THE PANDEMIC has killed more than 8,000 Massachusetts residents.
It has left thousands more with no work.
It has forced businesses to close.
But for the indicted state representative from Lowell, David Nangle, the pandemic has been a good thing – at least for his re-election bid.
In February, the feds indicted Nangle on 28 counts, among them wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements to banks and filing false tax returns, which most legal scholars say are the most serious charges Nangle is facing.
Several Greater Lowell lawyers familiar with the federal system told The Column last week that due to the pandemic, legal matters at the federal courthouse in Boston have moved slow, very slow.
Based on what happened there last week on the Nangle case, it appears he dodged a bullet in terms of nothing happening until after the Sept. 1 primary.
A status hearing, scheduled for Wednesday, was postponed. It was rescheduled, but not until Sept. 16, well after the primary. According to the docket, this will be the final status hearing.
A status hearing is just what it sounds like – a conference at which time the court asks both sides to explain where they are in the discovery process, motions and readiness for trial.
A final status hearing, such as the one scheduled for Sept. 16, typically happens after discovery and motions are completed and a trial or plea date is scheduled.
Nangle’s two Democratic opponents in the race to represent the 17th Middlesex District, Vanna Howard and Lisa Arnold, are swimming against the tide, as Nangle has called in his posse of supporters and large, extended family.
This was evident one morning last week, when the Nangle Posse campaigned for the indicted state rep at Shedd Park in Belvidere.
Outside of the Nangle bubble the sentiment runs like this: He’ll win the primary, maybe even the general in November.
But the long reach of U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling will, inevitably, be unavoidable for Nangle to evade.
HOWARD HAS picked up quite the endorsement.
The Massachusetts Women’s Political Action Caucus (MWPAC) has endorsed Howard.
The MWPAC is a nonpartisan organization that works to increase the number of women holding elected office and public policy positions. Howard is one of 36 women running for state rep seats across the state that the MWPAC has endorsed. The organization has also endorsed candidates in races for U.S. Congress, state Senate, Governor’s Council, Register of Probate and Select Board.
“The MWPC PAC is proud to endorse this fantastic group of women who have shown their
unwavering commitment to the core values held by the MWPC and who will continue to pursue
them while in public office,” MWPC PAC Co-Chair, board member and founder of the MWPC Berkshire Committee Amy Diamond said in a press release from MWPAC.
According to the organization’s website, caucus members are “a diverse group of women that include the political, health care, biotech, academic, business, corporate, and non-profit communities.”
Howard’s campaign website lists a focus on affordable housing, public health, economic recovery, education and childcare, and tackling racism as a public health crisis.
Arnold also recently picked up an endorsement – from the Sierra Club.
According to a press release from Arnold’s campaign, The Sierra Club feels Arnold shares “their vision to save lands, water, and climate.”
Arnold is running on a platform to fight climate change, improve public transportation, develop affordable housing and increase access to mental-health services, according to the release.
Arnold has also picked up endorsements from Progressive Massachusetts and Solidarity Lowell.
A PIECE of advice for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren: Don’t rely on your colleague from Massachusetts, Sen. Edward Markey, for help in your quest to be named Joe Biden’s running mate.
During an editorial board meeting with Sun editors last week, Markey said Warren is his “favorite,” but that if Warren isn’t chosen, then it is the right time for an African American woman to be selected by the presumed Democratic nominee.
Markey said he supports Warren because he believes she has “ a clear vision of what is needed at this time from an economic perspective.”
Markey, however, then went on to speak at some length about how the selection of an African American woman would likely be a bonanza for Biden.
His comments on behalf of, say, a Kamala Harris or Val Demings, were so convincing it prompted another question: Are you sure you’re with Warren? Harris is a senator from California, and Demings a representative from Florida.
Markey said yes.
“I think she has just the perfect economic message for this time and I wholeheartedly support her candidacy, if she wants it. But apart from her, I think that an African American woman would be the perfect kind of pictures to be sending to our country.”
MARKEY’S OPPONENT, Rep. Joseph Kennedy, is set for his meeting with the newspaper’s editorial board this week.
Many local movers and shakers are behind the member of Camelot, as evidenced by a recent virtual fundraiser that netted the challenger $20,000.
The hosts were lawyer Michael Gallagher, former City Manager Brian Martin, Trinity EMS President John Chemaly, former state Sen. Steve. Panagiotakos, state Rep. Thomas Golden, the dean of the delegation, and philanthropist Nancy Donahue.
“Despite the absence of the usual food and grog, camaraderie, and actual face time with the candidate, the fact that it was on the ides of July in the literal middle of the summer during vacation time, and the reality that it was amidst a pandemic (and who hasn’t been challenged financially?), we were able to raise almost 20K,” Gallagher said.
Several other hosts said Kennedy was very impressive – smart, humble, well-versed in the issues, very responsive, very earnest and likable.
“I think he won over any attendees who may have been on the fence,” Gallagher said.
Plus, Kennedy has visited Lowell several times over the last six months. Indeed, Kennedy stopped by The Sun’s offices a couple times before the pandemic.
IN PROPOSING their Local Initiative Program, or “friendly 40B” mix of luxury and affordable rental units at the former UMass Lowell West Campus site in Chelmsford, representatives of the Hanover Company suggested the Select Board create a “subcommittee” for input on permit application.
What they had in mind, at least to start, according to attorney Doug Hausler, was two board members to work with the developers and town department heads to make sure they have everything they need to get the process underway. Those board members could then determine if a larger subcommittee was actually needed, and what the composition would be, he told the board.
Select Board member Pat Wojtas pushed back against that idea, noting that two board members legally constitutes a subcommittee of the board and would require public posting of meetings.
