Saturday, June 25, 2011
Where were they then?
Today's Daily Hampshire Gazette has an above-the-fold, long-form "investigative" story about the residency of our elected register of deeds Marianne Donohue, who lives a fair amount of time away from her current husband in Florida with her ex-husband in a house located on Bridge Road in Northampton to qualify as a "resident" of the district she has served for 22 years, with a current salary of $90,000.
But where was the Gazette three years ago when Amherst Select Board member Anne Awad and her town meeting member husband Robie Hubley purchased an expensive home in South Hadley, left their condo on North East Street abandoned and up for sale and had even declared that South Hadley home as a primary residence in a legal homestead declaration filed at the registry of deeds, but still wanted to maintain their elected town positions in Amherst?
In fact the Amherst Bulletin even printed a Letter to the Editor from the wayward couple claiming they had not realized a homestead declaration was equivalent to admission of "principal residence" so they had refiled a new homestead declaration back on the Amherst condo.
A simple check of the exceedingly accurate land records website proved that statement a lie.
When I took a photo of Ms. Awad from a public road tending to her garden in that South Hadley home I was accused of stalking and the Amherst Select Board even considered passing a public motion sternly reprimanding me.
Strangely enough the only support I received besides the Masslive article came from the left of center Valley Advocate who awarded me a "halo" that year for my investigative reports.
Today's front page Gazette article also includes a photo of the house Ms Donohue occupies while living in the district. Although she did not react quite the same way as Ms. Awad, she did note that "who needs a reporter calling me and asking where I live?"
And the answer is: the people who pay your salary have a right to know.