Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The noose tightens...

Frequent contributors to the Bully Commentary Page know the deadline is Monday morning 9:00 AM (even for Big Shot public officials). Thus, the whiny Letter that will appear in tomorrow’s Bulletin was written before the beleaguered couple realized folks (well… bloggers anyway) were on to the Mortgage scam.

And notice in today’s Gazette article they hide behind “no comment”--as in none of your damn business--when questioned about the mortgage agreement with Florence Savings Bank that stipulates both of them take up “primary residence” at 4 Jewett Lane, South Hadley by June 10.

As I said yesterday, they are either lying to the voters of Amherst or they lied to Florence Savings Bank on April 10 when they signed a legal document swearing they would both use the home in South Hadley as a “principal residence” by June 10.

Of course Florence Savings Bank is a federally insured bank. And it is a Federal crime to lie on a mortgage application to a bank insured through the FDIC. The Amherst Town Government act also forbids anyone convicted of a Federal crime to serve in public office.

Soooo…. we will be rid of Awad and Hubley soon enough—one way or the other!

“I/we fully understand that it is a Federal crime punishable by fine or imprisonment, or both, to knowingly make any false statements concerning any of the above facts as applicable under the provisions of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001, et seq.”

As was said to disgraced British Prime Minister Nevel Chamberlain on the day he resigned: "You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go."


O'Reilly said...

Hubley and Awad say the declaration of homestead for their new house in South Hadley “was made in error.”

Their statement about the nature of the “error” and the person responsible for the error is ambiguous. I allege it is intentionally ambiguous. If it is intentionally ambiguous then they are stonewalling about how they managed personal affairs that have a direct bearing on their obligations to the public offices they hold in Amherst.

Let’s dig into the facts and see what we can determine about the nature of the “error”. A declaration of homestead is a separate and distinct legal document, separate and different from all other closing documents such as the deed, conveyance papers and mortgage. The owner is required to sign the declaration of homestead. It gives the owner legal protection from having their primary residence taken from them as a result of liability, such as liability determined by an unfavorable verdict in a civil suit where damages exceed the value of their liability insurance plus financial assets.

A declaration of homestead is legal protection for the value of their primary residence. The declaration of homestead requires by law that the South Hadley residence is their primary residence. Remember also that they put their Amherst home - the condo on South East Street - on the market for sale. From these observations, it is hard to imagine that Hubley/Awad could mean “unintentional” when they state the declaration of homestead for their home in South Hadley “was made in error.” It is clearly intentional and therefore the mistake has more to do with the consequences of the decision rather than the intent. The intent is clear. The intent was to make South Hadley their primary residence. All discussions about whether they meet the requirements of town office in Amherst should start there.

What Hubley and Awad refuse to admit is that they intended to leave Amherst, sell their Amherst condo and relocate to a new primary residence in South Hadley – none of which is nefarious.

What Hubley and Awad also do not want to admit is that they intended to keep their voter registration in Amherst by not registering in South Hadley, thereby attempting to take advantage of a loophole to meet the narrowest interpretation of the requirements for office on the Amherst Select Board and Town Meeting. They attempted to keep their names on Amherst voter registration while making South Hadley their home – an act that is slick at best and deceptive at worst because it skirts the intent of the law and barely meets the letter of it. Moreover, when these issues were rightly raised in the public forum, they chose to stonewall rather than engage. By my count that is two acts by public officials that do not meet the high standards citizens rightly expect.

Hubley and Awad did not have the foresight or understanding to realize that a declaration of homestead on their new home in South Hadley undermines the authority of their status as a registered voter in Amherst. To be a registered voter in Amherst you must be registered and you must be an Amherst resident. They thought they could have their cake and eat it too. Neither stopped to consider how Amherst residents, the people they purport to serve, would feel about Hubley and Awad’s choice and about how they chose to execute that choice; quietly, secretively, under the cover of “a private, business matter” and beyond the scrutiny of public interest. This approach is clearly contrary to the public interest. The purpose of the office has been lost in the battle to keep it.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that about sums it up.