 2009

PITTSFIELD, Massachusetts – Mayor James M. Ruberto announced that Pittsfield artist Ralph Frisina’s art work has been selected to be the official print for the 150th Anniversary Williams vs. Amherst game on May 3, 2009. He was the winner of a design contest to create a memorable poster image to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first ever intercollegiate baseball game, which was held in Pittsfield.

Six other artists received honorable mention for their poster designs, which will be displayed in Pittsfield City Hall. Jurors included Mayor Ruberto and Mary Rentz, the founder of Art Of The Game, a two year community public arts project that celebrated Pittsfield’s unique place in baseball history.

Mr. Frisina is the Chief Creative Officer of Winstanley Associates in Lenox, where his work has received over 90 design awards in his twenty years with the company. Previously he worked for Colopy Dale studios in Pittsburgh serving clients such as Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. His winning print will be featured on the cover of the commemorative program, made into posters, and will have a permanent home at the College Baseball Hall of Fame.

Mary Rentz, co-chair of the Art of the Game, commented, “I was very excited about the piece that was chosen; the depiction of the 19th century baseball player really captures Pittsfield as the birthplace of college baseball and baseball’s Garden of Eden. This art does it all!”

The 150th Anniversary Game weekend is scheduled for May 2 & 3, 2009 at historic Wahconah Ballpark in Pittsfield. On Saturday, May 2, the Dan Duquette Sports Academy will host free (is that correct?) College Baseball Hall of Fame baseball clinics at 2 pm for boys and girls ages 8-14. All Leagues including Little League, Cal Ripken, and Babe Ruth are welcome to attend.

On Sunday, May 3rd at 11 am a vintage baseball game recreating the original 1859 game will be played between alumni of Williams and Amherst. At 1:05pm the current Williams and Amherst College teams will play again, as they did 150 years ago in Pittsfield. The pre-game ceremonies begin at 12:45pm, recognizing Pittsfield as the Birthplace of College Baseball, commemorating the first game, and recognizing Alumni and community members. The game will be covered by ESPNU.

All tickets are just $5, Williams and Amherst students will have free admission. Tickets can be purchased over the phone at the American Defenders office at 603-883-2255. For more information on the Defenders visit americandefenders.us.

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Pittsfield baseball
"Ready to show arms, bats: Defenders have link to the U.S. military"
By Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle Staff, 4/15/2009

PITTSFIELD — A new baseball concept, a refurbished Wahconah Park, three clubs — they've built it. Now, will the fans come?

"We must demonstrate that Wahconah Park is able to attract the owner of a professional team," said Buddy Lewis, one of the new owners of the Pittsfield American Defenders, formerly the Pittsfield Dukes. "We must provide good baseball and a fan-friendly atmosphere to put fannies in the seats."

The 4,000-seat Wahconah Park hasn't seen professional ball since 2003 when the Berkshire Black Bears played in the independent Northeast League. Lewis said his and the city's ultimate goal is to "bring professional baseball back to Pittsfield."

Pittsfield Dukes averaged more than 1,300 fans per game in 2006 and 2007, but saw it drop to nearly 900 last season — mainly due to threatening weather most of the summer. City and baseball officials hope a cooperative Mother Nature and $750,000 in renovations and upgrades to Wahconah Park will return the historic ballpark to its glory days.

"We now have restrooms at Wahconah Park as good as the ones at the Colonial Theatre," quipped Mayor James M. Ruberto.

Lewis also predicted the concession stand menu will be a hit with the fans too.

"Wahconah Park will have the best hot dogs." Lewis said.

But on Tuesday, the focus was on the upcoming American Defenders' season and summer baseball at Wahconah Park.

Lewis, along with Jonathan Tosches, the general manager of the Pittsfield American Defenders, explained the concept and how they hope it will excite area baseball fans this summer.

The Pittsfield American Defenders, comprised of top college players, will be Wahconah Park's main team.

Meanwhile, Wahconah will host two other teams associated with the military. The U.S. Military All-Stars — a privately run and funded barnstorming baseball team comprised of active-duty servicemen — and the American Defenders of New Hampshire — a team in the Canadian-American Professional Baseball League — will play games at Wahconah Park at some point from late May to early August.

The teams won't play each other, but there is a common thread for all three teams: Players will wear camouflage-style baseball uniforms.

Tosches said the Pittsfield American Defenders team will play 20 home games and serve as the main draw for baseball fans. The U.S. Military All-Stars and the American Defenders of New Hampshire will be brought in when the local nine is on the road.

"We'll have close to 50 events, mostly baseball, with May 15 our opening night with the (U.S. Military All-Stars)," said Tosches.

Tosches said the U.S. Military All-Stars are headquartered in Pittsfield at the Berkshire Common. The U.S. Military All-Stars, comprised of the best American baseball players on active military duty, was founded by Terry Allvord. The Navy veteran and team CEO said the team barnstorms around the world each year, but "we're a completely separate entity from the military."

Allvord emphasized the team is not on a military recruiting mission. Instead, it's a rare opportunity for the public to interact with soldiers on active duty — some fresh from war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We will visit VA hospitals, schools, youth groups," said Allvord. "We do a lot of work in the community. The guys don't sleep much."

"This is not as much about the military, but honoring the troops serving around the world," said Lewis, of the Pittsfield American Defenders.

Lewis, a part-time resident of Richmond, is an executive with the Texas-based Nokona Athletic Goods Co. that sells the only American-made baseball glove.

He said the local business community "has wrapped itself around" the new baseball team and its connection with the armed forces.

"I don't think one sponsor has said, 'No,'" said Lewis.

Tammy Seaman, of Lanesborough, was at Tuesday's meeting to learn more about the league. For two seasons, Tammy, David, and their 9-year old son, Cole, have helped out the Pittsfield Dukes by hosting players. This summer, the Seamans will host a member of the Pittsfield American Defenders.

"I hope this new setup brings folks out and they enjoy baseball," said Tammy Seaman.
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To reach Dick Lindsay: rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com, or (413) 496-6233.
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(Photo)
Wahconah Park will be home to the American Defenders baseball team.
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"Making pro baseball history"
The Berkshire Eagle, Editorial, Thursday, April 16, 2009

The optimism of Buddy Lewis, owner of the Pittsfield American Defenders of the New England Collegiate Baseball League, and Mayor James Ruberto, a devoted baseball fan, is admirable, but professional baseball isn't returning to Pittsfield soon, if ever. That ball went through the city's legs.

While efforts are being made to spruce up obsolete Wahconah Park, it simply cannot meet the demands of fans and organizations like the New York-Penn League. Since Pittsfield sent the Penn League packing after the 2001 season, fans in the new ballparks around New England and the Northeast have come to expect ballpark seats, not benches. Concession stands on open concourses enabling fans to get a beer and a hot dog without missing two innings are the rule. Parking lots that won't leave fans up to their ankles in mud are a given.

A new stadium that would have kept the New York-Penn League in the city was a victim of the defeatism and paranoia that infested turn-of-the-21st century Pittsfield, and while the city's attitude is better today, there is no money for a stadium project and no stomach for the fight. Pittsfield has a proud history of professional baseball, but it is destined to retreat further into the past.

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"Tickets hearing delayed"
By Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle Staff, Saturday, May 2, 2009

PITTSFIELD — The state Ethics Commission has postponed its May 4 hearing until next month in its case against Mayor James M. Ruberto, who allegedly violated state law when he bought two 2004 World Series tickets at face value from Dalton native Dan Duquette.

The hearing has been rescheduled for June 19 in Boston — nearly a year since the case began — because Ruberto and Duquette have filed a motion for summary decision. Basically, both men are asking the case be dismissed, according to commission spokesman David Gianotti, and the commission staff needs more time to review that request before the hearing can proceed.

"If the hearing officer decides to reject the motion, the case will go forward," said Gianotti on Thursday. "If not, only the commission can grant the motion."

The case against Ruberto and Duquette began June 26, 2008, and both men face civil fines of up to $2,000 if found guilty of the ethics law violation.

The Ethics Commission claims Ruberto and Duquette violated the law because the tickets were sold when Duquette was negotiating the move of his New England Collegiate Baseball League team — the Dukes — from Hinsdale to Pittsfield.

The Dukes eventually relocated from Duquette's sports academy to Wahconah Park in 2005. After four seasons, the team has been renamed the Pittsfield American Defenders as Duquette has joined forces with two new partners to operate the team this season.

The partnership last December received a three-year lease from the city to allow the collegiate team to keep playing at Wahconah park through 2011.
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To reach Dick Lindsay: rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com, or (413) 496-6233.
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Related link: www.goodthingstolife.com
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"Massachusetts Senate to debate ethics reform bill"
By Associated Press, Sunday, May 10, 2009, www.bostonherald.com - Local Politics

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Senate is preparing to debate changes to the state’s ethics laws.

The House already has passed a bill that would increase the penalty for bribery to $100,000 and 10 years in prison, and bar lobbyists from giving any gifts to public officials.

The Senate plans to take up the debate on Thursday. Senate Republicans say an ethics bill proposed by Gov. Deval Patrick doesn’t go far enough.

Patrick has pressured lawmakers to deliver a series of reform bills to his desk, including transportation, pension and ethics measures.

Patrick has said he’ll veto any broad-based tax increase unless the reform bills are passed first.

Senate leaders have left the door open for a tax increase to help balance the budget.

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"Bill is called blow to ethics panel: Senate plan weakens commission, critics say"
By Andrea Estes, Boston Globe Staff, May 14, 2009

A Senate plan to bolster state ethics rules would actually cripple the State Ethics Commission instead of strengthening it, stripping away much of its authority and transferring key powers to another agency, the commission's chief and other critics said yesterday.

"This is a far cry from ethics reform," said Ethics Commission chairman Charles Swartwood, a former federal magistrate judge.

"The people of the Commonwealth have demanded ethics reform," he said. "Unfortunately, in my opinion, the Senate's proposal will weaken, rather than strengthen, the commission's ability to deal with ethics issues in government."

The Senate was the epicenter of a major scandal to hit Beacon Hill last year, the arrest and indictment on bribery charges of former senator Dianne Wilkerson. Now its effort at ethics reform, which is expected to be debated on the Senate floor today, is getting panned by watchdogs, who said it represents a retreat even from existing law.

Pamela Wilmot, executive director of Common Cause/Massachusetts, said the bill contained some good elements but fell flat when it comes to Ethics Commission powers.

"The bill is a significant step backwards for ethics enforcement," she said. "We need a strong Ethics Commission empowered to do its job, not one hobbled by inadequate laws."

Senator Frederick Berry, chairman of the Committee on Ethics and Rules, defended the bill, saying its authors were trying more than anything else to be evenhanded after listening to testimony that the Ethics Commission sometimes was overzealous.

The bill would remove the right of the Ethics Commission to conduct hearings into the actions of public officials and to make findings of violations, a core part of its job.

Instead, it would turn over those duties to the state's Division of Administrative Law Appeals, an independent agency that hears appeals from other state departments. That division, advocates said, is overburdened and not versed in the state's convoluted conflict-of-interest law.

The Senate measure also would require the Ethics Commission to stop investigating a case if the attorney general's office decides to launch its own criminal probe.

The Senate bill would keep the statute of limitations on ethics violations at three years. Proposals submitted by Governor Deval Patrick and approved by the House would extend the limit to five years.

In another area, critics said the bill would water down the state's conflict-of-interest law, which spells out when public officials can accept gifts or outside employment. A bill unveiled by the governor in the fall proposed strengthening the law, including a ban on gifts to legislators and other public officials.

The Senate bill's original language also endangered whistle-blowers by letting targets of ethics probes see their confidential case files.

But late yesterday the measure's sponsors said they would file amendments to protect people who file anonymous complaints.

Senator Brian Joyce, chairman of the Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight, said the decision to deviate from the governor's proposal for a stronger gift ban was based on public testimony.

"We believe quite strongly that we took a very good bill proffered by the administration and improved upon it," Joyce said.

The 100-page bill contains stringent campaign finance rules, outlawing lobbyist campaign contributions, currently capped at $200 per candidate per year, and curtailing the use of a special fund Patrick has used to skirt $500 campaign donation limits.

It also mandates disclosure when groups sponsor campaign ads, such as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads, widely viewed as a deceptive attack on US Senator John F. Kerry.

For his part, Patrick, who has criticized the pace of ethics legislation and threatened to veto tax increases until reforms are approved, sought to strike a conciliatory tone yesterday.

"I'm glad the Senate has moved a bill," he said. "I don't think it goes far enough on the ethics and lobbying side, and I'm going to look forward to working with the Senate as a whole and then the conferees to get a good bill."
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Matt Viser of the Globe staff contributed to this report.
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The Boston Globe, Op-Ed
JOAN VENNOCHI
"Senate ethics bill falls short on reform"
By Joan Vennochi, May 14, 2009

THE STATE Senate's ethics reform package is short on reform in important ways. But it has revenge covered.

"The whole point of this is to make ethics enforcement tougher. This is a step backward," said Pamela Wilmot, executive director of Common Cause/Massachusetts.

The long-awaited Senate bill does little to address issues raised by the high-profile bribery case involving former state senator Dianne Wilkerson. She accepted tens of thousands of dollars from donors. Current law prohibits gifts only if they were given to influence an official act, and gives wiggle room to accept gifts from friends and family.

Currently, breaking the law is only a civil violation. The Senate leaves it that way. The governor's proposal would change it to a criminal violation, with jail time as a possible penalty.

The Senate bill also fails to empower the attorney general to go to court for permission to record conversations that back up bribery prosecutions; it leaves such cases up to federal prosecutors.

But the worst aspect of the proposal, ethics specialists say, is the attempt to shift enforcement authority away from the state Ethics Commission. The initial determination of probable cause stays with that agency, but any trial would be shifted to the Division of Administrative Law Appeals. This adjudicatory agency has no ethics law expertise and already suffers from a backlog of cases.

Scott Harshbarger, the former attorney general and ex-president of Common Cause, calls it a "bald effort to remove the Ethics Commission of fulfilling its primary function as adjudicator of the ethics law - the finder of fact and credibility."

The Senate bill also requires the commission to freeze its own investigation if the attorney general begins one. Under the Senate proposal, a person called before the commission could simply refuse to appear - as did ex-speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi. It keeps the burden on the Ethics Commission to file a lawsuit to compel such an appearance. It also allows the accused to obtain whistleblower information at a preliminary stage in the inquiry - a move that stands to chill whistleblowers.

The effect of the Senate bill on someone like Dick Vitale, DiMasi's accountant friend, is unclear. The bill does not specifically expand the definition of lobbying to "strategizing, planning, research and background work," as the governor and the House did in their ethics reform proposals. But it calls for employers of such people to report all expenditures.

The bill is strong when it comes to campaign finance reform - and from a political perspective, that also makes it strong on revenge. It seeks to close a loophole that allowed Governor Deval Patrick to raise a large sum of money in one check - $500 for himself and $5,000 for the state Democratic Party. Patrick has taken full advantage of it, raising $1.2 million in his first two years in office.

Patrick said he is fine with that change. But the overall ethics reform fight opens a new front in the war between Patrick and Beacon Hill lawmakers. It's another sign that Together We Can is turning into Forget About It.

Hostilities broke out after Patrick vowed, via e-mail and webcast, to veto a sales tax increase unless lawmakers first enacted meaningful reform. Revenge is best served cold. But when it comes to getting back at Patrick, lawmakers wasted no time. House lawmakers quickly approved a sales tax hike by a veto-proof margin

Then, House leaders proposed pension reform legislation that protects benefits for current state legislators and state employees. For that reason, it falls short of what Patrick wants - and what the public should want.

Also falling short of what both Patrick and the public want is the Senate ethics proposal. Beacon Hill interprets Patrick's decision to take it on as an obvious political ploy aimed at reviving sinking poll numbers. To some degree, it is.

But the governor is right about one thing. The public does want change. It helps him if lawmakers look less interested in reform and more interested in protecting their peers and settling political scores.
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Joan Vennochi can be reached at vennochi@globe.com.
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"Ethics board aims small"
By Jessica Van Sack and Dave Wedge, Thursday, June 4, 2009, www.bostonherald.com - Local Politics

State ethics officials have ignored Beacon Hill big fish like former House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi and ex-Sen. Dianne Wilkerson, loading up instead on petty pinches of small-fry pols and public officials, a Herald review shows.

In the past 12 months alone, the feds indicted Wilkerson in an alleged bra-stuffing bribery scandal and a grand jury this week charged former House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi with allegedly taking $57,000 in kickbacks in return for steering state contracts to a politically wired software firm.

During that time, the State Ethics Commission failed to sanction a single lawmaker, and instead took the following actions:

. Fined a Marlboro municipal office assistant $5,000 for signing off on a state loan document for her fiance.

. Fined a Westminster conservation official $2,000 for ruling on a deal in which her husband had a financial stake.

. Fined a Gloucester school committee member $2,000 for intervening in a dispute between her teacher son and an administrator.

. Charged an Abington board of health member with using her position to score a free tattoo. The charges were dropped after she told the commission she in fact had no tattoos.

. Fined an Agawam city councilor for suggesting a business take down a political sign.

The Ethics Commission can launch its own probes, according to its Web site, but investigations are rarely undertaken unless a complaint is filed by the public.

Most of the roughly 10 ethics complaints filed by the state GOP against Democrats in the past two years have languished, said GOP Executive Director Nick Connors. Among the GOP’s complaints were several against DiMasi - and one about the Cognos contract.

“They really only undertake something when it’s brought to their attention,” said House Minority Leader Rep. Bradley H. Jones (R-N. Reading). “Most of the things they take any action on is because someone filed some kind of a complaint.”

Jones called for “enhanced disclosure” from lawmakers and updates to the ethics reporting system, including requiring that lawmakers’ financial interests be posted online, much like campaign finance information.

The commission did not return repeated calls yesterday. The inspector general’s office also refused to answer questions.

Gov. Deval Patrick has pushed a bill to give the Ethics Commission more teeth, including subpoena power. The commission requested records from DiMasi, but he refused to comply last year.

The Senate bill gutted Patrick’s proposal, even attempting to further weaken the commission after Sen. Majority Leader Frederic E. Berry claimed the commission was too harsh on legislators. Berry did not return a call.

Agawam City Councilor George Bitzas said yesterday he agreed to pay the commission’s $2,000 fine because he had a child in college and could neither afford a lawyer nor the commute to hearings. “I hope they should be fair,” Bitzas said. “Not to just pick on the little guy and have a blind eye for the other people.”
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Article URL: www.bostonherald.com/news/politics/view.bg?articleid=1176697
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Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. Photo by Angela Rowlings (File)
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"Deval Patrick rips Beacon Hill over ethics, money issues"
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By Hillary Chabot
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www.bostonherald.com - Local Politics - Monday, June 8, 2009

Governor Deval Patrick cranked up his war against the scandal-plagued Legislature yesterday, calling Beacon Hill’s butt-out mentality part of the ethics problem when he is trying to find a solution.

The governor also targeted millions from the Legislature’s own funds in a bid to balance his budget, a move likely to raise temperatures in the already heated relationship between the state’s executive and legislative branches.

Patrick told the Herald in an exclusive interview that the legislative backlash he faced after he threatened to veto a sales tax hike without reforms was a symptom of the insular culture behind ex-Speaker Salvatore DiMasi’s federal corruption charges.

“It was sort of an arm’s length treatment, saying, ‘This is not your role.’ Well, you better believe it’s my role. It’s the public’s business,” Patrick said.

He urged residents angry about the constant charges of political corruption to remain involved in government and pressure the pols to come clean on reforms.

“I would say channel your anger, and come and help us press for reforms,” Patrick said. “The ultimate term limit is the vote and the citizens have all the power they need.”

Patrick said recent closed-door hearings on a highly anticipated ethics bill and the budget add to the perception.

“The conferences on legislation were public. I don’t know when or why the change was made to make them limited, but the fact is they were once public,” Patrick said. He added he isn’t calling for them to become public, but rather he said, “It’s a symbol of a direction we may have been drifting in and we need to turn that around.”

The governor, fresh from the state’s Democratic Convention as he ramps up his re-election campaign, said most lawmakers are dedicated to improving the quality of life for Bay State residents.

“In my experience people in the Legislature are working for the common good. They work hard and they lean into it,” Patrick said. “But as long as this sort of thing goes on it distracts the public from all that work.”

Patrick also has used at least $12 million from both House and Senate legislative reserve funds to balance the $26.9 billion budget he re-issued last week. The move targets an oft-criticized stash that lawmakers use to pay for upkeep of the State House.

Patrick communications chief Joe Landolfi said tapping into the cash wasn’t meant as a battle cry.

“It is simply a reflection of the dire economic climate that the commonwealth is in the midst of, and it’s about shared savings and responsibility,” said Landolfi. He added the governor used $1 million from his own reserve fund to balance the budget last year.

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"Series tickets hearing tabled"
By Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle Staff, 6/20/2009

PITTSFIELD -- The state Ethics Commission has postponed a hearing about whether Mayor James M. Ruberto allegedly violated state law when he bought two World Series tickets at face value from Dalton native Dan Duquette.

The hearing, which had been scheduled for Friday, has been rescheduled for July 17 in Boston because of a scheduling issue, according to commission spokesman David Gianotti. He said it is a "rule, not an exception," that such hearings can be delayed several times.

The original hearing date of May 4 was postponed until Friday because the commission said it needed more time to review documents submitted by Ruberto and Duquette. Both men face civil fines of up to $2,000 if found guilty of the ethics law violation.

The Ethics Commission claims Ruberto and Duquette violated the law because the tickets were sold when Duquette was negotiating the move of his New England Collegiate Baseball League team from Hinsdale to Pittsfield.

The team eventually moved to Wahconah Park in 2005 and played there through 2008.

Duquette has renamed the team the Pittsfield American Defenders and has a lease to play at Wahconah Park until 2011.
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"Leaders approve ethics revamp: House, Senate to vote today; Bill would bar most gifts"
By Matt Viser, Boston Globe Staff, June 25, 2009

Legislative leaders unveiled the most sweeping ethics overhaul in decades yesterday, as they attempted to move past a series of high-profile scandals on Beacon Hill and reach an accord with Governor Deval Patrick on a sales tax increase.

The ethics bill - which strengthens enforcement, levies higher penalties for violations, and bans nearly all gifts to public officials - is the final piece of legislation requested by the governor before he said he would consider asking Massachusetts residents to pay more at the register.

“The public has come to view people in public life as playing by a different set of rules than everyone else,’’ House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said yesterday at an afternoon press conference. “By filing this bill, we will begin to restore the public’s confidence in government. This bill sends a very clear message to everyone: We are accountable. We hear the public’s cry for reform.’’

Despite months of calling on lawmakers to move quickly, Patrick has been far from swift in embracing the ethics and transportation packages offered by the Legislature. He gave no indication yesterday whether he would sign a transportation bill that has been on his desk for six days, although aides have indicated he has only minor problems with the proposal they are trying to work out with lawmakers.

Patrick also declined invitations from lawmakers to attend yesterday’s press conference, in part because his staff did not get a copy of the proposed legislation until minutes before it began.

“The governor is encouraged by the agreement announced today on this critical reform initiative,’’ Patrick’s spokesman, Kyle Sullivan, said in a statement. He said the administration was continuing to review the proposal and declined to comment further.

The ethics legislation, which the House and Senate are likely to approve today, would give the State Ethics Commission enhanced subpoena power and tougher fines for violations; require mayors to file campaign finance reports with the state; and increase penalties for crimes such as bribery, conflict of interest, and campaign finance violations.

“Our political process in Massachusetts is not for sale,’’ said Representative Peter V. Kocot, a Northampton Democrat and chairman of the House Committee on Ethics. “Those trying to use corrupt practices and bribery will be caught and will be punished.’’

But there are several provisions that were left out, including one that would have banned lobbyists from making or soliciting campaign donations. The legislation also does not give the attorney general’s office wiretapping authority, as proposed by Patrick in his ethics bill. And while lawmakers made a big deal about strengthening open meeting laws for municipal officials, they made sure the Legislature would still be exempt.

“There’s no doubt there’s been a lot of lobbying on the lobbying bill by the lobbyists,’’ said Secretary of State William F. Galvin, who expressed concern that the bill did not give him the power he had requested to issue rules regulating lobbyists.

The new plan also calls for a ban on certain gifts to public employees, although there are loopholes for ceremonial gifts and gifts given by friends or family members. It would be a civil offense for a public official to accept a gift of between $50 and $1,000, and a criminal offense, punishable by up to a $10,000 fine and five years in prison, to accept gifts worth more than $1,000.

The legislation would also tighten lobbying rules, defining a lobbyist as anyone paid to promote, oppose, or influence any decision in the executive or legislative branch. It would also force lobbyists to register if they work 25 hours or earn $2,500 during a six-month period. Under current law, lobbyists are more narrowly defined and must register only if they work 50 hours or earn $5,000.

The legislation would also ban the kind of special campaign committee that has allowed Patrick to maximize the amount of money he can raise from individual donors, well beyond the $500 limit. With his Seventy-First Fund, named after his status as the state’s 71st governor, Patrick has collected $5,500 from individuals, $500 of which goes directly to him and $5,000 to the state Democratic Party, which in turn has paid for some of the governor’s political bills.

The legislation would still allow $5,000 donations to political parties. Lawmakers had previously proposed limiting all campaign donations to $500, which would have made it difficult for Republicans to raise money ahead of next year’s election.

