Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"Beyond Reproach" or Caught Rewriting TIF Agreements?

I keep hearing that we should not question the motives, righteousness, virtue, honor, etc of Ken Fiola, executive vice president of the Fall River Office of Economic Development. To reiterate some points I have made in the past:

  • Ken Fiola should not be the treasurer of his wife's campaign because he is functionally/constructively a municipal employee and that is a violation of campaign finance law.
  • Ken Fiola, as treasurer, should have recused himself from reviewing and making recommendations in favor of Peabody, where Peabody is a regular contributor to his wife's campaign funding. It is my contention that it is a violation of state ethics rules.


Fiola was clearly pleased to "break the news" on wsar yesterday that Burbank had a potential funding source from a "corporation" that wasn't yet incorporated. Despite the fact that this is legal business practice and that Burbank made no false representations about the fact that their funding was not yet incorporated, the wsar program yesterday with Ken Fiola and Alan Amaral hinted that there was something fraudulent afoot.

So here is my (old) "breaking news" on Mr. Ken "beyond reproach" Fiola who recently recommended the awarding of a TIF (tax increment finance) agreement to yet another company that contributed to his wife's campaign which could result in approximately $240,000 in tax benefits.......He was caught by the city council in 2000 REWRITING TIF agreements AFTER the City Council approved the specific wording of the agreements. Fiola, who gets paid handsomely for his duty of getting "Jobs for Fall River (the actual name of FROED)" rewrote one particular TIF agreement, among others, granting Quaker a 20 year TIF. The council approved of a TIF agreement with Quaker in May 1999. The agreement granted Quaker a 20-year TIF exemption. In return Quaker pledged to build a roughly 358,000-square-foot facility on Jefferson Street, and also to hire 700 new employees. According to Councilor Brian Pearson, the language in the Quaker TIF the state received and approved greatly differed from the TIF agreement the council had authorized earlier. Fiola's erroneously altered wording in the agreement removed the wording the Council had inserted in the agreement stating its "preference" that Quaker use local contractors "who have registered apprenticeship programs with the commonwealth of Massachusetts to encourage the training of a skilled work force." JOBS FOR FALL RIVER ........FAIL

According the the councilors in the same Herald News article, SEVERAL TIF agreements had been changed. Is Ken up to his old tricks again???????????? Nah, he is BEYOND REPROACH





Lefty said...


I can only imagine you're in for it now! You'll be accused of stirring up needless controversy, of 'slandering' Fiola's name.

And that's a shame because the things you bring attention to should raise questions.

You're going to get criticized for this post and shame on the people who will do it.

These are exactly the types of questions and concerns we should all have and want answers to.

Did Fiola break campaign finance law? I don't know but darn if this doesn't make me WANT to know.

Does Fiola's actions constitute a conflict of interest? It certainly seems that way.

How can we NOT want answers to these concerns?! Don't question! Ignore the warning flags! Maybe there is nothing to worry about!

But what if there is?

Oliver Cipollini said...

What I learned in Today AT RA Meeting...but already knew?

I learned to be quiet and to sit up straight!

I learned to respect the order of a meeting although I wanted to scream!

I learned that it is better to have order and process during the flow of ideas rather than beastality like grunts and animal-like gestures of not having their basic needs met and an instinct to just attack as a mother hawk would do upon seeing danger near her young...

Human or animal...Are we strong enough to have order and follow the order of a meeting and than latter insist upon your public comment and full exchange of ideas in an oderly fashion!

Does this remind you of the film "Quest for Fire" where our very early ancessors discover fire to help in their early civilized lives but have not excahanged any language as we n ow it but rather their ideas were communicated in a series of grunts. Grunts of all types! Loud grunts, Soft grunts, Animal lize grants and then the big burley macho "I am King so listen to me mother of all grunts."

Quest for Fire...

