Through the years with Wayne Feiden

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  1. Going back before Larry Smith, Gene Bunnelle, was also a City planner with internal power you did not want to cross, or the projects that you proposed got additional oversight and regulatory requirements attached to them. Get on the wrong side of Gene, and then Wayne, and your pre-development cost skyrocketed, and your financing disappeared. One never knew who else in the Hamp power structure liked your proposed project and wanted it for themselves, but those behind the scenes had the career pols and the local banker’s ear. Suddenly your project had regulatory problems and thus financing issues. Occasionally the Heritage banker might suggest that the project was, “too ambitious for you, so maybe you should call this guy who might be willing to step in and buy you out so you could avoid a loss.” Did this happen? You bet it did – more times than anyone would believe. Eventually a banker and an attorney went to jail, but the government hacks didn’t, and most of the power brokers behind the Hamp development scene didn’t either. Many retired and you see them around town now. Guys like Barry Elbaum were not part of the inner sanctum, so they got sacrificed. It’s a sad chapter in the history of the Northampton redevelopment saga.

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