As lawmakers unveiled the bill, they were surrounded by law enforcement officials in an apparent effort to display broad support for the ethics legislation. Shortly after 5 p.m., Senate President Therese Murray emerged from her office with Attorney General Martha Coakley and officials from the State Ethics Commission and the Office of Campaign and Political Finance. She walked to DeLeo’s office before they all paraded into the House Members’ Lounge for a press conference.

“This is a day that we’ve all been waiting for,’’ Murray declared.

Several government watchdogs and law enforcement officials said that, while they had little time to review the proposal, it appeared to be far-reaching.

Pam Wilmot, executive director of Common Cause, said it was “really a significant reform.’’

Coakley called it “a very strong statement about what does happen and doesn’t happen in government.’’

“This bill will give us the tools we need to promote ethics in government,’’ said Ethics Commission chairman Charles Swartwood, a retired federal magistrate judge. “It’s a terrific bill, and I’m very pleased.’’

Patrick originally formed an ethics task force in November, and filed legislation in January. Over several months, the House and Senate each approved their own versions and have been meeting for several weeks in a joint conference committee.

Republicans accused Democratic leaders yesterday of crafting the final legislation in secrecy, without input from rank-and-file members of the six-member conference committee.

“To be totally excluded from an ethics bill is so symbolic of what’s wrong with Beacon Hill,’’ said Representative Jeffrey Perry, a Republican from Sandwich and one of the committee members.

Patrick has vowed to veto a proposed sales tax increase, from 5 percent to 6.25 percent, unless the Legislature first approves pension, ethics, and transportation overhauls that he finds acceptable. Patrick has already signed new pension legislation, but the others remain in question as the deadline for action approaches. Patrick has until Monday to approve or veto aspects of the state budget, which would take effect at the beginning of the new fiscal year next Wednesday.

The Senate had two members resign last year, one of whom, Senator Dianne Wilkerson of Roxbury, was photographed by federal agents accepting money - an alleged payoff for her help in passing legislation. The other, Senator J. James Marzilli Jr. of Arlington, was indicted on charges of accosting four women in downtown Lowell.

This month, former House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi was indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly orchestrating a scheme that allowed him to pocket $57,000 from a software company while he was using his office to make sure the company won state contracts.
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Andrea Estes of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Matt Viser can be reached at maviser@globe.com.
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"Pair wants charges tossed"
By Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle Staff, Tuesday, July 21, 2009

PITTSFIELD -- Mayor James M. Ruberto and Dalton native Dan Duquette want their case before the state Ethics Commission tossed out.

The two men have filed a motion for a summary decision, which asks the commission to dismiss the charges against them, according to a commission spokesman. Ruberto is accused ofviolating state law when he bought two 2004World Series tickets at face value from Duquette, a former Boston Red Sox general manager.

David Gianottisaidthe hearing officer, who took the matter under advisement on Friday, "can deny the motion," or pass it onto the full Ethics Commission for a ruling. He noted only the commission -- not the hearing officer -- can grant the case's dismissal.

With a decision pending, Gianotti added that a new hearing date has not been set.

Friday's hearing was held after twice being postponed since May. The case against Ruberto and Duquette dates back to June 26, 2008, when the commission issued its version of an indictment. Both men face civil fines of up to $2,000 if found guilty on the ethics law violation.

The Ethics Commission claims Ruberto and Duquette violated the law because the tickets were sold when Duquette was negotiating the move of his New England Collegiate Baseball League team -- the Dukes -- from Hinsdale to Pittsfield.

The Dukes eventually relocated from Duquette's sports academy to Wahconah Park in 2005. The team -- now the Pittsfield American Defenders -- was given a new three-year license by Pittsfield Parks Commission last December to keep playing at Wahconah Park through 2011.
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"Abandon ethics complaint"
The Berkshire Eagle, Editorials, Wednesday, July 22, 2009

While we applaud the Legislature for its recent passage of tough new ethics reform laws, events in recent months suggest that the State Ethics Commission should still maintain a sharp eye on Beacon Hill. One way to do so would be to toss comparatively minor cases such as the purchase nearly five years ago of World Series tickets by Pittsfield Mayor James Ruberto from Dalton's Dan Duquette.

More than a year ago, the commission's enforcement division concluded that the state's conflict of interest law was violated when Mr. Duquette, the owner of what was then the Pittsfield Dukes of the New England Collegiate Baseball League, sold two tickets to the second game of the 2004 World Series to the mayor as the Dukes and the city were negotiating a lease agreement at Wahconah Park. In complaining that the tickets were sold at face value, $190 apiece, when the public would have had to pay as much as the Internet rate of $2,000 apiece, the commission indicated it would have been content if the duo had violated the state's anti-scalping law, a puzzling assertion by an ethics body.

The commission's claim that Mr. Duquette provided "something of value" to the mayor "because of official acts to be performed" doesn't hold up under scrutiny. Mr. Duquette was seeking to move his team from Hinsdale to Pittsfield specifically, and Mr. Ruberto was seeking that specific team for Wahconah Park. With no other teams or cities in play, there was no leverage to be gained by either party in the ticket purchase, and the terms of the lease agreement, which are favorable to the city, reveal that Mr. Duquette gained nothing.

For appearance's sake, Mr. Ruberto should have not have purchased the tickets, but his motivation was clearly his desire to see his beloved Red Sox play in the historic 2004 World Series. He and Mr. Duquette have requested that the Ethics Commission drop its case, and we urge the commission to do so. Having this case hanging over their heads for a year is punishment enough, if such is needed.
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7/25/2009

Re: Dan Duquette's "ethics" fall short of paying his rent in Nashua, NH!

Perhaps Good Old Boy Danny Duquette should have given Nashua, NH, Mayor Donnalee Lozeau some World Series tickets, too. That way, she would overlook him being nearly 2 months and counting late on his rent payment to the city!

- Jonathan Melle

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www.nashuatelegraph.com - Article published July 24, 2009

"Time for play hardball over Defenders' rent"

Have the taxpayers of the city of Nashua had enough with these baseball teams?

More than $200,000 a year maintenance costs at Holman Stadium, a $350,000 annual payment for a $4 million bond for luxury boxes at Holman, and in return the city receives a $50,000 a year rent payment that is now overdue since, yes, June 1.

Have we not gone down this road before? Where are the lessons learned?

The Defenders say somehow that rent payment just slipped by. How many taxpayers have let their mortgage payments and tax bills somehow slip by?

Mayor Donnalee Lozeau says there are a lot of dedicated people involved and season ticket holders to consider, and asks what is to be gained by locking the team out of the stadium.

How about demanding making good on your obligation to the city for starters? No installment deals. How about a penalty for late payments, similar to the late fee on your property taxes?

These are businessmen we are dealing with.

This is a business, not a stimulus package the city is offering here.

Mayor Lozeau says the city should do everything it can to keep professional baseball here as long as it does not cost the city anything.

Well, it does cost the city. Look at the city maintenance costs. Would it cost the same for maintenance if we did not have professional baseball?

Nashua taxpayers should not have to subsidize this baseball team. Please no more deals – time to cut the cord.

Michael J. Viveiros
Nashua, New Hampshire

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August 25, 2009

The City of Nashua, NH had to lock Dan Duquette's baseball team out of historic Holman Stadium tonight because Daniel Duquette owes the city over $45k in rent and overhead payments that he has been delinquent on since June 1st, 2009. The story was on Channel 9 WMUR News this late afternoon.
www.wmur.com/news/20553151/detail.html
Video:
www.wmur.com/video/20553163/index.html

- Jonathan Melle

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Pittsfield, Massachusetts
"$700K spent, but no flood fix: Officials: Improvements cure symptoms, not cause of chronic problem"
By Tony Dobrowolski, The Berkshire Eagle, Monday, September 7, 2009

PITTSFIELD -- The city of Pittsfield has spent more than $700,000 on improving historic Wahconah Park this summer, but officials say none of those initiatives was intended to cure the chronic flooding that has plagued that area for decades.

The improvements were designed to reduce the follow-up effects of the flooding, and to improve the usability of the park after the water has receded, according to Parks and Open Space Coordinator James R. McGrath, and Community Development Director Deanna L. Ruffer.

"Following the recedence of the water we now have a facility that dries out quicker and is available for use much sooner than we had seen in the past," McGrath said.

"So, in other words, after the receding of the flood waters we're not left with a muddy mess," Ruffer said.

Ruffer said the Wahconah Park Improvement Project, which included a $500,000 state grant, was not intended to change the way the flood waters come across the property, the way they recede, or their ability to be absorbed back into the watershed.

"And that is real important," Ruffer said. "There seems to be a complete misunderstanding by the public."

Wahconah Park, a 110-acre parcel that includes athletic fields, and a basketball court in addition to the historic baseball stadium and its parking lot, is located entirely within the 100-year flood plain of the west branch of the Housatonic River, which flows beyond the ballpark's outfield fence.

July's record rainfall exacerbated the flooding problems. The American Defenders of Pittsfield were rained out 11 times and had four other games suspended by rain during their inaugural New England Collegiate Baseball League season at Wahconah Park this summer. They played their final regular season game at Clapp Park on West Housatonic Street.

Issues regarding the project's expenditure and the continuing drainage problems surfaced earlier this week during a debate between the four candidates in the Ward 7 City Council race. Wahconah Park is located in Ward 7.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Hersch, who is an abutter to the park, and Jane Wynn, who heads the Berkshire Environmental Action Team, claim the work that the city has done in Wahconah Park has violated the state Wetlands Protection Act. They have both filed complaints with the DEP in Springfield. The DEP found one complaint to be unfounded, and referred another back to the Conservation Commission, which is the local regulatory and enforcement agency.

"To me, the work being done there is not being held to the same standard that other projects are," Hersch said in an interview earlier this summer.

Hersch and Wynn also appealed an amendment to the original Wahconah Park Improvement Plans, which were developed in 2004. Their appeals of the amended plans, which were approved this year, were referred to the DEP, Ruffer said. She said the city then decided to go back to the 2004 plans.

"We could not get through the timing of the appeal, and still stay on our timeline for the grant," she said. "It was just impossible for us to have done that."

The city obtained $775,000 to improve Wahconah Park in 2007. The total expenditure also included $275,000 in local funding that was set aside in Pittsfield's fiscal 2008 capital budget for parking lot and related drainage improvements.

According to Ruffer, an amendment was later approved that allowed the funding in the capital budget to be used for any of the other planned Wahconah Park improvements. They included bathroom and locker room improvements, landscaping, field rehabilitation, a new irrigation system and a new scoreboard.

The city spent a total of $724,582 on the entire Wahconah Park Improvement Project, according to a letter that Ruffer sent to the City Council last month. Of that sum, $334,171 was spent on repaving Wahconah Park's concourse, grading the ballpark's pedestrian entrance plaza, and landscaping and parking lot improvements. Part of the parking lot has been paved, while the rest contains crushed stone.

An additional $267,996 was spent on field and related improvements, while an additional $122,174 was used on stadium improvements, which included upgrades to the bathroom and locker rooms, and roof repairs.

Under the terms of the state grant, the city was eligible to be reimbursed for 70 percent of what it spent up to $500,000, McGrath said. As of June 30, the city was eligible for $492,000 in reimbursement. An updated figure could not be obtained as of press time on Friday. The city has submitted its reimbursement request to the state, McGrath said.

To further address drainage issues, Public Works Commissioner Bruce Collingwood said the city is planning to repair the storm drains at the north and south ends of the Wahconah Park property, on Park Street and Wahconah Street, respectively.

Pittsfield's fiscal 2010 capital budget includes $550,000 for the repair of the Park Street storm drain. Collingwood said the city may use state Chapter 90 road funding to pay for any additional costs. The project is expected to go out to bid shortly, Collingwood said, but he doesn't expect construction to begin until the spring.

The Wahconah Street project is currently in the design phase, Collingwood said, and he expects the funding will probably be included in the city's fiscal 2011 capital budget requests.
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To reach Tony Dobrowolski: TDobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com - (413) 496-6224
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"Waterlogged Wahconah Park"
The Berkshire Eagle, Editorials, Tuesday, September 8, 2009

There are severe limits to what Pittsfield City Hall can do to rehabilitate a ballpark that is inadequate for a city of its size and with its sports tradition. That the money spent on Wahconah Park this summer was of necessity designed not to alleviate chronic flooding but to enable the ballpark to dry out more quickly after it is flooded is evidence of Pittsfield's folly in putting all of its eggs into this waterlogged basket.

If, as Community Development Director Deanna L. Ruffer told The Eagle's Tony Dobrowolski, there is a "misunderstanding by the public" of the intent of the $700,000 project, then the public was unrealistic about what could be accomplished. The entire 110-acre parcel that includes Wahconah Park, its parking lot, athletic fields and a basketball court is, always has been, and presumably always will be located in its entirety within the 100-year flood plain of the Housatonic River, which flows just behind the outfield fence of the ballpark. That means that not only will there be flooding but wetlands regulations will severely limit what can be done about it.

While residents are used to seeing photos of water fowl floating happily on Wahconah Park parking lot ponds, this rain-soaked July brought the spectacle of kayakers paddling on Wahconah Park lake. All that was missing were rapids. That made life miserable for the American Defenders of Pittsfield, whose short season is largely contained in July and were hit with 11 rain-outs in their inaugural season.

Jennifer Hersch, a park abutter, and Jane Wynn, who heads the Berkshire Environmental Action team, have complained to the state Department of Environmental Protection that the work done in Wahconah Park violated wetlands standards, and have appealed the amendment to the original Wahconah Park Improvement Plans approved by the City Council. The DEP has not acted and it would be surprising if it did as it appears it was adequately informed by the city of actions taken at Wahconah Park.

In truth, "historic" (read, old) Wahconah Park should have become a fond memory eight years ago, its noble history in professional minor league baseball the subject of nostalgia. Instead it has been kept on life support. With the assistance of a state grant, the city has made improvements to the field, the pedestrian entrance, the bathrooms and locker rooms. The best of efforts by the city, however, simply cannot make Wahconah Park into something other than what it is -- a waterlogged anachronism.
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"Defenders behind in the count"
By Tony Dobrowolski, The Berkshire Eagle, Saturday, September 12, 2009

PITTSFIELD -- The American Defenders of Pittsfield owe the City of Pittsfield approximately $35,000 from their inaugural New England Collegiate Baseball League season at Wahconah Park this summer.

Leslie "Buddy" Lewis, the managing director of the Texas-based Nokona Athletic Goods Co., who is a member of the team's ownership group, has assured the city that the Defenders will pay their debt, Mayor James M. Ruberto said.

"I have all the confidence in the world that they will be paying," Ruberto said.

Ruberto said the Defenders' debt in Pittsfield is due to a "cash flow" problem, but he declined to go into more detail.

"I've been in business long enough to know that cash flows sometimes ebb and flow," said Ruberto, referring to his former career as an executive in the plastics industry. "I've spoken to Buddy Lewis and he absolutely assures me that payment will be forthcoming."

Ruberto said he plans to talk with Lewis "every week" until the matter is resolved.

"There's no deadline," Ruberto said, "but I expect it in the near future. Obligations like this are something we don't take lightly."

Boston Baseball All-Stars LLC also own the American Defenders of New Hampshire in the independent Canadian-American League. That team was locked out of its stadium by the city of Nashua, N.H., on Aug. 25 after it failed to pay around $45,000 in fire, police and rental bills, according to reports published in two New Hampshire newspapers.

Ruberto said he was told that the Boston Baseball All-Stars LLC had paid what they owed in Nashua, but both Canadian-American League Commissioner Miles Wolff and Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau said thedebt is still outstanding.

Wolff said the ownership group has been meeting with Nashua city officials, and that he expects the matter to be resolved by the Can-Am League's next meeting on Oct. 1.

"We are working on coming to terms on a resolution," Lozeau said on Thursday. "But it hasn't happened yet."

Former Red Sox General Manager Dan Duquette, who is also a member of the ownership group, did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

Besides Lewis, who owns a summer home in Richmond, and Duquette, the ownership group includes fellow Nokona executive Gerry O'Connor, and Terry Allvord, who heads the U.S. Military All-Stars baseball tour.

Wolff doesn't expect the Defenders to remain in Nashua, but said the ownership group must pay its debts to that city if it wants to retain control of the franchise.

"Right now they're giving every indication that they want that to continue," Wolff said.

The Pittsfield American Defenders signed a three-year license agreement with the City of Pittsfield in March to play at Wahconah Park through the 2011 season.

City Building Maintenance Director Ernest Fortini said the Defenders have yet to pay any of their expenses associated with the 2009 season.

According to the license agreement, those expenses include a $13,500 annual license fee, and a $400 operating fee per game or event. The operating fees for the first 25 games or events are due on July 15 each year, according to the license agreement, but the balance of that payment isn't due until Sept. 15.

The license agreement also requires the Defenders to pay a $1,200 fee to utilize the park's concession fixtures and equipment. There are also several small supplemental fees that range from the cost of additional field preparation to the cleaning of the ballpark's grounds, bathrooms, bleachers, and parking lot. Late fees are subject to an interest rate of 1.5 percent per month.

Fortini said he has also spoken to Lewis, and believes that the ownership group plans to sell the Nashua team. He said the city hopes to have the Wahconah Park matter resolved within 45 days.

"They want to pay us as soon as they get squared away up there," Fortini said, referring to the situation in Nashua. "I'm confident that he'll pay."

The American Defenders had a rough first year in Pittsfield. Due partly to July's record rainfall, the Defenders were rained out 11 times at Wahconah Park this summer, and had four other games suspended by rain. Two others were rain-shortened. Wahconah Park is located entirely within the 100-year flood plain of the west branch of the Housatonic River.

The ownership group had hoped to recoup its losses through a concert that featured Suzanne Vega at Wahconah Park last month, Fortini said. But ticket sales were low.

"It wasn't successful," he said. "They had hoped for 4,000 or 5,000 people, but they got only 400 or 500."

Ruberto said the current financial problems in Pittsfield won't affect the team's future at Wahconah Park.

"I look forward to a long and future relationship with the Defenders," he said.
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"Defenders' deal for the rest of us?"
The Berkshire Eagle, Letters to the Editor, Friday, September 18, 2009

Did Mayor Ruberto announce a new interest free loan program in the Sept. 12 Berkshire Eagle article "Defenders behind in the count?" Ruberto said the Defenders' debt in Pittsfield is due to a "cash flow" problem. "I've been in business long enough to know that cash flows sometimes ebb and flow. I've spoken to Buddy Lewis and he absolutely assures me that payment will be forthcoming. There's no deadline," Ruberto said.

If Mayor Ruberto is willing to extend indefinite credit to us when cash is tight, we can pay our property taxes, water/sewer bill, or any other obligation to the city of Pittsfield as our financial circumstances allow.

Or, we can pay our bills on time and subsidize the Defenders' ownership group and whomever else Mayor Ruberto thinks needs a break.

ADAM HERSCH
Pittsfield, Massachusetts
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"Ethics case still under scrutiny"
By Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle Staff, November 11, 2009

PITTSFIELD -- The state Ethics Commission has yet to rule on whether it should toss out its case against Mayor James M. Ruberto and Dalton native Dan Duquette over a Red Sox ticket exchange.

The two men filed a motion for summary decision on March 20, asking the commission to dismiss the charges brought forward by the panel nearly 15 months ago.

Ruberto is accused of violating state law when he bought two 2004 World Series tickets at face value from Duquette, a former Boston Red Sox general manager.

However, Ruberto and Duquette filed additional briefs and motions delaying the hearing on the dismissal request until July 17, 2010, according to the commission’s executive director, Karen Nober. While the ethics panel finally began deliberations on the motions for summary decision on Sept. 18, Nober said it has yet to render a decision.

The case against Ruberto and Duquette dates back to June 26, 2008, when the commission issued its version of an indictment. Both men face civil fines of up to $2,000 if found guilty on the ethics law violation.

The Ethics Commission claims Ruberto and Duquette violated the law because the tickets were sold when Duquette was negotiating the move of his New England Collegiate Baseball League team -- the Dukes -- from Hinsdale to Pittsfield.

The Dukes eventually relocated from Duquette’s sports academy to Wahconah Park in 2005, changing its name to the Pittsfield American Defenders in 2009.
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"Pittsfield may get pro ball in 2010: The city might acquire the American Defenders of New Hampshire in the independent CanAm Baseball League."
By Howard Herman, Berkshire Eagle Staff, December 15, 2009

PITTSFIELD -- When Leslie "Buddy" Lewis met with local media members last March, the owner of the Pittsfield American Defenders said his "ultimate goal is to bring pro baseball back to Pittsfield."

Lewis' wish may happen earlier than anticipated because his Boston Baseball LLC is considering bringing the American Defenders' professional team to Wahconah Park for the 2010 season.

"We're working on trying to move our professional team into Pittsfield. If we're successfully do that, that means the college team will go to another venue," said Dan Duquette, the former Boston Red Sox general manager and part of the Boston Baseball ownership group.

The team, if things go according to plan, would replace the Pittsfield American Defenders of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. That would leave the North Adams SteepleCats as the only NECBL team in Berkshire County.

The American Defenders of New Hampshire were a member of the CanAm League, a league of six independent baseball teams. An independent league means that each franchise has to sign its own players rather than be affiliated with a team in Major League Baseball.

The American Defenders of New Hampshire folded in Nashua following the 2009 season amidst problems with lease payments.

Pittsfield has been without professional baseball since the Berkshire Black Bears of the independent Northeast League left Wahconah Park following the 2003 season for a move to New Haven, Conn. The Northeast League morphed into the CanAm League.

The independent league currently has franchises in Worcester and Brockton, Quebec City, and two teams in New Jersey.

Miles Woolf has been the commissioner of the CanAm League since it was founded in 2005. He was also the commissioner of the Northeast League when the Black Bears roamed Wahconah Park.

"Application has to be made to the league, and the league's directors would have to have a meeting to approve it," he said. "Because it's getting late to make a move, to run a good operation for next season, a decision will have to be made very soon."

The Pittsfield American Defenders were in the first year of a three-year license agreement with the city for the use of Wahconah Park.

Clifford Nilan is chairman of the Park Commission, and said that while he was personally in favor of the NECBL, he wouldn't necessarily stand against the switch.

"I'm more than happy to listen to them, and see how the mayor and the Park Commission feel about it," Nilan said.

Nilan said he was uncertain if the Defenders had paid the $35,000 owed to Pittsfield for license agreement payments in 2009. Sheila LaBarbera is another member of the Park Commission and she said that she would be willing to "negotiate some of the dates and some of the debt because of the rainouts they had."

The Defenders registered 18 of 22 scheduled dates at Wahconah Park, and had a number of games delayed or halted by rain. July, when most of the Defenders games were played, was the fifth wettest month on record.

Pittsfield mayor James M. Ruberto said he could not comment on the issue.

"We certainly hope and believe it can be better" this time, Woolf said. "The stadium is adequate, the market in the past has been a good baseball market. We think if it's run correctly and if they have a good operation, it can be successful in Pittsfield."
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"No welcome mat for Nashua team"
The Berkshire Eagle, Letters, December 26, 2009

I have been following the story on The American Defenders pro baseball team reportedly hoping to bring their brand of baseball to our fair (or foul) city from Nashua, N.H., from where they were unceremoniously booted last season for failure to pay usage and public safety fees to said city. Why this city and its leaders would even give this proposal a second glance is a complete mystery to me.

This group's amateur team still owes our city $35,000 from last season, along with the money still owed Nashua, so what do the leaders of Pittsfield think will change this year? This brand of baseball has already been tried here, with no success, so little can be expected to change in that respect. This group has had little success in producing winning teams here, and people here won't attend the games of a losing franchise.

They aren't affiliated with a major league team, and the league they're in has reorganized and changed its name since the failed Black Bears team gave it a go in Pittsfield in 2003. That team was terrible and comprised of a bunch of hooligans whose main mission was to drink and fight in local bars instead of winning baseball games.

There is an article in the Monday, Dec. 21, Nashua Telegraph by Tom King called "Pittsfield doesn't need this Defense." I suggest people who are interested in Pittsfield find and read this article. It articulates the reasons to keep this group out of Pittsfield much better than I can. Please read it and form your own opinion on this matter.

JIM GLEASON
Pittsfield, Massachusetts
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"Pittsfield doesn’t need this Defense"
By Tom King, Op-Ed, The Nashua Telegraph

The rumors were out there a couple of weeks ago, that the franchise formerly known as the American Defenders of New Hampshire would take their lame act and invade Waconah Park, a fossil (but a nice one) of a ballpark in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, for next summer.

Couldn’t help but chuckle. Actually laugh out loud.

It’s a move that smells of desperation on the part of the Can-Am League. It says the Canadian market for 2010 is dead except for Quebec. It says Boston Baseball All-Stars, the Dan Duquette-Buddy Lewis led group, can’t find a buyer for their club.

And you wonder what the heck the city officials of Pittsfield are thinking? Or are they thinking?

This is the same city of Pittsfield that the Defenders owners reportedly owe some $35,000 in back rent at Waconah for the group’s New England Collegiate Baseball League team, the Pittsfield Defenders. It’s probable they’ll just replace the pro team in the lease, which has reportedly two more years to run.

This is the same city of Pittsfield that has seen pro ball come and go in a flash. They were part of the Northeast League (which has now morphed into the Can-Am League) back in 2003 and it was a bust. And the college team wasn’t exactly tearing up the turnstiles.

“We certainly hope and believe it can be better this time,” Can-Am Commissioner Miles Wollf told the Bershire Eagle. “The stadium is adequate, the market in the past has been a good baseball market. We think if it’s run correctly and if they have a good operation, it can be successful in Pittsfield.”