The setting takes place 80,000 years ago during the Ice Age in Europe when members of the Homo erectus Wagabu tribe attack the Homo neanderthalensis Ulams. The Wagabus kill many of the Ulams and unsuccessfully attempt to steal a flaming branch from the fire that the tribe keeps perpetually burning. A small number of the Ulams escape, including their fire tender, but the ember he manages to rescue is too small to start a new fire. With their fire gone, the Ulam face imminent threat from freezing and starvation. The tribe sends three men, Naoh, Amoukar and Gaw, on a quest to steal more fire from a natural blaze or another tribe. During their journey, they encounter several different kinds of wild beasts (mammoths and smilodons) and other primitive human beings.
Eventually, the Ulam trio enters territory of the Kzamm tribe (Homo neanderthalensis), cannibals (in fact, they were not eating members of their own species) who have captured two members of the Ivaka tribe (homo sapiens sapiens) and have begun eating one of their severed arms. Naoh manages to steal some fire from the Kzamms, but he is injured in a fight with two of them. He rejoins Gaw and Amoukar. A young woman named Ika, an Ivaka prisoner who escapes with Naoh, joins them seeking protection.
One day, Ika recognizes that she is near her home. She tries to persuade the Ulam trio to go with her, but either the men's sense of purpose or the lack of a common language with the woman keeps them together on their way back to the Ulam. However, when Ika leaves them the next morning, Naoh is upset; at first he continues without her, but becomes increasingly agitated before he turns back to follow her. (The other two reluctantly follow him). After Naoh leaves Gaw and Amoukar to investigate a village they come across he is captured by the Ivakas.
At first, he is gawked at and teased by the more advanced Ivaka, but the tribe's elders decide that his size, strength, and healthy teeth would be useful additions to the Ivaka gene pool. While they circle his tent, yelling and clapping, he is encouraged to plant his seed in a plump female who settles onto the floor of his hut with her rump in the air. The Ivakas accept Naoh as one of their own and he begins to adopt their style and ways. The Ivaka tribe is the most advanced tribe depicted in the film. They use atlatls, arts (body painting, huts, ornaments, gourd vessels), and most importantly, fire. When Naoh is taught to make fire by rubbing sticks together, he is awed and overwhelmed.
Growing impatient, Gaw and Amoukar go to find Naoh and are also captured. During their ordeal, they are disturbed to realize that one of the teasers is Naoh, initially unrecognizable as he now wears the full body-paint of the Ivaka. Gaw and Amoukar steal some of the Ivakas' fire and escape during the night, knocking the unwilling Naoh unconscious with a rock and carrying him off. Ika sees them taking her paramour and follows the trio into the night.
On their way back to the Ulams, a cave bear attacks and severely wounds Gaw. While carrying him off they are attacked by a band of renegade Ulams, whom they kill with spear throwers taken from the Ivaka.
Upon rejoining the Ulam tribe they hand the smoldering embers to the fire tender, who immediately stumbles into the marsh and extinguishes the flame. Naoh tries to create fire by using some twigs, dung and dry grasses. After several failed attempts, Ika takes over, carefully rubbing the dry sticks together. Once the spark is lit, the tribe is overjoyed, silent and overwhelmed. The final shot of the movie reveals Naoh and a pregnant Ika embracing in the moonlight.
Besides all the epic story, the film is about a supposed age when three human species (homo erectus, homo sapiens and homo neanderthalensis), cohabitated the planet. Quest For Fire follows the theory that there was a "fusion" between neanderthals, less developed, and modern men, owner, at this time, of a certain technology. Homo erectus would have been defeated in virtue of its "primitiveness". Today, most scientists believe that while the three species cohabited the planet, there were never areas where all three co-existed.

With this in mind...

