"Elephant in the room" is an idiom for an obvious truth that is being ignored or goes unaddressed. It applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss. There is such an elephant in our Town Hall.
It is absolutely bewildering that no news organization nor any selectman has ever demanded an answer to the simple question of Paul Cohen: Why did you find it necessary to lie to the Board of Selectmen in August of 2009, claiming that "The Town was never approached by Eastern Bank, the previous owner of the property, to see if the Town was interested in making a purchase." Why would that be unimportant to news reporters and town officials alike? It is central to understanding and rectifying the fact that the Town Manager facilitated the purchase of “9 North Road” by a sitting selectman and his family for commercial development. Furthermore, evidence shows he stayed mum about it for six months, and then clearly lied about it to cover up his own malfeasance as well as that of Phil Eliopoulos.
The historic Village Green was pronounced “Center Park” by selectmen who deed restricted it to remain an “open space conservation area” in perpetuity. Refusing to uphold the public’s interest in that property is malfeasance on a grand scale, and the entire Board of Selectmen is complicit. Jon Kurland even goes so far as to say that “The town never owned the land,” which of course is silly, since it was the town that deed restricted it when the land was sold to the bank in 1978. That's why the citizen response to the recall has been enthusiastic, even as public officials break the law to try and slow down signature collection. Signature collectors have been threatened by political goons – standard procedure in Chelmsford lately – and have been harassed, assaulted and subjected to dirty tricks coordinated by town officials.
Frankly, the whole recall effort would have been totally unnecessary if the selectmen had simply allowed formal inquiry to proceed. Instead they have paid town counsel to quash all depositions, and try to argue that plaintiffs in court do not have standing. Jon Kurland, himself a lawyer who should know better, has been claiming that the courts have cleared officials of wrongdoing when, in fact, certain plaintiffs have simply been declared to lack standing and the current lawsuit in Land Court is still under advisement by Judge Piper. No one has been “cleared” of anything because no investigation has been allowed to take place.
The people in town hall who pretend the elephant is not there have chosen to concern themselves with tangential or small and irrelevant issues rather than deal with the looming big one: the fact that our Town Manager is corrupt and, as one example of his corrupt behavior, helped an unethical town official grab our Village Green from right under our noses. Some deny that the Town Manager’s complicity even happened. Some deny that there were ethics violations by Phil Eliopoulos. Some feel we should simply ignore the corruption and simply “move on.”
But the elephant really is there, and it’s not going away. The good citizens of the town are reminded of it every time they drive past the Eliopoulos Edifice on their way to town hall.
Please help remove the elephant from town hall. Sign the recall petitions and allow voters to move our town out of the political gutter and into good and honest government.
Yours with best wishes and hope for the future of our town,
Roland Van Liew