Run correctly? Good operation? What is Wollf smoking? Lewis & Co. ran out of money faster than General Motors. Their operation was a joke. They promised the moon, and instead, here in Nashua, we got a meteor that left a crater in Holman Stadium. The Can-Am League is allowing these bozos to remain in good stead despite leaving behind a trail of unpaid bills. Some of those may have been paid, to be fair we can’t say for sure. But what do you think?

It’s a bad rep, and Wollf and his fellow Can-Am owners should be ashamed of themselves. Moving a franchise because of poor attendance is one thing, but to have a city lock out a professional team is the ultimate transgression for a sports franchise. Believe it, it was Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau’s last resort.

Do the people in Pittsfield, which does have a rich minor league history and used to be the home of affiliated Double-A baseball for years, dating back to the 1970s and 1980s, not have access to information? Do they think Nashuans just stopped going after 11 Pride seasons? OK, they didn’t fully support baseball when it was here, but last summer they smelled a stinker and reacted. These guys basically insulted all the hard work former Pride owners such as Chris English and John Stabile put into it.

And the people in Pittsfield are already ready to excuse BBAS for their tardy rent due to the drenching rains that put Waconah Park underwater at one point last summer. Oh please.

It sounds like a lot of this is in deference to Duquette, who has his baseball school out that way and is still revered there as the former general manager of the Red Sox. Duquette was personally cooperative and cordial with the media during his time running the day-to-day operations here last summer. You might say when he came in in June after former general manager Chris Hall was unjustly sliced, he was put in an impossible situation, trying to clean up the mess left mainly by fellow owner Terry Allvord.

Get this. Park Commission Clifford Nilan told the Eagle, “I’m more than happy to listen to them, and see how the mayor and the Park Commission feel about it.”

Hey, we don’t want to throw ice cold water on another city’s try at pro ball. But here’s a message to all of you living in a cave called Pittsfield:

Get the lease money up front. You are all fools if you don’t. You may be anyway for letting it get this far.
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Tom King can be reached at 594-6468 or tking@nashuatelegraph.com.
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READERS' COMMENTS:

On 12/26/2009, "marklpowell" wrote:
I suggest raeading the book "Foul Ball" by Jim Bouton who attemtped to put a team in Pittsfield's Wahconah Park. Pittsfield politics would lead me to belive they would welcome Nashua's team with open arms.

On 12/23/2009, "Spike" wrote:
The Pittsfield paper reported that one member of the Park Commission was receptive to giving the ownership group concessions based on the number of rainouts in 2009 (apparently, 4 of 21). If Pittsfield really got no rent for the 17 games played, the question is whether the city wants to give ownership 46 openings for the same price. Some cities do give their teams sweetheart rent deals; Lynn gets a meticulous caretaker for its ballpark in return. Mayor Lozeau sees the political risks of doing so in Nashua, given voters such as Mike V., and I don't blame her. Wolff (the real spelling) cannot vouch for the integrity of the Defenders owners; if he can run a league and one (or more) of the owners is a deadbeat, he will--the alternative being having the league operate a traveling team, as we've seen in Nashua--not the most serious of opponents.

Tom King, whom we've benefitted from for years (all 12?) for behind-the-scenes Pride coverage, makes good points about the implications of this situation for the league and for Pittsfield. But Pittsfield might agree to the deal knowing all the facts. I'm curious about that "letter of intent to purchase" the Nashua Defenders. Was there a buyer? Wolff seemed to think so. And was the league's "deadline" also vapor-ware?

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"Mayor's case to go on: Ruberto, Duquette face a hearing before Ethics Commission"
By Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle Staff, December 30, 2009

PITTSFIELD -- The state Ethics Commission has refused to toss out its nearly 18-month-old case against Mayor James M. Ruberto and Dalton native Dan Duquette over the exchange of a pair of Boston Red Sox World Series tickets.

The decision means both men will now face an Ethics Commission hearing for violating the state's conflict of interest law. The 2004 ticket exchange occurred while Ruberto and Duquette negotiated a lease for Duquette to move his amateur ballclub to Wahconah Park.

The five-member Ethics Commission this month voted down the pair's request for a summary decision, an appeal that contests the charges and seeks their dismissal. The mayor and the former Red Sox general manager filed their request on March 20.

Ruberto on Tuesday declined comment on the ruling, but his Pittsfield attorney Leonard Cohen said he was "somewhat encouraged" about the case's ultimate outcome after he read the commission's decision. Cohen said the Ethics Commission's written remarks indicated it was considering dismissing the case against Ruberto.

"It was a close call regarding the mayor," Cohen said.

Duquette's attorney, Anthony Froio of Boston, would not comment Tuesday on the ruling or any aspect of the case against his client.

Ruberto and Duquette must now propose hearing dates to the commission "so that a hearing can be scheduled," said the commission's executive director, Karen Nobler.

"The hearing date should be determined within the next couple of weeks," added Nober.

The case dates back to June 26, 2008, when the commission issued its version of an indictment against Ruberto and Duquette. Both face civil fines of up to $2,000 if found guilty on the ethics law violation.

Ruberto is accused of violating state law when he bought two 2004 World Series tickets at face value from Duquette. The tickets cost $190 apiece.

The Ethics Commission claims Ruberto and Duquette violated the law because the tickets were sold when Duquette was negotiating the move of his New England Collegiate Baseball League team -- the Dukes -- from Hinsdale to Pittsfield.

The Dukes eventually relocated from Duquette's sports academy to Wahconah Park in 2005, changing its name to the Pittsfield American Defenders in 2009.

The Ethics Commission made its ruling Dec. 18.
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To reach Dick Lindsay: rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com, or (413) 496-6233.
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"Team’s moving day is on hold n The decision to bring the Defenders to Pittsfield depends on two investors."
By Tony Dobrowolski, The Berkshire Eagle, 1/8/2010

PITTSFIELD -- Plans to bring professional baseball back to Pittsfield hinge on whether the owners of an independent-league team in Nashua, N.H., can bring two additional investors on board to move their franchise to Wahconah Park.

Leslie "Buddy" Lewis, one of the four principals of Boston Baseball All-Stars LLC who own the American Defenders of the Canadian American League, said the team will know in the next few days if the two investors, whom he declined to name, are on board.

If the ownership group can’t bring in the potential investors and the prospect of their additional capital, Lewis said it’s doubtful it would be able to bring the team to Pittsfield.

"Let’s say I’m really optimistic," Lewis said. "On a scale of one to 10, it could be an eight. Tonight, it could be a 10. We’ll know in a few days."

Mayor James M. Ruberto on Thursday expressed his faith in the deal. "As a businessman, instinct is a decision-making process, and I feel comfortable with Buddy Lewis," he said.

Financial troubles

To clear the way for the team’s move to Wahconah Park and to help pay off existing debts, Boston Baseball All-Stars in December sold Pittsfield’s New England Collegiate Baseball League team, the American Defenders of Pittsfield, to a group from Bristol, Conn.

Boston Baseball All-Stars bought both the collegiate- and independent-league franchises in 2008, but ran into financial problems last year. At the end of the seasons, the group owed the cities of Nashua and Pittsfield nearly $60,000 combined.

The ownership group last week paid the $24,700 it owed Pittsfield after the NECBL season, according to city Treasurer Susan Carmel. The group has reached a settlement with Nashua, and plans to pay $35,000 to settle its debt, Lewis said.

There was a press conference scheduled for Thursday at Pittsfield City Hall to announce that the independent-league team was coming to Pittsfield, but it was canceled in the morning at Lewis’ request.

Lewis, the managing director of the Texas-based Nokona Athletic Goods Co., said a Nokona business matter pre-empted the press conference. Nokona is "working on a very, very large project," said Lewis. "It had nothing to do with baseball."

Holding out hope

Lewis, who has owned a home in Richmond for 10 years, said he hopes to reschedule the official announcement within the next two weeks. If the franchise comes to Pittsfield, the American Defenders would be renamed.

"I would be disappointed if Buddy is unable to bring the team here," said Ruberto. The mayor said he was aware of the ownership group’s financial difficulties in Nashua and Pittsfield, but he didn’t know the two investors had not been brought on board when contacted by The Eagle on Thursday afternoon.

"Sometimes handshakes break down at the last minute," he said. "This may be the case."

Canadian American League Commissioner Miles Wolff said on Thursday that he didn’t know where the team would play if it didn’t move to Pittsfield.

"We’d have to scramble," Wolff said. "I don’t know if it would be Pittsfield, another city, or if it would be a road team. Right now, we’re confident that everything is set. We haven’t really looked at other options."

The Canadian American League has given Boston Baseball All-Stars LLC permission to move the team from Nashua to Pittsfield. Pittsfield is already listed as the league’s sixth team on the Canadian American League’s Web site.

During a meeting with The Eagle’s editorial board on Wednesday, Lewis and fellow Nokona executive Jerry O’Connor, who is also a member of the team’s ownership group, said that Boston Baseball All-Stars considered four cities -- Ottawa, Ontario; Trois Rivieres, Quebec; Norwich, Conn.; and Burlington, Vt. -- as sites for the team. The group settled on Pittsfield, where they have two years left on a three-year lease from their former NECBL team.

Ruberto said the independent-league team could play in Pittsfield under the terms of the NECBL team’s lease, which the Park Commission approved last March. The lease, which expires on Sept. 10, 2011, allowed the NECBL team to play 25 regular season games at Wahconah Park, but provided the squad with an additional 31 dates for "exhibition games, and other recreational, social, cultural, and educational events."

Pittsfield’s NECBL team played 16 home games last year, while the Canadian American League team played 35 home games in Nashua. Based on his discussions with city attorney Richard M. Dohoney, Ruberto said the Canadian American League team would be able to use the 31 additional dates granted to the NECBL team in the lease to round out its regular season schedule. Further changes to the license that are specific to the NECBL team could be considered by the Park Commission during the 2010 baseball season, Ruberto said.

As long as the ownership group remains the same, "Rich said this is a valid license agreement with the Boston Baseball All-Stars," Ruberto said.

An All-Star history

Boston Baseball All-Stars formed in 2008 when Lewis and O’Connor joined forces with former Red Sox General Manager Dan Duquette, who brought an NECBL franchise to Berkshire County in 2005, and Terry Allvord, who ran the U.S. Military All-Stars baseball team. The group purchased Nashua’s Canadian American league team, Pittsfield’s NECBL squad, and Allvord’s military all-star team.

According to Lewis, the group formed a limited partnership with a goal of raising $1.5 million to run the three entities last year.

"We got up to $650,000 with a bunch of people ready to go," he said. "And the economy changed quickly and we just couldn’t close on stuff. We were undercapitalized going in. Had we stuck to the military team and the college team, we would have been fine. But we didn’t."

The ownership group decided to purchase the Canadian American League team in Nashua after it "fell in love" with its Holman Stadium, which, Lewis said, is similar to Wahconah Park. Sandwiched between two minor league teams in the area that are affiliated with major league clubs, Lewis said the Defenders had trouble drawing fans last year. They finished last in the league in attendance, with an average of 1,153 fans per game for 35 home contests.

"The history of pro baseball in Nashua was not good," Lewis said. "But we decided to do it anyway. It was a big mistake. A very, very big mistake. We virtually got killed there."

Desperate times

The city of Nashua locked the American Defenders of New Hampshire out of Holman Stadium in late August after the team failed to pay $45,064 in rent and related costs, according to published reports in two New Hampshire newspapers. O’Connor called the city’s action "pre-emptive," while Lewis said a payment schedule was set up but never followed.

"We were chipping away at this thing and getting an awful lot of pressure from the city," O’Connor said. "We were really locked out of our last six games, of which a good portion [of that money] was going to be given to [Nashua]. We were going to meet our obligation to the city."

"Did we do everything right? Who knows?" O’Connor said. "We did the best we could. We really did the best we could."

Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau said Boston Baseball All-Stars LLC has paid back some of the money it owes the city, and that it was negotiating a settlement for the rest. Citing the status of the negotiations, Lozeau declined to say how much the ownership group still owes the city, and he wouldn’t comment on the city’s relationship with the team last year.

"It probably wouldn’t be in my best interest to comment on that," she said.

Settling the debt

Lewis said the team originally owed the city $50,000, which it was able to reduce to $35,000. O’Connor said the ownership group will pay the city that amount if all the equipment and inventory it owns in Holman Stadium is still in good shape.

"We’ve got concession equipment in there and inventory and all of our office computers that we haven’t had access to," he said. "At the end of this week, we’re going to go back there and do inventory and make sure that we have everything. Š After inventory is taken, we’ll settle up."

The American Defenders of New Hampshire also owe $21,607.08 to former employee Mark Dudley, according to records on file in the Southern District of Hillsborough County Superior Court. The New Hampshire Labor Board ordered the Defenders to pay Dudley that sum following a hearing in October. In a telephone interview, Dudley said he sold concessions for the team at Holman Stadium, but left in July after he wasn’t paid for two months.

Lewis said the capital provided by the new investors will allow the team to settle all of its outstanding debts in both Pittsfield and Nashua.

In Pittsfield, city officials said in September that the NECBL team owed the city $35,000 for expenses incurred during the 2009 season. But city Maintenance Direc-tor Ernest Fortini said that figure was later revised to $24,700 after it was determined that bad weather and construction on Wahconah Park last summer prevented the team from utilizing all of the dates that it had requested.
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To reach Tony Dobrowolski: tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com, or (413) 496-6224.
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News & Notes: "Pittsfield Baseball Team a Balk?"
By Larry Kratka & Tammy Daniels, Berkshire News Network, January 8, 2010

PITTSFIELD, Massachusetts — The announcement of a new baseball team for the city was abruptly canceled Thursday morning over an hour before it was to begin. According to The Berkshire Eagle, franchise owner Leslie "Buddy" Lewis is trying to recruit two more investors for the financially troubled team.

Lewis and former Red Sox General Manager Dan Duquette of Hinsdale launched the Pittsfield Defenders of the New England Collegiate Baseball League with great fanfare last spring but the franchise was a washout in more ways than one. The NECBL team was sold off to Bristol, Conn., and its unclear how much the group still owes the city during the first year of its three-year lease. The Eagle reports the bill was $24,700 but doesn't say if it's been paid.

This time, the four principals (Lewis, Duquette, Terrence Allvord and Jeremiah O'Connor are listed as managers by the secretary of state's office) of the Boston Baseball All-Stars are trying to bring the American Defenders (of Nashua, N.H., until the city parked a bulldozer on their field for lack of payment) in the Canadian-American League to Wahconah Park.

The professional baseball league was formed last year with 16 teams and resembles the Eastern League in organization. You may remember the Berkshire Black Bears, part of the Northern League, were in town briefly in 2003 before moving to New Haven, Conn., after minimal support from baseball fans in Pittsfield. Mayor James Ruberto told the Berkshire News Network on Thursday that the Can-Am team, which doesn't have a name yet, will begin playing baseball at Wahconah Park in May with a prolonged season into September.

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Pittsfield City Council meeting on January 12, 2010

. Appointment of Linda M. Tyer to serve as the City of Pittsfield’s liaison to the Massachusetts Ethics Commission.

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"Ruberto-Duquette ethics hearing set"
By Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle Staff, January 13, 2010

PITTSFIELD -- The state Ethics Commission has scheduled a two-day hearing for its nearly 18-month-old case against Mayor James M. Ruberto and Dalton native Dan Duquette over the exchange of a pair of Boston Red Sox 2004 World Series tickets.

The "adjudicatory proceeding" scheduled for April 6 and 7 at 10 a.m. for both days in Boston will determine if the men violated the state's conflict of interest law. The 2004 ticket exchange occurred while Ruberto and Duquette were negotiating a lease for Duquette to move his amateur ballclub to Wahconah Park, which is operated by the City of Pittsfield.

The hearing process will be similar to a court trial, according to a description on the Ethics Commission's Web site. A presiding officer will act as the judge and the ethics panel as the jury.

The commission's enforcement division is the prosecutor, while the respondents -- Ruberto and Duquette -- are the defendants.

Both sides will present opening and closing statements, evidence and witnesses. The five-member Ethics Commission must issue a majority decision within 30 days of the hearing's completion.

The state Ethics Commission last month voted down the pair's request for a summary decision, an appeal that contests the charges and seeks their dismissal. The mayor and Duquette, a former Red Sox general manager, filed their request on March 20.

The case dates back to June 26, 2008, when the commission issued its version of an indictment against Ruberto and Duquette. Both face civil fines of up to $2,000 if found guilty on the ethics law violation.

Ruberto is accused of violating state law when he bought two 2004 World Series tickets, at $190 each, at face value from Duquette.

The Ethics Commission claims Ruberto and Duquette violated the law because the tickets were sold when Duquette was negotiating the move of his then-New England Collegiate Baseball League team -- the Dukes -- from Hinsdale to Pittsfield.

The Dukes eventually relocated from Duquette's sports academy in Hinsdale to Wahconah Park in 2005. In 2009, the team's name was changed to the Pittsfield American Defenders. Duquette and his partners last month sold the American Defenders to a group based in Bristol, Connecticut.
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"'Justice’ grinds slowly"
The Berkshire Eagle, Editorial, 1/16/2010

Much has happened since June 2008 when the State Ethics Commission filed charges against Pittsfield Mayor James Ruberto and Dan Duquette, owner of an amateur baseball team, over the exchange of tickets to the 2004 World Series. The Philadelphia Phillies won a World Series, and a year later, the New York Yankees won another. Mr. Duquette’s amateur team has been sold. Manny Ramirez left the Boston Red Sox and was exposed as a substance-abusing cheater. And all this time, the ethics case has dawdled along, although it may finally be resolved at the start of yet another baseball season.

The commission will decide if the two violated the state’s conflict of interest law on April 6 and 7. The mayor is accused of breaking state law when he bought two tickets to a Boston-St. Louis World Series game for $190 each, which was face value. At the time, Mr. Duquette was negotiating the move of his team in the New England Collegiate Baseball League from Hinsdale to Pittsfield’s Wahconah Park.

Mr. Ruberto is guilty of allowing his love for the Red Sox to overcome his good judgment, as appearance does matter. But what appears to be a potential conflict on the surface really isn’t. A bidding war was not going on, as Mr. Duquette was only considering Wahconah Park as a site and the city was only considering the collegiate team as a tenant. In its original complaint, the commission observed that the public would have had to pay $2,000 for a similar ticket.

The implication was that if Mr. Duquette had scalped the ticket the transaction would have met with state ethics commission approval even though he had broken state law in doing so.

It is callous of the state to allow this case to hang over the heads of the two men for this long. Even if the board fines them $2,000 apiece, the maximum allowable, we wonder how much of that would be balanced by the hours ethics commission personnel have wasted on this case at taxpayer expense. The state isn’t short of serious ethics violators, as events on Beacon Hill have revealed over the past few years. Worry about them instead.
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"Pro Baseball Returning to Pittsfield: Defenders are coming"
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff, January 27, 2010

PITTSFIELD -- The owner of an independent league baseball team said on Tuesday that he plans to bring his team from Nashua, N.H., to Pittsfield this year, even though the group's financing is not completely set.

Leslie "Buddy" Lewis, the chairman of Boston Baseball All-Stars LLC, which owns the former American Defenders of New Hampshire in the Canadian-American League, said he is "99 percent sure" that the additional investors will join the franchise.

"You're not sure until the check clears, but we're doing this regardless," said Lewis, who is the chairman of the ownership group. "If push comes to shove, we'll continue to do this."

If the investors don't come on board, "I'll do it myself," said Lewis, referring to the financing of the team. A part-time Richmond resident, Lewis is the executive director of the Texas-based Nocona Athletic Goods Co., which has factories in Fall River and Worcester.

The city of Pittsfield has scheduled a news conference for 10 a.m., Monday to announce the team's move to Wahconah Park. Mayor James M. Ruberto said he has been in contact with Lewis, and that it is his understanding that the team is coming to Pittsfield.

"Unless something happens, I fully expect that's going to take place," Ruberto said, regarding next week's news conference.

The city also scheduled a news conference for Jan. 8 to announce that the team was coming to Pittsfield, but it was canceled because of a Nocona business matter, Lewis said.

After the news conference was canceled, Lewis told The Eagle that if the ownership group couldn't bring in two additional investors, whom he declined to name, that it was doubtful the team would move to Pittsfield. Lewis, however, said he was optimistic that the investors would join the team.

Boston Baseball All-Stars LLC, which also owned Pittsfield's franchise in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, ran into financial trouble in both Pittsfield and Nashua last summer and ended the season owing both cities a combined $60,000. The group paid the city of Pittsfield the $24,700 it owed the last week in December, and has agreed to settle its debt with the city of Nashua for $35,000, according to Lewis.

The ownership group sold Pittsfield's NECBL franchise last month to settle existing debts.

Canadian-American League Commissioner Miles Wolff on Tuesday said that Boston Baseball All-Stars LLC has filed a six figure "letter of credit" with the league, a document that the owners of all teams are required to file in order to operate.

According to Wolff, the letter of credit guarantees that if something happens to the ownership group this season, the Can-Am League would have enough capital to either operate the team in Pittsfield or run the team as a traveling franchise without a home stadium.

"He's told me he will be there," Wolff said.

Besides Lewis, the ownership group includes fellow Nocona executive Jerry O'Connor, former Red Sox General Manager Dan Duquette and Terry Allvord, who heads the U.S. Military All-Stars baseball team.

In December, the Can-Am League's board of directors gave preliminary approval to move the team from Nashua to Wahconah Park pending approval by the city of Pittsfield. According to Ruberto, the Can-Am League team would operate at Wahconah Park under the terms of a three-year lease that the ownership group obtained for Pittsfield's NECBL team last March. The lease expires on Sept. 10, 2011.
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Pittsfield Mayor James M. Ruberto, left, and Boston Baseball All-Stars LLC chairman Buddy Lewis have struck a deal in which professional baseball will return to the city for the first time in seven years. The yet-to-be-named Canadian-American team will play its home games at Wahconah Park. (Kayla Galway / Berkshire Eagle Staff)
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"Pro baseball back: Pittsfield moves into independent Can-Am League"
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff, February 2, 2010

PITTSFIELD -- Following a seven-year hiatus, professional baseball officially returned to Pittsfield on Monday when the owners of an independent league team that struggled financially last year in New Hampshire announced their franchise will play at Wahconah Park this summer.

Although the ownership group is still trying to bring additional investors on board, it announced that the former American Defenders of New Hampshire will play in the Berkshires. The group will operate the team under terms of a three-year license agreement that Pittsfield's former New England Collegiate Baseball League franchise signed with the city last year. The license agreement expires on Sept. 10, 2011. The Canadian-American League approved the move in December, pending the city's approval.

Boston Baseball All-Stars LLC also owned Pittsfield's NECBL franchise, but sold the team two months ago to a group from Bristol, Conn., to pay off existing debts.

"Our goal is to have a very competitive team here," said Leslie "Buddy" Lewis, the chairman of Boston Baseball All-Stars LLC at a news conference to announce the team's arrival. "Otherwise, people won't come."

The team will be Pittsfield's first professional baseball team since the Berkshire Black Bears of the independent Northern League moved to New Haven, Conn., following the 2003 season.

Lewis said the team known last season as the Defenders will be renamed soon.

Boston Baseball All-Stars LLC ran into financial trouble in both Pittsfield and Nashua, N.H., last year and owed both cities a combined $60,000 when the season ended. The group paid the $24,700 that it owed the city of Pittsfield during the last week in December, and has reached an agreement to settle its debt in Nashua for $35,000, Lewis said.

Despite the ownership group's previous financial issues, Mayor James M. Ruberto said he is confident that the team will succeed in Pittsfield.

"Everything's a risk," Ruberto said. "When we went to restore the Colonial Theater, that was a risk. When we opened the Beacon Cinema, that was a risk. So nothing is ever guaranteed."

"There's no money owed the city, and there's no money that has been indiscriminately sold or lost by the City of Pittsfield," he added. "I'm confident in [Lewis]. I'm confident in the integrity of this man, and I'm confident that the people of Pittsfield want good baseball."

Boston Baseball All-Stars has reached an "agreement in principle" with a group of new investors, whom Lewis declined to name, who are expected to bring new capital to the ownership group. He expects the team's financial situation to be finalized in 30 to 45 days. Once the finances are finalized, the group plans to change its name from Boston Baseball All-Stars LLC, he said.

The executive director of the Texas-based Nokona Athletic Goods Co., which has two factories in Massachusetts, Lewis said last week that he would provide the additional financing himself if the investors fell through.

"We're coming here regardless," Lewis said.

Can-Am League Commissioner Miles Wolff said the team's move to Pittsfield is "great for the league." Wolff said he was concerned about the team's ability to play in Pittsfield when Lewis canceled what was supposed to be the team's introductory press conference in early January, but spoke to one of the group's potential investors on Monday.

"He's committed," Wolff said.

The ownership group has signed a six figure "letter of credit" with the Can-Am League that will provide the league with enough capital to operate the team this year if the owners run into financial problems.

The City of Nashua, N.H., locked the Can-Am League team out of its stadium in late August after Boston Baseball All-Stars LLC failed to pay $45,000 in rent and other related costs. The team played its final six games on the road.

"We were undercapitalized last year," Lewis said, referring to the situation in Nashua. "The group that's coming in understands what it takes to run one of these Can-Am League teams. They've seen our numbers from last year.