GUEST OPINION: City needs to be proactive, 02-25-09
By Eric Poulin
Fall River —
I have been very troubled over the recent debate regarding the former Bradford Durfee Textile School located at 64 Durfee St. One side is making the accusation that certain parties only want to award a bid to Peabody Properties because of political contributions that were made, while the other side is saying this issue is intentionally being mishandled in order to advance the potential mayoral candidacies of certain city councilors. Unfortunately, caught in the middle are local activists Jeff Carpenter and Alan Amaral, two people who should be given the bulk of the credit for pushing Fall River politicians into finally passing an arts overlay district, and for expanding the availability of liquor licenses in order to attract more upscale establishments to Fall River. While I certainly believe that the intentions of local activists are pure, and I definitely hope that the same can be said for our elected leaders, the bottom line is that the rhetoric, which has been ratcheted up by certain parties in comments given to the local media, needs to stop, and it needs to stop now as it could be a deterrent to much-needed progress in Fall River. We genuinely need to take a step back and look at the big picture, and if we do so we are forced to admit that the cold, hard facts suggest that the potential redevelopment of the former police station by the city was mishandled. It also appears that the redevelopment of the former Bradford Durfee Textile School by the Redevelopment Authority has been mishandled. Those of us who desire to look at the big picture and who desire to move the city forward would now ask the question, “How can we do things correctly in the future?” Whether it is the city putting a property out to bid, or a quasi public/private entity like the Redevelopment Authority, it should be clear to all by now that improvements are needed in how we conduct business. We may soon be putting several former school buildings out to bid for redevelopment by the private sector, and I would hate to see destructive battles and fighting occur over each and every one of them. It would be great to see the city and entities associated with the city being proactive, as we currently seem to be reactive on too many issues. In fact, this issue in particular was one that I spoke about dating back to 2007, even issuing an action plan on the matter, but let me restate the concepts very simply:1.) When we put together a request for proposal it needs to be very clearly stated how we are looking for the property to be developed and how the responses will be scored/evaluated. 2.) We can’t be shortsighted. If one developer offers $100,000 to purchase a property and another $200,000, it does not automatically mean the $200,000 offer is the best proposal. The best proposal is the one that has the highest and best use of the property in mind, (something that should be spelled out in the RFP) and is the one that is going to invest the greatest dollar amount in the property itself. These are concepts that taxpayers are able to grasp but a poll of city officials/elected leaders after the police station fiasco showed widespread disagreement, with some even arguing that the higher sale price needed to be taken simply because that’s the way it has always been done. While I would suggest that we should do whatever is possible to encourage properties to be developed into office buildings or other types of uses that create jobs and disposable income for our residents who are grappling with the city’s high unemployment rate, common sense and reason should allow us all to agree that an investment in a property that creates substantial property tax revenues for the city for many years to come should be preferable over accepting a quick buck or two that comes from the sale of a property. The one-time money from a sale, once it is spent, is gone forever. Annual property tax revenues are re-occurring and will come into the city’s coffers every year. Cities that can encourage and facilitate good proposals from good developers can often pay for necessary services while at the same time keep property taxes low for residents. It is not an impossible dream, just one that we have not yet realized. Fall River is a great city and the potential is there; in fact, it has been for many years. After the debacle with the police station, city officials said they would “explore” the use of “reverter clauses” or “performance guarantees.” This would mean that if a developer does not follow through with what they said they were going to do with a given property that it would either revert back to the city, or if the property was sold within a given time frame without anything productive being done that the city and its taxpayers would reap a large amount of revenue from the sale. No word has ever come back as to whether or not that “exploration” was successful and if the ideas were legal or illegal. Now some might say that developers would be afraid to commit to such a thing, but I might argue that a developer that has a strong track record and the capability to deliver would probably not be so easily frightened. Lastly, I believe we received two bids when we put our police station out to bid and we just received two bids for the former Durfee Textile School property. Two bids! If proper marketing had been done, (and to their credit, officials associated with the bid process have recently admitted on local radio that it wasn’t) then maybe we would have to accept that meager level of interest. However, Fall River should stop accepting mediocrity and half-hearted “C” performances or worse when the residents of our city deserve excellence and “A+” performances from all of our leaders. With the birth of the Internet and with real estate trade publications and publications serving the arts community, etc., a better marketing effort involving little to no cost might have produced more bids. In fact, I was pleased to hear Ken Fiola of the Fall River Office of Economic Development suggest on local radio that the Internet and other resources may be employed the next time. Perhaps then there is hope for everyone to grasp the big picture, but bickering must be put aside in order to promote the people’s agenda, which is ultimately the only one that will result in real progress for the citizens of Fall River. Eric Poulin is a local activist, former mayoral aide and former mayoral candidate.

RFP Overhaul needed ...

