Victory for the District
Mass. Attorney General Orders Compliance by Prudential Committee with Mass. Low Bid Laws
It was a tuff day for Attorney Harris N. Aaronson and his law firm that helps control Becket Woods to the detriment of the Majority. Aaronson was on the losing end of a decision by the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office on November 14, 2008 held in Springfield, Mass. regarding John Amato and the District Prudential Committee's refusal to abide by Mass. Low Bid Laws for Contract Work in the District.
Strange that Aaronson and his client Amato, the "Chairman" of the Prudential Committee, were arguing against the decision for compliance with the Mass. low bid laws, because at the same time they argued before the Attorney General's hearing that they had always abided by the requirements of the Mass. Low Bid Laws. Contradictions are about the best you can expect to get from the current members of the District Prudential Committee.
Attorney Harris N. Aaronson was allowed to dominate the hearing, he was given extra deference and preference. Aaronson frequently spoke in the first person plural, as he made the claim of "WE" when referring to activity and controversies in the District. Aaronson is not a member of the District, but he is a District problem.
Michael Elbery was the complainant at the hearing representing the District owners interest. Elbery had filed a letter of complaint with the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office in September regarding the lack of compliance with the low bid laws in the District. Since the inception of the District all contract road and related maintenance work has automatically gone to Mark Millet at his demand price; this is undisputed and was again admitted by the Prudential Committee (Amato and Mansbach etc.,) at the 8-31-08 District meeting. Yes that's right, they tell the Mass. A.G. they always comply with the Mass. Low Bid Laws, yet they boast, at the District Meeting of 8-31-08, that the District Prudential Committee will never comply with those low bid laws.
Elbery was referred to at the District Attorney's hearing as the "Protester" not complainant.
The only years allowed to be addressed at the A.G.'s hearing regarding compliance with the Mass. low bid laws was the current fiscal year, 2009. Why aren't past years lack of compliance relevant?
The hearing officer who represented the Mass. Attorney General's Office was well versed in the Mass. Low Bid Laws and had an excellent command of legal issues raised at the hearing.
Aaronson has a guilty conscience - claims records "open book" even though not an issue before Attorney General
At the A.G.'s hearing, Aaronson had the audacity to claim that No Requests have been made for any records that are in custody of the District Prudential Committee (note - the District records were not at issue at that hearing). Aarson and Amato both claimed that the Prudential Committee of the District have always complied with disclosure laws in Mass. surrounding District records. To hear Aaronson and Amato the District records are an "open book" to be viewed, as District and Mass. law require, by anyone at their command. Of course, we the District owners have witnessed for years that Amato and the Prudential Committee have always made the District records a Taboo. What are they hiding? Does Attorney Aaronson know what they are hiding?
Aaronson and Amato Squeal on Mansbach
Aaronson and Amato did admit, at the A.G.'s hearing, that Peter Mansbach (member of the Prudential Committee) did say that "low bid laws would be bad for the Community". However, they claimed that even though Mansbach said it at the Open Meeting of 8-31-08 in his official capacity as a Prudential Committee Member that it did not represent the position of the Prudential Committee. Sorry Attorney "Double Aa" and "Chairman" Amato that is not true, but Mansbach does represent the position of the Prudential Committee. The Prudential Committee in the District has avoided the Mass. low bid laws since the District's inception so to, at a minimum, enrich Mark Millet. By the way, none of the Prudential Committee Members disagreed with Mansbach when he said at the 8-31-08 District Meeting that the low bid laws "were bad for the Community".
Amato was steadfast and solemn about this utterance by Mansbach. Amato solemnly declared that he never said that low bid laws would be bad for the Community. However, Amato was remiss to say that he was acting in agreement with Mansbach at the 8-31-08 meeting regarding Mansbach declaration of "Community Bad". Amato also failed to add that he declared, in his usual surly manner, at the same Open District Meeting that the low bid laws are "IRRELEVANT".
