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Robert Whitcomb: Worcester Wouldn’t Well for PawSox; Taxing Away the Little Guys? Racial Fire

Monday, August 21, 2017

 

Robert Whitcomb

"If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you."

 

--Lyndon B. Johnson

 

"The summer night is like a perfection of thought."

-- Wallace Stevens
 

Those who think that Worcester is about to grab the Pawtucket Red Sox should consider this news from the (Worcester) Telegram & Gazette.

Hit this link: 

“Massachusetts legislators told the Telegram & Gazette …{that} the {state} Legislature is unlikely to put public dollars toward a stadium for a private team. And even if a deal in Rhode Island that seeks to do that falls through, and neither city offers public money, staying in Pawtucket would likely be the shrewder move,’’ a stadium expert told the paper.

 

“All things being equal, Worcester is probably going to have to pay a higher subsidy to get them,”  said Victor A. Matheson, a College of the Holy Cross economics professor who specializes in stadiums. After all, the Worcester Metropolitan Statistical Area is only about half the size of the Providence-Warwick Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Pawtucket.  (Also, Worcester is not on the Main Street of the East Coast -- Route 95. Pawtucket is.)

 

“It sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?” Senate Majority Leader Harriette L. Chandler (D.-Worcester) said of the idea of the  PawSox moving to Worcester. ”(But) who’s going to pay for it?”

 

“The reality,’’ she told the paper,  “is that the Legislature has an established precedent of not putting public money into sports stadiums.’’

 

While Massachusetts has spent money for public infrastructure improvements associated with stadiums (most notably around Gillette Stadium, in Foxboro), that’s not the same as the millions that the PawSox wants from Rhode Island taxpayers to actually build a new PawSox stadium itself in downtown Pawtucket. The Boston Red Sox, by the way,  got no public money for its massive improvements at Fenway Park in recent years.

 

Pawsox

The PawSox want $38 million in public money in Rhode Island to build a new stadium: $23 million from the state and $15 million from Pawtucket. The PawSox assert that the long-term loans from the public for the project would be repaid from the tax revenues that the new stadium generated and so wouldn’t hurt taxpayers. But of course, it’s impossible to know how well the team and stadium would do in coming decades, indeed how popular baseball, in general, will be.

 

Anyway, I continue to be very skeptical that the PawSox would go to Worcester. And I hope that they’ll stay in Pawtucket. Had a wonderful evening there a couple of weeks ago.

 

xxx

 

For years, Providence has used the offer of big tax-stabilization plans to try to lure big developers and other enterprises to the city, with occasional success. But at the same time, Providence commercial real-estate-tax rates remain among the highest in America. GoLocalProv.com has reported that the Lincoln Institute ranks the cities with the highest commercial rates as Detroit, New York, Chicago, Providence and Bridgeport, Conn., with “effective tax rates that are at least two-thirds higher than the average’’ of the 53 cities it surveyed.

 

Meanwhile, Boston ranks at 28th. Not exactly a competitive situation for Little Rhody!

 

Basically,  like many jurisdictions around America, Providence (and Rhode Island) do a lot of economic development by deal rather than by broad-based policies that treat all property owners equitably.

 

Downtown Providence

Thus in Providence, as GoLocalProv noted, “new projects are the ‘haves’ -- new, modern and heavily subsidized,’’  while businesses that have been in Providence without these “bribes’’ are in older, less energy- or otherwise efficient buildings and have to pay the very high commercial real-estate taxes.

 

Thus over time they have a big incentive to leave the city. These usually small enterprises don’t get the political PR of a sexy national company moving some employees into Providence but there are a lot of them, and the city suffers when they leave, usually quietly and with no news stories. This emphasis on preferential tax deals for “sexy,’’ high-profile tax deals at the expense of the much larger number of unfavored enterprises continues to destabilize the city’s fiscal condition.

 

And remember how often companies that get preferential tax deals decide to leave town with little warning.

