Senator Brewer: Another Smoking Gun
On June 5, 2009 North Brookfield officials held a ground breaking ceremony to celebrate the town’s new police station. According to a report in the Quaboag Current a five year journey had finally been realized. With the help of a $200,000 state grant construction was set to begin. The Chair of the North Brookfield Downtown Development committee, James Foyle, even took the opportunity to “express his special appreciation for the efforts of (Senator Steve) Brewer and (Representative Anne) Gobi“.
Senator Brewer did not attend the June event. Rather, representing him that day was staff aide Kyle Toto.
This muckraker had no idea who Kyle Toto was – that is until RCAP Solutions mailed hundreds of dated CDBG files connected to the Town’s federal grants it received more than two decades ago. It happened innocently enough. I was reviewing these mysterious files which had inexplicably appeared in Treasurer Becky Pellegrino’s office in August.
Unquestionably it is a mundane task. Scouring old documents. Taking notes. Flipping page after page. Progressing slowly through this mountain of madness.
But there it was. An email address hand-written on the inside of a file folder: Kyle.Toto@state.ma.us.
It piqued my curiosity. So I wrote it down and did some sleuthing. And what do you know? Kyle Toto works for Senator Brewer. No records of another Kyle Toto were found so presumably Brewer’s aide and this email address are tied to the same person.
Another smoking gun in this sordid tale.
Mr. Toto attended Northeastern University and while enrolled had a six month internship with the Senator from January – June 2005. Public records show he made the Dean’s List in the Spring of 2007. Presumably he graduated that same year because according Brewer’s Office he began working for the Senator three years ago.
I contacted Brewer’s Boston office looking to speak with Mr. Toto. As luck would have it, Mr. Toto, as of a week ago, is on a one year leave of absence. As a member of the state’s National Guard, he’s been deployed to Afghanistan. Filling-in for Toto as Brewer’s constituent relations aide is Sam Alton whom I spoke with today.
Mr. Alton assured me he’ll look into this matter…
In the mean time, Toto’s address raises several problematic questions:
- Mr. Orszulak’s file was opened in 1994. Documents therein describe his file as “Barre Ongoing Program“. Why would an RCAP employee have written Toto’s email address in this dated file?
- Presumably some electronic communication transpired between RCAP and Senator Brewer’s office between 2007 and 2010. But why?
- Recall, this muckraker’s first contact with RCAP occurred back in March of this year. Since then senior management has been less than forthcoming about information related to this program and have even lied about the mere existence of any documents and its administrating role.
- On September 22nd Donna Warshaw, Executive Director of RCAP Financial Solutions, emailed me and among other things stated how “(t)his program has been inactive for a number of years“. True, RCAP’s contract with the Town expired on June 30, 1999. If that’s so then why would RCAP be corresponding with Brewer’s office now about this supposedly “inactive” program?
Senator Brewer and RCAP Solutions need to explain this connection - now. If this muckraker didn’t know better it would appear both parties are trying to cover-up something. And this development raises additional questions concerning the Department of Housing & Community Development‘s (DHCD) recent dismissal of my inquiry into this CDBG program. In RCAP’s 2009 annual report DHCD is listed as a “partner”.
In this same report Senator Brewer is quoted as describing RCAP “doing God’s work”.
But the devil is in the detail. And these latest details need to be explained.
The Senator refuses to answer The Question – Did he know the Jankauskases owned 140 Union Street prior to his voting for Article 30 at the June 22, 2009 annual town meeting?
His silence must end and he needs to provide answers…
In his “Report to the People” in September 2009 – just two months following his Article 30 vote - he wrote:
On August 20, 2009 I was appointed by Senate President Therese Murray to the special commission to study the creation of a new independent office of public accountability. It is very important that we restore the public’s confidence in government and I want to make clear to everyone in the Commonwealth, especially to my constituents, that we are serious about ethics reform…
No wonder the Senator initially replied to The Question on August 24th by answering: A vote as a Barre property owner and citizen is not Senatorial business and therefore no conflict exists.
The Question, however, has everything to do with his own ethos and his possible complicity in this twisted affair in which answers are hard to by and those involved just keep disappearing.
Public accountability and the Truth are inextricably linked.
Some other interesting nuggets:
- Documents exist tying RCAP Solutions and Barre Savings Bank as recent as October 14, 2003. Both entities were working on a loan subordination pertaining to Andrew Shepardson’s $10,575 CDBG loan he obtained on September 16, 1998. Again the question must be asked: If RCAP’s contract with the Town expired in June 1999 then why was Loan Specialist Lois C. Plante working on this file four years later?! This file was also described as “Barre On-Going“. Furthermore, no public documents exist of Martha and Andrew Shepardson ever having a loan with the Town of Barre.
- Return to the June 05, 2009 ground breaking ceremony in North Brookfield. Toto was present because undoubtedly Brewer played an active role in getting the town a $200,000 state grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety (Brewer vice-chairs both the Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee and the Ways and Means Committee). It was about a new police station. Recall how at a FinCom meeting prior to Barre’s June ’09 town meeting on June 22nd Selectman Kathy Inman justified Article 30 as the future site of a new police station and Chief Demetropoulos affirmed this. Just saying…
- At the BoS’ recent all departmental meeting held on October 4th Charlie Fullam reportedly presented the idea of turning the 140 Union Street property into a 3-bay garage with a small bathroom and cleaning room. This proposal would require relocating the Ambulance and Paramedic Ready Room out of the garage B.E.A.R.S. currently rents on the Common. Such a move he claimed would save money in the long run. If this muckraker’s source is correct then Fullam & Co. have plenty of work ahead of them and need to show taxpayers exactly how and where such cost-savings would be achieved… I smell another boondoggle.
Posted on October 6, 2010, in 140 Union Street, Beacon Hill Bits, Town Matters and tagged 140 Union Street, Barre Savings Bank, Chief Erik Demetropoulos, Donna Warshaw, HUD, Kyle Toto. aide, Massachusetts Small Cities Program, RCAP Solutions, Selectman Kathy Inman, Senator Brewer. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off.