Aaronson Demands Interrogation of Michael Elbery & Aaronson Gets laughed at
Attorney Harris N. Aaronson claimed at the A.G. hearing that Elbery was making "Broad Brush" accusations via a Web Site. Aaronson wanted the Attorney General's Office to force Elbery to "give up" names of people that he had acquired evidence from regarding illegalities in the District of Becket Woods. What a "Jack Ass" this guy Aaronson is, he thinks it is that easy!! Aaronson will never get that information. The Attorney General's Office pointed out that interrogation is not allowed; the A.G. hearing officer appeared stunned by Aaronson's demand for interrogation and reminded Aaronson that those were not even issues (who gave Elbery information) of the hearing. Aaronson replied with a big huff followed by a grunt and big ugly Kisser.
Aaronson will never get the names of the people that gave information about Becket Woods illegalities.
Aaronson apologizes to Michael Elbery.
The hearing at times was hostile, especially when Aaronson and Amato started lying about the District records, and low bid contracts. John Amato had his hand held, as usual, by TWO attorneys - Aaronson and Paul B. Sherr. Elbery was allowed some floor time in order to give evidence at the hearing but Aronson was given much greater time to speak and was never interrupted regardless of his insulting and rude commentary throughout the hearing. Elbery was constantly restricted, interrupted and censored during the hearing.
Aaronson belligerently apologized to Elbery at the hearing when Aaronson was called out for his continued insulting comments and undertone every time Elbery made a point in favor of the District owners. Aaronson actually made noises/grunts throughout the hearing in order to express himself, not very sophisticated for a big shot attorney. Sherr never said one word. Elbery regarded the "Double Aa's" apology as insincere.
John Amato Cross-Examined by "Public Protector"
Elbery was allowed cross-examination of Aaronson and Amato (Aaronson actually did most of the testimony for the District Prudential Committee) otherwise it did not appear that cross-examination would have been done. Questions needed to be answered as a result of the lies Amato and Aaronson were telling. Biggest lies were that the Prudential Committee had always complied with the low Bid laws for contract work in the District - the other big lie was that financial and voting records of the District are provided and always have been provided to anyone wanting to review them. Elbery was quick to counter with overpowering evidence that Attorney "Double Aa" and Amato were lying, again.
Aaronson had previously, in his letter of November 9, 08, called Michael Elbery a liar. Defaming Elbery when he said Elbery's claims were "less than half-truth".
Amato has a convenient loss of Memory Under Cross-Examination - Elbery catches him, again, lying.
Additionally, Amato claimed at the hearing that he had received bids from 5 or 6 contractors for f/y/e 2009 contract work in the District. Amato claimed he obtained those low bids in order to comply with the Mass. low bid laws.
When cross-examined as to who were the 5 or 6 contractors he received bids from Amato got caught, again, and never gave an answer. How honest is the "Chairman of Becket Woods Prudential Committee" when he just clams up and refuses to answer?
When cross-examined as to where are the documents that verify these alleged low bids Amato claims he received from 5 or 6 contractors, Amato said some were oral communications but Amato had no documents to verify that he had received bids from anyone for contract work in the District. ( And Amato still has not produced any documents a month after the A.G.'s deadline of 11-28-08, see below).
Amato claimed he had a written contract with Mark Millet but under cross-examination could not produce such document. But Amato has also claimed that there is no written contract with Millet.
Of course, the reason Amato did not answer is because he was lying. Amato & Mansbach and their gang of Prudential, not only have never complied with the Mass. Low Bid Laws, as is well known to all, but they dictated at the 8-31-08 District Meeting that they never have and never will comply with those laws.
Under cross-examination, Amato reluctantly claimed that the Prudential Committee had no plans to install or construct a new clay tennis court in the District. Amato was reminded that the voters/owners of the District have to vote and approve any new tennis courts in the District. Amato was also reminded that if he and his Prudential Committee do any capital improvements, in particular clay tennis courts, without vote approval of the District owners they will be sued in their personal capacity. If sued properly in their personal capacity for 14th Amendment Constitutional Rights Violations we the District owners won't have to pay for their legal fees - they will have to pay.