 

It’s past time that the city and state implement major commercial property-tax reform. As my friend Gary Sasse noted in GoLocalProv: “Unfortunately, state policy appears to be directed at providing real estate developers with preferential tax deals while totally ignoring structural property tax reforms needed to make Providence truly competitive.’’

 

xxx

 

The violence in Charlottesville last weekend was a predictable outcome of the frustration of many white people, especially from poor and middle class backgrounds, who feel themselves threatened by our increasingly multiethnic society and an economy that no longer offers the sort of relatively secure jobs that many had once expected.

As to be expected, some angry, frustrated whites (especially men) look for scapegoats --  African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and some other “hyphenated Americans’’.  These whites not only share the all-too-human propensity to fear and hate people who don’t look like them; they also (erroneously) see the economy as a zero-sum game in which if another group gains, yours loses. Donald Trump, whom most of these angry people enthusiastically supported in last year’s election, cynically poured gasoline on this socio-political fire.

 

At the same time, we’ve got the confusion and anxiety associated with the breakup of family structures, with increasing numbers of children born out-of-wedlock. And millions abuse drugs to try to alleviate the anxiety related to this confusion and uncertainty.

 

All these things cross-promote social pathologies, including the violent racism in Charlottesville.

 

What, of course, makes things worse is bigots and demagogues /opportunists such as  Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and some other scoundrels stirring the pot with the help of  increasingly virulent media, especially social media and cable TV, feeding into a heavily armed “macho’’ culture that glorifies certain kinds of violence that have a long history.

 

KKK

Note that the KKK’ers, neo-Nazis and skinheads descended on Charlottesville to protest the proposed taking down of a statue of one of the most over-praised figures in American history – Robert E. Lee, a traitor and brutal slave owner who fought on the side trying to  not only maintain but expand into the western U.S. a brutal system held together by violence and the threat of it – slavery.

 

I do admit that he usually maintained an impressive dignity and decorum – in a triumph of style over content that helped create and maintain the romantic mythologies of “The Lost Cause’’ of the Confederacy. The neat gray uniform and his horsemanship helped the legend, too. He wasn’t the sartorial slob that U.S. Grant often was. And, yes, Jefferson and Washington were also slave owners, but much earlier than Lee and they didn’t fight for slavery’s preservation against fellow Americans. I can understand why many African-Americans react to statues of Confederate leaders as Jews might react to a statue of Hitler in Germany.

 

The sort of issues that expressed themselves in Charlottesville are particularly difficult in the United States because of its racial history, its ethnic complexity, its size and its federal system, which ensures a wide range of contradictory attitudes and policies across America. No other country in history has been so complicated. Danielle Allen, a political scientist at Harvard, put it well in a Washington Post column:

 

“The simple fact of the matter is that the world has never built a multi ethnic democracy in which no particular ethnic group is in the majority and where political equality, social equality, and economies that empower all have been achieved. We are engaged in a fight over whether to work together to build such a world. And even those who are, in principle, willing to build that world are fighting with one another, for instance, over issues such as how the compelling state interest in non-discrimination, confirmed by the Supreme Court decades ago, interacts with rights of association and speech.’’

 

Don’t look for things to get quieter anytime soon. As  Mississippian William Faulkner wrote: “The past is never dead; it’s not even past.’’

 

xxx

 

New Englanders are not unfamiliar with the phenomenon of rich people sealing off access to beaches in front of their big houses and estates. It’s outrageous that they do but the rise of an increasingly arrogant plutocracy means that we’re seeing more such seizures of the public commons. So it was gratifying to read about a victory, though perhaps a tentative one, in California, where a three-judge state appeals court has ruled that Vinod Khosla, a billionaire co-founder of Sun Microsystems, can’t block access to a popular strip of  beach south of San Francisco; he owns 89 acres behind the beach.

 

This may go up to the U.S. Supreme Court. God help us.

 

California has generally been much more supportive of the public’s right of access to the shore than have the New England states, where it has long been very difficult to get to the shore in many communities, in some places because of laws that go back to colonial days.