This highlights of this letter should be acted upon so it becomes part of local government, its quasi-private agencies and its economic development / redevelopment authorities.

We must move forward with this needed reform?

I will help in any committee that is willing to take this on and prepare a working document!

Any takers...

Oliver P. Cipollini, Jr.

Anonymous said...

Shamrock is stating facts, they are backed up in writing- read them they are not innuendos mentioned on the radio that have no fact to back them up.

W.J. Bloggah said...

Oliver, you usually sound like a pretty intelligent person, but.....Quest For Fire? WTF? You sound like you been smoking some with the Hurrcaine!

Seriously, though, good luck fighting the Good Ol Boys Network. I think they were so rattled tonight because their not used to seeing people stand up for themselves, they usually just bulldoze over everything. Well that's what they did tonight, too, but hopefully the voices next time will be louder. And more of them.

Anonymous said...

Get this straight i highly doubt that two people like ken and carol as intelligent as they are and as political saavy as they are not going to be STUPID enough to leave an obvious paper trail...get real.. understand your opponent.. dont underestimate them!! Do all the research you want they are going to come back clean and another thing its not the first time people have dug deep.Trust me..Carol Fiolas vote percentage is at the very top in the state..serious business!! If they were dirty they would be done already.Call the ethics commission or campaign finance find out if they are in good standing and when you find out the truth will you report it and apologize.

Anonymous said...

"Get this straight i highly doubt that two people like ken and carol as intelligent as they are and as political saavy as they are not going to be STUPID enough to leave an obvious paper trail...get real.."

So you think they are destroying documents?

Tom Paine said...

On June 6, 2003 Ken Fiola was on with Mike Moran, WSAR, to discuss several items, one being 64 Durfee Street.

At that time the state owned it and Ken said the Redevelopment Authority was interested in the building.

(Note - why is Ken always talking for the public agency?)

During the interview he said that FROED and the RDA would write a business plan to determine the "best use" of the building.

Did they ever write that business plan?

Anonymous said...

Ken was known to give out information for political favors back in the day - there are many now retired politicians that know the truth so there is may not be a complete paper trail but you never know who may come forward.

just anonymous said...

Lefty, I fear that you are right. Instead of looking into the blatant wrongdoings of certain elected and appointed officials, the minions will turn this around on Shamrock and attempt to smear the integrity of this wonderful blogger who is only trying to better the city.

It truly amazes me that even though Shamrock backs up everything said with links, documents, videos, and pictures, certain people will plant their rose colored glasses (complete with optional blinders) on their faces and begin to dump on the blogs with their ridiculous excuses and lies.

Anonymous said...

What other option is there, lay down and get run over by the political machine??

Anonymous said...

What other option is there, lay down and get run over by the political machine??

Anonymous said...

Also he went ahead and purchased the cherry and webb building without a plan, lucky for him
umass rented it.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

WOW what was it??

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Oliver Cipollini said...

W.J. Bloggah said...

No, Hurricane and I weren't smoking the good stuff.

I was trying to make a sane analogy with the movie, "Quest for Fire" and the uncivilized chaos that the RA RFP meeting demonstrated yesterday.

It might have been way out there if you have not sen this movie but if you saw the movie, I was right on the money.

shamrock said...

I decided that my tolerance for irrelevant radio programming plugs only a had a threshold of one today. I allowed the one and unless I find the rest particularly entertaining I will delete them too.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should start charging for advertising!!!

Oliver Cipollini said...

Anonymous 25 February, 2009 01:29
You have got to be kidding!

Do a little homework before you make wild statements like this.

Anonymous said...

What cowards monitoring and deleting posts..and having the balls to say Hurricane is using your blogs yeah right..the only time people come here is when you are trashing a herren a karam etc..I have never seen people more full of shit and by the way when was the last time any blogger disagreed with another publicaly

shamrock said...

So I should allow free advertising for a station that regularly speaks poorly of me....not so much

Anonymous said...

Shamrock, Oh no someone is not pleased with the concept of not being able to hook your readers to the local radio station for free.

Hey all radio stations need sponsors, I'm sure they will stick with you and your great ratings without Shamrock.

shamrock said...

I'll be giving them some free advertising later today.