During cross-examination as to guideline compliance with Mass. low bid laws when procuring low bids, Amato and Aaronson produced a blank boilerplate contract that anybody can copy out of a law book on construction contracts. Yes, they claimed that that generic blank form they copied out of a law book was the guidelines they used in order to comply with the Mass. low bid laws. The low bid laws set out specific procedure/guidelines that must be complied with when obtaining bids. That blank boiler plate did not come close to compliance with the guidelines they were required by law to follow, which includes advertising and registration with the State of Massachusetts.
Amato claimed during the hearing that he paid Millet $22,000.00 for the contract work in the District, but during cross-examination both Amato and Aaronson refused to either confirm or deny the remark and offered no answer to Elbery's cross-examination on that issue. During Cross-Examination, Elbery wanted to know that if that is true, $22,000 to Millet per year, then where is the rest of the budget going and why the need for a doubling of District Road Taxes in 2 years. Amato refused to answer these questions about the accountability of the District Taxes. Is that honest government?
It is illegal for Amato to tax the owners and keep secret the where the money is being spent. The foolish budget that the Prudential sends some of the owners some years is not credible and is so vague to be worthless. The Web Site has found no owner in the District that was provided the itemization of revenues and expenses for the last two fiscal years of the District as required by the District Act. The last budget itemizes a "Capital Expenditure" for $45,000.00. The Prudential Committee refused to disclose, to this day, what the Capital Expenditure was. John Amato was indignant that owners of the District would question where the $45K was going; they wanted Amato to define the Capital Expenditure. Was it another Clay Tennis Court??? The claim on the budget for f/y/e of $25, 000.00 for gravel and beach sand sounds way out, but that is why they won't let anyone see the District Check Book and paid invoices.
Elbery stated that most of the District budget should be going to the road work which is going to Millet, which Amato and Aaronson did not deny.
When asked during cross-examination how much was Mark Millet actually paid out of the District check book for f/y/e/ 2009 year for his work in the District - Amato answered, "Not paid more than 5 cents than what's in the contract". Amato is a product of a culture of the double cross and double talk. However, that would mean, according to the evidence per Amato's testimony, $22,000.00.
The District owners are well aware that there is an accountability problem regarding the usage or whereabouts of the District Taxes, but this claim by Amato that Millet is paid $22K only makes the issue more absurd. It creates even a bigger gap between District Taxes and what the District owners are paying for, or District expenses. It is undisputed that the biggest expenditure each year in the District is road maintenance and related road work. In f/y/e 2009 total District Taxes are 162 x $850 = $137,700.00 - Where is the rest of the money going? Due to the latest and illegal Special Assessment of the District Owner's real estate via the 8-31-08 illegal election, total District Tax will be 162 x $1000.00 = $162,000.00.
But of course, NO ONE believes that Millet only makes $22,000.00. That's one of the reasons Amato won't let anybody see the District records including the check book. If we could see the check book we could learn what they want to keep concealed.
Victory - Mass. A.G. rules that Becket Woods District road work under Jurisdiction of Mass. Low Bid Laws
But the Good News for the District is that the Mass. Attorney General's Office found that the District road and related work does come under the jurisdiction of the Mass. low bid laws and that the District Prudential Committee must send out for low bids in quick time as provided by the low bid law guidelines including prescribed advertising, placement of ad in the central register, sealed bids. No fraud or "Amato scheming" and lies are allowed, which means Millet is gone because besides being over priced (nobody believes Millet gets only $22,000 a year) Millet refuses to submit a bid for work in the District of Becket Woods. Millet has to be the boss.
More Victory for the District Owners
The A.G. ordered that the Prudential Committee must immediately solicit low bids for road and maintenance work in the District because they have not complied with Mass. Low Bid Laws for f/y/e 2009.
