While an abutter to the proposed Dumpster Depot on Ashleigh Drive says she was offered a bribe to drop her campaign against the project, the vice-president of the company owning the land says his offer was misconstrued.
Brenda Wilson has been the spokesperson for a group of residents fighting the business’s intent to relocate on Ashleigh Drive (See related story page 1). She and her husband, Bruce, own a home on Greenwich Road.
Wilson said she had written to Yvon Cormier, owner of Cormier Construction and the 62-acre Ashleigh Drive property, in May, “when we first heard the plan about 350 Dumpsters.” She asked him to “please consider who he was selling the land to.” At that time, she said, she proposed to Cormier that “If the deal fell through, we would buy some of the land to protect the integrity of the property.”
She was surprised a month later to receive a phone call from Roy asking for a meeting.
Roy told her the company needed to sell the land, as it was paying $20,000 in taxes a year and had spent $200,000 over 10 years. She claimed Roy said he would see that the Dumpsters were moved further from the abutters, and Wilson responded that she had been told that couldn’t happen.
Wilson said Roy then mentioned “carving” out some of the land and that he could “give” them another 1,000 feet.
She said she responded, “You are willing to give me some land and move the project further away if I stop fighting the Dumpster Depot?” According to Wilson, Roy said, “Yes.”
She said Roy told her he would talk with the engineers and get back to her, but she never heard from him again.
Though she hasn’t heard anything from her neighbors on the subject, Wilson wondered, “If I got an offer, who else did?” Roy, reached by phone in Massachusetts, remembers the conversation differently. “I would not call it a bribe,” he said. “She wanted to buy the land, and I said they could buy another 1,000 feet.”
Referring to the long fight and the many conditions put on the project, Roy said, “They don’t want to give us anything. Why should we give them the land?” Roy added, “She is causing a lot of problems. She can say anything she wants.”
In a phone interview Saturday, Planning Board chairman David Granese said he had no knowledge of a bribe. There was an e-mail to the Planning Board on Aug. 21 mentioning the alleged bribe, but nothing to substantiate Wilson’s claim. If Wilson had the offer in writing, he said, “she should have forwarded it to us.”
If they had something solid to go on, they would have investigated it, Granese said.
Wilson and the other property owners are also upset about the “no garbage” condition, which she said was taken out of the final version. They are upset about the hours, which they say were expanded from an earlier version, and the 24-and 36-hour rules for Dumpsters still containing materials.
“The conditions they imposed Wednesday night are not good enough,” Wilson said.
Wilson said she and the other abutters would “absolutely” appeal the board’s decision. “Every person on that board who voted yes didn’t think it belonged there, but they voted yes anyway,” she said.