 

xxx

 

The EnergizeRI Act would tax distributors of fossil fuels to encourage everyone to move to clean energy. Of course, those companies would then pass on the cost of this “carbon tax’’ to consumers. But some of that money would then be rebated to individual residents and businesses. And, as Kevin O’Neill of The Conference Exchange wrote in the Providence Business News ( “R.I. can lead with carbon tax’’)  “25 percent of the carbon-tax revenue would be directed to energy conservation and renewable-energy projects.’’ I hope that this includes more charging stations for electric vehicles.

 

Obviously, Rhode Island could only do this if the other states in the region joined in at the same time. Still,  if they did, it could be major prod to making the Northeast much more energy-independent as we rapidly increase our use of renewables, be it solar arrays, land and offshore wind power, hydro (much from relatively nearby Quebec), geothermal, tidal power and other sources.

 

And the more energy-dependent we are, the more prosperous we’ll be in the long run. Wouldn’t it be nice to stop sending billions of dollars a year out of our region to pay for polluting, global-warming fossil fuels and instead keep that money around here and create many jobs in what is now one of America’s fastest-growing sectors – renewable energy?

 

Meanwhile, a sign of the times: The largest municipally owned solar “farm’’ in New England came online last Thursday in Worcester. The $27-million, 25-acre Greenwood Street Solar Array, on what used to be a landfill, has 28,600 solar panels producing enough electricity to power 1,340 homes.

 

xxx

 

Not surprisingly, given the scare tactics used by managements, especially in the South, workers in a Nissan plant in Canton, Miss., voted against joining the United Auto Workers. As The New York Times reported, veteran employees at the plant make $26 an hour, “less than the nearly $30 an hour for similar autoworkers in unions at the major American carmakers – but almost twice the median hourly wage in Mississippi.’’

 

The usually successful efforts in the “plantation society’’ of the Deep South to keep out unions is one explanation for the fact that Southern poverty and other social pathologies are the worst in the nation. This has also resulted in the South (despite the complaints there about the “socialists in Washington’’ giving money to “welfare queens’’) getting a disproportionate share of federal assistance to partly offset the effects of anti-worker state policies.

 

Trade unions help the overall economy by expanding consumer purchasing power and improving workforce productivity by unions collaborating with companies in job training and retraining. Their decline has intensified income inequality and cut the wages of millions. But, again, managements have their workforces terrified. Perhaps it will take the stresses of something like the Great Depression to make industrial workers realize that they’re generally better off with unions. Or maybe a new wave of abrupt layoffs caused by automation will do the trick. Public-employee unions, with their huge conflicts of interest with elected officials, are quite another creature…. (By the way, I have been a union member and a corporate executive in my 47 years in the workforce.)

 

xxx

 

North Korea

On North Korea, the best  U.S. strategy would be:

 

Do not negotiate at all. Pyongyang would violate all new agreements as they have all past ones. Negotiation has made things worse by giving the regime more time and cover to develop its nuclear weaponry.

 

Do not bluster. Instead, quietly keep ‘em guessing. “Speak softly and carry a big stick,’’ as Theodore Roosevelt so famously said. Given Kim much less attention; like Trump he thrives on attention.

 

Put far more resources into sabotaging the Kim Jong-un regime at every turn, from stepped-up cyber warfare to getting more anti-Kim information into that police state, to tougher sanctions against their Chinese allies and other U.S. foes, such as Iran and Russia, that are helping the regime.

 

Give more military aid to South Korea and work more closely with that country and Japan to discourage North Korean aggression.

 

Be patient.

 

xxx

 

Here’s yet another observation on Amazon, which has been hiring thousands of people across America and a few hundred at its new distribution center in Fall River:

 

Those warehouse jobs are being taken by many people who might otherwise have been working in the thousands of stores being put out of business by Amazon. Those are people who would have been customers of nearby stores and restaurants and, because they were working in local stores (which paid local taxes) -- people much more likely to be civically engaged than those working for a gigantic global corporation most of whose buildings are gigantic warehouses far from town or city centers. Thus Amazon’s relentless expansion will accelerate the decline of local economies and local government.

