Building Permits Departments
The following building permits were issued during the month of May 2011.


Town of Agawam
750 Cooper St.
$34,000 — Main entrance upgrade at the library


Community Care Resources
41 Woodlawn Dr.
$12,000 — Remodel bathroom

D&D Chicopee Realty, LLC
576 Chicopee St.
$25,000 — Renovations

Margaret Jodoin
37 Telegraph Ave.
$90,000 — New roof


45 Crane Ave.
$57,500 – 2,800-square-foot fit-out

Silverson Machine
355 Chestnut St.
$341,000 — Office renovations


CFM Buckly North, LLC
95 Laurel St.
$6,000 — Install countertop and cabinet island in the instructional kitchen


Mountain Park, LLC
1 Mountain Park Road
$194,000 — Construct concession facility


May Lau
12 Lakeview Ave.
$7,500 — Alterations


All Smiles, LLC
69 Bridge St.
$3,000 — New roof

David Murphy
44 Conz St.
$6,000 — Roof repairs

Gerard Wallace
16 Paquette Ave.
$3,000 — Repair 20 feet of foundation

Smith College
49 Elm St.
$5,258,000 — Renovate interior of Northrop and Gillette houses

Trident Realty Corp.
76 Main St.
$17,000 — Interior renovations on third floor


7 Gaylord St.
$4,413,000 — Renovations

Mount Holyoke College
50 College St.
$20,000 — New cell tower

PiP Printing
49 Lamb St.
$10,000 — Install new canopy

US Industrial
7 Gaylord St.
$982,000 — Alterations


405 Armory Street, LLC
405 Armory St.
$15,000 — Change of use from Blockbuster to Verizon Wireless

City View Commons II
102 Armory St.
$244,000 — Building renovation

City View Commons II
26 Federal Court
$256,000 — Construct new management office building

City View Commons II
95 Federal St.
$1,205,000 — Building renovations

Packard Group, Inc.
904-912 Main St.
$143,000 — Renovate building for use as restaurant

Springfield Water & Sewer
174 Avocado St.
$7,000 — New roof

Texas Roadhouse
380 Cooley St.
$33,000 — Renovations


First Congregational Church
18 Broad St.
$112,000 — Alterations

Lumber Center, Inc.
44 Broad St.
$70,000 — Renovate small office building

Susan & Zak Francis
1414 Russell Road
$66,000 — Addition to existing auto repair garage

Departments Picture This

Send photos with a caption and contact information to: ‘Picture This’
c/o BusinessWest Magazine, 1441 Main Street, Springfield, MA 01103 or to [email protected]

Reading Aloud

Reading1Kensington Elementary School in Springfield recently hosted two guest readers as part of Link to Libraries’ ongoing read-aloud Program. At left top, BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien is seen with his fourth-grade class, while left below, Peter Rosskothen, co-owner of the Delaney House and Log Cabin, and a regular participant in the program, reads to another fourth-grade class.
Reading2The read-aloud program is presented six times a year by the nonprofit Link to Libraries, which brings in area business people to read to students in Springfield and Holyoke public schools. Students each receive a book and book bag to begin their own home library, and the school library receives between 175 and 200 new books.

Branching Out

PNCUThe Polish National Credit Union (PNCU) staged a ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 5 to celebrate the grand opening of its new full-service branch location at 25 East Longmeadow Road in Hampden. From left are: Jeffrey Ciuffreda, executive director of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield; PNCU President James Kelly; and state Rep. Brian Ashe, D-Longmeadow.

Check Presentation

GraingerGrainger Co. staff present a $5,000 check from the Grainger Foundation to STCC Student Activities Director Andrea Tarpey and STCC Foundation Director William Kwolek. The Grainger Foundation also presented $5,000, in checks of $1,000, to five local food pantries. More than 1,400 food items donated by the STCC community were divided among the food pantries.

