Berkshire entrepreneur Patrick Muraca has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of wire fraud and lying to the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office. The Berkshire Eagle reports that Muraca, who is the founder of several local biotech firms, entered not guilty pleas December 7th in U.S. District Court in New York's Southern District. The charges were initiated by the Securities and Exchange Commission in July. The grand jury indictment was returned in November. According to court documents obtained by The Eagle, Muraca allegedly defrauded people investing in two biotech companies he had founded and used investor money for personal expenses.

 

DISTURBING THE-PEACE CHARGE AGAINST FORMER CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE DROPPED

A charge of disturbing the peace leveled against Craig Gaetani has been dropped by the state. The Berkshire Eagle reports that Gaetani, who has been a candidate for City Council and mayor in Pittsfield in recent years, announced the dismissal of the charge during the public comment portion of a City Council meeting held last week. The Northern Berkshire District Court Clerk's Office confirmed the dismissal on Thursday. The charge stemmed from Gaetani's arrest last January at a City Council meeting after he allegedly caused a disturbance after being denied the opportunity to speak further after the public comment portion of that meeting had closed.

 

CELL TOWER PLAN DRAWS CRITICISM

Neighboring residents in Williamstown are pushing back against a proposal that would put a wireless telecommunications tower in the corner of the now-vacant Taconic Restaurant adjacent to Route 2. The Berkshire Eagle reports that during a meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals on Thursday, residents raised objections, including the tower’s potential impact on the scenic views, and the potential danger to passersby in the event that strong winds knock it down. One neighbor, a local hotel owner, supported the proposal because there is no cellular signal in the Route 7/2 corridor. Verizon Wireless is seeking a special permit and two zoning variances to allow construction of the 100-foot tower in the north western end of the parking lot.