 

But, as I’ve said, people love the convenience of dealing with Amazon, which will trump the attractions of local retailing in most places.  High-end stores, with intense personal service, in very affluent neighborhoods will be partial exceptions. As for the good PR Amazon gets from its hiring binge, that will fade as the geniuses in Seattle figure out more ways to automate its warehouses.

 

xxx

 

Boston, a top art city

Boston was one of the top 10 art buying cities in the U.S. last year, according to a new report by art marketplace Artfinder, the Boston Business Journal reported.

Hit this link:

 

The paper reported that “’Boston is young, cultural and creative, plus it has great universities” Artfinder CEO Jonas Almgren said in an email. ‘We also have a lot of artists in Boston, and of course our customer hubs tend to grow in places where we have thriving artist communities.’’’

 

So maybe more RISD grads will stay in our area?

 

But the total dollar value of art buying is and will remain much higher in New York than Boston!

 

Artfinder’s  surprising top 10 list of U.S. cities is below, with each number representing the number of art buyers per million inhabitants in 2016:

 

Tallahassee (1,303)
New Haven (953)
Anaheim, Calif. (842)
Tampa (789)
Raleigh, N.C. (770)
San Francisco (726)
Miami (620)
Austin (592)
Santa Monica, Calif. (578)
Boston (572)

 

Related Slideshow: Worcester’s 25 Wealthiest and Most Influential

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#25

Mel Cutler - CIO and Founder of Cutler Capital Management

 

Not only did Cutler found Cutler Capital Management, but he also is the founder of two banks - Flagship Bank & Trust and Madison Banc Shares.

Cutler Capital Management has $325 million in assets.The Melvin S. Cutler Charitable Foundation has more than $8 million in assets. He has been influential in business and in philanthropy for decades.

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#24

Bernie Rotman, Rotman's Furniture

 

Rotman has been in the family business for 35 years - with Rotman's Furniture in College Square - a landmark next to I-290.

He and his brother Barry have been running the business taking over for their parents Murray and Ida.

In the 1990's, Rotman's Furniture seemed like it was the only furniture store. In the day they dominated advertising - their TV spots ran in Providence and Boston markets.  Today, with Bob's and Jordan's in the market it is a lot more competitive.

In the early 1990s, Rotman’s partnered with the Central Mass Housing Authority (CMHA) to work with Donations Clearinghouse to donate used furniture to families in need. The family has been a major supporter for Walk for Homeless.

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#23

Charles and Janet Birbira - Owners of Beechwood Hotel

 

In 2015, the Birbiras invested in a multi-million dollar renovation of the Beechwood Hotel to make it more luxurious and upscale.

It’s already the most luxurious in Worcester - they’re aiming for the entirety of the remaining state west of Boston.

The Ceres Bistro cost was $9 million to add to the hotel back in 2010.

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#22

J. Robert Seder - Lawyer

 

In 2014, Seder was named the Worcester Corporate Lawyer of the Year. He was also named in 2014 as one of the Best Lawyers in America for Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorginzation Law.

He owns property in Worcester totaling nearly $6 million.

A partner at Seder & Chandler Law, Seder is also the former chair of the Worcester Business Development Corporation.

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#21

David Fields - Managing Partner, Wormtown Brewery

 

Former owner of Consolidated Beverages, Fields recently sold the company (which he and his father spent millions on ten years ago) to Quality Beverage.

Fields now solely focuses on Wormtown Brewery which just opened on Shrewsbury Street in March. Fields owns majority interest in the company - using the millions he made in the Consolidated Beverages sale to invest into Wormtown.

Fields is one of the youngest on the GoLocalWorcester list of the 25 Wealthiest and Most Influential.