"It's not easy for these things to succeed," Lewis continued, "unless you get the support of the community, number one. It really is getting people into the ballpark. The numbers that we've projected to break even are very reasonable."

Unlike minor league teams that are affiliated with major league clubs, independent league franchises are responsible for all of their expenses. Even though teams in the Can-Am League have a salary cap, Lewis said it costs between $1 million and $1.2 million to successfully manage a team. With revenue from tickets, sponsorships, concessions and merchandise, Lewis said he believes the team can make between $1.1 million and $1.2 million in Pittsfield this year.

"The stadium holds about 3,500," Lewis said, referring to Wahconah Park. "Break-even for us is a 1,000 to 1,200 average, which I don't think is unreasonable.

"Last year, we averaged 300" fans in Nashua, where the Defenders finished last in the six-team Can-Am League in attendance. "So do the math."
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To reach Tony Dobrowolski: tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com, or (413) 496-6224.
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Related web-page:
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"Selling baseball"
The Berkshire Eagle, Editorials, February 2, 2010

Pittsfield welcomes its first professional baseball team in seven years, and the city is certainly better off with pro baseball than it is without it. Boston Baseball All-Stars LLC, however, is burdened with a pockmarked recent history as it enters a community that has not responded to independent professional baseball. The team has a selling job ahead of it, and not just in terms of game tickets.

The pro team, which will play in the Canadian-American League, arrives from Nashua, New Hampshire and essentially replaces the amateur team that ownership had in Pittsfield but sold during the off-season. The pro team was locked out of the Nashua ballpark, ending its 2009 season prematurely, because of money owed to the city, and the amateur team also had an outstanding debt. The organization, chaired by part-time Richmond resident Leslie "Buddy" Lewis, has paid Pittsfield the $24,700 it owed and is working with Nashua to settle a $35,000 debt.

Team management has been frank about its financial problems, which it attributes to overextending itself and to the bad economy, but that doesn't change their reality and the skepticism those problems provoke. That Mr. Lewis is still courting unnamed investors to join him doesn't instill confidence. The reality is that after essentially being evicted from Nashua the team had nowhere else to go and Pittsfield had no other suitors. It's a marriage of convenience with both sides simply hoping it will work out somehow.

Pittsfield was for decades the home of Major League Baseball-affiliated teams in the Eastern and New York-Penn Leagues. The affiliations with Major League teams provided context to the games and fans saw future stars on their way to the majors. That era ended a decade ago with the demise of the new stadium project in a fog of misinformation and paranoia.

On its heels came Jim Bouton, who attempted to work out a lease agreement for Wahconah Park to house a proposed independent team. This ended when the city proved insufficiently deferential to the former baseball star. The independent Berkshire Black Bears arrived, made almost as much news on the crime pages as the sports pages, drew poorly and moved on in 2003. It is hard enough to sell independent baseball to a city that has experienced affiliated baseball without this unhappy history.

Ownership also has to figure out a way to get fans into Wahconah Park, which recent improvements aside, remains a soggy anachronism years past its expiration date. On the plus side, the jingoist American Defenders nickname is history along with the disturbing camouflage uniforms so inappropriate for the pastoral game.

Before it sells tickets, Boston Baseball All-Stars LLC must sell residents, advertisers and all other interested parties in the community on independent baseball and more importantly on the viability of their organization. If ownership can do that and succeed, it will have earned it.
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"Name picked for new team: Former Red Sox player Brian Daubach will manage the club, which participants in a contest chose to call the Colonials."
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff, March 18, 2010

PITTSFIELD -- The city's new baseball franchise has a name -- and a manager with major league credentials.

Brian Daubach, the former Pittsfield Met and Red Sox ballplayer, will manage the city's new Canadian American League franchise, which will be known as the Colonials.

Daubach played for the Mets' Class A club here in 1992, and his managerial appointment was announced Wednesday at the same time the club released its name, logo and Web site, www.pittsfieldcolonials.com.

Daubach last year managed the American Defenders of New Hampshire, the predecessor to the Colonials. He also served as the American Defenders' batting coach in 2008 when it was known as the Nashua Pride.

The franchise, who made official their intentions to move to Pittsfield last month, ran into financial trouble in Nashua last year, which culminated in the city locking the team out of its stadium in late August for failing to pay a $45,000 debt.

Leslie "Buddy" Lewis, who chairs the Colonials ownership group, said Daubach's ability to guide the team through adversity and his ties to Pittsfield made him a natural choice to follow the club to Wahconah Park.

"Because of the financial problems last year, we had to sell players," Lewis said. "He had to coach with his hands tied, [but] he was a terrific coach who was big on discipline.

"Plus, he played for Pittsfield," Lewis said. "Last year we brought him down here for a [chamber of commerce] dinner, and people just flocked around him."

Daubach, 38, played for the Red Sox from 1999 to 2002 and in 2004. He retired from Major League Baseball following the 2005 season.

"I am looking forward to returning to my professional baseball roots and the rich baseball history of Pittsfield and Wahconah Park," Daubach said in a written statement.

The team picked the team's new name -- Colonials -- following a name-the-team contest in The Berkshire Eagle that drew 1,000 entries, the team said. Other contenders included Green Sox, Pittbulls and Power.

"The winning selection will be an important part of the ballpark experience that we believe fans will enjoy," General Manager Greg Martin said.

Martin, who joined the team three weeks ago, also has ties to Pittsfield. He ran the Hartford Senators vintage baseball team that took on the Jim Bouton-led Pittsfield Hillies in the contest that was broadcast live from Wahconah Park on ESPN Classic on Independence Day in 2004.

"I think that this is a great opportunity," Martin said. "I've always followed Pittsfield, and I know that baseball has been successful there before."

Martin also owns a vintage baseball uniform company in Connecticut. In keeping with the theme of Pittsfield's illustrious baseball past, Martin said the Colonials will wear vintage uniforms both at home and on the road this year.

Lewis said the Colonials currently have 15 players under contract, and plan to hold an open tryout in Berkshire County around May 15. He said the team would like to have at least one local player on this year's squad.

The team's offices will be located in the Berkshire Common.
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To reach Tony Dobrowolski: tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com, or (413) 496-6224.
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"Ruberto ethics hearing this week"
By Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle Staff, April 5, 2010

PITTSFIELD -- The state Ethics Commission this week will hold a two-day hearing for its nearly two-year-old case against Mayor James M. Ruberto and Dalton native Dan Duquette over the exchange of a pair of Boston Red Sox 2004 World Series tickets.

The "adjudicatory proceeding" scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday in Boston will determine if the men violated the state's conflict of interest law. The 2004 ticket exchange occurred while Ruberto and Duquette were negotiating a lease for Duquette to move his amateur ballclub to Wahconah Park, which is operated by the city of Pittsfield.

Ruberto's attorney, Leonard Cohen of Pittsfield, said it's "not a complicated case" he's defending on behalf of the mayor.

"The facts are not in dispute: The mayor did purchase the tickets at face value," said Cohen. "It's a question of whether it was an ethics violation."

Duquette's attorney, Anthony Froio of Boston, has said he won't comment on any aspect of the case until after the commission renders a verdict.

The Ethics Commission hearing process is similar to a court trial, according to a description on the commission's Web site. A presiding officer will act as the judge and the ethics panel as the jury.

The commission's enforcement division is the prosecutor, while the respondents -- Ruberto and Duquette -- are the defendants.

Both sides will present opening and closing statements, evidence and witnesses. The five-member Ethics Commission must issue a majority decision within 30 days of the hearing's completion.

The case dates back to June 26, 2008, when the commission issued its version of an indictment against Ruberto and Duquette. Both face civil fines of up to $2,000 if found guilty on the ethics law violation.

Ruberto is accused of violating state law when he bought two 2004 World Series tickets, at $190 each, at face value from Duquette.

The Ethics Commission claims Ruberto and Duquette violated the law because the tickets were sold when Duquette was negotiating the move of his then-New England Collegiate Baseball League team -- the Dukes -- from Hinsdale to Pittsfield.

The Dukes eventually relocated from Duquette's sports academy in Hinsdale to Wahconah Park in 2005. In 2009, the team's name was changed to the Pittsfield American Defenders.

Duquette and his partners four months ago sold the American Defenders to a group based in Bristol, Conn.
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To reach Dick Lindsay: rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com, or (413) 496-6233.
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Mayor James Ruberto signs a pact he negotiated with Dan Duquette
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"Baseball ethics hearing set for this week"
The Pittsfield Gazette, By Jonathan Levine, Editor & Publisher, April 4, 2010

The long-delayed hearing regarding James Ruberto's baseball ticket ethics charges will take place this week.

The Massachusetts ethics commission has scheduled an "adjudicatory hearing" for Tuesday and Wednesday in Boston.

Mayor James Ruberto and former Boston Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette have been charged with violating state ethics laws.

At issue are Red Sox World Series tickets that Duquette sold to Ruberto at face value. At the time, the duo were involved in negotiations for Duquette to utilize city-owned Wahconah Park for his collegiate baseball team.

The ethics commission has alleged that the "face value" transaction violated state laws; suggesting that the sale was intended to influence the pact and that the tickets had a far greater value on the open market. Duquette initially indicated to ethics investigators that the deal was intended to influence the negotiations but later recanted. Ruberto has denied wrongdoing.

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Pittsfield Mayor James M. Ruberto, front, and Daniel Duquette at a state Ethics Commission hearing today regarding the sale of 2004 World Series ticket between the men. (Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff)
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"State ethics panel probes Red Sox World Series ticket flap"
By Brian Ballou, Boston Globe Staff, April 6, 2010

The attorney for Pittsfield Mayor James M. Ruberto said today that former Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette was merely getting rid of extra tickets to the 2004 World Series when he sold them to Ruberto at face value.

Speaking at a State Ethics Commission hearing underway in downtown Boston, attorney Leonard Cohen said two of Duquette's relatives told him in early October that they could not attend Game Two of the series with the St. Louis Cardinals at Fenway Park.

Anxious not to lose money or see the tickets go unused, Duquette sold them to the mayor for $196 each, Cohen said. Cohen also said that neither Ruberto nor Duquette had a role in the city's decision to ultimately agree to let Duquette's minor league baseball team play in the city-owned Wahconah Park.

The Ethics Commission's Enforcement Division has alleged that Duquette sold Ruberto the tickets to win favor for the former Red Sox executive's minor league team, then known as the Berkshire Dukes.

The commission has alleged the tickets were more valuable than the actual purchase price. A top official from Ace Tickets, the ticket reselling company, told the hearing today that the World Series tickets were among the most sought after, ever.

"There was an incredible demand for tickets,'' said Matthew Freedman, director of purchasing for Ace Tickets."I've never seen anything like it. It was pretty much off the charts.''

Freedman said individual tickets were sold for between $2,000 and $3,000 during the series. He said the tickets Duquette sold to Ruberto were "top-quality tickets.''

The seats were in Section 12 Box 14, according to testimony.

James McGrath, former director of community services in Pittsfield, was questioned by Cohen for about an hour today. McGrath repeatedly testified that he was not pressured by anyone, including the mayor, to endorse Duquette's proposal that his team play at the park.

McGrath said he never spoke with Duquette until after his team was chosen.

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2008 Ethics Commission Press Releases
Contact:
David Giannotti
Communications Division Chief
617-371-9505
Karen L. Nober,
Executive Director
June 30, 2008 - For immediate release:

Berkshire Dukes Baseball Team Owner Daniel Duquette Allegedly Offered, and Pittsfield Mayor James M. Ruberto Allegedly Accepted, 2004 World Series Tickets in Violation of the Conflict of Interest Law

The Enforcement Division of the State Ethics Commission filed two Orders to Show Cause on June 26, 2008 alleging that Berkshire Dukes baseball team owner Daniel Duquette violated the Conflict of Interest Law by offering to sell two tickets to Game 2 of the 2004 World Series at face value to Pittsfield Mayor James M. Ruberto, and that Ruberto, a municipal employee, violated the Conflict of Interest Law by accepting that offer, during the time that Duquette and Ruberto were negotiating to allow the Berkshire Dukes to play at Pittsfield’s Wahconah Park. The filing of the Orders to Show Cause initiates the public adjudicatory hearing process for the State Ethics Commission. Public hearings on the allegations will be scheduled within 90 days.

According to the Orders to Show Cause, between November 2004 and April 2005, Duquette and Ruberto negotiated licensing and concession agreements for the Berkshire Dukes to play at Wahconah Park. Duquette first contacted Ruberto in September 2004 to inquire about the Dukes playing in Pittsfield. On or about October 22, 2004, Duquette called Ruberto and asked if he wanted to buy two tickets to the second game of the World Series at the face value of $190 per ticket. Ruberto accepted the offer, and gave Duquette a check for $380 for the two tickets. Game 2 of the World Series was played on October 24, 2004, at Fenway Park between the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals.

The Enforcement Division alleges that there was enormous demand for 2004 World Series tickets. They were not available to the general public at face value, and were selling on "craigslist", "eBay" and "aceticket.com" websites for several times their face value at between $600 to $2,000 per ticket. According to the Orders to Show Cause, Duquette admitted that he sold the tickets to Ruberto because he wanted Ruberto to support the Berkshire Dukes playing at Wahconah Park.

Section 3(a) of the Conflict of Interest Law prohibits anyone, otherwise than as provided by law for the proper discharge of official duty from, directly or indirectly, giving or offering anything of substantial value to any municipal employee for or because of any official act performed or to be performed by such employee. "Substantial value" has been interpreted by the courts and the Commission to mean anything with a value of $50 or more. In addition, the Commission has addressed the issue of special access to tickets in Commission Advisory 04-01, when it stated that conflict of interest concerns are raised where public officials are . . . "provided special access to purchase tickets even if at face value to events for which the same access is not available to the general public." In offering World Series tickets to Ruberto, Duquette intended to influence Ruberto as to their future negotiations regarding the licensing and concession agreements. By selling the World Series tickets to Ruberto at face value, where the general public could only obtain such tickets at prices more than $50 over face value, Duquette provided something of substantial value to Ruberto for or because of official acts to be performed by Ruberto as mayor. Therefore, according to the Order to Show Cause, Duquette violated G.L. c. 268A, § 3(a).

Section 3(b) of the Conflict of Interest Law prohibits a municipal employee, otherwise than as provided by law for the proper discharge of official duty from, directly or indirectly, accepting anything of substantial value for himself for or because of any official act or act within his official responsibility performed, or to be performed, by such municipal employee. In accepting World Series tickets from Duquette, which were offered by Duquette to influence Ruberto as to their future negotiations regarding the licensing and concession agreements, Ruberto accepted an item of substantial value from Duquette for or because of official acts to be performed by Ruberto as mayor. This opportunity was not otherwise provided by law for the proper discharge of official duties. Therefore, according to the Order to Show Cause, Ruberto violated G.L. c. 268A, § 3(b) by purchasing the tickets at face value.

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"Mayor's ethics hearing to conclude"
By Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle Staff, April 7, 2010

PITTSFIELD -- The state Ethics Commission's hearing on the case involving Mayor James M. Ruberto and Dalton native Dan Duquette over the sale of a pair of Boston Red Sox 2004 World Series tickets is expected to end today.

The hearing got under way Tuesday morning in Boston and lasted until late afternoon, according to David Gianotti, the commission's spokesman. Gianotti said he expected the hearing to conclude today -- possibly by noon.

The hearing is to determine if Ruberto and Duquette violated the state's conflict of interest law. Duquette, a former Red Sox general manager, sold Ruberto two tickets to the 2004 World Series for the face value price of $190. The ticket exchange occurred while Ruberto and Duquette were negotiating a lease for Duquette to move his amateur ballclub to Wahconah Park, which is operated by the City of Pittsfield.

The commission says Ruberto agreed to pay $190 per ticket at a time when tickets were selling on Internet sites for as much as $2,000.

Lawyers for both men deny any wrongdoing. Duquette has said he knew the mayor long before he was elected.

The five-member ethics panel must render a majority decision within 30 days of the hearing's completion.

The Ethics Commission hearing process is similar to a court trial, with a presiding officer acting as the judge and the commission as the jury.

Gianotti said the prosecution -- the commission's enforcement division -- was still presenting evidence Tuesday afternoon, before attorneys for defendants Ruberto and Duquette could present their sides. The mayor's office said Ruberto was present at the hearing Tuesday and will be again today until its conclusion.

The case dates back to June 26, 2008, when the commission issued its version of an indictment against Ruberto and Duquette. Both face civil fines of up to $2,000 if found guilty on the ethics law violation.
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Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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Former Sox GM Dan Duquette (left) and Pittsfield Mayor James M. Ruberto at yesterday’s State Ethics Commission hearing. (Yoon S. Byun/ Globe Staff)
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"Ex-Sox GM, mayor defend ’04 ticket deal: No link to license for park, lawyers say at ethics hearing"
By Brian R. Ballou, Boston Globe Staff, April 7, 2010

Former Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette was so touched by Pittsfield Mayor James Ruberto’s lifelong dream to take his father to a Sox World Series home game that he offered him two prime tickets to Game 2 in Fenway Park in 2004 — for face value.

That was the explanation attorneys for Ruberto and Duquette offered yesterday in a courtroom-style hearing by the State Ethics Commission on conflict of interest charges brought against the pair. At the time of the ticket sale, Duquette was negotiating with Ruberto and Pittsfield officials for a licensing agreement for his baseball club to play at the city’s Wahconah Park.

The commission accused the two of violating a state law against public officials being offered or accepting a valuable gratuity in exchange for an official act.

“His lifelong dream was to see the Boston Red Sox in a World Series here in Boston,’’ Duquette’s attorney, Anthony A. Froio, said of Ruberto.

Ruberto wrote Duquette a check for $380, or $190 per ticket, while resellers were getting $2,000 to $3,000 per ticket, a top executive from Ace Tickets, the ticket reselling company, testified yesterday.

At the time the Red Sox were completing a storied ending to an unbelievable season. In Game 2 of the Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, wounded ace Curt Schilling continued his dramatics by giving up only one run in six innings, and the team won 6-2. The Sox won the next two games in St. Louis for a four-game sweep and their first Series crown in 86 years.

Duquette’s tickets, Section 12 Box 14, were in the right field grandstand, the Ace Tickets executive said.

Months after the exchange, the Berkshire Dukes, a summer league collegiate baseball team owned by Duquette, had a new home, thanks to a new licensing agreement with the city of Pittsfield to play at Wahconah Park, signed off by the mayor and other officials.

Ruberto’s attorney, Leonard H. Cohen, told the commission that the mayor did not let the Red Sox tickets influence negotiations with Duquette. Rather, Cohen said, the negotiations between the city and Duquette were at times contentious.

“It’s not like they climbed in bed together after the tickets were sold to make it happen,’’ Cohen said. “Mr. Ruberto and the Parks Commission drove a hard bargain.’’

Another former Pittsfield official involved in the licensing agreement, James McGrath, who was director of community services, testified under questioning from Cohen that he was not pressured by anyone, including the mayor, to endorse Duquette’s proposal to have his team play at the city park.

At the time, Pittsfield had just lost a professional baseball team after hosting one for almost 80 years. Ruberto wanted another professional team to come to the city, his attorney said. Duquette, meanwhile, was looking for a bigger venue for the team than the former location in Hinsdale.

The two sides had on-again, off-again discussions. Then, two days before Game 2 of the World Series in late October, Duquette contacted the mayor, telling him he had two tickets for sale.

Froio, Duquette’s attorney, also told the Ethics Commission that his client “sold the tickets to the mayor for no other reason than to get rid of the tickets rather than waste them.’’

In a sworn statement Duquette had previously given the commission, the former Red Sox executive said he had no social relationship with Ruberto but decided to sell the tickets to the mayor because, “he was the most enthusiastic guy talking about the Red Sox,’’ according to a transcript of Duquette’s statement read by Ethics Commission staff counsel Candies Pruitt-Doncaster.

Froio said Duquette intended to foster good will with the mayor by selling him the tickets, but that didn’t mean that he was trying to influence the city official. Froio read from another portion of Duquette’s sworn statements in which he told investigators that he “never considered’’ selling the tickets at their market value.

“I’m not a ticket guy,’’ Duquette said. “To me, the worth of tickets are limited to their face value.’’ Duquette became a season ticket holder after leaving the Red Sox in 2002. Duquette no longer owns the baseball club.

Meanwhile, Matthew Freedman, director of purchasing for Ace Tickets, testified that demand for the World Series tickets was among the highest he’s ever seen. “It was pretty much off the charts,’’ Freedman said.

The hearing, in Boston, is expected to continue today.
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"Ethics hearing ruling to take many months"
By Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle Staff, April 8, 2010

PITTSFIELD -- It will be several months before there's a ruling on whether the city's mayor violated the state's conflict of interest law.

Ethics Commission investigators claim Mayor James M. Ruberto bought a pair of World Series tickets from Dan Duquette in October 2004, while Duquette was negotiating a lease to move his amateur ballclub to Wahconah Park, which is operated by the city. Ruberto paid Duquette $380, the face-value for the two tickets, at a time when tickets were selling on Internet sites for as much as $2,000.

Ruberto and other city officials later OK'd Duquette's lease, an act ethics investigators claim was a quid pro quo. Duquette said he sold Ruberto his tickets because of the mayor's passion for the game and his lifelong dream to attend a World Series with his father.

Lawyers for both men said during a two-day hearing in Boston that the ticket exchange had nothing to do with the lease negotiations. The hearing began Tuesday and wrapped late Wednesday afternoon.

The state's conflict of interest law bars public officials from using their positions in power to gain favors or special privileges.

"It's not like [Ruberto and Duquette] climbed in bed together after the tickets were sold to make [the deal] happen," said the mayor's attorney, Leonard Cohen of Pittsfield, according to a Boston Globe report. "Mr. Ruberto and the Parks Commission drove a hard bargain."

Quoted in the Globe, Duquette's attorney, Anthony Froio of Boston, said his client "sold the tickets to the mayor for no other reason than to get rid of the tickets rather than waste them."

The hearing included witness testimony and evidence presented by both the commission's enforcement division and lawyers for Ruberto and Duquette.

Ethics Commission spokesman David Gianotti said closing arguments will take place June 18 before the entire five-member panel, rather than in front of the presiding officer who heard the case.

Gianotti expects the commission that day will begin deliberations that will last into the board's July meeting. The Ethics Commission has 30 days after completing its deliberations to publicize its verdict.

Duquette eventually signed a lease with the city and relocated his then-New England Collegiate Baseball League team -- the Dukes -- from Hinsdale to Pittsfield. The Dukes played at Wahconah Park from 2005 to 2008, was renamed the Pittsfield American Defenders last season before the team was sold in December to a group based Bristol, Conn.

The case dates back to June 26, 2008, when the commission issued its version of an indictment against Ruberto and Duquette. Both face civil fines of up to $2,000 if found guilty on the ethics law violation.
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To reach Dick Lindsay: rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com, or (413) 496-6233.
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www.topix.net/forum/source/berkshire-eagle/T1IM6HA45HPB3QC43
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"Erratic Commission"
The Berkshire Eagle, Editorial, April 9, 2010

As the 2004 World Series fades into history and the ethics investigation of James Ruberto and Dan Duquette born of that World Series drags on, the mayor and the team owner's past actions are increasingly overshadowed by the puzzling behavior of the Ethics Commission. Do the commissioners get paid by the case or is the dragging out of the case an example of bureaucratic arrogance and sluggishness?

A two-day hearing in Boston on Mr. Duquette's sale of two Boston Red Sox-St. Louis Cardinals World Series tickets to the mayor at a time when the city was negotiating a lease of Wahconah Park for Mr. Duquette's amateur baseball team concluded Wednesday. Closing arguments before the entire panel will come in two months, then there will be deliberations, followed by a ruling within 30 days after the commission's deliberations end, which may or may come before the 2010 World Series. The state Supreme Court doesn't take this kind of time to make complex rulings that effect the entire state, while the commission has dragged out a simple ethics inquiry for nearly two years.

In the Bizarro World of the ethics board, if Mr. Duquette had unethically scalped the tickets he would have behaved ethically. By selling the tickets at face value he acted suspiciously. Mr. Duquette's crime appears to be selling the tickets to the mayor so Mr. Ruberto could join his father at a Red Sox World Series game when the team owner could have instead made a lot of money selling them over the Internet.

If the commission thinks there was a quid pro quo in Mr. Duquette selling the tickets when he did, then where is the evidence? Mr. Duquette wanted to move his Berkshire Dukes to Pittsfield and there were no other suitors for the ballpark. The city drove a hard bargain anyway. So who benefited? Who was harmed?

These charges have hovered over the heads of both men for two years while they roll up attorney bills. That's not ethical, but taxpayers have had an opportunity to see their money at work -- or not at work.
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www.topix.net/forum/source/berkshire-eagle/TKC2O6886U938EOH8
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"Pittsfield baseball changes owners: The new leadership team does not include ex-Sox GM Dan Duquette."
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff, April 10, 2010

PITTSFIELD -- The Pittsfield Colonials have yet to play a game, but the independent baseball league team has undergone an ownership change that has left former Red Sox General Manager Dan Duquette out of the group.

Leslie "Buddy" Lewis, the executive director of the Nokona Athletic Goods Co., now owns the team with Robert E. Seaman III, a New York City attorney and businessman who has been a limited partner of the National Football League's Oakland Raiders for more than 20 years.

Lewis, a part-time Richmond resident, chaired Boston Baseball All-Stars LLC, the group that brought the Canadian American League franchise from Nashua, N.H., to Pittsfield in February. Lewis and Seaman's group will be known as Pittsfield Colonials Baseball Club LLC, Lewis said.

