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The North Adams Redevelopment Authority has been able to settle an outstanding lawsuit brought against.

North Adams Redevelopment Authority Pays Lawsuit Settlement

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Redevelopment Authority has finally settled a lawsuit with Freight Yard Pub.

Berkshire Bank has agreed to loan the authority $160,000 to make good a settlement agreed to last year with Bay State Hospitality Group LLC, the operating name of the restaurant in Western Gateway Heritage State Park.

Mayor Richard Alcombright had asked the City Council last August to back the borrowing because the Redevelopment Authority did not have enough revenue to take on the obligation. The council rejected the idea on the grounds taxpayers would be responsible for paying the loan if the authority could not.

On Wednesday, the three-person Redevelopment Authority Board agreed to commit to the unsecured loan as well as use $124,000 of its $157,000 operating funds to cover the settlement.

"We're hoping that with what's going on at the park, we can wipe this thing out," said Mayor Richard Alcombright, referring to a proposal to build a model railroad installation at the state park. Until then, he said, "We will have a revenue stream of about $4,000 a month with the remaining tenants and about $30,000 in the bank.  

"It's not going to be easy, but we'll have to manage it and move forward. It's good to have it done."

The settlement comes from a lawsuit filed in 2011 by the restaurant, a tenant of Heritage State Park that the Redevelopment Authority oversees. Sean and Colleen Taylor, operating as Bay State Hospitality Group, sued over the loss of parking during the construction of the Hadley Overpass, a situation it said significantly cut into its revenue and forced it to take out loans to survive.


A jury found the authority responsible for a breach of covenant, dismissing five other complaints; the state Department of Transportation was initially named in the suit but later dropped. The city was not named as a party in the suit.

Bay State Hospitality will receive $285,671.21 by Feb. 1 in the form of a lump sum of $241,004.61 and $44,666.60 placed in escrow at Berkshire Bank. The amounts are slightly different from the original agreement.

The escrow account will cover the authority's loan payment for the first year, said City Solicitor John DeRosa. "We have some breathing room"

The $160,000 loan is fixed at 4.5 percent interest for 84 months (seven years) and is estimated at $2,224 a month.

The settlement acknowledges that there are ongoing claims because of a recent sprinkler system malfunction that flooded the pub and forced its closure for nearly a week. "The Parties do not wish to release each other for claims related to the Flood Event," the agreement states. DeRosa anticipated those claims would be covered by insurance.  

In response to a question, Alcombright said the worst case outcome if the authority could not pay the loan is that the bank could resort to the courts. He did not believe that would occur, saying the bank "was very gracious" in providing the unsecured loan.

The mayor said settling the lawsuit was like getting rid of a dark cloud that's been hanging over efforts to privatize the languishing park. He and DeRosa indicated there could be some movement soon on the proposal by Thomas Krens to develop the park as an "extreme" model railroad venue.


Tags: FYP,   Heritage State Park,   lawsuit,   redevelopment authority,   

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'Joker': Doesn't Kid Around

By Michael S. GoldbergeriBerkshires Film Critic
If van Gogh were alive today and dabbling in film, I expect that he might create something as artistically maddening as Todd Phillips' "Joker." But we must tread carefully. The controversy is there for the taking. 
 
Joaquin Phoenix's Arthur Fleck, who will ultimately evolve into his alter ego, the Joker, before the closing credits fall on this fantastically directed, acted and produced "Batman" offshoot, is off the hook in every definition of the term. Thus the question is begged: Is it OK to derive entertainment from the criminally insane?
 
Phillips, who co-wrote this magnum opus with Scott Silver, throws all decorum and caution to the wind as he lavishes broad, violently-infused brushstrokes across a canvas hellbent on saying whatever it takes to get across its explosive meditation on the shocking sources and depths of evil. As we follow Arthur's devolution from simply sad Momma's Boy working for a clown rental company to a full-fledged crazy man on the loose in Gotham City, only our variety of cringe changes ... a different one for each new and expanded atrocity.
 
But what we suspect disturbs us most is the horrible, enigmatic truth that swirls at the vortex of the tale. It's something about the human animal either deep in our DNA and attributable to a brutal, prehistoric past, or, much worse, an ignominious, bad person gene we'd like to believe doesn't exist. It's precisely the perversity that has us so freaked out about the current situation in Washington ... the total disconnect from, and abandonment of, propriety and the nobility of truth.
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