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#20

Sue Mailman - President and CEO of Coghlin Electric

 

President and Owner of Coghlin Electric, Mailman is arguably the most talented businesswoman in Central Massachusetts. Mailman serves on a range of community focused boards and is the Chair of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce Board. 

Mailman is savvy and responsible for a business that is now part of WESCO Distribution, Inc. - a $3 billion concern.

She is the 4th generation leader of a company over 130 years old.

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#19

Tony Tilton - Director of Fletcher Tilton Law Firm

 

With roots in Worcester dating back 190 years, Fletcher Tilton is the 9th oldest law firm in the nation and is one of only five of the top 50 law firms in Massachusetts not located in Boston. 

The firm is responsible for multiple private trusts and foundations, and Director Tony Tilton oversees 20 private family foundations and handles nearly a half a billion dollars in assets.

In Worcester, if any charity is seeking donations - they typically have to go through Tilton. He and his partner, Warner Fletcher, decide where most of the charitable money in the city goes.

He is enormously responsible for raising the $7.5 million for the new Boys and Girls Club clubhouse nearly 10 years ago. Tilton is also Treasurer of Cape Cod Healthcare. 

He has honorary degrees from both Clark and Assumption.

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#18

Mark Fuller - Chairman of THE GEORGE F. and SYBIL H. FULLER FOUNDATION

At the end of last year, the Fuller Foundation had assets of nearly $55 million. The foundation awarded more than $3.6 million in grants ($2.9 of which went to 69 capital grants to local colleges and organizations).

Fuller is also Vice President of Benefit Development Group in Worcester and Treasurer of the Barton Center for Diabetes Education.

Prolific in his energy and focus to serving the community.

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#17

John Spillane - Attorney at Spillane and Spillane, LLC
 
Spillane’s father earned $55.6 million in payout in 2007 following the sale of Commerce Group, Inc. in 2007 to the Spanish firm Mapfre SA.

Commerce’s specialty is providing insurance through the AAA’s 100 million members.

Spillane is an attorney at Spillane and Spillane, LLC at the Worcester office. He served as co-chair of the United Way' campaign in 2013. 

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#16

Mary DeFeudis - Philanthropist 
 
DeFeudis sits on the Hanover Theatre board of directors and was instrumental in raising the $31 million needed to renovate the theatre. DeFeudis also contributed $1 million to the Hanover Theatre project.

DeFeudis is the Chairwoman of Worcester Sharks Charities and a member of the UMass Medicine Development Council.

DeFeudis has provided a full scholarship annually to a student at Worcester State University.

She may be the community's most active philanthropist.

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#15

Frank Carroll - Businessman

Frank Carroll founded the Small Business Service Bureau in the 1960s, a company designed to help and advocate for small businesses across the country. SBSB has grown into one of the largest small business groups in America.

Carrol's been helping people in Worcester ever since.

Carroll raised $1 million to build a Korean War Memorial in Worcester and was instrumental in the building of a hospital for American soldiers from Worcester County in Vietnam.

Carroll hosts a show at the Hanover Theatre to raise money for the St. John's Church Food for the Poor Program.

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#14

David R. Grenon - E-C Realty President

Grenon scored $22.5 million in profit shares following the sale of Commerce Group, Inc. to MapFre in 2006.  Grenon serves on the Board of Trustees for Massachusetts Biomedical Initiative. He is also a Trustee of Assumption College.

Grenon is the President of E-C Realty Corporation. Previously, he was the founder, President and CEO of Protector Group Insurance Agency - which was sold three years ago with annual revenues of $13.6 million.

Grenon runs a charitable trust in his name that holds $312,864 in assets.

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#13

Neil McDonough - President and CEO of FLEXcon

McDonough and his family have run FLEXcon for 60 years and the manufacturer of pressure-sensitive films and adhesives has grown to be a mega company. 

The global firm employs a reported 1,300 employees around the world. The private company has gotten more active in Worcester - with community sponsorships and earlier this summer, McDonough spoke at the DCU Center as part of the Worcester Research Bureau’s Acting Locally Panel. 

in 2009, McDonough was named the Worcester Business Journal's Big Business Leader of the Year.

