Friday, June 6, 2008

Why it matters

Update: 2:45 PM

Ultra-informed source tells me that the Select board voted 3-2 on February 25 to place the 3% CPA surcharge on the Town Meeting warrant (with, of course, Anne Awad voting in the majority).

On April 7 the newly constituted Select Board (Greeney out, O’Keeffe and Stein in) signed the Warrant for the annual Town Meeting and nothing could be added after that.

On April 23 the Select Board voted 3-2 (Brewer and O’Keeffe opposed, Awad, Stein, His Lordship Gerry Weiss in favor) to recommend/approve Article 24, the CPA tax increase to 3%.

My point, of course, still applies (like a Harpoon from Hell).

Original post 11:45 AM:

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108
June 6, 2008

Dear Attorney General Coakley,

On May 20 I requested you undertake a ‘quo warranto procedure’ to remove from office Amherst Town Meeting member Robie Hubley because he had signed on April 10 a ‘Homestead’ declaration for a residency in South Hadley.

Both Mr. Hubley and his wife Anne Awad, currently an Amherst Select Board member, also signed a mortgage that day with an FDIC insured bank that clearly states: “Occupancy: Borrower shall occupy, establish, and use the Property as Borrower’s principal residence with 60 days after the execution of this Security Instrument and shall continue to occupy the Property as Borrower’s principal residence for at least one year after the date of occupancy.”

Since the Homestead declaration also covers Ms. Awad, it is quite possibly an investigation will conclude that she was no longer entitled to serve on the Amherst Select Board as of April 10.

On April 23 the Amherst Select board voted 3-2 (with Ms. Awad making the motion and then voting in the majority) to place on the Annual Town Meeting warrant an article to increase the Community Preservation surcharge Tax from 1.5% to 3%. Town meeting approved the measure and it will be placed on the November Ballot.

But, if Ms. Awad were not legally entitled to vote as a Board member on April 23, the outcome would have been a 2-2 tie and the measure would not have been placed on the Town Meeting Warrant and would not appear on the ballot this November.

Certainly as of June 10, because of the mortgage, Ms Awad is no longer a resident of Amherst. And from that day forward any 3-2 vote of the Amherst Select Board that she participates in will be subject to legal challenge.

In fairness to the voters of Amherst, could your office please expedite an investigation into this matter?

Sincerely Yours,

Larry Kelley
Amherst Town Meeting
Amherst Redevelopment Authority


dominique said...

I wonder whether you would be able to bring a "ten taxpayer" suit under the following statute. Your argument would be that an unqualified (e.g. non-resident)selectman's actions could be construed as causing an illegal appropriation of taxpayer money? Of course, you'd need ten taxpayers to do this.

Chapter 40: Section 53. Restraint of illegal appropriations; ten taxpayer actions

Section 53. If a town, regional school district, or a district as defined in section one A, or any of its officers or agents are about to raise or expend money or incur obligations purporting to bind said town, regional school district, or district for any purpose or object or in any manner other than that for and in which such town, regional school district, or district has the legal and constitutional right and power to raise or expend money or incur obligations, the supreme judicial or superior court may, upon petition of not less than ten taxable inhabitants of the town, or not less than ten taxable inhabitants of any town in the regional school district, or not less than ten taxable inhabitants of that portion of a town which is in the district, determine the same in equity, and may, before the final determination of the cause, restrain the unlawful exercise or abuse of such corporate power.

LarryK4 said...

Oh yeah, I'm SURE of it! And it will be effortless to find ten taxpayers who agree with me (especially since I interact with about 100 per day, 7 days per week).

Notice they have received little-to-no public support for this ultimate act of hubris; and informed sources tell me that as the deadline to place the open Select Board position on the November ballot (thus costing taxpayers far less) approaches, the cries for resignation will reach a crescendo.

I will also be contacting Federal US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan on June 11 about bank fraud if they do not officially resign by close of business June 10 --Sixty days from when they both signed an FDIC approved mortgage (under penalties of Federal law) guaranteeing South Hadley as their new legal domicile.