Keep smilin’, keep shinin’
Knowin’ you can always count on me, for sure
That’s what friends are for
– Dionne Warwick
Recently the UniFirst company bought a 0.6 Acre parcel of land from the City of Springfield. The land was formerly part of Hubbard Park in the Indian Orchard section of Springfield. According to Stephanie Kraft, of the Valley Advocate, there was a small problem for UniFirst. According to Kraft, the US Department of the Interior needed to approve any sale, because the City received federal funds for improvements of the Park. That is where former State Representative Caron (D-Springfield) stepped in.
So Caron had to go to Washington and do a little hobnobbing with U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, Springfield’s man in Congress, to get some help in shaking the Hubbard Park parcel loose from the National Park Service.
Couldn’t a simple phone call have done it? Apparently not. It took tens of thousands of dollars, paid by UniFirst from its headquarters in Wilmington, Mass. over two years, to help cement the deal….
What was the Honorable Caron’s take for his relationship with Richard Neal, and his ability to act as a fixer?
According to state records, Caron’s firm, Paul E. Caron Associates, has made $120,000 representing UniFirst/UniTech, the uniform laundering company on Parker Street in Indian Orchard, as it tried to acquire six-tenths of an acre of Hubbard Park from the city of Springfield.
As we’ve found out from the recent probation scandal and Ware report, it pays to know people in power in Massachusetts. The Commonwealth is set up to benefit people who know the right people, the concept at the heart of crony-capitalism.
It apparently pays – very well – to be a Friend of Richie.