Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Cotuit

The Springfield Thread

Recommended Posts

Springfield political family indicted for corruption

By Associated Press

Monday, July 12, 2004

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Nine members of a politically connected family, including a Democratic state legislator and his father, the former head of the Springfield Housing Authority, were charged Monday with corruption.

The 95-count federal indictment, filed in U.S. District Court, Springfield, names 13 people in all, including three contractors and the Housing Authority's former head of maintenance.

They are charged with skimming money from the Housing Authority and using it to make improvements to their own homes, and to aid the re-election campaign of state Rep. Christopher Asselin, D-Springfield.

"It was an objective of the defendants to conduct the business and affairs of the Springfield Housing Authority for the personal pecuniary and political benefit of (the Asselin family)'', the indictment says.

Twelve people have been arrested, including eight members of the Asselin family, according to the FBI. Five family members were arrested early Monday morning at their home in Chatham, on Cape Cod. Three others were arrested at their homes in western Massachusetts. Christopher's Asselin's wife, Merylina Asselin, was expected to surrender to authorities later Monday.

The family patriarch, Raymond Asselin Sr., headed the housing authority for 33 years until he resigned in May 2003 as investigators were closing in. His three other sons, Raymond Jr., James and Joseph were also charged, along with several of their wives and children.

The charges include racketeering, conspiracy, bribery, mail fraud, extortion, money laundering and witness tampering.

Christopher Asselin's legislative aide, Matt Kosciusko, did not comment on the arrests. His attorney and other lawyers for the Asselins did not return telephone calls to The Associated Press.

The Springfield Housing Authority allegedly served as a public trough for the politically connected family, which regularly dipped into it to pay for home improvements, including furnishings and landscaping equipment, as well as free work on their houses for over a decade, according to the indictment.

Christopher Asselin, a two-term Democrat from East Springfield, had renovations to his home and campaign office done by housing authority employees, according to the indictment.

One witness told the FBI that he installed carpeting, wallboard and a water fountain at Asselin's campaign office, while others painted and delivered truckloads of loam to his house.

Witnesses also said Raymond Asselin Sr. diverted authority funds to improve his $1.1 million Cape Cod home and the residences of his five children, instructing workers to use housing authority money to order everything from paint to granite countertops.

He allegedly ordered authority workers to falsify time slips to make it appear that authority staff were working on public property when they were actually renovating the Asselins' homes.

One FBI witness said Raymond Asselin instructed his children to drop written requests for home improvements into a basket outside his back door.

The oldest of his sons, James W. Asselin, was sentenced last month to three years and five months in federal prison after pleading guilty to stealing thousands of dollars from the city-run small business loan program he headed. He was also ordered to pay back more than $720,000 he stole with a cohort, James Krzystofik.

As co-managers of the Greater Springfield Entrepreneurial Fund, Asselin and Krzystofik paid themselves more than $300,000 in unauthorized "consulting'' and "technical assistance'' fees between 1998 and their resignations in June 2002, and attempted to cover up the deals.

Also named in the indictment were Raymond Asselin's wife, Janet Asselin; Raymond Jr.'s wife, Melinda, and daughter, Maria Serrazina; and Christopher Asselin's wife, Merylina.

Arthur G. Sotirion, the authority's former head of maintenance, was also charged, along with contractors Peter Davis, John Spano, and Paul Bannick.

From The Boston Herald

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Design changes ahead for station

By PETER GOONAN Friday, November 19, 2004

SPRINGFIELD - Design changes may be in the offing for a portion of the Union Station redevelopment project.

A planned bus ramp for the $115 million transportation center would cross a railroad right of way. But an impasse in negotiations between the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority and CSX Corp., which owns a railroad right of way, may force design changes to that ramp.

Gary A. Shepard, administrator for the transit authority, the lead agency in the Union Station project, said the issue has been discussed with CSX Corp. for four years, intensifying the past two years. In June, he hoped that an agreement was less than a month away.

The ramp is needed to serve intercity and transit authority buses at the historic station on Frank B. Murray Street, which has been dormant for more than 30 years. The ramp does not cross the active tracks, just the right of way.

"We need to move swiftly," Shepard said Wednesday. "It has caused quite a significant time delay. Time is money. It is disappointing but not a fatal flaw, nor something we can't get around."

