Miscommunications Produces Little Progress in Splitsville Talks

On one side of the table were selectmen expecting to hear a presentation from Kraft Group on how the liquor license application for Splitsville can be improved and reconsidered. On the other side of the table were the Kraft Group representatives, wondering what presentation they were expected to have.

Originally, Sullivan and Selectman John Gray were expected to meet with Kraft Group officials after the selectmen unanimously approved the talks in November. A fear of violating open meeting law from Selectman Lorraine Brue after the vote meant that only Gray would represent the board in the meeting.

Both sides were hoping to meet in person beyond a lone meeting between Gray, acting town manager Bob Cutler, Legal Council Dick Gellerman, and Kraft Group officials but after Selectmen Ginny Coppola and Brue were accused of an open meeting law violation in mid-December, Sullivan ordered Cutler to suspend all meetings between town officials and the Kraft Group.

Sullivan however, said at Tuesday night's selectmen meeting he still expected talks between town council and Kraft Group legal council to produce something that could be voted on with all talks with the selectmen to take place during open session. When asked by Sullivan if he told Kraft Group Legal Council Jim Cobery to expect an open discussion at Tuesday’s selectmen meeting, Legal Council Dick Gellerman said he did tell Cobery that.

“I thought we were all getting together tonight to discuss some kind of compromise to vote and reconsider to have another hearing but I guess we’re on the wrong page?” Sullivan said.

Kraft Group Legal Council Jim Cobery however was still under the impression that talks would still happen with the selectmen once the open meeting law violations were addressed. 

“My understanding is that we would get together with someone from the board where we could make suggestions. We’re prepared to do that. The lawyers have had that discussion. I think it would be more beneficial if we could have someone from the board for that discussion,” Cobery said. “I really thought the plan was to talk to them (selectmen) offline.”

While both legal councils did discuss items pertaining to Splitsville such as the layout, the capacity, and the management, the Kraft Group still expected to be able to talk to board members in a private setting.

With the Kraft Group not ready to propose anything and an angry Sullivan anxious to adjourn the meeting, Selectman Jim DeVellis tried to play peacekeeper and discuss possible modifications for the application from a memo sent to the board.

“Let’s just briefly roll the dice and go over what the board wants to add. I don’t think he (Cobery) is hearing what he should bring in front of us, ” DeVellis said. 

“He should be bring their best and brightest proposal in front of us,” Gray said, who was against going over the memo.

During the discussion, Cobery said the using temporary partitions to block off the entertainment area was a possibility and transferring a Splitsville employee to Foxboro as the full time manager from the start rather than using Howl at the Moon Boston co-owner Paul Holian as the manager of record while the Splitsville employee learns the state liquor license laws.

Coppola said she wanted Howl at the Moon completely off the project with the entertainment area to be use for more bowling alleys and Brue wanted to talk about decreasing the size of the facility. All three ideas were deemed as nonstarters by town council.

The selectmen are expected to hear a proposal from the Kraft Group at their Jan. 21 meeting and will vote on whether to reconsider the liquor license application on a future date. All discussions are expected to take place between the town and Kraft Group legal councils with any input from the selectmen to be sent only to Gellerman.

If the application is not reconsidered or denied a second time, the issue will be the topic of a pre-hearing conference for the application's appeal with the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission in March.

