the Devil to
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Planning Board Member Solicits Councilors
Lowell Developer Chris Cox
by Tom Duggan
Lawrence City Councilor Marilda Gosselin says she got a
call last week from planning board member Israel Reyes,
who said he was acting as an intermediary between
embattled Lowell Developer Christopher Cox and City
"He wanted me to have lunch with him and Chris Cox
to talk about this project," Gosselin said of Reyes.
An offended Gosselin said that it would be
"inappropriate" for her to meet with Cox and
Reyes since Cox has a development proposal before the
city, which needs Planning Board approval and "may
need consideration from the City Council at a future
"I don't operate like that!" Gosselin said
fuming. "This guy may be before us in the future on
some of these projects he's been promised and I don't
want anything to do with what's going on. It seems like a
conflict of interest to me."
Gosselin said she takes great pains to distance herself
from conflicts of interest on the council.
Conflict of interest was also an issue addressed by
Councilor Sweeney at the Planning Board meeting last
week. Sweeney told the Board that there "may be a
conflict" and cautioned that anyone who might have
such a conflict recuse themselves from any official city
Board member Israel Reyes told his fellow board members
that night that he was "very excited" about the
project and urged them to approve Cox's plan.
Cox told the Planning Board that no public money has been
committed for the embattled project, but sources in City
Hall revealed last week that he had indeed applied for
public dollars and Cox himself has said the Mayor is
committed to helping him get funding.
Sullivan said in his State of the City address that Cox
was slated to build "a hundred units on Park
St." and added, "he's going to need our
Cox has been under fire since he appeared before the
Planning Board and represented himself as the owner of
the 42-44 Park St. property. City Councilor Michael
Sweeney revealed that evening that Cox was not named on
the deed to the property and that the application for
project approval did not have his name appear anywhere in
The application approved was also unsigned by the
property owner even though applications clearly state
that incomplete applications would not be accepted. A
letter sent to the Planning Board from Mental Health
Resources Plus states they have a "valid purchase
and sale agreement" for the Park St. land.
Mental Health Resources Plus advised the board in their
letter not to approve the Cox plan reminding them that
they already had their plan for the property approved by
the Planning Board.
Two other councilors who asked not to be identified said
they were also contacted by Reyes to meet with the
developer, "he was lobbying support for Cox and
trying to get me on board with the project," one
councilor said. "He wanted to share the details
about how this was going to be good for the city and how
everyone was gong to come out ahead when it was
Both councilors said they refused to meet with Reyes and
On another note, members of the Sullivan Administration
have been scurrying around city hall hurling accusations
and intimidating city workers trying to find out who the
sources are that 'leaked' the PUBLIC information about
Cox and Slipp to tommyduggan.com.
One worker was told if he was seen "talking to Tom
Duggan" he might find his name on the list of
layoffs come budget time.
Reyes was sent several emails in an attempt to get a
comment on the matter. He refused to respond.
Part 2 of the Cox development scandal and the details of
who is involved will be posted by