However, the company’s reach is global with manufacturing and sales offices on nearly every continent on the globe.

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#12

Joe Salois - CEO, Atlas Distributing

Salois is President and CEO of Atlas Distributing in Auburn. He serves as the Director of Fidelity Bank and is a Trustee of Saint Vincent’s Hospital.

Speaking of influential, Salois was named to Governor Charlie Baker’s Economic Transition Team last December and Atlas played host to a Central Mass Delegation of Senators and State Reps in March.

He has a big impact on business, government and the community.

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#11

Mike Angelini - Chairman of Bowditch & Dewey

Angelini is known to be a lawyer's lawyer.  He was named one of the 2015 Best Lawyers in America by Best Lawyers, Angelini is known as one the nicest and down-to-earth guys in Worcester.

Angelini serves on the board at MassPort and is chairman of the board of Hanover Insurance. He, along with Sue Mailman of Coghlin Electric and Becker College President Robert Johnson, were instrumental in re-recruiting Ed Augustus to be City Manager in Worcester.

With Angelini at the helm of the firm, Bowditch & Dewey has been able to both expand the firm’s Boston presence and continue to prosper in Worcester.

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#10

Regan Remillard - Haven Country Club

Another big winner in the sale of Commerce lands on GoLocalWorcester's Wealthiest and Most Influential - the son of a prominent business owner who achieved success in his own right.
 
As the Boston Globe reported at the time of the Commerce sale, “Arthur J. Remillard Jr., who ran the company until his retirement in July 2006, will be paid $26 million for his 710,000 shares, while his children, Arthur III and Regan, will receive $43.6 million and $15.9 million, respectively. Arthur III and Regan are both members of the Commerce board.”

In 2012, the younger Remillard purchased the Haven Country Club in Boylston (formerly Mount Pleasant Country Club).  At the time of the rebranding of the golf course, Regan issued a forward-looking statement, “I see this as a club whose star is rising.  We’ve taken the traditional country club model and updated it a bit, to better fit the way people live today … A club should be someplace where you can have fun and feel at home. That’s the vision here.”

The Regan Remillard foundation has more than $500K in assets - while the Remillard Family Foundation has nearly $2 million.

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#9

M. Howard Jacobson - Vice Chairman of WGBH Educational Foundation Inc

 
Jacobson serves as the Chair of the Board for the Boston Market Corporation and the Wyman-Gordon Company. He is the Vice Chairman of WGBH Educational Foundation Inc. and a Trustee of WPI.

Jacobson served as Senior Advisor and Consultant at Private Advisory Services of Bankers Trust Private Bank from 1991 to 2001. 

Prior, he served as the President and Treasurer of Idle Wild Foods, Inc. until 1986.

Like many on this list, he is also on the UMass Medicine Development Council.

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#8

Valentin Gapontsev - Fiber Optics
 

There are people who are wealthy on this list and then there is Gapontsev.

Gapontsev, the father of the fiber-optic laser industry, is the only billionaire on this list because he's the only billionaire in Central Massachusetts. Thanks to lasers, his net worth is $1.24 billion.

This genius Russian and Worcester resident is the founder of IPG Photonics - located in the town of Oxford.

According to Forbes Magazine, he is #1533 on the Forbes Billionaire list globally.

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#7

Ralph Crowley Jr - CEO of Polar Beverages
 
Crowley runs Polar Beverages - a foundation in Worcester and a company the city is proud to hang its hat on. Polar Beverages is valued at nearly $500 million and Crowley is largely responsible for it. He's modernized the Seltzer water industry with numerous flavors and engages his customers to perfection.

Crowley made an attempt to purchase the T&G in 2009, but was snubbed by New York Times - who sold it  to John Henry (who sold it again within months). The Crowley family also owns Wachusett Mountain and the nearby Wachusett Village Inn.