Further complicating the matter, residents from the neighborhoods around the 255 Princeton St. site who were participating in the Zoom meeting — and randomly interjecting into the board’s conversation — expressed their desire to be a part of the subcommittee to make sure their concerns were addressed.
“We just might be bringing in so much input that we could be there forever and never get started, really never get the ball rolling,” said Select Board member George Dixon.
Town Manager Paul Cohen warned against getting too much resident input at this stage of the process, considering the Select Board is not the permitting authority — that duty lies with the Board of Appeals, which will hold public hearings on the project, he said. Cohen said the last time the Select Board got too bogged down with citizen input at this stage of a Local Initiative Project was Hillside Gardens on Littleton Road, and it took two years for the project to get to the Board of Appeals.
Assistant Town Manager Mike McCall, who was a selectman at the time, said the board took so much public input that it “was getting mired down in essentially design decisions, making recommendations which probably should not have happened at that level.”
Wojtas was ultimately appointed as liaison for the project. It’s unclear when — and whether — a subcommittee might be formed.
COUNCILORS RITA Mercier and Rodney Elliott are demanding answers. Specifically they want to know how City Council Zoom access was given to two members of the public during City Council’s July 14 meeting.
Though Councilor John Drinkwater admitted to providing the access – after asking the city’s MIS department if it would be possible – Mercier insisted there must be more to the story and that MIS should not be blamed.
Mercier, who at times shouted into the mic during the council’s July 28 meeting, called it an act of favoritism and the “worst form of discrimination” she’s ever seen. The council just completed a listening session on racism in Lowell and resisted calls to declare racism a public health crisis; instead opting for a resolution on racism that some councilors have called a “pathway” to addressing systemic racism.
Mercier also said she asked the head of the MIS department if he gave out the access and he told her no. During Tuesday’s meeting, Mercier asked City Clerk Michael Geary if he shared the access information. Geary also said no.
“It’s amazing to me that nobody knows what took place but miraculously things transpired,” Elliott said.
Someone also needs to tell Drinkwater what the city’s Plan E form of government allows a councilor to do. Contacting a department head is not one of them.
MERCIER ALSO wants the name of the person who said, “Oh my god, I hate you,” during that same City Council Zoom meeting. The identity of the speaker is thus far unknown.
Mercier said it would be possible to review the recorded meeting to see which person’s Zoom window illuminated to indicate a speaker.
“I want a name of the person that said that. I want a name, I know that you can do that, I want the name of the person, there are ways to find out,” Mercier said.
VIENNA CAPITAL, the California company that now owns the Stonehedge Inn, appears to be a newcomer to the Massachusetts hospitality and tourism industry.
Stonehedge Inn was foreclosed late last year for nonpayment of taxes. At the time of the auction, Tyngsboro was owed $150,000 in taxes. The new owners were required to pay those taxes as part of the sale transaction.
The deed on file at the North Middlesex Registry of Deeds lists the company’s address as Redondo Beach California. The auction price for the Inn was $2.8 million .
Register of Deeds Richard Howe took some time to look the company up in the Secretary of State’s database. His search returned only one record for Vienna Capital. There was no mortgage associated with the record in the database. This leads Howe to believe the closing on the property in June was a cash transaction.
A database search on the California Secretary of State’s office returned more complicated results. Xiangjun Li is listed as the CEO of Vienna Capital. He is also listed as the agent for other small companies. All the companies are small and have been incorporated in the last 10 years. And each has a different address in Greater Los Angeles.
Two of the companies were listed as suspended in the California database and the code used could indicate tax payment problems. But the code could have a ‘benign’ cause as well, according to Howe. As an example, he cited failure to file documents on time.
Howe adds that the different companies with multiple addresses might also have a ‘benign’ cause. Real estate investments can be volatile, so it might make sense to create several companies to protect assets.
However, Howe added “ I wouldn’t think this is good news.”
THE FLOW of money has been thrown for a loop over the last four months and organizations are trying to figure out how to do business in the era of the coronavirus. The Massachusetts Senate has taken steps to help credit unions reorganize to address the changing environment.
The Senate passed An Act Modernizing the Credit Union Laws on July 20, the first major update to credit union law since 1909. The legislation, filed by state Sen. Jamie Eldridge, looks to update the processes and provisions of state credit unions. Methods of doing so include improving internal communication between board members, providing flexibility to optional credit committees and streamlining both annual meeting processes and committee composition. It also allows loan applications and certain actions by credit union board of directors to be done electronically.
“I was very proud to file this legislation this session, given how many of my constituents rely upon credit unions, and how credit unions give back to their customers, and the communities that they are located in,” Eldridge said in a press release. “I want to thank the Joint Committee on Financial Services, co-chaired by Senator Jim Welch for reporting the bill favorably, and to Senate Ways and Means Chairman Mike Rodrigues and his staff for prioritizing the legislation, Chairman Rodrigues is a long-time champion of credit unions. The modernization of credit unions will allow for a more logical, organized system, that will better serve the residents of Massachusetts.”
“I applaud Senator Eldridge and the entire Massachusetts Senate on their action to pass the credit union modernization bill,” Ronald McLean, president of the Cooperative Credit Union Association said in a press release. “This legislation will enhance the ability of Massachusetts state chartered credit unions to best serve their members and help them build a better life financially.”
This week’s Column was prepared by Reporters Emma Murphy in Lowell; Alana Melanson in Chelmsford; Prudy Brighton in Tyngsboro; Jon Winkler in the Nashoba Valley; and Enterprise Editor Christopher Scott.آموزش سئو