Howdy Awards

gscvbThe 2011 Howdy Awards for Hospitality Excellence, which honor frontline hospitality employees in the Pioneer Valley, were presented at ceremonies at the Log Cabin on May 10. At left, the winners are (from left) Amanda Malone of Chandler’s Restaurant at Yankee Candle Flagship in South Deerfield (Food category); Khia Eagan of the 7-Eleven store in Sunderland (Retail/Business category); Bob Aubrey of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield (Attractions category); Elise Wright of the Belchertown United Church of Christ (Public Service category); Melanie Smith of Six Flags New England in Agawam (Howdy Spotlight Award winner); Mary Mercier of the Yardhouse in South Hadley (Beverage category); Tony Rogers of the Comfort Inn & Suites in Ludlow (Accommodations category); Jason Guzman of Valet Park of America in Springfield (Transportation category); and Judy Brinn of Peter Pan Bus Lines in Springfield (Unseen Hero category). gscvb1At below left, Melanie Smith, national tour and travel representative at Six Flags, is seen after receiving the Howdy Spotlight Award with Greg Chiecko of Eastern States Exposition (left) and Peter Rosskothen of the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House and the Delaney House. Smith was honored with the Spotlight Award for her ongoing efforts on behalf of the Pioneer Valley hospitality and tourism business. She also serves currently as chairman of the group tour committee for the Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau, a position previously held by Chiecko and Rosskothen.

Parking Lot Party

3The East of the River 5 Town Chamber of Commerce (ERC5) welcomed more than 100 people from the business community to a unique networking event, held in the parking lot of the Eastwood Shops in Wilbraham on May 12. The event, the ERC5 Parking Lot Party, was organized based on the belief that all the best business happens in the parking lot, after the official meeting has ended. The party included food, music, a mobile video-game unit, classic cars, a cyber café, and, of course, networking opportunities. From left top: Jocelyn Walker (left) of Turley Publications, Cheri Mills (center) of Webster Bank, and Maureen Turmel of the Gaudreau Group promote the Boston Road Business Assoc., an event sponsor; Eric Rackliffe of AT&T Mobility helps Barbara Kolosowski, from the Springfield Boys & Girls Club, check in on Facebook; Ed Nunez of Freedom Credit Union gears up for a round of Guitar Hero. Games2U served as the Game Time sponsor for the event.

Springfield’s 375th Birthday Bash

Pancake4The City of Homes celebrated its 375th birthday in style on May 14 with a variety of events and activities, ranging from the annual pancake breakfast — still the world’s largest — to a parade that drew more than 1,500 marchers; from musical performances to Civil War re-enactments at the Springfield Armory; from fireworks to ceremonies involving the Massachusetts Army National Guard, which was also celebrating its 375th anniversary. Scenes from the day included, left from top, a look down Main Street as the pancake breakfast commences; Springfield High School of Science and Technology Director of Bands Gary Bernice, far right, who received a commemorative plate for his many contributions to the event, is seen with, from left, Brigadier General Paul Smith, assistant adjutant general of the Massachusetts Army National Guard, U.S. Rep. and former Springfield Mayor Richard Neal, and current Mayor Domenic Sarno; the contingent from Baystate Health makes its way down the parade route; Neal is seen with several graduates of Elms College, which staged commencement exercises at the MassMutual Center that morning.
Pancake 40

More scenes from Springfield’s 375th birthday celebration: left, Donald D’Amour, chairman and CEO of Big Y World Class Markets, receives an honorary key to the city from Mayor Sarno (Big Y, celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, sponsored the fireworks display); below, the contingent from ABC 40/Fox 6 makes its way down the parade route; at bottom, re-enactors prepare to shoot a cannon as part of the ceremonies at the Armory.

Photos from The Spirit of Springfield

Court Dockets Departments

The following is a compilation of recent lawsuits involving area businesses and organizations. These are strictly allegations that have yet to be proven in a court of law. Readers are advised to contact the parties listed, or the court, for more information concerning the individual claims.

Baystate Gas Co. v. Springfield Water and Sewer Commission
Allegation: Negligence in water-system maintenance causing damage to defendant’s gas pipe system: $105,729.73
Filed: 3/7/11

Cooper Excavating and Trucking Inc. v. the Concrete Kings
Allegation: Failure to pour a concrete floor suitable for supporting heavy equipment: $71,000
Filed: 3/18/11

Leonard Belcher Inc. v. Caldwell’s Corner, LLC and Robert A. Germinara
Allegation: Non-payment of goods sold and delivered: $25,808.45
Filed: 3/7/11

Melissa D. Williams v. Superior Mortgage Corp.
Allegation: Deceit pertaining to pre-approval mortgage certificate: $30,000
Filed: 3/15/11