Jane R. Covington, a spokeswoman for CSX Corp., said the company was in "conceptual agreement" with the city in June and remains at that point. She said the company made its position known earlier this year on some remaining issues, and has not heard from the city since then.

The two sides have discussed responsibility for maintenance of the right-of-way, ownership issues and signalization, officials said.

Shepard said he remains optimistic the project is viable. The project is financed by a mix of public and private funds.

In 1999, officials were estimating that Union Station would open in 2002 or 2003. Shepard said Wednesday there is no current timetable.

With design changes mulled to the bus ramp portion of the project, alternatives are being discussed and a cost analysis is being done in conjunction with state and federal agencies involved with the project, Shepard said.

"There are no conclusions at this point," he said.

Shepard said CSX Corp. has not budged on certain issues important for the project. Covington said she is not assigning blame.

"If they are ready to discuss those issues again, the door is open," Covington said.

Union Station is owned by the Springfield Redevelopment Authority.

From The Republican

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's too bad the civic center is actually losing seating capacity. It will remain hard to attract events with Amherst, Hartford and Worchester as larger alternatives.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are some pictures of the most neglected city in New England.....Springfield. In the words of Rodney Dangerfield "they get no respect." Hopefully our turn around in Hartford will have positive effects on their city. I want all New England cities healthy, dammit. We gotta compete with the sun belt.

masp200402_1.jpg

masp200402_2.jpg

masp200402_3.jpg

masp200402_4.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What a beautiful city.  Are there more than three tall buildings in the city?  I've never been.  What is Springfield's tallest?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

What you see is what you get. The 3 tall buildings you see are the only ones that I am aware of. Springfield is a nice and underrated city. It does have more than its fair share of poverty and crime and is very similar to it's more major big brother to the south Hartford.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to skyscrapers.com there are 21 completed highrise buildings in the city of Springfield

Some of the tallest include

Monarch Place: 400 feet, 26 floors (TALLEST IN CITY)

Tower Square: 360 feet, 29 floors

Chesnut Park: 289 feet, 34 floors

One Financial Plaza: 230 feet, 18 floors

285 Worthington Street: 132 feet, 8 floors

State Building: 125 feet, 11 floors

The Bank of Western MA Building: 125 feet, 10 stories

1200 Main St. Building: 125 feet, 8 stories

There are also 16 low rise buildings

Visit http://www.emporis.com/en/il/pc/?id=102268...aid=3&sro=1 for Springfield skyline pics

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We need to drum up some Springfield people so all the Hartford people don't have to say all the good things about the city....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

people live in Springfield!? :lol:

I'm joking, of course. Springfield seems to be a city with so much untapped potential. Its kind of sad, actually. :cry:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most natives actually live just outside the city now. Nice to see Springfield as I now reside abroad. Hopefully upon my return Hartford will really be hitting its stride towards becoming a thriving city once again and some momentum can be captured by Springfield.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The two cities really need to get on the stick and start marketing together as a region. Include New Haven as an I-91 corridor of sorts, and you have a winner...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that Springfield is now in the same spot Hartford was when billions of dollars were being pumped into Providence so hopefully it is just a matter of time before Springfield gets its turn.

In Springfield the MassMutal Center is set to reopen soon with meeting space, and a renovated arena.

Also the Pioneer Valley is such a great place especially with the thousands of students at the colleges in Amherst and Northampton so maybe Sprignfield could use that to its advantage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

people live in Springfield!?  :lol:

I'm joking, of course.  Springfield seems to be a city with so much untapped potential.  Its kind of sad, actually.  :cry:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

A couple things:

1.) why is Hartford so much larger if Springfield has a bigger population?

2.) How far away is Hartford from Springfield?

3.) the city I grew up in (Portland, Maine) has New England's 9th largest metro area, coming in just after Springfield. However, it has a much smaller population (70,000 in city) and doesn't have any real skyscrapers. Can anyone explain this? Why do the two cities look co different? (p.s. daytime population in Portland exceeds 150,000, so there's more than just woods in maine).

click the following links to see what a difference in size Springfield has over the buildings in Portland.

http://www.uvm.edu/~pvenne/Portlanddowntown.JPG

http://www.uvm.edu/~pvenne/11111111111111111.jpg

http://www.uvm.edu/~pvenne/a.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A couple things:

1.) why is Hartford so much larger if Springfield has a bigger population?