Here is the BAD PART - THE MASS. ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE REFUSES TO PRODUCE WRITTEN "FINDINGS OF FACT",
but see Aaronson's letter of reply to the A.G., while confessing they don't feel that they should have to comply with the Mass. Low Bid Laws, Aaronson admits that the A.G. found against him and his client Amato and Prudential and that they are allegedly in process of obtaining Low Bids in compliance with Mass. Low Bid law guidelines. (However, it does not, at 1-1-09, appear that Amato and Prudential has done any of this - Millet is still doing all the work in the District).
Update - Attorney Aaronson produces Non-Compliance and Millet's alleged contract
The Mass. A.G. instructed the parties to submit all documentation in proof of their position prior to the hearing. Amato and his attorneys produced no documents at the hearing to support their position.
A week after the hearing Aaronson submitted the following documentation to allegedly show "informal" bidding:
Alleged Bids submitted by Contractors for District Road Work (note - only an insulting list of 3 numbers on Aaronson's stationary). This is more of the typical lies that the Prudential Committee and their attorney, Aronson, think they can dupe the owners with, in the opinion of this web Site. See the letter by Aaronson all he does is submit 3 line items with dollar amounts, by allegedly, Amato's friend Jerry LaFrenier, some guy from Russell, Mass. named Cooper, and Millet. There is supposed to be detailed bid documents complete with a price for the work that is itemized in detail and signed by these alleged competing contractors, not just a name with a dollar number beside it.
Once again, how is it that at the District Open Meeting of 8-31-08 the Prudential Committee dictated there never has been and never would be compliance with the Mass. Low Bid Laws and that Millet is automatically given all work in the District and now they pretend to have obtained "informally" 3 bids? Just more insulting lies. In 2006 two members of the Prudential Committee quit because they obtained informal bids for road work and then District Boss - Joe LaCascia trashed those bids by local contractors.
Millet's alleged Contract with the District of Becket Woods for f/y/e 2009. This document, alleged Millet contract, was obviously fabricated by Amato and his attorney, Aronson, after the A.G.'s hearing of 11-14-08, in the opinion of this Web Site. Only the District Check Book will tell us what Millet makes. But if it is true, $22, 550.00 (or $22,675.00 according to Aaronson), then where is the rest of the District tax money going and why was it necessary to double the District taxes?
Amato said there is no written contract with Millet.
The Boiler Plate Contract that Aaronson claims is compliance with the solicitation process for Low Bids as required by Mass. Laws. This document does nothing to comply with the requirements of the solicitation process for low bids as required by Mass. law.
The above 3 phony documents do nothing to comply with the Low Bid Laws and are just another admission that the District Prudential Committee refuses, as they have always boasted at District Open Meetings, to comply with the Mass. Low Bid Laws. Their claim above that they obtained 3 bids is just an amateur fabrication by Amato. Aaronson will say he is just producing the information given to him by his client.
John Amato can lie to the Mass. Attorney General but the owners of Becket Woods already knew the truth. So far Amato's lying about compliance with the Low Bid Laws has not been successful because he lost before the Mass. Attorney General. Amato's favorite tactic is just tell one lie after another because he has learned that he can get away with that tactic. If Amato gets caught lying, he just tells another lie to try and cover-up the first lie. Amato tells so many lies and gets away with it that he expects to wear out his opposition so that they will just give up. He got away with rigging the election of 8-31-08, now he thinks he can get away with anything. And John Amato's dictatorship is at the District Owner's expense. Is this the kind of person you want to have running Becket Woods? Amato must be voted out in July, 2010 and the all existing Prudential Committee Members/Co-conspirators must be voted out.
We the District Owner's hope that the Mass. A.G. will follow-up and enforce their jurisdiction and ruling that the Prudential Committee must get low bids as directed by Mass. law. It is the opinion of this Web Site that Amato and his Prudential Committee will never comply with A.G.'s order, but will, at a minimum, find a way to cheat that low bid system so that it will be business as usual in the District (Millet will still be getting our money at his demand price). If Amato and company continue to violate the Mass. Low Bid Laws and ignore the Mass. A.G., they know that they are immune from prosecution and that they will never suffer any penalty.