The Father, The Son and the Holy Dollar. An appropriate title for this play. A drama spanning two generations and 13 years set in the idyllic community of Belmont Hill in the town of Belmont, Massachusetts. A cast of characters including Mitt and Tagg Romney, Hospice, Death, Taxes, Property Value, the Belmont Board of Selectmen and a Mormon Temple. Property Value takes on Hospice with a backdrop of the dying and their needs, as they wait for Death to help them shuffle off their mortal coil in a tranquil setting dotted with Cape homes and McMansions, including Tagg Romney’s $3.9 million estate.
In the late 1990’s, Mitt presented himself to the Board seeking the building of a 94,000 square foot Mormon Temple. Despite a packed room of those opposed to the Temple, letters inundating the newspapers in opposition to the Temple and lawsuits challenging the building of the Temple, Mitt Romney took to the floor and argued on behalf of building the Temple which was, in fact, approved and built. In August, 2000, at the time the Temple was opened, Mitt gave an interview with the Globe stating “It feels great to have a temple closer to home.”
It is 2007 and the town of Belmont released for sale properties held by the town in order to raise needed revenue. Several groups presented bids, including a group organized and headed by Tagg Romney. Bids were accepted and Tagg’s group was not the highest bid. The sale of the property was given to another group and over the next months, the sale fell through and the property sat empty until 2012. Tagg Romney and his group made no attempt during this time to purchase, or to make any other bids, on the property.
“Integra Medical Properties, a nationwide commercial real estate and development firm focused on medical and health care facilities, sent Belmont’s Board of Selectmen a letter in March, saying the Woodfall Road property is a “desirable site” for a hospice facility.Integra stated in the letter the firm is representing a major hospice operator who is looking for a site in the Boston area.
The proposed hospice facility would be a 15,000-square-foot, one-story, residential-style building with approximately 16 to 20 private rooms.”
Tagg Romney cut his road trip short stumping for his father’s presidential election campaign to come home to attend a meeting rescheduled and set for August 15, 2012. He had participated and helped organize the community in a united effort to thwart the purchase of the land by the hospice company, and to “Preserve Our Neighborhood.” Signs were everywhere and the room was once again packed for the hearing. At the time of the hearing, Tagg Romney, like his father a little over a decade before him, took to the floor and argued that the increased traffic, ambulances, coroner vehicles and excessive employee traffic would cause problems for the current homeowners (All these complaints were contradicted by the hospice company). Tagg spoke about the real issue bothering him: The reduction of his home’s property value.
“I certainly would not have built my house if I thought there was a possibility of a hospice going there. The value of all our homes will decrease dramatically.”
And then something interesting was said,an ever so subtle threat by Tagg Romney to the Board. He suggested that as their property values declined, they would be forced to seek property tax relief on all of their property. And then he added that he had tried to purchase the property 5 years earlier, that no rush was needed for this action by the Board and that it would be in the town’s best interest to limit the purchase to bids seeking to build residential properties.
You can watch the video here:
The crowd erupted in cheers, the Board immediately stopped all discussion and made an immediate decision to limit the property to residential purchases and dismissed the hospice and its presentation for the land.
Money buys a lot. In fact, it can buy almost everything, except for that which makes up a person’s character and molds his value system. We are told all the time how kind and caring the Romneys are by their closet friends. Well, I am here to tell you that eye witness accounts are the least reliable. This family seems socially clueless in many situations. Maybe Tagg Romney simply doesn’t comprehend how inhumane his position would appear to others? Like his father when telling the tale of Seamus the dog, the diarrhea and the fun family road trip. It’s hard to tell, but the video makes this very preppy handsome man’s message ring loud and clear: Tagg Romney does not want a hospice in his neighborhood and what Tagg Romney (or Mitt 13 years ago) wants, Tagg Romney gets. Money buys a lot. After the meeting Tagg indicated that he didn’t want to purchase the property and was sure there would be plenty of residential bidders down the line. For now, Tagg’s property value is safe. The dying patients that would have found comfort in the rolling hills next to the town’s golf course will have to find another peaceful place where their death won’t drop the property values of a member of the Romney family.
I wonder how much it cost Mitt Romney to secure a place for his Mormon Temple? And I wonder what the results would have been had someone tried to build a mosque. We know what happened when Death made an appearance—
I lost both my parents in 2010. Both died in hospice. This story is personal.
You can visit me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/theBlueSquirrel.org; TheBlueSquirrelDiary.com or on Twitter @theBlueSquirre1 (that’s a one at the end)