Dianne Williamson does it again!
By Michael Gaffney
You may remember an article titled “TIFs and Political Corruption” wherein Councilor Sarai Rivera’s lack of ability to manage her own finances somehow landed her on the Economic Development Committee by Mayor Joe Petty. But what was worse, was her relationship with Alan Fletcher, the person she handed $830,000.00 in tax breaks to while neglecting her district. Naturally, Dianne Williamson at the Telegram and Gazette came to the rescue.
In an article titled “Jet setter doesn’t deserve cheap shots” she wrote as follows:
“With nary a thought about leaving the local columnist in the lurch, Allen Fletcher canceled his scheduled interview with me Monday so he could jet off to a tropical location.
That’s the thing about trust fund millionaires, the term used by City Councilor Michael Gaffney to describe the 69-year-old businessman. They’re always hopping on planes whenever the mood strikes them.
In this case, Fletcher’s tropical destination happened to be Puerto Rico, which is reeling in the devastating wake of Hurricane Maria, the strongest storm to hit the island since 1928. The place is in shambles. Food is in short supply, the electrical grid is down and residents are suffering from the stifling heat.
Anyway, that’s where Fletcher went, because that’s what he does. He owns a house on the island and visits four to five times a year with his longtime partner, Dolly Vasquez, who has family there.”
The key to the article, is during a period where Puerto Rico needed supplies, the “jet setter” was heading down to check out his vacation home. But if you read Williamson’s article, you would think he went down there to save the island. But, upon his return, the Telegram did a fluff piece about his “journey”:
“Mr. Fletcher saw the devastation firsthand, arriving on the island Sept. 25 after three canceled flights and staying for the next week and a half at his home near the eastern coast of the island. He returned to Worcester Friday night. . .
Many of the island’s neighborhoods were “just devastated.” Any house with a tin roof or wood-frame construction was “pretty much swept away;” only the concrete houses withstood the storm, Mr. Fletcher said. . .
His house in a middle-class beach neighborhood was essentially intact, and he could replace the glass doors and windows that had blown in. He had friends who helped him clean up, he didn’t run out of gas for his rental car – he even had a water system going so he could take showers and use the toilet. . .”
The struggle was real for Fletcher! His vacation home needed replacement glass. Thankfully, he had help, gas, water, etc. But what about the humanitarian aid he was bringing to Puerto Rico? What about the Worcester families who still have not heard relatives in Puerto Rico? Williamson’s column spoke of him heading down to the island as if he was going there to assist, not just jet there to check on his home.
Well, here is what Fletcher, a trust fund millionaire that wants Worcester’s taxpayers to pony up an $830,000.00 tax break for his for-profit venture, is doing for Puerto Rico:
“Mr. Fletcher is personally collecting Home Depot gift cards that can be distributed for the rebuilding effort.”
The premise of Williamson’s article was that Fletcher deserved a tax break because he “has spent his whole life giving back to the community” and went to Puerto Rico because he is a humanitarian. Truth is, he went to check on his house and is now asking others to give him Home Depot gift cards.
Sorry Williamson, your own paper exposed you and Fletcher on this one.