Duquette, Terry Allvord and Jerry O'Connor, the three other principals in Boston Baseball All-Stars LLC, are no longer involved with the club.

"Terry, Dan, and Jerry didn't want to be part of it because they didn't want to take the risk," Lewis said, referring to the financial problems Boston Baseball All-Stars experienced last year in Nashua. The city of Nashua locked the Can-Am League team out of its stadium in late August for failing to pay a $45,000 debt.

Seaman is the founder of the Pro Advisory Group, an economic development firm based in New York. He has also owned professional cycling teams, and competed as a professional race car driver. He could not be reached for comment on Friday.

Duquette, a Dalton native, did not return a telephone call seeking comment. He was the original owner of Pittsfield's New England Collegiate Baseball League franchise, which he brought to Wahconah Park in 2006 from his Sports Academy in Hinsdale. Boston Baseball All-Stars purchased Pittsfield's NECBL team two years ago, but sold the franchise in December to a group from Bristol, Conn., partly to pay a $24,700 debt it owed to the city of Pittsfield for the use of Wahconah Park last summer.

Lewis declined to reveal the sale price of the Can-Am League team, but said the funds would be used to pay the old group's debt in Nashua, and any remaining outstanding debts that it has with private entities in Pittsfield. According to Lewis, Boston Baseball All-Stars LLC had agreed to settle its debt with the city of Nashua for $34,000. He said 90 percent of the group's remaining debt is owed to interests in Nashua.

The Can-Am League team is playing in Pittsfield under the terms of the three-year lease that the NECBL squad signed with the city last year to play at Wahconah Park. Lewis said he believes the ownership change will not affect the status of the lease, which expires on Sept. 10, 2011.

If Pittsfield Colonials Baseball Club LLC is deemed a brand-new company, it would have to obtain a new lease to play in Wahconah Park this summer. But if the firm is considered to be the same company with some new shareholders, the current license agreement would not be affected.

"It's my understanding that he brought in new partners," Mayor James M. Ruberto said on Friday, referring to Lewis.

"Buddy had indicated that he was bringing in new partners and I'm happy to see that he finally was able to get that accomplished," he added.

In a meeting with The Eagle's editorial board in January, Lewis and O'Connor said they were planning to bring in additional investors to provide the ownership group with more capital. Lewis said he met Seaman through a third party last year, while Can-Am League Commissioner Miles Wolff said he believed negotiations between the two men began last October.

Wolff was unaware the sale of the team had been finalized, and said the transaction still has to be approved by the league's five other owners.

"It does need final league approval, but I don't expect that to be a problem," he said. "It will happen within a couple of weeks by conference call."

Wolff said it is unusual for a team to be sold so close to the regular season, which begins at the end of May.

"It usually happens in the fall," Wolff said. "But this guy has been speaking with him since the fall, so he's been involved in Buddy's decision making."

The Colonials will play three home games in Canada this summer, a mid-July series with the Quebec Capitales that will take place in Ottawa and Trois Rivieres, Quebec. The team considered moving to Ottawa from Nashua before it came to Pittsfield, but Wolff said that decision had no bearing on the Canadian series. The league is interested in placing another team in Ottawa, Wolff said, possibly by 2011.

"Buddy did the league a favor," Wolff said. "I asked him if he could transfer three games before he had anything going on in Pittsfield."
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To reach Tony Dobrowolski: tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com, or (413) 496-6224.
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www.topix.net/forum/source/berkshire-eagle/TV554EAFVJHKLJ8PN
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"American Defenders haven’t paid their debt"
The Nashua (NH) Telegraph, Letters, June 1, 2010

In the May 26 Telegraph, reporter Patrick Meighan quoted Mayor Donnalee Lozeau as saying “the American Defenders baseball team has paid off its debt in full.”

I’m sure she’s talking about the specific debt to the city, but she is missing the debt to the season ticket holders and the fans of Nashua. I, for one, have not been paid at all.

The Defenders voluntarily moved three of their home games last season to Quebec. They cashed in on sold out games and did not reimburse their fans for the lost games. Then when the mayor locked them out, we lost seven more home games.

Letters to the Defenders asking for reimbursement have been ignored.

I could make an argument that the city should pay for those season ticket holder’s tickets that were lost because she locked the gates and prevented the team from playing.

All in all, it will be pretty difficult to get professional baseball back to Nashua after the disgrace that was The American Defenders of New Hampshire.

Pittsfield, watch your wallets!

Thomas Stroud
Merrimack, NH

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"Mayor spared ethics penalty"
By Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle Staff, July 27, 2010

PITTSFIELD -- Mayor James M. Ruberto and Dan Duquette won't be penalized for violating the state's conflict of interest law in connection with Duquette selling World Series tickets to Ruberto six years ago.

The state Ethics Commission has ruled Ruberto and Duquette should have avoided the ticket exchange in October 2004. That year, Duquette was trying to negotiate a lease to move his amateur ballclub -- the Hinsdale Dukes -- to the city-owned Wahconah Park.

In a statement released on Monday, the five-member ethics panel found the two men violated the ethics law, but it "declined to impose civil penalties" against them. Ruberto and Duquette were facing fines of up to $2,000.

"I'm very pleased with the decision and glad to put this issue behind me," Ruberto said.

"We view this matter ultimately as a Shakespearean decision: ‘Much ado about nothing,'" said Ruberto's attorney, Leonard H. Cohen of Pittsfield.

Duquette's Boston lawyer, Anthony Froio, was unavailable to comment on the decision.

The commission's ruling followed a two-day hearing in April of the case that dated back to June 26, 2008, when the panel issued its version of an indictment against Ruberto and Duquette. During the hearing, ethics investigators claimed the ticket exchange impacted the lease negotiations at Wahconah Park. Lawyers for both men said the ticket exchange had nothing to do with the lease talks.

Duquette, a former general manager of the Red Sox, claimed he sold Ruberto his tickets because of the mayor's passion for the game and his lifelong dream to attend a World Series with his father. Ruberto paid Duquette $380, the face-value for the two tickets, at a time when tickets were selling on Internet sites for as much as $2,000.

The commission stated that Duquette in October 2004 did sell the tickets "with the intent to influence Ruberto's official actions," but that when he offered the tickets, "Duquette did not believe that Ruberto was interested in having the Dukes play at Wahconah Park because Ruberto instead wanted a professional minor league team to play at the park."

More than once in 2004, Ruberto rejected Duquette's interest in having the Dukes play at Wahconah. But Ruberto's negotiations with a professional minor league team broke down in October 2004, and early in November 2004, the mayor began looking into the possibility of bringing a New England Collegiate Baseball League team to Wahconah.

While Ruberto and Duquette technically violated the state's conflict of interest law, according to the commission, "it was a close question" of whether their infractions ultimately impacted the negotiations for the city to lease Wahconah Park to Duquette's organization.

"There is no evidence that Ruberto was actually influenced by receiving the tickets because the final deal worked out between the city and Duquette was favorable to [Pittsfield] and the negotiations were at times contentious," the commission said.

Duquette eventually signed a lease with the city in March 2005 and relocated his then-New England Collegiate Baseball League team from Hinsdale to Pittsfield. The Dukes played at Wahconah Park from 2005 to 2008.

"I want the people of Pittsfield to know I negotiated that contract in their best interest and the commission's decision confirms that," Ruberto said.

Nevertheless, the Ethics Commission also found the mayor guilty of using his job to gain access to the World Series tickets.

"Ruberto violated [the law] by using his official position as mayor to obtain an unwarranted privilege, i.e., the opportunity to purchase the tickets at face value from Duquette, someone with whom he had no prior personal, social relationship, while Duquette was seeking to move the Dukes to [Wahconah] Park," it said.

While the commission determined Ruberto and Duquette "believed" the ticket exchange at face value complied with the state conflict of interest and ticket scalping laws, the two men still made an unwise decision.

"To comply with the conflict law in these circumstances, Duquette should not have offered and sold the tickets to Ruberto and Ruberto should not have purchased them from Duquette," said Ethics Commission Executive Director Karen L. Nober.
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To reach Dick Lindsay: rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com, or (413) 496-6233.
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(related) -
www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/07/27/ex_sox_gm_mayor_lose_04_world_series_ticket_deal_case/
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"'Ticketgate' fizzles to end"
The Berkshire Eagle, Editorial, July 27, 2010

In finding that Pittsfield Mayor James Ruberto and former Hinsdale Dukes owner Dan Duquette violated conflict of interest laws but not fining them for that violation, the State Ethics Commission managed to save face while not penalizing the two men, which would have constituted cruel and unusual punishment at this point. Having endured an investigation of roughly two years' duration prompted by the sale of World Series tickets six years ago, they have suffered enough.

The case arose from Mr. Duquette's sale to the mayor of two tickets to Game 2 of the 2004 World Series between Mr. Ruberto's beloved Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals at about the time Mr. Duquette was exploring the possibility of moving his collegiate baseball league team to Wahconah Park. Mr. Duquette did not give the tickets to the mayor free of charge, which would have justifiably set off alarm bells, he sold them at face value, but the commission saw this as favorable treatment because the tickets were going for as much as $2,000 on the Internet. If Mr. Duquette had ripped off the mayor like a Yawkey Way scalper, the commission would have been fine with his actions.

A conflict of interest requires a quid pro quo, and the commission in its report admitted it couldn't find one, citing the contentious negotiations over the use of the park and a final deal that was favorable to the city as evidence that Mr. Duquette did not buy any influence. But even though "There is no evidence that Ruberto was actually influenced by receiving the tickets," the commission couldn't come away with nothing after two years so it slapped the pair on the wrist while skipping fines of $2,000 that would have been egregious.

With this finally out of the way, the Ethics Commission can move on to more pressing matters. We recommend the Probation Department.
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Despite on-field success, the Colonials drew a lot of blanks at Wahconah Park in 2010, averaging a league-worst 702 fans a game in the Can-Am League’s smallest market. (Ben Garver / Berkshire Eagle Staff)
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"Long ball?"
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff, October 3, 2010

PITTSFIELD -- At this time last year, the professional baseball franchise that would become the Pittsfield Colonials was the orphan of the Canadian-American League.

Broke and homeless after being locked out of its former stadium in Nashua, N.H., for failing to pay that city $45,000 in operating expenses, the team moved to Pittsfield, where the same ownership group operated a New England Collegiate Baseball League franchise.

The Colonials started slowly here -- not opening their offices until early April -- and didn't come close to the attendance and revenue numbers that Colonials co-owner Leslie "Buddy" Lewis set in the spring as the break-even points.

Although they thrived on the field -- riding a second-half surge to the Can-Am League championship series -- the Colonials finished last in the six-team league in attendance, drawing an average of 702 fans a game in 3,500-seat Wahconah Park.

Lewis already has said the Colonials will return for a second season in Pittsfield in 2011. But can the team become a long-term entity in the city?

The Colonials have one year left on the license agreement that the owners of the NECBL team signed with the city in 2008, and Lewis said he wants to spend the offseason laying the groundwork for the Colonials to remain in Pittsfield beyond 2011.

Starting with the Saugerties/Pittsfield Hillies in 1905, Pittsfield has been the home to 16 pro baseball franchises and two collegiate-level teams.

"We want this team to stay in Pittsfield," said Lewis, a Nokona Athletic Goods executive who owns a home in Richmond. "I don't want to say forever. But for many, many years to come."

The Park Commission oversees Wahconah Park on behalf of the city, and Chairman Clifford J. Nilan said he has had preliminary discussions with Lewis about extending the license agreement.

"He's indicated that he's in it for the long haul," Nilan said.

To achieve that goal, the Colonials -- who aren't attached to any major-league team -- are interested in holding more events at Wahconah Park to generate additional revenue, and they want to bring local investors into the ownership group.

The current group, Pittsfield Colonials Baseball Club LLC, formed in April, and the team's regular season began in late May. Lewis is the principal owner in the group, which includes Robert E. Seaman III, a New York City attorney who is a minority owner of the National Football League's Oakland Raiders.

"Hopefully, we'll get some folks who are interested in number one, ensuring that the team will stay here," Lewis said.

"When people invest in something, they want to know how they can get a return, and we think we can get this team to a break-even point. And soon," Lewis said. "I think we can do that next year. We believe the whole concept of utilizing that field will be our key to making a profit."

Seaman did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

Lewis said the team would like to hold concerts featuring country-and-western bands at Wahconah Park, along with other events -- possibly boxing matches -- as a way to supplement the team's income.

"We're going to look at everything," he said.

The Colonials' license agreement with the city allows the team to play 25 regular-season games at Wahconah, and provides for an additional 31 dates that the team can use for either games or "social, cultural, and educational events" between May and September.

When the license agreement was signed, the group that brought the Colonials here from Nashua owned Pittsfield's franchise in the NECBL, which plays a 52-game schedule, compared with the 93 regular-season games that the Colonials played this year.

The Colonials dipped into those extra dates this year to make up for the difference in games. Counting regular-season and playoff games, the Colonials used 46 of the 56 total dates allowed for in the license, leaving them with 10 dates in which they could have held special events.

"We're very bullish in what we think will happen next year," Lewis said. "It's going to take a lot of work on our part, but I think we can get there."

Can-Am League Commissioner Miles Wolff said he believes the Colonials can succeed in Pittsfield.

"I'm cautiously optimistic that this is going to work," said Wolff, who also owns the league's Quebec franchise.

Wolff said he's being cautious because Pittsfield is the smallest market in the league, but he said the team has "committed ownership" that understands how to run an independent-league franchise.

"If you've got a hard-core 700 or 800 [fans] and didn't do the camps this year, you can probably get to 1,500," Wolff said.

Teams typically take their players to summer camps to hold clinics as a way of building relationships with their community. Due to the late start in getting established in Pittsfield, Lewis said the Colonials didn't have enough time to schedule those events this season.

"We are going to expose our players much more because they like doing it," he said.

The Colonials also plan to invite organizations such as Little League Baseball and the Boy Scouts to attend games and then camp out on the field after the games. Bob Wirz, who publishes the Independent Baseball Insider -- which covers the independent leagues -- said that based on his experience as president of the NECBL's Torrington (Conn.) Twisters, the Colonials can double their attendance.

The Colonials also plan to invite organizations such as Little League Baseball and the Boy Scouts to attend games and then camp out on the field after the games. Bob Wirz, who publishes the Independent Baseball Insider -- which covers the independent leagues -- said that based on his experience as president of the NECBL's Torrington (Conn.) Twisters, the Colonials can double their attendance.

"You're not breaking the bank to go to a Colonials game," Wirz said. "If people fall in love with the team for whatever reason, and management gets involved in that, I can't see any reason why they couldn't draw 1,500."

At the beginning of the Colonials' inaugural season, Lewis said the team's break-even points would be 1,200 fans a game and $1.1 million in ticket sales, merchandising and sponsorships. But the franchise became the only one in the Can-Am League to average less than 1,600 fans a game and took in only a little more than $500,000 in revenue. (Single-game tickets cost $6 and $9 apiece at Wahconah.)

On the plus side, the fans who did attend Colonials' games were passionate, loyal and vocal.

"We didn't have the most fans, but we had the loudest fans in the league," Colonials manager Brian Daubach said.

Fans who attended games regularly at Wahconah Park this past season said they didn't know what to expect from the Colonials but came away impressed.

"I think people are still feeling this team out," said Ward 2 City Councilor Peter White, who attended 30 games this year. "I don't think people realize how good a quality of baseball this is."

The Colonials had three of the Can-Am League's top four hitters this past season, including outfielder Dan Carte, who led the league with a .347 average.

Taken in the second round of the 2005 Major League Baseball draft by the Colorado Rockies, Carte was picked up by the Colonials after the Rockies released him on the last day of spring training. He had played for Colorado's Class AA affiliate the previous two seasons.

Pittsfield resident Pete Ellsworth, who has attended games at Wahconah since the city had a Class AA Eastern League team in the 1960s, said he thinks the Colonials can attract more fans by holding more in-game promotions.

"If you come up with some idea on a July night and throw something out there, you'll go to a ballgame and make it worth a trip," Ellsworth said.

Lewis said the Colonials sold only about 50 season tickets this season, which he attributes to the team's late start in getting established in Pittsfield. He said he'd like to bump the season-ticket base to 500 or 600 next year.

"We put everything together in six weeks before the season started in terms of doing the things that we need to get done, and most teams start in October for the following year," he said.

The Colonials also owe the city between $10,000 and $12,000 for the 2010 season, but Lewis said that debt will be paid by the end of this year.

Through spokeswoman Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Mayor James M. Ruberto said he has spoken with Lewis about establishing a payment plan for that money and expects the situation to be resolved by the year's end.

Lewis said the team intends to approach companies, groups, camps, and other organizations during the offseason, and plans to expand its efforts beyond Berkshire County.

"We'll go as far east as Westfield, north to the Bennington [Vt.] area, south into Connecticut beyond Sheffield, and New York state as far as Hudson," Lewis said. "We had an awful lot of New Yorkers that actually drove over from Schenectady and Ghent. ... One guy came regularly from Saxtons River, Vt., with his family."

Players said they loved the Berkshires. Outfielder Quentin Davis and catcher Chris Torres have expressed an interest in remaining in Pittsfield during the offseason.

"I drove here, and it was like, this is it, man?" said Torres, a Vero Beach, Fla., native who was recalling his first impressions of Pittsfield. "But you go out to local places, meet local people."

"It grows on you really quick," added Davis, who is from Darlington, S.C. "Everybody looks out for everybody. It's kind of a like a small-town atmosphere. Just like where I came from."

Daubach, who played for the Pittsfield Mets of the New York-Penn League in 1992, said he believes the Colonials' play in 2010 bodes well for the future.

"There have been so many teams in and out of here," he said. "You have to earn the community's trust, and I think we did that."
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To reach Tony Dobrowolski: tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com or (413) 496-6224.
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"Duquette, other original owners: ‘No connection'"
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff, October 3, 2010

PITTSFIELD -- The Pittsfield Colonials changed the name of their ownership group in April, but the new entity still includes three partners who no longer are involved with the team.

Those three -- former Boston Red Sox General Manager Dan Duquette, U.S Military Baseball team operator Terrence Alvord, and Nokona Athletic Goods executive Jeremiah O'Connor -- are listed as managers of Pittsfield Colonials Baseball Club LLC, according to papers filed with the Secretary of State's office after the group changed its name from Boston Baseball All-Stars LLC.

But, "for all practical purposes, there is no connection with [the] three guys," current co-owner Leslie "Buddy" Lewis said.

Boston LLC brought the Colonials to Pittsfield from Nashua, N.H., last winter.

The name change to Pittsfield Colonials Baseball Club LLC occurred when New York City attorney Robert E. Seaman III joined the ownership group of the professional baseball franchise last spring, causing Alvord, O'Connor and Duquette to drop out of the team's day-to-day operations.

However, those three are still listed as managers of the new ownership group due to the way Seaman was brought on board.

"Technically, that group of which I'm a part of still owns that team. Technically," Lewis said. "The deal that we have with our partner [Seaman] is that this transaction was really handled more as a loan than an outright purchase."

Lewis said he used the Can-Am League franchise as collateral to secure the loan from Seaman, who funded the majority of the team's operating expenses this year, and Seaman helped pay off any additional expenses that the former ownership group incurred while operating the franchise in New Hampshire last season.

Due to his status as a lender, Seaman is not technically a member of the ownership group, Lewis said.

"He wanted to put his toe in the water," Lewis said. "So he did this as a loan. But for all practical purposes he has been an owner."

Lewis said that, at the end of this year, Seaman could choose either to assume control of the loan or the team because it was used as collateral in the loan. If Seaman took control of the franchise, he could move it out of Pittsfield, but Lewis said he's confident that scenario would not occur.

Seaman has not returned phone calls seeking comment from The Eagle.

"I can speak for Bob," Lewis said. "That's not going to happen. Bob is going to be here no matter what."

To help guarantee that the team remains in Pittsfield, and to retire the existing loan, Lewis said he and Seaman are working on a deal that will allow local investors to buy into a new limited liability company (LLC) they would form.

"We're putting together a private placement offering that will allow people to buy into a new LLC that would essentially buy the team and ensure the team stay here for years and years to come," Lewis said. "I'm out soliciting now."

Lewis said he and Seaman will be with the ownership group if local investors join.

Canadian-American League Commissioner Miles Wolff said the league's owners approved Seaman as part of the ownership group after Lewis brought him in to the group last spring. Seaman and Lewis will represent the Colonials in Lenox this week at the annual Can-Am League owners meeting, and Pittsfield's ownership situation will be addressed, Wolff said.

Canadian-American League Commissioner Miles Wolff said the league's owners approved Seaman as part of the ownership group after Lewis brought him in to the group last spring. Seaman and Lewis will represent the Colonials in Lenox this week at the annual Can-Am League owners meeting, and Pittsfield's ownership situation will be addressed, Wolff said.

Under state law, limited liability companies are required only to identify their officers -- not their investors -- in papers they file with the state.

Since 1905, Pittsfield has hosted 16 professional baseball teams, most recently the Colonials in 2010 and the Berkshire Black Bears in 2002 and ‘03.

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"Lewis' company filed for Chapter 7"
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff, October 6, 2010

PITTSFIELD -- The baseball bat and glove company co-owned by Pittsfield Colonials majorityowner Leslie "Buddy" Lewis filed for bankruptcy protection, but Pittsfield city officials said Tuesday they remain confident the Colonials will pay the city the $10,000 to $12,000 they owe.

Lewis' company -- Texas-based Nocona Leather Goods Co., which did business as Nocona Athletic Goods and operated facilities in Worcester and Fall River -- was sold to Cutter Gloves of Phoenix last month after its assets were acquired by Boston Private Bank following a Chapter 7 liquidation filing in August.

Lewis' company -- Texas-based Nocona Leather Goods Co., which did business as Nocona Athletic Goods and operated facilities in Worcester and Fall River -- was sold to Cutter Gloves of Phoenix last month after its assets were acquired by Boston Private Bank following a Chapter 7 liquidation filing in August.

According to papers filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Boston, the claims against Nocona totaled $471,414.

The largest claim, $277,791, was filed by former Nocona CEO Jeremiah O'Connor, a Waltham resident who along with Lewis was part of the ownership group that brought the Colonials to Pittsfield from Nashua, N.H., last winter.

The Colonials came to the Berkshires after being locked out of their stadium at the end of the 2009 season for failing to pay the city of Nashua $45,000 in operating expenses. Lewis said he expects the professional, independent-league team to pay its $10,000 to $12,000 debt to Pittsfield by the end of the year.

Those expenses were incurred by the Canadian-American League team this year, Lewis said. He also said Nashua was paid what it was owed.

Clifford J. Nilan, chairman of the Pittsfield Park Commission, said Tuesday that he knew Nocona had been sold, but he did not know the company had filed for bankruptcy. Nevertheless, he said the city is confident the Colonials will meet their financial obligations.

"He [Lewis] has told us that he will pay the money, and I have confidence in him because he has said that he wants to remain in Pittsfield," Nilan said. "If he wants to remain in Pittsfield, the bills have to be paid, and I'm sure they will be.

"Everything he has said he would do, he has done for us," Nilan added.

The ownership group that included Lewis and O'Connor also operated a New England Collegiate Baseball League franchise at Wahconah Park in 2009 that owed the city $24,000 at the end of that season. The group sold the NECBL team last winter partly to settle that debt.

"Buddy and I have been through this before," Mayor James M. Ruberto said, referring to the payment of the NECBL team's debt. "As in the past, Buddy keeps me up to date on his cash flow. I fully expect that [the Colonials' debt] will be taken care of no later than the first quarter [of 2011], if not by the end of the year."

The Park Commission oversees Wahconah Park -- the Colonials' home base -- on behalf of the city.

Lewis has said repeatedly that the Colonials will return to Pittsfield for a second season in 2011, and that he'll spend the offseason using marketing strategies to help ensure that the team remain in the city beyond next year.

The Colonials have one year left on their lease with the city, and Nilan has said he's had preliminary discussions with Lewis about extending the lease.

Lewis said Nocona's decision to file for bankruptcy was due to a "combination of things," including insufficient funding and the current economic situation.

Canadian-American League Commissioner Miles Wolff said he was unaware that Nocona had filed for bankruptcy.

"It's the first time I've heard of it, so I can't really comment on that," Wolff said.

Nocona president Rob Storey has remained with the company under its new business arrangement, but Lewis no longer is involved with Nocona, one of the lone remaining American manufacturers of baseball and softball gloves.

Nocona makes them under the differently spelled brand name, Nokona.On Tuesday, Lewis said his primary occupation now is as the co-owner of the Colonials, whom he operates with New York City attorney Robert E. Seaman III.

"My full-time occupation is this team," Lewis said.

In 2010, that team rode a second-half surge to the league championship series, where it lost to Quebec in four games.
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"Colonials need clarity"
The Berkshire Eagle, Editorial, October 7, 2010

That a baseball bat and glove company that Pittsfield Colonials' co-owner Leslie "Buddy" Lewis was an investor in filed for bankruptcy protection should concern the city of Pittsfield and not necessarily because it will have any impact on the Colonials' return in 2011. It is worrisome that neither the city Parks Commission nor the Can-Am League knew about it, which contributes to the nebulous nature of the team's status that Mr. Lewis must clarify.