2.) How far away is Hartford from Springfield?

3.) the city I grew up in (Portland, Maine) has New England's 9th largest metro area, coming in just after Springfield.  However, it has a much smaller population (70,000 in city) and doesn't have any real skyscrapers.  Can anyone explain this?  Why do the two cities look co different?  (p.s. daytime population in Portland exceeds 150,000, so there's more than just woods in maine).

click the following links to see what a difference in size Springfield has over the buildings in Portland.

http://www.uvm.edu/~pvenne/Portlanddowntown.JPG

http://www.uvm.edu/~pvenne/11111111111111111.jpg

http://www.uvm.edu/~pvenne/a.jpg

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Just a few short answers.

1. Hartford is a much larger in terms or economic output, corporate presence, surounding urbanized area, metropolitan area and of course Skyline. Hartford has 1.2M in the metro while Springfield has around 600,000. So in terms of being a major city Hartford is about twice as large even though the City pop. of

Springfield is larger. Hartford has very urban suburbs surrounding it as well moreso I believe than Springfield.

2. Springfield is about 15 to 20 minutes away from Hartford and they share our Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, CT which is actually halfway between both cities.

3. As for why Springfield appears larger than Portland, I would say because Springfield benefits from being in close proximatey to to Urban core of CT and also on the fringes of both the Boston Sphere of influence as well as NYC's actually.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hartford is more than the city, there are some pretty big suburbs that extend pretty far out. Springfield starts to get leggy once you go north a little bit, at least from what I've seen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hartford also benefits from being the state capitol of CT. Here in New England we funnel alot of money to our capitols ie, Providence, Boston, and Hartford. Springfield is unfortunately an afterthought to most in MA. I think we appreciate it more here in CT then they do. I think we should annex it. Just kidding. But it might be a better fit for them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Comming from the Springfield area many believe it would be to our advantage to annex with CT. Another suggestion commonly overheard was to move the Capitol to Worcester.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I once heard someone say when talking about CT cities that New Haven is more of a cultural destination with its theaters, shows and of course Yale and that New Haven is more New York then Hartford. They also said that Hartford was instead a national hub for business and that Hartford was more Boston then New Haven.

With this in mind where does this leave Sprignfield?

Anyway annexing Springfield would be a good idea because it may come down to the fact that there may be some competiton in luring business to the area which can all be one metro area but is in two differant states which means the $ is going to one state of another. For example MassMutal took over ConnecticutMutual many years back which took a chunk of CT and Hartford history away. MassMutual did create a major presence in Hartford with an enourmous complex of offices in Hartford even though it was a Springfield company but now they are moving all there jobs to one roof in Enfeild which is bad for Hartford but still good for CT because even though Enfield is close to Springfield those jobs will still be in the CT market.

Switching the capital to Worcester would help Worecester but would still leave Springfield in dire need of something.

And yes Hartford's suburbs are rapidly expanding. To the north Windsor Locks has Bradley International Airport. To the east in Manchester is the Shoppes at Buckland Hills (A large mall), the Shoppes at Evergreen Walk ( a new lifestyle center), Rentschler Field in East Hartford which may soon be converted into a 2 billion dollar redevelopment project bringing attractions (a Cabela's outdoor store), shops, restaurants, offices, hotels, a man made lake, and maybe even a college and school. To the south Corporate Ridge in Rocky Hill is a major office park that is known for attracting business that want Hartford alternatives (WFSB to move there, MetLife has offices there, Henkel/Loctite) And to the west in West Hartford the Blue Back Square project is set to expand West Hartford Center to have more shops, new condos, and entertainment space, a new shopping mall opened up in formely rural Canton which is 20-25 minutes fom downtown and RT 44 (equal to a highway connecting Hartford with towns NW of the city) is filled with stores.

Springfield is not the same, it has the Holyoke Mall and Amherest and Northampton but after that theres not much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sure if Connecticut wanted Springfield, Massachusetts would be all for it. The state is spending a lot of money to prop up Springfield right now, it would be great if it were another state's problem. Connecticut has enough cities of it's own to worry about now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really don't think that in this day and age any State would give up any turf to another State, even if that turf was a headache....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.