Michael F. Stewart January 08, 2014 at 12:26 AM
Being at the meeting, I have no idea if the whole feeling came across on TV. The Chair ( Mark Sullivan) embarrassed Foxboro as an elected official! His personal bias became evident tonight! He would rather try to make an issue and try to protect opinions of biased board members instead of trying to lead to a solution! The "Swing Vote" once again had his own agenda valued above the best interests of the town he allegedly is charged to represent!
Jim O January 08, 2014 at 07:35 AM
Our BOS are a complete joke!
tom murphy January 08, 2014 at 08:32 AM
Lets just remember this and everything else come election time.
Chris A January 08, 2014 at 08:48 AM
All this non-sense over what may end up being a few simple tweaks to the original plan....not allowing jello-shots and putting up some partition walls?! Good lord what a disaster.
Janet Kennedy January 08, 2014 at 08:48 AM
Mike I agree with you I watched on TV. Mr Sullivan embarrassed the Town . He acted the same way when he told me I was dis invited to the meeting with Penn National. I really think Mr Sullivan needs to Step down. Also Ginny should also realize that Foxboro did have a nightclub. Plus you would never put glass to keep people out of a place it breaks both real and fake.
Michael F. Stewart January 08, 2014 at 10:55 AM
I am sure that if it was possible and the passengers and crew of the Titanic had a chance to vote; there would have been a different "Captain"!
Deborah A Stewart January 08, 2014 at 12:04 PM
To call last nights meeting a disgrace doesn't do it justice. The Chair has lost his power to lead this board. He can be seen on FCA being interviewed on Bob Hickey's show as stating, in my words not necessarily his, that he felt as a "leader" he should allow the strengths of the individuals on the board to be utilized. Great but where the heck is the leadership? Mark has allowed not 3 but 4 OML violations to occur now. He prefers to call out all of us who are watching and calling the board (only some BoS members) on their blatant disregard for the rules as the "real" trouble makers! Mark has decided that the public is the issue rather than those who sit to his left and immediate right who have continued over a 3 month period to thumb their noses at the rules that govern ALL BoS committees. I sat there and watched a temper tantrum from the Chair, disrespect from several members and then on top of that the absolute "glee" on the face of one member as the Chair lost complete control and blasted 1 member of the KG. It was like watching a fire bug who has just lit a fire and sits back to glow in the mayhem he has caused! Wish all of you at home could have witnessed it! I have never in my life seen anything like it at any BoS meeting. It made me ill sitting there. We, as a TOWN can no longer sit back and watch. Time to act now.
Deborah A Stewart January 08, 2014 at 12:10 PM
To further comment on the Chair, he prefers to call out the residents who have come forward via the petition, standing up at Citizen Input and or filing OML complaints as the reason for all of this indecisiveness on the board's part. HELLO Mark, if you had acted as a true Chairman of the board and handled the real person(s) who have caused this dysfunction, violations and destruction of credibility of the BoS you would not find yourself mired in this mess right now. Perhaps you need to look up the real meaning of "LEADERSHIP" as you have no idea what it really means.
George January 08, 2014 at 12:58 PM
Please do not loose site that the stadium expanding its remaining liquor license. THIS MUST BE DECIDED BEFORE OR AT THE SAME TIME as the Splitsville situation. ******************************************************** Just what is being applied at the ABCC ? Is it the SPLITSVILLE liquor license transfer or the expanding the STADIUM remaining liquor license OR BOTH ? IT WOULD BE NICE TO KNOW! The expanding of the conditions in the stadium liquor license to allow all of the three (I think) distinct locations serve liquor at the same time, is not good. If the is a game today, then the Dana Faber Field house and the practice field CAN NOT SERVE any liquor. The same applies visa-versa. ********************************************************* The Board of Selectmen reconsider your actions before any decision is made on Splitsville. THIS IS ALL TIED TOGETHER.
Michael F. Stewart January 08, 2014 at 04:52 PM
George, That is the vote. Transferring the full liquor license from the Dana Farber Field house to Splitsville. The other issue was to expand the stadium liquor license to include the field house was voted on separately by the board. The previous lawyer and the ABCC did not see a problem. The lawyer was replaced by the BOS and thus the lawsuit!
FoxboroTed January 08, 2014 at 05:58 PM
Elections have consequences
Michael F. Stewart January 08, 2014 at 07:51 PM
By the time this board is gone, more money will be spent on litigation than makes sense! Most of them liars and egoists!
George January 08, 2014 at 08:17 PM
Mike, please do not make unsupported statements. Most of this board and its legal counsel are over their heads. Even that is my statement that is made only by observation, as I also watched this BOS meeting in total amazement. There is a cat and mouse game going on between the BOS and Our Town Counsel. This was sad to watch a hot potato thrown around and obviously they are NOT WORKING TOGETHER. ********************************************************Liars, no , they can't afford to do that by any means. Egos, again sad to say, but I agree with that.
Ken B. January 08, 2014 at 08:17 PM
There is no liquor license available for Howl/Splitsville unless they first vote to expand that stadium license to include the field house, making the field house license available to be voted on separately for H/SV
Michael F. Stewart January 08, 2014 at 08:24 PM
If you knew the facts and had been at the meeting you would have seen the expansion voted down 3-2 by the BOS. The next vote was to move the license from the field house to Splitsville without the expanded license. Apparently you have as much interest in truth and facts as most of the board is!
Michael F. Stewart January 08, 2014 at 08:29 PM
George, I was at the meeting and TV did not do it justice. No unsupported statements, just opinions based on my observations!
Ken B. January 08, 2014 at 08:58 PM
Michael, what's the difference ? We basically said the same thing, so is it a hobby of yours to call people liars ?
Janet Kennedy January 08, 2014 at 09:19 PM
Ken that is not nice
Michael F. Stewart January 08, 2014 at 11:21 PM
Not the people with the facts and telling the truth. It my not have been a lie what you stated but it wasn't the truth. Semantics?
Ken B. January 09, 2014 at 06:56 AM
Truth is that KO wants one license to cover stadium & field house. Truth is one of KO's 2 licenses would have to be transferred to Howl. Truth is, it's a 700 seat bar with a 12 lane bowling alley.
Ken B. January 09, 2014 at 07:02 AM
Janet, I think Michael can fend for himself. In any event I don't care what you think.
Janet Kennedy January 09, 2014 at 07:49 AM
Ken sad you do not use full name . I can say that to you need to do research have a nice day
J Lawrence January 09, 2014 at 08:04 AM
I know that I am comparing Apples to Oranges... However... does anyone remember Sullivan's reaction over the dog park? he never should have been re-elected never mind being made Chairman. The other issue, is that the BOS is a elected position without a salary. Most if not all the BOS members work full-time, have families etc. Maybe having a Mayor isn't a bad idea!
R. Hood January 09, 2014 at 05:25 PM
In the tradition of a famous sportswriter who used to write an article once a year called "Clearing the Desk". 1) Kudos to BOS Devillis for brilliantly letting Sullivan take over the Chairmanship of the Titantic, knowing full well how incapable he is. 2) Question for all those anti-casino people who propped up BOS Coppola during her run. How's that working out for you now? 3) BOS Brue, who's lack of participation in the Splitsville discussion the other night was clearly noticeable. That Hair Across for Kraft must be crazy glued! 4) BOS Gray, for whom I had high hopes for.... I apologize.. I was wrong on that one! 5) Finally BOS Sullivan. Time to come down from the ego trip an realize that the Town is not your company and the people are not your employees! Such a sad/embarrassing time, politically speaking only, to be a Foxboro Resident.
Deborah A Stewart January 09, 2014 at 10:24 PM
Well said R. Hood.


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