Mr. Lewis was the lead investor in the group that bought 50 percent ownership of the bat and glove company, which did business as Nocona Athletic Goods, and whose assets have been sold to a similar company in Phoenix. The claims against the failed company of $471,414 are not Mr. Lewis' burden alone, but considering the problems the franchise confronted in New Hampshire in 2009, when it was locked out of the ballpark for financial reasons before moving to Pittsfield this year, any monetary issues involving Mr. Lewis are going to set off alarms.

It appeared that three members of the ownership team in Nashua were no longer connected with the team in Pittsfield, but as readers learned in Sunday's Eagle they are still listed on papers filed with the secretary of state. Mr. Lewis says that "technically" they are not part of the ownership team and "for all practical purposes" they are not connected to current ownership, but those heavily qualified statements raise more questions than they answer. The same can be said of the refusal of co-owner Richard Seaman III, who joined the ownership group this year, to return phone calls from The Eagle concerning issues involving the team and its future.

Mr. Lewis earned considerable good will this summer with solid baseball and a fan-friendly product and Pittsfield wants the Colonials to succeed. To do so, and to attract local investors and win the confidence of the business community, he must be up front about his and the team's financial status, and bring clarity to the murky, confusing status of the ownership group.

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"Colonials' contract with Wahconah set"
By Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle Staff, February 20, 2011

PITTSFIELD -- The Pittsfield Colonials have a new three-year license to use Wahconah Park, which team officials say signifies the professional baseball club's commitment to the city.

By a 5-0 vote, the city's Parks Commission has approved an agreement that runs from May 1, 2011 to Sept. 15, 2013. The license will annually cost the Colonials $26,310 to play a 54-game schedule at the historic ballyard.

It also contains provisions that allow the Colonials to extend the contract or for the city to opt out, according to commission Chairman Clifford J. Nilan. The commission oversees Wahconah Park on behalf of the city.

The new license, finalized on Tuesday night, replaces one the Colonials inherited from the American Defenders of Pittsfield who left after the 2009 season. The Colonials arrived in Pittsfield last year after the Can-Am League approved the transfer of the franchise from Nashua, N.H., where it had run into financial problems. Following a slow start, the Colonials rode a second-half surge all the way to the league's championship series, where they lost to defending champion Quebec.

However, the team struggled at the gate, finishing last in the six-team league in attendance, drawing an average of 702 fans per game at 3,500-seat Wahconah Park. Since the league has expanded to eight teams, the Colonials' home schedule has increased from 43 to 54 games.

Team owner Leslie "Buddy" Lewis plans to boost attendance by showcasing a local nonprofit organization at each home game, holding special events for city children and staging a high school baseball tournament.

"One problem the community has had is wrapping its arms around a team," he said. "This license is an important step in our staying in Pittsfield."

While the Colonials are an independent team and not affiliated with a major league club, Lewis emphasized the ballplayers' skill level is comparable to other minor leagues.

"The caliber of baseball is similar to a high single-A or low double-A team," he said.

The Colonials open the 2011 season at Wahconah Park on May 26, playing against New Jersey.

Meanwhile, the Pittsfield Winter Sports Committee, which ran the annual Pittsfield Winter Carnival for many years, presented a $3,054 check to the Parks Commission $3,054 for use by Recreation and Activities Coordinator Rebecca Tefft.

In addition, the defunct committee donated $2,500 to the Pittsfield Speed Skating Club in honor of long time committee members Carl and Pat Peaslee, both former speed skating officials. The committee had $5,500 left in its account when it disbanded last year.

To reach Dick Lindsay: rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com, or (413) 496-6233.

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"Post-season fiasco is final nail for team"
The Berkshire Eagle, Editorial, September 7, 2011

If the Pittsfield Colonials weren't already finished in the city, the shifting of the team's home playoff games to the road because of poor attendance at Wahconah Park was the clincher. Pittsfield's glory days as a host of professional baseball ended a decade ago although the city has been periodically trying to revive them. Saturday's final home game of the Colonials' season should bring down the curtain.

The handful of loyal Colonials fans who are deprived of seeing the team pursue a league championship are the biggest losers here. Because the players get a percentage of the gate at playoff games, the Colonials themselves will make more money playing before bigger crowds elsewhere. Neither the Colonials or the Can Am League come out looking particularly good but they will be history here soon enough.

The Colonials and CEO/President Leslie "Buddy" Lewis, fleeing a bad situation in New Hampshire two years ago, were doomed from the start for reasons that have been cited here before. While the city made some significant improvements to "historic" Wahconah Park, there is no papering over the many reasons why major league-affiliated minor league baseball found the park to be substandard. Independent baseball is a hard sell to any city that has had affiliated baseball. Finally, Pittsfield is a Red Sox city, not the baseball city it likes to see itself as, and the Colonials could not compete with NESN.

What little hope there was disappeared in June, not long after the season had begun, when Mr. Lewis announced that the team would fold or be moved if new revenue sources weren't found to cover the team's losses. This was a public relations disaster that the team tried to rectify days later at a press conference but the horse was out of the barn and romping through the outfield. The team had labeled itself a failure and a lame duck and there was no incentive for city or county fans to invest time or ticket money in it.

We learned from Monday's Eagle story that, in the words of Cam Am League Commissioner Miles Wolff, "league members have sort of been financing a lot of the operations in Pittsfield." While the Colonials still have two years remaining on their licensing agreement with the city it is impossible to imagine a scenario in which they return, and with league members no longer bankrolling the team it raises questions as to whether the Colonials will be able to pay the city or local service contractors any money they may be owed.

Since the disastrous referendum vote in 2001 that cost Pittsfield a new stadium and a New York-Penn League team to play in it, the city has endured a succession of failed professional teams in a variety of independent leagues that are in essence different incarnations of the same league. These recurrent failures are detrimental to a city trying to enhance its image. It's past time to accept reality and pull the plug. Pro baseball is done here.

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Wahconah Park, home of the Colonials, is seen behind a locked gate recently. The team’s principal owner says he’ll likely sell the team. (Ben Garver / Berkshire Eagle Staff)

"Owner to sell Colonials"
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff, September 24, 2011

PITTSFIELD -- The principal owner of the cash-strapped Pittsfield Colonials said on Friday that he intends to sell the Canadian-American League franchise to pay off the team’s debts, but doubts a local buyer will purchase the club.

Efforts to find a local buyer for the franchise, which moved to Pittsfield from Nashua, N.H. before the 2010 season, have been unsuccessful so far.

"I don’t think it will be local ownership," Lewis said. "I have tried every possibility. I really have."

Lewis said he would have a "clearer picture" about the Colonials’ fate following the Can-Am League’s annual meeting in Newark, N.J. on Oct. 3. The team closed its office in Pittsfield on Sept. 13.

"We’re trying along with the league to sell the franchise," Lewis said. "Whether it stays here or doesn’t stay here is incidental. The goal is to raise money to take care of any obligations."

The total amount of money that the team owes was unavailable on Friday, but the Colonials debts include $37,000 to the city of Pittsfield; $1,398 to freelance writer Dan Valenti of Stockbridge; and $337.50 that it has owed since last November to a graphic designer who lives in Connecticut.

According to Mayor James M. Ruberto, the Colonials owe the city of Pittsfield just over $37,000, a sum that includes the $26,310 licensing fee the team owes for the use of Wahconah Park this summer.

Ruberto said that sum will be reduced a little bit, because the city has yet to credit the team for any home games that were rained out at the park this season. The Colonials, who had several rainouts, do not have to pay the city their single-game fee of about $440 to use the park if a contest is canceled by rain, he said.

"I have met with him and talked with him about his obligation to the city," the mayor said, referring to Lewis. "He was not able to confirm when we can expect payment."

Ryan Farrington, who owns New Creation Graphic Arts in Seymour, Conn., has been owed money by the team since last year.

Farrington said he helped create the team’s logo, initial website, printed materials like last year’s program, advertisements and signs. The team has paid his company in the past, but Farrington said the current bill is for changes he made to the Colonials’ website and some vendor marketing materials.

In a telephone interview, Farrington said he has had only limited contact with the Colonials this year.

"The last time I talked with Buddy Lewis, I think, was back in June, and he said he was expecting some investment capital that would take care of the debt by the end of the week," Farrington said. "That never happened. Since then I’ve talked to the office manager, and they couldn’t promise me when they’d be able to pay it."

Farrington is not happy about the delays.

"I’m very disappointed that they seem to have bitten off more than they can chew," he said. "They order services that they can’t pay for. Their responses to paying bills are never efficient or regular. I enjoyed supporting the team, but I’m disappointed how it’s done on the financial end."

Valenti posted the amount the Colonials owe him in his online blog, Planet Valenti. On his blog, Valenti states he hasn’t seen "a whiff" of the money, and that Lewis has made "repeated promises" that the bills will be paid. Valenti did not respond to questions that were sent to him via email.

One vendor the team has settled with is Samel’s Deli & Catering owner Michael Roller, a chef who served as the team’s concessionaire the past two years. Instead of receiving a monetary sum from the Colonials in exchange for his work, Roller said he gave the team a percentage of his profits.

"I think that Buddy was forthright and honest with me," Roller said. "I never had any issues with his integrity or how things transpired. We were trying to make it succeed for the city.

"I think Buddy honestly, honestly did everything to make it work," he added. "Unfortunately, I think there are some debts out there. It wasn’t for his lack of trying to succeed."

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"Pittsfield could get another team"
By Matthew Sprague, Berkshire Eagle Staff, September 29, 2011

PITTSFIELD -- Summer collegiate league baseball could be on its way back to Pittsfield.

Pittsfield attorney Richard Johansen said on Wednesday that he is part of a group that has discussed purchasing the Old Orchard Beach Raging Tide of the New England Collegiate Baseball League.

The Portland (Maine) Press Herald reported Wednesday that an agreement has been reached to sell the club to an unidentified Pittsfield resident.

There has "been no purchase," Johansen said, but "we've had some conversation" regarding a sale. He said his group consists of between three to five members, whom he declined to name.

"[We have] been talking to them," he noted, adding that there are "quite a few contingencies" on both the NECBL's end and that of the potential owners. Johansen wouldn't disclose what those contigencies are, but noted that, for him, one of the stipulations would be moving any franchise the group purchased to Pittsfield.

"For my group, that's the only interest we have, is coming to Pittsfield," he said. "I guess we're not 100 percent sure there's not going to be an existing team in Pittsfield at this point. ... I think the bigger part is the opportunity and the availability of the team. The two seem to be coming together."

The Raging Tide finished last in the NECBL's Eastern Division last year with a 9-33 record, the worst mark among the league's 12 teams. The team's average home attendance was 455 per game, which ranked 10th in the league.

Club administrators could not be reached by phone Wednesday night.

If the Raging Tide does relocate to Pittsfield, it would likely put an end to the Pittsfield Colonials' two-year tenure at Wahconah Park. The Can-Am League team's president/CEO, Buddy Lewis, told The Eagle last week that he planned to seek a buyer for the cash-strapped team so that the franchise can meet its financial obligations.

Wahconah Park was home to an NECBL franchise between 2005 and 2009. Former Red Sox General Manager Dan Duquette originally brought the team from Hinsdale to Pittsfield, then formed a partnership with Lewis and two others who ran the team during its last season at Wahconah Park.

Lewis and Duquette were also involved in the partnership that owned a Can-Am League franchise in Nashua, N.H. that they moved to Pittsfield in 2010 and renamed the Colonials. That same group sold Pittsfield's NECBL franchise to a group from Bristol, Conn. in order to pay some outstanding debts.

The Colonials were plagued by low attendance in each of the two years that they played in Pittsfield. Attendance at Wahconah Park was so low that the Can-Am League required the Colonials to play all of the team's playoff games on the road this season.

Mayor James M. Ruberto said Wednesday that he had no formal confirmation from anyone within Johansen's group. But he said the city has drawn interest from three parties who want to put a summer collegiate-league franchise back in Pittsfield for 2012.

Ruberto, Pittsfield Parks Commission Chair Dr. John P. Herman, and former board chair Clifford J. Nilan met Wednesday to discuss moving forward in evaluating the interested parties. The mayor added that he is "not overwhelmingly optimistic" that the Can-Am League wants to return to Pittsfield in 2012.

"What I'm hoping out of [the league's scheduled Oct. 3 meeting] is for the league to so state they have a franchise ready to come to Pittsfield. I would prefer to see professional baseball in Pittsfield, and it's a theme I have advanced since I became mayor.

"Having said that, I have no idea what the league will do."

NECBL President John DeRosa, who moved into the league's front office after stepping down as the North Adams SteepleCats' president, said the league has received no requests for either moving franchises or having teams play at different venues.

"I'm aware of some discussions, but I'm not privy to those," DeRosa said. "I think, in small communities, summer collegiate baseball is ideal for communities the size of Pittsfield, North Adams and Holyoke. You see great baseball. Once these teams become part of the community, you see a great fondness by the fans in adopting the team."

The most recent league meeting was in mid-September, and DeRosa said the next league meeting will likely be held in October or November. He added, though, that it was possible the league could meet earlier if there is business to conduct.

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Wahconah Park may or may not have a baseball tenant in the summer of 2012. One thing is for certain: it won’t be the Pittsfield Colonials. (Caroline Bonnivier Snyder)

"Colonials won't return; team's charter revoked by Can-Am League"
By Howard Herman, Berkshire Eagle Staff, October 4, 2011

The Pittsfield Colonials are no more.

Team owner Buddy Lewis said the Can-Am League's owners voted to rescind the team's membership in the league.

"We've been trying to get investors. We were unsuccessful in doing that," Lewis said in a phone interview following the league meetings in Newark, N.J. "We were trying to keep [the team] here."

Lewis said the team's inability to refresh a $200,000 line of credit helped lead to the demise of the franchise.

It marks the second consecutive season that a Can-Am League team will not return for the next season. The Sussex Skyhawks did not return to the league after the 2010 season.

Can-Am League commissioner Miles Wolff could not be reached for comment Monday.

And like the Skyhawks players, the 17 members of the Colonials who had their contract options picked up will be available in a dispersal draft. No date for that draft has been set.

"That's the sad part," Colonials manager Jamie Keefe said in a phone interview Monday night. "It kills you. All 23-24 of us, these guys played their hearts out for me, the City of Pittsfield and most importantly, for themselves.

"It was a great group of guys. It's kind of like breaking up a family."

According to Lewis, the "family" almost didn't break up.

The former Colonials owner said that league officials had been speaking with a group based in Quebec about purchasing the franchise. There had been talk during the summer that Trois Rivieres, Que., a site that played host to a regular-season league series, was going to be added to the Can-Am League.

Lewis said the owners were told at the meeting that the potential sale had fallen through.

"We thought up to the last minute that we would have been able to sell the team and recoup something out of it," Lewis said. "We all thought they were ready to go. A deal is not a deal until the check clears."

The Colonials brought up the rear in Can-Am League attendance for the second consecutive season, but their season average of 844 fans in 44 dates was an improvement over 2010's average of 717 in 42 dates. The Colonials were only 153 fans per game behind Newark, as the Bears averaged 997 in 52 openings.

"I'm very sorry to see that [baseball is not] going to continue in Pittsfield," Colonials season ticket holder Joseph Ryan of Pittsfield said. "I thnk we had excellent baseball that was not supported."

Ryan has held season tickets for professional and collegiate league baseball every year since the Pittsfield Cubs of the Eastern League arrived in the city for the 1985 season. He was not only a season ticket holder, but frequently played "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" on his banjo during the seventh-innng stretch.

"I really enjoyed the level of ball that was played at Wahconah Park," Ryan said.

The struggles of 2011 were not lost on Keefe and the players, as the team and league did what it could to make certain the Colonials would not give up the ghost during the season.

"We did everything within our power to make sure that didn't happen," said Keefe. "These guys had to bite the bullet this time and do their jobs."

While the team struggled businesswise, it did anything but on the field.

The team did not win a league title in its two seasons, but the Colonials did claim the second-half championship in 2010. Pittsfield earned a pair of playoff berths in two years. The Colonials reached the league championship series last year, losing to Quebec. This past summer, the Colonials reached the playoffs once again but lost to New Jersey in a best-of-five series.

Lewis said that now with the team's fate determined, the staff can begin to collect outstanding debts and pay off outstanding debts.

The Colonials owner saw the writing on the wall during the meeting, but that didn't keep the outcome of the meeting concerning the team from hurting.

"It was difficult because it was the end of a dream for me, to keep pro baseball in the Berkshires," said Lewis. "We could not get the support we needed. It's been a tough couple of years financially. We tried our best."

As to the future, there has been word that the New England Collegiate Baseball League and perhaps the New England-based Futures Collegiate Baseball League are interested in placing a team in Pittsfield.

While Ryan is disappointed that the Colonials won't be back, he looks forward to another summer of baseball at the old park on Wahconah Street.

"As long as you have cold beer and wood bats," he said with a chuckle, "I'll be there."

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"Baseball coming back to Pittsfield"
By Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle Staff, November 23, 2011

PITTSFIELD -- The Pittsfield Park Commission has opted for experienced over local unproven ownership in choosing the next baseball team to call Wahconah Park its summer home.

By a 5-0 vote, the commission Tuesday night recommended the Goldklang Group negotiate a license agreement with Mayor James M. Ruberto to operate an expansion franchise at the historic ball yard starting in 2012. Ruberto was unavailable for comment about the decision.

The unnamed team would play a 54-game schedule -- 27 at home -- in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League.

Goldklang has offered to pay Pittsfield an annual fee of $13,500, plus $440 per game to field team at Wahconah Park, an offer matched in recent days by the proposed Pittsfield Panthers, who originally proposed a $2,500 annual fee and $400 per game.

The New Jersey-based organization won out over the backers of the Panthers of the New England Collegiate Baseball league led by city residents Richard Johansen and Tom Goggins. The NECBL previously had a local franchise in the Pittsfield Dukes, later renamed the American Defenders, from 2005 through 2009.

While the commission vote was officially unanimous for unity’s sake, the board was actually split over which ownership group should succeed the financially troubled Pittsfield Colonials. The Can-Am League team folded this fall after spending the past two seasons at Wahconah Park.

Commission members Anthony Simonelli, Simon Muil and Michele Matthews gave the edge to Goldklang while Clifford Nilan and chairman Dr. John Herman supported the Panthers.

"If a professional baseball group wants to come to Pittsfield, I vote for the Goldklang Group," said Matthews.

"Our history speaks for itself," said Jeff Goldklang, the group’s managing director, after the meeting. "We have four successful minor league teams."

The Goldklang Group -- chaired by Jeff’s father, New York Yankees limited partner Marvin Goldklang -- currently owns baseball franchises in New York, South Carolina, Florida and Minnesota.

Despite the lack of baseball ownership experience, Nilan felt the Pittsfield Panthers would provide a pair of local rivalries with two of the other 12 NECBL teams.

"With the league having teams in North Adams and Holyoke, it would help Pittsfield," he said.

The nearest Futures league team is in Torrington, Conn.

Johansen was gracious in defeat and is willing to help the city’s newest baseball franchise succeed.

"[Goldklang and I] had a little conversation about that after the meeting," he said. "We’ve offered to do what we can for them and the city."

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"Baseball tries again"
The Berkshire Eagle, Editorial, November 24, 2011

Pittsfield is better off with baseball than it is without it, and ideally the new Futures League franchise given the go-ahead Tuesday night to negotiate a license agreement with the city by the Park Commission will succeed where others have not. It shouldn’t shock anyone, however, if this is another two years-and-out situation.

The commission chose the Futures Collegiate Baseball League franchise over a group representing the New England Collegiate Baseball League, and while the commission approved the Futures franchise 5-0 for the record, its members were actually split 3-2 in favor of the Futures offer during the course of their deliberation. Both groups made well-crafted proposals and neither group is a sure thing, which accounts for the divide. There was no bad choice and no clear one.

The Goldklang Group associated with the Futures League initially made a higher fee offer to the city and has the advantage of the experience gained through its ownership of four minor league franchises affiliated with Major League baseball. The NECBL, which like the FCBL is stocked with amateur undergraduate players, has been in the city before and while it would appear to offer a natural rivalry with its North Adams franchise, no such rivalry emerged during the previous incarnation of an NECBL franchise in the city.

North Adams appears to have taken its amateur franchise to heart in a way Pittsfield has not done with any franchise in some time, and the Goldklang Group will have to locate the key to getting the city interested, assuming such a key still exists. Pittsfield has supported affiliated pro baseball but no team has drawn well since the New York Penn-League left more than a decade ago. Damp Wahconah Park is not a pleasant place to watch a baseball game, and with rainy summers becoming commonplace, the disadvantage of the park’s location in a swamp is magnified.

It is remarkable that no matter how many times baseball fails in Pittsfield there is always some group -- in this case two -- that believes it can succeed here. We admire that optimism and wish the FCBL group the best, but it faces a major selling job and long odds against success.

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"Officials see bright future for Suns in Pittsfield"
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle, August 27, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- After a decade of failure, Pittsfield may have finally found a franchise that will make a long-term contribution to the city's rich baseball tradition at historic Wahconah Park.

Buoyed by better than expected attendance during their inaugural season this summer, the Pittsfield Suns are currently laying the groundwork that team management says could keep the Futures League franchise in Pittsfield beyond its current license agreement with the city, which expires in 2014.

General manager/coach Jamie Keefe said that it is "150 percent" certain that the summer collegiate baseball league franchise will return to Pittsfield in 2013 to fulfill the second year of its three-year license agreement with the city. The New Jersey-based Goldklang Group, which owns the Suns and three other baseball franchises across the country, believes the team could remain in Pittsfield beyond the next two years.

"As baseball operators our history has been to establish roots and remain in markets long term," said Jeff Goldklang, the managing director of the Goldklang Group, in an email message. "Our first year in Pittsfield gives us tremendous hope that we can do just that."

Pittsfield's New York Penn League franchise left in 2001, but none of the four succeeding teams has stayed at Wahconah Park for more than three years. Pittsfield's long history with minor league, independent league, and summer collegiate baseball league franchises dates back to 1905.

Goldklang said his group has had "casual discussions" with city officials about the Suns' long-term prospects in Pittsfield, and "that it appears the feelings are mutual."

"As an aside, the city has been a phenomenal partner," he added. "They have been very understanding of our short- and long-term needs, and have worked with us to provide needed enhancements to Wahconah Park."

Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi could not be reached for comment on Saturday.

Before the season began, Goldklang said the Suns probably wouldn't make a "real dollar" profit this year, because of the money the ownership group had to spend in start-up costs, which he estimated then could run as high as six figures.

The Suns' figures for the 2012 season haven't been finalized yet, because the team is still paying bills related to the season, according to both Keefe and assistant general manager Kevin McGuire.

"As I told the Park Commission in November, we never measure our success in year one in dollars and cents," Goldklang said. "We measure it in the impact we have on a new market and in key areas, and most importantly the feedback we receive from the our fans.

"We can unequivocally say that we've exceeded our expectations across the board," he said.

According to Keefe, the Suns began the season with the goal of averaging 800 fans per game in 3,500-seat Wahconah Park, but ended up averaging 1,344 in 24 home dates, the second-best total among the Futures League's nine teams. The Suns overall home attendance of 32,261 was also the league's second best.

Unlike the rest of the Suns' management, Keefe had previous ties to Pittsfield, having spent 2011 managing the Pittsfield Colonials of the independent Canadian American League, which struggled at the gate during the two years they played at Wahconah Park, averaging 717 and 844 fans in 2010 and 2011.

Keefe attributes "ownership and the workforce" as the differences between the Colonials' failure and the Suns' success this summer. Keefe and Jackie Wendling, the Suns' director of client services, are the only two former Colonials employees who stayed with the Suns.

"I can't even begin to tell you the difference," Keefe said.

Another key to the Suns' success this year, according to Keefe, was the team's ingame promotions, which were coordinated by McGuire, who had been in charge of those services last year for the New York Penn League's Hudson Valley Renegades, who are also ow ned by the Goldklang Group. Those services featured contests that allowed fans to participate in on-field activities between innings.

"Our between-inning promotions blow anybody in this league, or anybody in the Can-Am League, or anybody that's been here, away," Keefe said.

Due to the recent failure of other franchises who played at Wahconah Park, Keefe and McGuire said the Suns' relationship with the local business community started slowly.

"This year was kind of tough," McGuire said. "People wanted to see how we would do. It was show me, and I'll get on board."

But McGuire said, the Suns finished the season with 25 sponsored signs in the outfield, and some 60 contributors when advertisements featured in the team's scorecard are added in.

The Suns intend to do more legwork in that area during the offseason.

"We've already started," McGuire said.

The Suns initially established their offices in a trailer at Wahconah Park. Other teams that have played in Pittsfield set up offices outside of the park, but Keefe and McGuire said the Suns intend to remain where they are.

"Having multiple locations makes it tough to find you," McGuire said. "This is where we feel we belong."

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"Pittsfield Suns manager taking job with UMass-Lowell team"
By Howard Herman, Berkshire Eagle, September 19, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- When the Pittsfield Suns take the field in June 2013, they will do it with someone new guiding the team.

Jamie Keefe, who was the team’s general manager and field manager for its inaugural season, is giving up both positions to take a job as the assistant head coach at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. He will remain in his positions in Pittsfield until the end of the month.

Keefe, who was a coach and a manager with the Pittsfield Colonials during the team’s Can-Am League tenure, led the Suns to a 27-25 season in their inaugural Futures Baseball League season.

Keefe said the offer was too good to pass up, and said it was as much a personal decision as a professional one. This way, he can be with his sons Brigham and Brooks more often.

