“Elephant in the room” is a metaphor for an obvious truth that is being ignored or goes unaddressed. One such elephant in Town Hall is the “9 North Road” scandal which our Selectmen refuse to address.
The video clip below shows Phil claiming that the Permanent Building Committee never told him or the rest of the selectmen that purchase of the land behind Center Fire Station was desirable. In fact, as the video clip below shows, in March of 2009 PBC chair Pat Maloney was briefing the BOS that “Option 3” was to repair and extend the Center Fire Station using some of the land behind the fire station, to be purchased from Eastern Bank. Maloney goes further, though, and states that the town should buy the land regardless of the future of Center Fire Station, because even if the fire station were to be torn down or sold off, the value of the small parcel it sits on would be greatly enhanced by purchasing the inexpensive open space behind it.
In fact, this presentation by Pat Maloney was the culmination of investigation and expenditure of over $100,000 of your tax dollars in response to a request by Phil Eliopoulos personally in September of 2007 to continue to explore all options regarding the Center Fire Station. But now Phil Eliopoulos claims he had no idea the town was interested in the land!!!
As you can see from the above video clip, Phil Eliopoulos and Paul Cohen remain completely silent about the activities of the Eliopoulos family negotiating for purchase of that very parcel. And Maloney clearly is in the dark, despite Paul Cohen’s latest fabricated story of doing all he could to work with Mr. Maloney to obtain the land for the town.
Town officials from Paul Cohen to Paul Haverty to Jon Kurland have been debating the facts, stating that Cheating Chelmsford and Better Not Bigger are “twisting the truth.” The presentations of the officials directly involved at the time – including Phil Eliopoulos – are preserved on video, and we don’t need to “twist” anything. We want everyone to see these people speaking in person, and to listen to what these same people are saying now. The stories do not match.
Paul Cohen has changed his story of what happened and his role in the scandal FOUR TIMES. Each time his story is debunked by hard evidence, he changes the dates and the players. Most recently, he has used Pat Maloney as his alibi, claiming he fully briefed Maloney. Mr. Maloney, for whatever reasons, now supports Cohen’s latest story. But this video clip from March 23, 2009 shows that Maloney didn’t know the actual price of the land, and didn’t know anyone else was immediately interested in purchasing it (never mind Phil Eliopoulos, the chair of the BOS that Maloney is briefing in the video, and who never says a word about the urgency of moving on the parcel if the town wants it).
Nor is there any indication in the presentation from Pat Maloney that Paul Cohen had carried out the Permanent Building Committee’s explicit directive a month earlier to find out particulars for that committee regarding the parcel. Instead, Cohen sat on his knowledge of the town’s interest and the Eliopoulos family’s interest, and let time pass until the Eliopouloses signed a purchase agreement in April. Then he and Maloney sought a tiny sliver of land for additional fire station parking, and today they try and make it sound like they were chasing the parcel. But the parcel was gone by the time they pursued it in April, and they knew it.
The town’s Ethics Bylaw explicitly prohibits officials from taking action on any matter that affects their financial interests or the interests of their family; but Phil Eliopoulos negotiated to buy the 9 North Road parcel even as the Fire Station Study Committee was recommending that the town purchase the land whether or not it would be used to extend Center Fire Station.
The video below proves that Phil is not being truthful when he says he “didn’t realize that the town was interested in the property.” And it shows that the selectmen, who have been presented with this evidence over and over again, are not being truthful with us when they say that “nobody did anything wrong” and refuse to investigate.
This elephant is still roaming freely in Town Hall. Help remove the elephant by voting this coming Tuesday, Aug. 2 to recall the selectmen who have been complicit in the ongoing “9 North Road” scandal.
Yours with best wishes and hope for the future of our town,
Roland Van Liew
P.S. If you’d like a “Vote Yes” lawn sign, just e-mail us and we’ll have one delivered!