EDITOR'S NOTE - We previously published a photo of Chris Rowley rather than Ralph. This has been corrected and we apologize for the error.
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#6

Robert Branca - Developer and Food Services 

 

Branca is a philanthropist, developer and Dunkin’ Donuts mogul.

He is a national leader in the Dunkin’ franchise structure

In Branca's family, nearly 700 Dunkin Donuts are owned - with him owning 60 DD franchises. 

Branca is the Chairman of the Dunkin' Donuts Franchise Owners Political Action Committee and Chairman of the Dunkin' Donuts Regional Advisory Council of all Dunkin' Donuts franchisees in the Northeastern U.S., and is the Vice Chairman of the Washington-DC based Coalition of Franchisee Associations.

Branca's company owns 72 and 60 Shrewsbury Street - the home of Volturno, Sweet and Wormtown Brewery.
 
Together, both buildings are valued at more than $3 million. 

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#5

Barry Krock - Real Estate
 
The DCU Center (former Worcester Centrum) was nearly named the Krock Arena. The Krocks have been a power in banking and real estate in the city for decades.

The Krock family owns 11 pieces of property in Worcester (worth multiple millions) including three parking lots across from the Worcester Courthouse and the building that formerly housed the Irish Times (worth $1.5 million total between the three lots and building).

Krock used to own the Commerce Bank Building before he sold the building for $4.5 million to David “Duddie” Massad in 2010  - for $400,000 less than its estimated value - after turning down offers of $21 million, $11 million, and $10 million.

For one perspective on the Krock family, check out Unlocking the Krocks.

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#4

Allen Fletcher - President of the Greater Worcester Land Trust

Up until 2008, Fletcher owned Worcester Magazine — once a top level alternative weekly newspaper. He, along with his brother Warner, inherited a tremendous wealth and he's utilized that money to make his own impression on Worcester.

Fletcher's money is part of what's behind the Canal District revitalization and he serves as the President of the Greater Worcester Land Trust - a non-profit organization that serves to protect the land of Worcester.

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#3

Warner Fletcher - Director of Fletcher Tilton

Fletcher maybe the most influential person in philanthropy in Central Mass.

Fletcher is the chairman of three charitable trusts in Worcester - including the two largest - George I Alden Trust, Stoddard Charitable Trust and Fletcher Foundation.

Last year alone, the Alden Trust gave $9.5 million in charitable donations - including a $3 million future payable donation to WPI. The Stoddard Trust has more than $70 million in assets and gave more than $3.5 million last year in charitable donations.

Fletcher, along with #6 on this list, Tony Tilton, run Fletcher Tilton Law Firm - which oversees 20 private family foundations and handles nearly a half a billion dollars in assets.

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#2

David "Duddie" Massad - Chairman of Commerce Bank


A Grafton Hill product, Massad owned several car dealerships including Diamond Auto Group, Emerald Chevrolet Oldsmobile, Duddie Motors and the largest Hertz franchise in Virginia Beach, Virginia. 

Massad serves as the Chairman of Commerce Bank in Worcester - a company he purchased from the Krock family - that has over $1.7 billion in assets and 250 employees according to the bank. 

In 2005, he donated $12.5 million for a new medical facility at UMass Memorial Medical Center's Lake Avenue campus.

He was indicted for fraud in 2008 - but was ultimately proven innocent.

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#1

Fred Eppinger - CEO and President of Hanover Insurance

Eppinger may be the most able chief executive in central Massachusetts. His leadership in growing Hanover Insurance and his activism in the community is unmatched.

The company is trading 33% higher in the past year.

Eppinger, a Holy Cross graduate, made more than $5 million in compensation in 2014 as CEO and President of Hanover Insurance. 

Eppinger also has $28 million in options through Hanover. Eppinger has been with Hanover since 2003 - when it was called Allmerica and had lost $306 million. Since then, Eppinger has turned Hanover around as a business and the company has donated millions towards the Hanover Theatre, Hanover Field, and UMass Memorial.

He oversees more than 5,000 employees.

 
 

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