"I’m almost 3 1/2 hours from my boys" in Pittsfield, Keefe said during a meeting in his office Wednesday. "The Goldklang Group has been wonderful, and every Friday they let me take off at 11 a.m. to go get them. It’s still very tough. I don’t get to see as many games as I want. I don’t get to go to practices. Those are things I’m not able to do."

Keefe will be replacing Keith Beauregard, who has accepted a Division I coaching position at Santa Clara University. Beauregard was Keefe’s bench coach in 2011 with the Pittsfield Colonials.

Kevin McGuire, who was the assistant general manager in the team’s first season, will slide into the general manager’s position. McGuire said the team hopes to have a new manager in place by Thanksgiving.

"It’s bittersweet for the franchise," Suns owner Jeff Goldklang said in a statement. "You never want to lose a great baseball man, but his work has left us on very solid footing."

Keefe said that he would continue to work at putting together a roster for the 2013 season. He said there are agreements with several players, and the rest of the roster should be falling into place.

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"Ethics commission takes no action on complaint against senators"
By Frank Phillips, Boston Globe Staff, April 22, 2016

Folks trying to prod the State Ethics Commission to investigate a Senate junket to Israel have discovered that the watchdog agency does not have quite the bite they might have hoped.

The commission, it turns out, is doing what its self-imposed regulations dictate — simply taking for granted the words of the public officials it is supposed to bring to heel.

And indeed, relying solely on the lawmakers’ filings with the commission, the agency has concluded that 10 state senators were clear of any potential ethics issues when they took a free junket to Israel worth $4,000 per person.

That gift to them came shortly after they and their colleagues unanimously passed pro-Israel legislation lobbied by the Boston based pro-Israeli group which arranged the trip and which is a registered State House lobbying outfit.

The commission sent a letter to Massachusetts Peace Action, which had filed a complaint about the trip, telling the group it was not taking any action. The reason: The senators said the trip was in the public interest, and they had filed the proper disclosures to the commission before they left for the 10-day tour.

“Prior to travelling, the subjects of your complaint filed the required written disclosures, which included their determination that the travel served a legitimate public purpose,’’ the commission’s deputy chief of investigations, Katherine E. Gallant, told the peace group in an April 7 letter.

In this case, the public purpose, as defined by the commission’s regulations, would be “activities that promote tourism, economic development, charitable, public health, environmental, or educational goals.”

No matter that little if anything in the itinerary, arranged by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, came close to that definition. It was almost all promotions of Israel’s institutions, visits to cultural and well-known tourist sites, and briefings on its security and political issues.

Still, the senators insist the Commonwealth benefited from the trip. “This trip will strengthen the partnership with Israel on a number of topics that are important to the Commonwealth such as tourism, energy, and higher education to name just a few,’’ wrote Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, who led the Senate delegation, in his disclosure form.

Nowhere on their forms did the senators mention their unanimous approval of the pro-Israel resolution over a controversial issue — pushed by the JCRC — several weeks before the trip.

The commission’s defenders say it has to depend on public officials’ own words that the public interest is at stake when taking such gifts because it does not have the resources to police all the issues that are brought to it.

And surely the Legislature is not about to beef up that agency budget.

Frank Phillips can be reached at phillips@globe.com.

----------

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About Me

My photo
Amherst, NH, United States
I am a citizen defending the people against corrupt Pols who only serve their Corporate Elite masters, not the people! / My 2 political enemies are Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr., nicknamed "Luciforo" and former Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr. / I have also pasted many of my political essays on "The Berkshire Blog": berkshireeagle.blogspot.com / I AM THE ANTI-FRANK GUINTA! / Please contact me at jonathan_a_melle@yahoo.com

50th Anniversary - 2009

50th Anniversary - 2009
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Columbus Avenue in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Pittsfield Politics: Capitanio, Mazzeo agree on budget cuts, public safety

Pittsfield Politics: Capitanio, Mazzeo agree on budget cuts, public safety
Paul Capitanio, left, speaks during Monday night's Ward 3 City Council debate with fellow candidate Melissa Mazzeo at Pittsfield Community Television's studio. The special election (3/31/2009) will be held a week from today (3/24/2009). The local issues ranged from economic development and cleaning up blighted areas in Ward 3 to public education and the continued remediation of PCB's.

Red Sox v Yankees

Red Sox v Yankees
Go Red Sox!

Outrage swells in Congress!

Outrage swells in Congress!
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., left, and the committee's ranking Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., listen during a hearing on modernizing insurance regulations, Tuesday, March 17, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh). - http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20090318/pl_politico/30833

Beacon Hill's $pecial Interest Tax Raisers & $PENDERS!

Beacon Hill's $pecial Interest Tax Raisers & $PENDERS!
Photo Gallery: www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/15/St_Patricks_Day_Boston/

The path away from Wall Street ...

The path away from Wall Street ...
...Employers in the finance sector - traditionally a prime landing spot for college seniors, particularly in the Northeast - expect to have 71 percent fewer jobs to offer this year's (2009) graduates.

Economic collapse puts graduates on unforeseen paths: Enrollment in public service jobs rising...

Economic collapse puts graduates on unforeseen paths: Enrollment in public service jobs rising...
www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/14/economic_collapse_puts_graduates_on_unforeseen_paths/

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis
Should he be fired? As Bank of America's Stock Plummets, CEO Resists Some Calls That He Step Down.

Hookers for Jesus

Hookers for Jesus
Annie Lobert is the founder of "Hookers for Jesus" - www.hookersforjesus.net/home.cfm - Saving Sin City: Las Vegas, Nevada?

Forever personalized stamped envelope

Forever personalized stamped envelope
The Forever stamp will continue to cover the price of a first-class letter. The USPS will also introduce Forever personalized, stamped envelopes. The envelopes will be preprinted with a Forever stamp, the sender's name and return address, and an optional personal message.

Purple Heart

Purple Heart
First issued in 2003, the Purple heart stamp will continue to honor the men and women wounded while serving in the US military. The Purple Heart stamp covers the cost of 44 cents for first-class, one-ounce mail.

Dolphin

Dolphin
The bottlenose is just one of the new animals set to appear on the price-change stamps. It will serve as a 64-cent stamp for odd shaped envelopes.

2009 price-change stamps

2009 price-change stamps
www.boston.com/business/gallery/2009pircechangestamps/ -&- www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2009/02/27/new_stamps_set_for_rate_increase_in_may/

Red Sox v Yankees

Red Sox v Yankees
Go Red Sox!

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama
AP photo v Shepard Fairey

Rush Limbaugh lackeys

Rush Limbaugh lackeys
Posted by Dan Wasserman of the Boston Globe on March 3, 2009.

Honest Abe

Honest Abe
A 2007 US Penny

Dog race

Dog race
Sledding for dogs

The Capital of the Constitution State

The Capital of the Constitution State
Hartford, once the wealthiest city in the United States but now the poorest in Connecticut, is facing an uphill battle.

Brady, Bundchen married

Brady, Bundchen married
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and model Gisele Bundchen wed Feb. 26, 2009 in a Catholic ceremony in Los Angeles. www.boston.com/ae/celebrity/gallery/tom_gisele/

Mayor Jimmy Ruberto

Mayor Jimmy Ruberto
Tanked Pittsfield's local economy while helping his fellow insider political hacks and business campaign contributors!

Journalist Andrew Manuse

Journalist Andrew Manuse
www.manuse.com

New Hampshire Supreme Court Building

New Hampshire Supreme Court Building
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Hampshire_Supreme_Court

Economic State of the Union

Economic State of the Union
A look at some of the economic conditions the Obama administration faces and what resources have already been pledged to help. 2/24/2009

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama
The president addresses the nation's governors during a dinner in the State Dinning Room, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari).

The Oscars - 2/22/2009.

The Oscars - 2/22/2009.
Hugh Jackman and Beyoncé Knowles teamed up for a musical medley during the show.

The 81st Academy Awards - Oscars - 2009

The 81st Academy Awards - Oscars - 2009
Hugh Jackman pulled actress Anne Hathaway on stage to accompany him during his opening musical number.

Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow
A Progressive News Commentator

$500,000 per year

$500,000 per year
That is chump change for the corporate elite!

THE CORPORATE ELITE...

THE CORPORATE ELITE...
Jeffrey R. Immelt, chairman and chief executive of General Electric

The Presidents' Club

The Presidents' Club
Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton & Carter.

5 Presidents: Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton, & Carter!

5 Presidents: Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton, & Carter!
White House Event: January 7, 2009.

Bank Bailout!

Bank Bailout!
v taxpayer

Actress Elizabeth Banks

Actress Elizabeth Banks
She will present an award to her hometown (Pittsfield) at the Massachusetts State House next month (1/2009). She recently starred in "W" and "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," and just signed a $1 million annual contract to be a spokesmodel for Paris.

Joanna Lipper

Joanna Lipper
Her award-winning 1999 documentary, "Growing Up Fast," about teenaged mothers in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Happy Holidays...

Happy Holidays...
...from "Star Wars"

Massachusetts "poor" economy

Massachusetts "poor" economy
Massachusetts is one of the wealthiest states, but it is also very inequitable. For example, it boasts the nation's most lucrative lottery, which is just a system of regressive taxation so that the corporate elite get to pay less in taxes!

Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon
Hollywood Actress

Peter G. Arlos.

Peter G. Arlos.
Arlos is shown in his Pittsfield office in early 2000.

Turnpike OK's hefty toll hikes

Turnpike OK's hefty toll hikes
Big Dig - East-west commuters take hit; Fees at tunnels would double. 11/15/2008.

The Pink Panther 2

The Pink Panther 2
Starring Steve Martin

Police ABUSE

Police ABUSE
I was a victim of Manchester Police Officer John Cunningham's ILLEGAL USES of FORCE! John Cunningham was reprimanded by the Chief of Police for disrespecting me. John Cunningham yelled at a witness: "I don't care if he (Jonathan Melle) is disabled!"

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
The 44th US President!

Vote

Vote
Elections

The Bailout & the economic stimulus check

The Bailout & the economic stimulus check
A political cartoon by Dan Wasserman

A rainbow over Boston

A rainbow over Boston
"Rainbows galore" 10/2/2008

Our nation's leaders!

Our nation's leaders!
President Bush with both John McCain & Barack Obama - 9/25/2008.

Massachusetts & Big Dig: Big hike in tolls for Pike looming (9/26/2008).

Massachusetts & Big Dig: Big hike in tolls for Pike looming (9/26/2008).
$5 rise at tunnels is one possibility $1 jump posed for elsewhere.

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
My FAVORITE Journalist EVER!

9/11/2008 - A Show of Unity!

9/11/2008 - A Show of Unity!
John McCain and Barack Obama appeared together at ground zero in New York City - September 11, 2008.

John McCain...

John McCain...
...has all but abandoned the positions on taxes, torture and immigration. (A cartoon by Dan Wasserman. September 2008).

Dan Wasserman

Dan Wasserman
The deregulated chickens come home to roost... in all our pocketbooks. September 2008.

Sarah Palin's phobia

Sarah Palin's phobia
A scripted candidate! (A cartoon by Dan Wasserman).

Dan Wasserman

Dan Wasserman
Family FInances - September, 2008.

Mark E. Roy

Mark E. Roy
Ward 1 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Theodore “Ted” L. Gatsas

Theodore “Ted” L. Gatsas
Ward 2 Alderman (& NH State Senator) for Manchester, NH (2008).

Peter M. Sullivan

Peter M. Sullivan
Ward 3 (downtown) Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Jim Roy

Jim Roy
Ward 4 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Ed Osborne

Ed Osborne
Ward 5 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Real R. Pinard

Real R. Pinard
Ward 6 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

William P. Shea

William P. Shea
Ward 7 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Betsi DeVries

Betsi DeVries
Ward 8 Alder-woman (& NH State Senator) for Manchester, NH (2008).

Michael Garrity

Michael Garrity
Ward 9 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

George Smith

George Smith
Ward 10 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Russ Ouellette

Russ Ouellette
Ward 11 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Kelleigh (Domaingue) Murphy

Kelleigh (Domaingue) Murphy
Ward 12 Alder-woman for Manchester, NH (2008).

“Mike” Lopez

“Mike” Lopez
At-Large Alderman for Manchester, NH. (2008).

Daniel P. O’Neil

Daniel P. O’Neil
At-Large Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Sarah Palin for Vice President.

Sarah Palin for Vice President.
Republican John McCain made the surprise pick of Alaska's governor Sarah Palin as his running mate today, August 29, 2008.

U.S. Representative John Olver, D-Amherst, Massachusetts.

U.S. Representative John Olver, D-Amherst, Massachusetts.
Congressman Olver said the country has spent well over a half-trillion dollars on the war in Iraq while the situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate. 8/25/08.

Ed O'Reilly for US Senate in Massachusetts!

Ed O'Reilly for US Senate in Massachusetts!
John Kerry's 9/2008 challenger in the Democratic Primary.

Shays' Rebellion

Shays' Rebellion
In a tax revolt, Massachusetts farmers fought back during Shays' Rebellion in the mid-1780s after The American Revolutionary War.

Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore
Actress. "The Big Lebowski" is one of my favorite movies. I also like "The Fugitive", too.

Rinaldo Del Gallo III & "Superman"

Rinaldo Del Gallo III & "Superman"
Go to: http://www.berkshirefatherhood.com/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=699&cntnt01returnid=69

"Income chasm widening in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"

"Income chasm widening in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"
The gap between rich and poor has widened substantially in Massachusetts over the past two decades. (8/15/2008).

Dan "Bureaucrat" Bosley

Dan "Bureaucrat" Bosley
"The Bosley Amendment": To create tax loopholes for the wealthiest corporate interests in Massachusetts!

John Edwards and...

John Edwards and...
...Rielle Hunter. WHO CARES?!

Rep. Edward J. Markey

Rep. Edward J. Markey
He wants online-privacy legislation. Some Web Firms Say They Track Behavior Without Explicit Consent.

Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan
She gained fame with her antiwar vigil outside the Bush ranch.

Olympics kick off in Beijing

Olympics kick off in Beijing
Go USA!

Exxon Mobil 2Q profit sets US record, shares fall

Exxon Mobil 2Q profit sets US record, shares fall
In this May 1, 2008, file photo, a customer pumps gas at an Exxon station in Middleton, Mass. Exxon Mobil Corp. reported second-quarter earnings of $11.68 billion Thursday, July 31, the biggest quarterly profit ever by any U.S. corporation, but the results were well short of Wall Street expectations and its shares fell as markets opened. (AP Photo/Lisa Poole, File) 7/31/2008.

Onota Lake 'Sea Serpent'

Onota Lake 'Sea Serpent'
Some kind of monster on Onota Lake. Five-year-old Tyler Smith rides a 'sea serpent' on Onota Lake in Pittsfield, Mass. The 'monster,' fashioned by Smith's grandfather, first appeared over July 4 weekend. (Photo courtesy of Ron Smith). 7/30/2008.

Al Gore, Jr.

Al Gore, Jr.
Al Gore issues challenge on energy

The Norman Rockwell Museum

The Norman Rockwell Museum
Stockbridge, Massachusetts

"Big Dig"

"Big Dig"
Boston's financially wasteful pork barrel project!

"Big Dig"

"Big Dig"
Boston's pork barrel public works project cost 50 times more than the original price!

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
My favorite journalist EVER!

U.S. Rep. John Olver, state Sen. Stan Rosenberg and Selectwomen Stephanie O'Keeffe and Alisa Brewer

U.S. Rep. John Olver, state Sen. Stan Rosenberg and Selectwomen Stephanie O'Keeffe and Alisa Brewer
Note: Photo from Mary E Carey's Blog.

Tanglewood

Tanglewood
Boston Symphony Orchestra music director James Levine.

Google

Google
Chagall

Jimmy Ruberto

Jimmy Ruberto
Faces multiple persecutions under the Massachusetts "Ethics" conflict of interest laws.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
Obama vows $500m in faith-based aid.

John McCain

John McCain
He is with his wife, Cindy, who were both met by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe (right) upon arriving in Cartagena.

Daniel Duquette

Daniel Duquette
Sold Mayor James M. Ruberto of Pittsfield two tickets to the 2004 World Series at face value.

Hillary & Barack in Unity, NH - 6/27/2008

Hillary & Barack in Unity, NH - 6/27/2008
Clinton tells Obama, crowd in Unity, N.H.: 'We are one party'

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Wanna-be Prez?

WALL-E

WALL-E
"out of this World"

Crisis in the Congo - Ben Affleck

Crisis in the Congo - Ben Affleck
http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/popup?id=5057139&contentIndex=1&page=1&start=false - http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/story?id=5234555&page=1

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
NH's Democratic returning candidate for U.S. Senate

"Wall-E"

"Wall-E"
a cool robot

Ed O'Reilly

Ed O'Reilly
www.edoreilly.com

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
World Champions - 2008

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
J.D. Drew gets the same welcome whenever he visits the City of Brotherly Love: "Booooooo!"; Drew has been vilified in Philadelphia since refusing to sign with the Phillies after they drafted him in 1997...

Joe Kelly Levasseur & Joe Briggs

Joe Kelly Levasseur & Joe Briggs
www.2joes.org

NH Union Leader

NH Union Leader
Editorial Cartoon

Celtics - World Champions!

Celtics - World Champions!
www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_18_08_front_pages/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_17_08_finals_game_6/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_17_08_celebration/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_15_08_celtics_championships/

"The Nation"

"The Nation"
A "Liberal" weekly political news magazine. Katrina vanden Heuvel.

TV - PBS: NOW

TV - PBS: NOW
http://www.pbs.org/now

The Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone
List of Twilight Zone episodes - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Twilight_Zone_episodes

Equality for ALL Marriages

Equality for ALL Marriages
I, Jonathan Melle, am a supporter of same sex marriages.

Kobe Bryant leads his time to a Game 5 victory.

Kobe Bryant leads his time to a Game 5 victory.
L.A. Lakers holds on for the win to force Game 6 at Boston

Mohawk Trail

Mohawk Trail
The 'Hail to the Sunrise' statue in Charlemont is a well-known and easily recognized landmark on the Mohawk Trail. The trail once boasted several souvenir shops, some with motels and restaurants. Now only four remain. (Caroline Bonnivier / Berkshire Eagle Staff).

NASA - June 14, 2008

NASA - June 14, 2008
Space Shuttle Discovery returns to Earth.

Go Celtics! Game # 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals.

Go Celtics! Game # 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals.
Boston took a 20-second timeout, and the Celtics ran off four more points (including this incredible Erving-esque layup from Ray Allen) to build the lead to five points with just 2:10 remaining. Reeling, the Lakers took a full timeout to try to regain their momentum.

Sal DiMasi

Sal DiMasi
Speaker of the Massachusetts State House of Representatives

Kelly Ayotte - Attorney General of New Hampshire

Kelly Ayotte - Attorney General of New Hampshire
http://doj.nh.gov/

John Kerry

John Kerry
He does not like grassroots democracy & being challenged in the 2008 Massachusetts Democratic Party Primary for re-election.

Tim Murray

Tim Murray
Corrupt Lt. Gov. of Massachusetts, 2007 - 2013.

North Adams, Massachusetts

North Adams, Massachusetts
downtown

Howie Carr

Howie Carr
Political Satirist on Massachusetts Corruption/Politics

Polar Bear

Polar Bear
Global Warming

Elizabeth Warren - Web-Site Links

Elizabeth Warren - Web-Site Links
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Warren & http://www.creditslips.org/creditslips/WarrenAuthor.html

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren
Consumer Crusader

Leon Powe

Leon Powe
Celtics forward Leon Powe finished a fast break with a dunk.

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett reacted during the game.

Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo finished a first half fast break with a dunk.

Teamwork

Teamwork
Los Angeles Lakers teammates help Pau Gasol (16) from the floor in the second quarter.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant took a shot in the first half of Game 2.

Kendrick Perkins

Kendrick Perkins
Kendrick Perkins (right) backed down Lamar Odom (left) during first half action.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
The Boston Symphony Orchestra performed the national anthem prior to Game 2.

K.G.!

K.G.!
Garnett reacted to a hard dunk in the first quarter.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce reacted after hitting a three upon his return to the game since leaving with an injury.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Kobe Bryant (left) and Paul Pierce (right) squared off in the second half of the game.

James Taylor

James Taylor
Sings National Anthem at Celtics Game.

John Forbes Kerry & Deval Patrick

John Forbes Kerry & Deval Patrick
Attended Celtics Game.

Greats of the NBA: Dr. J, Bill Russell, & Kareem!

Greats of the NBA: Dr. J, Bill Russell, & Kareem!
Attend Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals.

Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis
The actor (left) and his date were in the crowd before the Celtics game.

John Kerry

John Kerry
Golddigger attends Celtics game

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton
Ends her 2008 bid for Democratic Party nomination

Nonnie Burnes

Nonnie Burnes
Massachusetts Insurance Commish & former Judge

Jones Library

Jones Library
Amherst, Massachusetts

Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton

Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton
2008 Democratic Primary

"US vs Exxon and Halliburton"

"US vs Exxon and Halliburton"
U.S. Senator John Sununu took more than $220,000 from big oil.

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
4- U.S. Senate - 2008

William Pignatelli

William Pignatelli
Hack Rep. "Smitty" with Lynne Blake

Ben Bernanke

Ben Bernanke
Federal Reserve Chairman

Gazettenet.com

Gazettenet.com
www.gazettenet.com/beta/

Boys' & Girls' Club

Boys' & Girls' Club
Melville Street, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Denis Guyer

Denis Guyer
Dalton State Representative

The Berkshire Eagle

The Berkshire Eagle
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Carmen Massimiano

Carmen Massimiano
Williams College - May 2008

Larry Bird & Magic Johnson

Larry Bird & Magic Johnson
www.boston.com/lifestyle/gallery/when_the_celtics_were_cool/

Regressive Taxation! via State Lotteries

Regressive Taxation! via State Lotteries
New Massachusetts state lottery game hits $600 million in sales!

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
"Luciforo"

John Barrett III

John Barrett III
Long-time Mayor of North Adams Massachusetts

Shine On

Shine On

Elmo

Elmo
cool!

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce kissed the Eastern Conference trophy. 5/30/2008. AP Photo.

Kevin Garnett & Richard Hamilton

Kevin Garnett & Richard Hamilton
Kevin Garnett (left) talked to Pistons guard Richard Hamilton (right) after the Celtics' victory in Game 6. 5/30/2008. Reuters Photo.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce showed his team colors as the Celtics closed out the Pistons in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. 5/30/2008. Globe Staff Photo / Jim Davis.

Joseph Kelly Levasseur

Joseph Kelly Levasseur
One of my favorite politicians!

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
In the Big Apple: NYC! She is the coolest!

Guyer & Kerry

Guyer & Kerry
My 2nd least favorite picture EVER!

Mary Carey

Mary Carey
My favorite journalist EVER!

Nuciforo & Ruberto

Nuciforo & Ruberto
My least favorite picture EVER!

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
U.S. Senate - 2008

NH Fisher Cats

NH Fisher Cats
AA Baseball - Toronto Blue Jays affiliate

Manchester, NH

Manchester, NH
Police Patch

Michael Briggs

Michael Briggs
#83 - We will never forget

Michael "Stix" Addison

Michael "Stix" Addison
http://unionleader.com/channel.aspx/News?channel=2af17ff4-f73b-4c44-9f51-092e828e1131

Charlie Gibson

Charlie Gibson
ABC News anchor

Scott McClellan

Scott McClellan
http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/scott_mcclellan/index.html?inline=nyt-per

Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho
Downtown Boise Idaho

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Legislative Hearing in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, BCC, on Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson
My favorite classical U.S. President!

NH Governor John Lynch

NH Governor John Lynch
Higher Taxes, Higher Tolls

Paul Hodes

Paul Hodes
My favorite Congressman!

Portland Sea Dogs

Portland Sea Dogs
AA Red Sox

New York

New York
Magnet

Massachusetts

Massachusetts
Magnet

New Hampshire

New Hampshire
Magnet

New Hampshire

New Hampshire
Button

Carmen Massimiano

Carmen Massimiano
"Luciforo" tried to send me to Carmen's Jail during the Spring & Summer of 1998.

Kay Khan - Massachusetts State Representative

Kay Khan - Massachusetts State Representative
www.openmass.org/members/show/174

Luciforo

Luciforo
Andrea F Nuciforo II

B-Eagle

B-Eagle
Pittsfield's monopoly/only daily newspaper

Jon Lester - Go Red Sox!

Jon Lester - Go Red Sox!
A Red Sox No Hitter on 5/19/2008!

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Dustin Pedroia & Manny Ramirez

U.S. Flag

U.S. Flag
God Bless America!

Jonathan Melle's Blog

Jonathan Melle's Blog
Hello, Everyone!

Molly Bish

Molly Bish
We will never forget!

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Celtics guard Rajon Rondo listens to some advice from Celtics head coach Doc Rivers in the first half.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Celtics forward Kevin Garnett and Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace embrace at the end of the game.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon calls for the ball as he charges toward first base. Papelbon made the out en route to picking up his 14th save of the season.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka throws to Royals David DeJesus during the first inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka delivers a pitch to Royals second baseman Mark Grudzielanek during the second inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew is welcomed to home plate by teammates Mike Lowell (left), Kevin Youkilis (2nd left) and Manny Ramirez after he hit a grand slam in the second inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell crosses the plate after hitting a grand slam during the sixth inning. Teammates Manny Ramirez and Jacoby Ellsbury scored on the play. The Red Sox went on to win 11-8 to complete a four-game sweep and perfect homestand.

JD Drew - Go Red Sox

JD Drew - Go Red Sox
www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/gallery/05_22_08_sox_royals/

Thank you for serving; God Bless America!

Thank you for serving; God Bless America!
Master Sgt. Kara B. Stackpole, of Westfield, holds her daughter, Samantha, upon her return today to Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee. She is one of the 38 members of the 439th Aeromedical Staging Squadron who returned after a 4-month deployment in Iraq. Photo by Dave Roback / The Republican.

Kathi-Anne Reinstein

Kathi-Anne Reinstein
www.openmass.org/members/show/175

Ted Kennedy

Ted Kennedy
Tragic diagnosis: Get well Senator!

Google doodle - Jonathan Melle Internet search

Google doodle - Jonathan Melle Internet search
http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch?hl=en&q=jonathan+melle+blogurl:http://jonathanmelleonpolitics.blogspot.com/&ie=UTF-8

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Billionaire U.S. Senator gives address to MCLA graduates in North Adams, Massachusetts in mid-May 2008

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
"Luciforo"

A Red Sox Fan in Paris, France

A Red Sox Fan in Paris, France
Go Red Sox!

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Interviewed on local TV

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
Luciforo!

John Adams

John Adams
#2 U.S. President

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I stood under a tree on the afternoon of May 9, 2008, on the foregrounds of the NH State House - www.websitetoolbox.com/tool/post/nhinsider/vpost?id=2967773

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Inside the front lobby of the NH State House

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Bill Clinton campaign memorabilia

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Liberty Bell & NH State House

Jon Keller

Jon Keller
Boston based political analyst

Jon Keller

Jon Keller
Boston based political analyst

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Franklin Pierce Statue #14 U.S. President

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
NH State House

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Stop the War NOW!

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
"Mr. Melle, tear down this Blog!"

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I stood next to a JFK photo

Jonathan Levine, Publisher

Jonathan Levine, Publisher
The Pittsfield Gazette Online

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I made rabbit ears with John & George

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I made antenna ears with John & George

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I impersonated Howard Dean

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
mock-voting

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
pretty ladies -/- Go to: http://www.wgir.com/cc-common/cc_photopop20.html?eventID=28541&pagecontent=&pagenum=4 - Go to: http://current.com/items/88807921_veterans_should_come_first_not_last# - http://www.mcam23.com/cgi-bin/cutter.cgi?c_function=STREAM?c_feature=EDIT?dir_catagory=10MorningRadio?dir_folder=2JoesClips?dir_file=JonathanMelle-090308? -

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Go Red Sox! Me at Fenway Park

Mary E. Carey

Mary E. Carey
My favorite journalist! Her voice sings for the Voiceless. -/- Go to: http://aboutamherst.blogspot.com/search?q=melle -/- Go to: http://ongeicocaveman.blogspot.com/search?q=melle

Velvet Jesus

Velvet Jesus
Mary Carey blogs about my political writings. This is a picture of Jesus from her childhood home in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. -//- "How Can I Keep From Singing" : My life goes on in endless song / Above Earth's lamentations, / I hear the real, though far-off hymn / That hails a new creation. / / Through all the tumult and the strife / I hear its music ringing, / It sounds an echo in my soul. / How can I keep from singing? / / Whey tyrants tremble in their fear / And hear their death knell ringing, / When friends rejoice both far and near / How can I keep from singing? / / In prison cell and dungeon vile / Our thoughts to them are winging / When friends by shame are undefiled / How can I keep from singing?

www.truthdig.com

www.truthdig.com
www.truthdig.com

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Concord NH

The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post
http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/neighbors.php?type=loc&newest=1&addr=&zip=01201&search=Search

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
smiles & beer

Jonathan Lothrop

Jonathan Lothrop
A Pittsfield City Councilor

Michael L. Ward

Michael L. Ward
A Pittsfield City Councilor

Peter Marchetti - Pittsfield's City Councilor at Large

Peter Marchetti - Pittsfield's City Councilor at Large
Pete always sides with the wealthy's political interests.

Gerald Lee - Pittsfield's City Council Prez

Gerald Lee - Pittsfield's City Council Prez
Gerald Lee told me that I am a Social Problem; Lee executes a top-down system of governance.

Matt Kerwood - Pittsfield's Councilor at Large

Matt Kerwood - Pittsfield's Councilor at Large
Kerwood poured coffee drinks for Jane Swift

Louis Costi

Louis Costi
Pittsfield City Councilor

Lewis Markham

Lewis Markham
Pittsfield City Councilor

Kevin Sherman - Pittsfield City Councilor

Kevin Sherman - Pittsfield City Councilor
Sherman ran for Southern Berkshire State Rep against Smitty Pignatelli; Sherman is a good guy.

Anthony Maffuccio

Anthony Maffuccio
Pittsfield City Councilor

Linda Tyer

Linda Tyer
Pittsfield City Councilor

Daniel Bianchi

Daniel Bianchi
A Pittsfield City Councilor

The Democratic Donkey

The Democratic Donkey
Democratic Party Symbol

Paramount

Paramount
What is Paramount to you?

NH's Congresswoman

NH's Congresswoman
Carol Shea-Porter, Democrat

Sam Adams Beer

Sam Adams Beer
Boston Lager

Ratatouille

Ratatouille
Disney Animation

Ruberto Details Plans for Success - January 07, 2008

Ruberto Details Plans for Success - January 07, 2008
"Luciforo" swears in Mayor Ruberto. Pittsfield Politics at its very worst: 2 INSIDER POWERBROKERS! Where is Carmen Massimiano? He must be off to the side.

Abe

Abe
Lincoln

Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime
Leader of the Autobots

Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime
1984 Autobot Transformer Leader

Cleanup Agreements - GE & Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

Cleanup Agreements - GE & Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/cleanupagreement.html

GE/Housatonic River Site: Introduction

GE/Housatonic River Site: Introduction
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/

GE/Housatonic River Site - Reports

GE/Housatonic River Site - Reports
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/thesite/opca-reports.html

US EPA - Contact - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

US EPA - Contact -  Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/contactinfo.html

GE Corporate Logo - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

GE Corporate Logo - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/index.html

Commonwealth Connector

Commonwealth Connector
Commonwealth Care

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Healthcare Reform

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Healthcare Reform

Network Health Forward - A Commonwealth Care Plan

Network Health Forward - A Commonwealth Care Plan
Massachusetts Health Reform

Network Health Together: A MassHealth Plan - Commonwealth Care

Network Health Together: A MassHealth Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

www.network-health.org

www.network-health.org
Massachusetts Health Reform

Neighborhood Health Plan - Commonwealth Care

Neighborhood Health Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

Fallon Community Health Plan - Commonwealth Care

Fallon Community Health Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

BMC HealthNet Plan

BMC HealthNet Plan
Massachusetts Health Reform

Massachusetts Health Reform

Massachusetts Health Reform
Eligibility Chart: 2007

Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare

Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare
Massachusetts Health Reform

Business Peaks

Business Peaks
Voodoo Economics

Laffer Curve - Corporate Elite

Laffer Curve - Corporate Elite
Reagonomics: Supply Side

Corporate Elite Propaganda

Corporate Elite Propaganda
Mock Liberal Democratic Socialism Thinking

Real Estate Blues

Real Estate Blues
www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/2008/0316/

PEACE

PEACE
End ALL Wars!

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech
Norman Rockwell's World War II artwork depicting America's values

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln
A young Abe Lincoln

RACHEL KAPRIELIAN

RACHEL KAPRIELIAN
www.openmass.org/members/show/218 - www.rachelkaprielian.com

Jennifer M. Callahan - Massachusetts State Representative

Jennifer M. Callahan - Massachusetts State Representative
www.openmass.org/members/show/164 - www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/05/04/legislator_describes_threat_as_unnerving/

Human Rights for ALL Peoples!

Human Rights for ALL Peoples!
My #1 Political Belief!

Anne Frank

Anne Frank
Amsterdam, Netherlands, Europe

A young woman Hillary supporter

A young woman Hillary supporter
This excellent picture captures a youth's excitement

Hillary Clinton with Natalie Portman

Hillary Clinton with Natalie Portman
My favorite Actress!

Alan Chartock

Alan Chartock
WAMC public radio in Albany, NY; Political columnist who writes about Berkshire County area politics; Strong supporter for Human Rights for ALL Peoples

OpenCongress.Org

OpenCongress.Org
This web-site uses some of my Blog postings

OpenMass.org

OpenMass.org
This web-site uses some of my blog postings!

Shannon O'Brien

Shannon O'Brien
One of my favorite politicians! She stands for the People first!

The Massachusetts State House

The Massachusetts State House
"The Almighty Golden Dome" - www.masslegislature.tv -

Sara Hathaway

Sara Hathaway
Former Mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.
A corrupt Pol who tried to put me in Jail

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.
Another view of Pittsfield's inbred, multigenerational political prince. Luciforo!

Luciforo

Luciforo
Nuciforo's nickname

"Andy" Nuciforo

"Andy" Nuciforo
Luciforo!

Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr., Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer)

Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr., Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer)
Nuciforo's henchman! Nuciforo tried to send me to Carmen's Jail

Andrea Nuciforo Jr

Andrea Nuciforo Jr
Shhh! Luciforo's other job is working as a private attorney defending wealthy Boston-area corporate insurance companies

Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer) Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr.

Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer) Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr.
Nuciforo tried to send me to Carmen's Jail! Carmen sits with the Congressman, John Olver

Congressman John Olver

Congressman John Olver
Nuciforo's envy

The Dome of the U.S. Capitol

The Dome of the U.S. Capitol
Our Beacon of American Democracy

Nuciforo's architect

Nuciforo's architect
Mary O'Brien in red with scarf

Sara Hathaway (www.brynmawr.edu)

Sara Hathaway (www.brynmawr.edu)
Former-Mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Nuciforo intimidated her, along with another woman, from running in a democratic state election in the Spring of 2006!

Andrea F. Nuciforo II

Andrea F. Nuciforo II
Pittsfield Politics

Berkshire County Republican Association

Berkshire County Republican Association
Go to: www.fcgop.blogspot.com

Denis Guyer

Denis Guyer
Dalton State Representative

John Forbes Kerry & Denis Guyer

John Forbes Kerry & Denis Guyer
U.S. Senator & State Representative

John Kerry

John Kerry
Endorses Barack Obama for Prez then visits Berkshire County

Dan Bosley

Dan Bosley
A Bureaucrat impostering as a Legislator!

Ben Downing

Ben Downing
Berkshire State Senator

Christopher N Speranzo

Christopher N Speranzo
Pittsfield's ANOINTED State Representative

Peter J. Larkin

Peter J. Larkin
Corrupt Lobbyist

GE - Peter Larkin's best friend!

GE - Peter Larkin's best friend!
GE's FRAUDULENT Consent Decree with Pittsfield, Massachusetts, will end up KILLING many innocent school children & other local residents!

GE's CEO Jack Welch

GE's CEO Jack Welch
The Corporate System's Corporate Elite's King

Economics: Where Supply meets Demand

Economics: Where Supply meets Demand
Equilibrium

GE & Pittsfield, Massachusetts

GE & Pittsfield, Massachusetts
In 2007, GE sold its Plastics Division to a Saudi company. Now all that is left over by GE are its toxic PCB pollutants that cause cancer in many Pittsfield residents.

Mayor James M Ruberto

Mayor James M Ruberto
A small-time pol chooses to serve the corporate elite & other elites over the people.

Governor Deval Patrick

Governor Deval Patrick
Deval shakes hands with Mayors in Berkshire County

Deval Patrick

Deval Patrick
Governor of Massachusetts

Pittsfield High School

Pittsfield High School
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Sara Hathaway

Sara Hathaway
Pittsfield's former Mayor

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Pittsfield Attorney focusing on Father's Rights Probate Court Legal Issues, & Local Politician and Political Observer

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Very Intelligent Political Activists in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Rinaldo Del Gallo, III, Esq. is the spokesperson of the Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition. He has been practicing family law and has been a member of the Massachusetts bar since 1996.

Mayor Ed Reilly

Mayor Ed Reilly
He supports Mayor Ruberto & works as a municipal Attorney. As Mayor, he backed Bill Weld for Governor in 1994, despite being a Democrat. He was joined by Carmen Massimiano & John Barrett III, the long-standing Mayor of North Adams.

Manchester, NH Mayor Frank Guinta

Manchester, NH Mayor Frank Guinta
Cuts Dental Care for Public School Children-in-Need

Manchester, NH City Hall

Manchester, NH City Hall
My new hometown - view from Hanover St. intersection with Elm St.

Manchester NH City Democrats

Manchester NH City Democrats
Go Dems!

2008 Democratic Candidates for U.S. Prez

2008 Democratic Candidates for U.S. Prez
Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, John Edwards

NH State House Dome

NH State House Dome
Concord, NH

Donna Walto

Donna Walto
Pittsfield Politician -- She strongly opposes Mayor Jim Ruberto's elitist tenure.

Elmo

Elmo
Who doesn't LOVE Elmo?

Hillary Clinton for U.S. President!

Hillary Clinton for U.S. President!
Hillary is for Children. She is my choice in 2008.

The White House in 1800

The White House in 1800
Home of our Presidents of the United States

John Adams

John Adams
2nd President of the USA

Hillary Clinton stands with John Edwards and Joe Biden

Hillary Clinton stands with John Edwards and Joe Biden
Hillary is my choice for U.S. President!

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton
Former President Bill Clinton speaks at the Radisson in Manchester NH 11/16/2007

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
U.S. Senator & Candidate for President

Pittsfield's 3 Women City Councillors - 2004

Pittsfield's 3 Women City Councillors - 2004
Linda Tyer, Pam Malumphy, Tricia Farley-Bouvier

Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Massachusetts
My friend Brian Merzbach reviews baseball parks around the nation.

The Corporate Elite: Rational Incentives for only the wealthy

The Corporate Elite: Rational Incentives for only the wealthy
The Elites double their $ every 6 to 8 years, while the "have-nots" double their $ every generation (or 24 years). Good bye Middle Class!

George Will

George Will
The human satellite voice for the Corporate Elite

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren
The Anti-George Will; Harvard Law School Professor; The Corporate Elite's Worst Nightmare

The Flag of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

The Flag of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
I was born and raised in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

State Senator Stan Rosenberg

State Senator Stan Rosenberg
Democratic State Senator from Amherst, Massachusetts -/- Anti-Stan Rosenberg Blog: rosenbergwatch.blogspot.com

Ellen Story

Ellen Story
Amherst Massachusetts' State Representative

Teen Pregnancy in Pittsfield, Mass.

Teen Pregnancy in Pittsfield, Mass.
Books are being written on Pittsfield's high teen pregancy rates! What some intellectuals do NOT understand about the issue is that TEEN PREGNANCIES in Pittsfield double the statewide average by design - Perverse Incentives!

NH Governor John Lynch

NH Governor John Lynch
Supports $30 Scratch Tickets and other forms of regressive taxation. Another Pol that only serves his Corporate Elite Masters instead of the People!

U.S. Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter

U.S. Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter
The first woman whom the People of New Hampshire have voted in to serve in U.S. Congress

U.S. Congressman Paul Hodes

U.S. Congressman Paul Hodes
A good man who wants to bring progressive changes to Capitol Hill!

Paul Hodes for U.S. Congress

Paul Hodes for U.S. Congress
New Hampshire's finest!

Darth Vader

Darth Vader
Star Wars

Dick Cheney & George W. Bush

Dick Cheney & George W. Bush
The Gruesome Two-some! Stop the Neo-Cons' fascism! End the Iraq War NOW!

WAROPOLY

WAROPOLY
The Inequity of Globalism

Bushopoly!

Bushopoly!
The Corporate Elite have redesigned "The System" to enrich themselves at the expense of the people, masses, have-nots, poor & middle-class families

George W. Bush with Karl Rove

George W. Bush with Karl Rove
Rove was a political strategist with extraordinary influence within the Bush II White House

2008's Republican Prez-field

2008's Republican Prez-field
John McCain, Alan Keyes, Rudy Guiliani, Duncan Hunter, Mike Huckabee, WILLARD Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Ron Paul

Fall in New England

Fall in New England
Autumn is my favorite season

Picturing America

Picturing America
picturingamerica.neh.gov

Winter Weather Map

Winter Weather Map
3:45PM EST 3-Dec-07

Norman Rockwell Painting

Norman Rockwell Painting
Thanksgiving

Norman Rockwell Painting

Norman Rockwell Painting
Depiction of American Values in mid-20th Century America

Larry Bird #33

Larry Bird #33
My favorite basketball player of my childhood

Boston Celtics Basketball - 2007-2008

Boston Celtics Basketball - 2007-2008
Kevin Garnett hugs James Posey

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
All heart! Awesome basketball star for The Boston Celtics.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady
Go Patriots!

Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch
Owner of Fox News - CORPORATE ELITE!

George Stephanopolous

George Stephanopolous
A Corporate Elite Political News Analyst

Robert Redford

Robert Redford
Starred in the movie "Lions for Lambs"

Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep
Plays a jaded journalist with integrity in the movie "Lions for Lambs"

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise plays the Neo-Con D.C. Pol purely indoctrinated by the Corporate Elite's political agenda in the Middle East

CHARLIZE THERON

CHARLIZE THERON
"I want to say I've never been surrounded by so many fake breasts, but I went to the Academy Awards."

Amherst Town Library

Amherst Town Library
Amherst, NH - www.amherstlibrary.org

Manchester NH Library

Manchester NH Library
I use the library's automated timed 1-hour-per-day Internet computers to post on my Blog - www.manchester.lib.nh.us

Manchester NH's Palace Theater

Manchester NH's Palace Theater
Manchester NH decided to restore its Palace Theater

Pittsfield's Palace Theater

Pittsfield's Palace Theater
Pittsfield tore down this landmark on North Street in favor of a parking lot

Pleasant Street Theater

Pleasant Street Theater
Amherst, Massachusetts

William "Shitty" Pignatelli

William "Shitty" Pignatelli
A top down & banal State House Pol from Lenox Massachusetts -- A GOOD MAN!

The CIA & Mind Control

The CIA & Mind Control
Did the CIA murder people by proxy assassins?

Skull & Bones

Skull & Bones
Yale's Elite

ImpeachBush.org

ImpeachBush.org
I believe President Bush should be IMPEACHED because he is waging an illegal and immoral war against Iraq!

Bob Feuer drumming for U.S. Congress v John Olver in 2008

Bob Feuer drumming for U.S. Congress v John Olver in 2008
www.blog.bobfeuer.us

Abe Lincoln

Abe Lincoln
The 16th President of the USA

Power

Power
Peace

Global Warming Mock Giant Thermometer

Global Warming Mock Giant Thermometer
A member of Green Peace activist sets up a giant thermometer as a symbol of global warming during their campaign in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007. World leaders launch marathon negotiations Monday on how to fight global warming, which left unchecked could cause devastating sea level rises, send millions further into poverty and lead to the mass extinction of plants and animals.

combat global warming...

combat global warming...
...or risk economic and environmental disaster caused by rising temperatures

www.climatecrisiscoalition.org

www.climatecrisiscoalition.org
P.O. Box 125, South Lee, MA 01260, (413) 243-5665, tstokes@kyotoandbeyond.org, www.kyotoandbeyond.org

3 Democratic presidentional candidates

3 Democratic presidentional candidates
Democratic presidential candidates former senator John Edwards (from right) and Senators Joe Biden and Chris Dodd before the National Public Radio debate yesterday (12/4/2007).

The UN Seal

The UN Seal
An archaic & bureaucratic post WW2 top-down, non-democratic institution that also stands for some good governance values

Superman

Superman
One of my favorite childhood heroes and movies

Web-Site on toxic toys

Web-Site on toxic toys
www.healthytoys.org

Batman

Batman
One of my favorite super-heroes

Deval Patrick & Denis Guyer

Deval Patrick & Denis Guyer
Massachusetts' Governor stands with Dalton's State Rep. Denis E. Guyer.

Bill Cosby & Denis Guyer

Bill Cosby & Denis Guyer
TV Star Bill Cosby stands with Denis E. Guyer

Denis Guyer with his supporters

Denis Guyer with his supporters
Dalton State Representative

Denis Guyer goes to college

Denis Guyer goes to college
Dalton State Representative

Peter Marchetti

Peter Marchetti
He is my second cousin. Pete Marchetti favors MONEY, not fairness!

Matt Barron & Denis Guyer with couple

Matt Barron & Denis Guyer with couple
Matt Barron plays DIRTY politics against his opponents!

Nat Karns

Nat Karns
Top-Down Executive Director of the ELITIST Berkshire Regional Planning Commission

Human Rights for All Peoples & people

Human Rights for All Peoples & people
Stop Anti-Semitism

Massachusetts State Treasurer Tim Cahill

Massachusetts State Treasurer Tim Cahill
State House, Room 227, Boston, MA 02133, 617-367-6900, www.mass.gov/treasury/

Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley

Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley
1350 Main Street, Springfield, MA 01103, 413-784-1240 / McCormick Building, One Asburton Place, Boston, MA 02108, 617-727-4765 / marthacoakley.com / www.ago.state.ma.us

Bush v. Gore: December 12, 2007, was the seventh anniversary, the 5-4 Supreme Court decision...

Bush v. Gore: December 12, 2007, was the seventh anniversary, the 5-4 Supreme Court decision...
www.takebackthecourt.org - A political billboard near my downtown apartment in Manchester, NH

Marc Murgo

Marc Murgo
An old friend of mine from Pittsfield

Downtown Manchester, NH

Downtown Manchester, NH
www.newhampshire.com/nh-towns/manchester.aspx

Marisa Tomei

Marisa Tomei
Movie Actress

Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities (MCHC)

Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities (MCHC)
www.masschc.org/issue.php

Mike Firestone & Anna Weisfeiler

Mike Firestone & Anna Weisfeiler
Mike Firestone works in Manchester NH for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign

James Pindell

James Pindell
Covers NH Primary Politcs for The Boston Globe

U.S. History - Declaration

U.S. History - Declaration
A 19th century engraving shows Benjamin Franklin, left, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman at work on the Declaration of Independence.

Boston Globe Photos of the Week - www.boston.com/bostonglobe/gallery/

Boston Globe Photos of the Week - www.boston.com/bostonglobe/gallery/
Sybregje Palenstijn (left), who plays Sarah Godbertson at Plimouth Plantation, taught visitors how to roast a turkey on a spit. The plantation often sees a large influx of visitors during the holiday season.

Chris Hodgkins

Chris Hodgkins
Another special interest Berkshire Pol who could not hold his "WATER" on Beacon Hill's State House!

The Big Dig - 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto Milena Del Valle's car.

The Big Dig - 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto Milena Del Valle's car.
Most of Boston's Big Dig highway remains closed, after a woman was crushed when 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto her car. (ABC News)

Jane Swift

Jane Swift
Former Acting Governor of Massachusetts & Berkshire State Senator

Paul Cellucci

Paul Cellucci
Former Massachusetts Governor

William Floyd Weld

William Floyd Weld
$80 Million Trust Fund Former Governor of Massachusetts

Mike Dukakis

Mike Dukakis
Former Governor of Massachusetts

Mary E. Carey

Mary E. Carey
Amherst, Massachusetts, Journalist and Blogger

Caveman

Caveman
www.ongeicocaveman.blogspot.com

Peter G. Arlos

Peter G. Arlos
"The biggest challenge Pittsfield faces is putting its fiscal house in order. The problem is that doing so requires structural changes in local government, many of which I have advocated for years, but which officials do not have the will to implement. Fiscal responsibility requires more than shifting funds from one department to another. Raising taxes and fees and cutting services are not the answer. Structural changes in the way services are delivered and greater productivity are the answer, and without these changes the city's fiscal crisis will not be solved."

James M. Ruberto

James M. Ruberto
"Pittsfield's biggest challenge is to find common ground for a better future. The city is at a crossroads. On one hand, our quality of life is challenged. On the other hand, some important building blocks are in place that could be a strong foundation for our community. Pittsfield needs to unite for the good of its future. The city needs an experienced businessman and a consensus builder who will invite the people to hold him accountable."

Matt Kerwood

Matt Kerwood
Pittsfield's Councilor-At-Large. Go to: extras.berkshireeagle.com/NeBe/profiles/12.htm

Gerald M. Lee

Gerald M. Lee
Pittsfield's City Council Prez. Top-down governance of the first order!

Mary Carey

Mary Carey
Mary with student

Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox
Jonathan Papelbon celebrates with Jason Varitek

Free Bernard Baran!

Free Bernard Baran!
www.freebaran.org

Political Intelligence

Political Intelligence
Capitol Hill

Sherwood Guernsey II

Sherwood Guernsey II
Wealthy Williamstown Political Activist & Pittsfield Attorney

Mary Carey 2

Mary Carey 2
California Pol & porn star

Pittsfield's Good Old Boy Network - Political Machine!

Pittsfield's Good Old Boy Network - Political Machine!
Andy "Luciforo" swears in Jimmy Ruberto for the returning Mayor's 3rd term

Berkshire Grown

Berkshire Grown
www.berkshiregrown.org

Rambo

Rambo

The Mount was built in 1902 & was home to Edith Wharton (1862-1937) from 1903 to 1908.

The Mount was built in 1902 & was home to Edith Wharton (1862-1937) from 1903 to 1908.
The Mount, the historic home in Lenox of famed American novelist Edith Wharton, is facing foreclosure.