Nicholas Katsoulis v. Spartan Brake and Muffler Shop
Allegation: Negligence causing a fire resulting in loss of business and damages to tenant on the property: $117,000
Filed: 3/17/11

Ronald and Brenda Tyson, as administrators of the estate of Richard Tyson v. the Yankee Candle Co. Inc. and Patrick J. Zak
Allegation: Injury in the workplace causing death: $1,047,000
Filed: 3/16/11

T.D. Bank v. Nick Cerio’s Kempo’s Karate
Allegation: Non-payment of three promissory notes: $45,054.49
Filed: 3/11/11

Westbank v. Sweeney Transportation Inc.
Allegation: Complaint for breach of contract and unjust enrichment: $47,399.36
Filed: 3/8/11

Beth Sjogren-Miller v. UMass Memorial Healthcare Inc.
Allegation: Breach of employment contract: $100,000
Filed: 4/29/11

Jessica Baceski v. Lia Honda of Northampton
Allegation: Employment discrimination: $25,000+
Filed: 4/20/11

The Darcy Co. v. Miller Development Enterprise
Allegation: Non-payment for goods and services: $7,896.87
Filed: 2/25/11

Patrick J. Melnick Jr. v. Tommy-Car Corp.
Allegation: Breach of warranty and failure to fix car clutch: $2,484.94
Filed: 5/5/11

Citadel Broadcasting Co. v. the Cleaning Co.
Allegation: Non-payment of advertising services: $6,197.12
Filed: 3/18/11

Hardy Ansah v. Bucknell Transmission Inc.
Allegation: The defendant caused damage to the plaintiffs’ motor vehicle: $20,000
Filed: 3/15/11

Western Mass. Electric v. Hampden County Food and Beverage Corp.
Allegation: Non-payment of utility services: $11,997.66
Filed: 3/3/11

Agenda Departments

Fundraising for Nonprofits Workshop
May 25: The Association of Fundraising Professionals will present a workshop titled “Strategic Planning for the Development Office” from 8 to 11:30 a.m. at the Delaney House, Route 5, Holyoke. Nat Follansbee, associate head for external relations at the Loomis Chaffee School, Windsor, Conn., will lead the hands-on training. Follansbee will demonstrate how to maximize fundraising success through effective strategic planning. The cost is $50 for members, $65 for non-members in advance. Breakfast is included. For more information or to register, visit

Paradise City Arts Festival
May 28-30: The Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton will once again come alive with one of America’s most spectacular fairs of fine crafts, paintings, and sculpture during the Memorial Day weekend. The Paradise City Arts Festival is also a great way to spend a holiday weekend at the height of spring, with live music, food, and an outdoor sculpture garden. Festival organizers note that there’s new work by all 260 artists, and performers scheduled include Ameranouche, Samirah Evans and Her Handsome Devils, Roger Salloom, and Jessica Freeman. Additionally, Salloom will present an award-winning documentary about his career that is airing nationally this spring. Restaurants participating in the festival include the Eastside Grill, India House, Spoleto, Mama Iguana’s, Great Wall, Amber Waves, Pizzeria Paradiso, and Bart’s Homemade Ice Cream. Food offerings will include strawberry tartlets, pomegranate chicken kabobs, fish tacos, and Thai green curry, as well as the standards, blackened short ribs, blackened scallops, and bananas foster bread pudding with spicy chocolate sauce. In addition, Paradise City’s silent art auction will benefit the Breast Form Fund, which offers financial assistance to uninsured and under-insured women to purchase breast prostheses and post-mastectomy bras after breast-cancer surgery. A special themed exhibit titled “The Nature of Beauty” is also planned in the arena. Hours are Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Monday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets: $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $8 for students, and free for ages 12 and under. For more information, visit

HR and Social Media Workshop
June 16: Representatives from Royal LLP and the Vann Group will present a free seminar titled “Social Networking Media and the Workplace: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” from 8:30 to 10 a.m. in the NUVO Bank community room, 1500 Main St., Springfield. Registration begins at 8:15 a.m. Seating is limited. To register, contact Ann-Marie Marcil at
[email protected] or (413) 586-2288.

40 Under Forty Gala
June 23: BusinessWest will present its 40 Under Forty Class of 2011 at a not-to-be-missed gala at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House beginning at 5 p.m. The 40 Under Forty program, initiated in 2007, has become an early-summer tradition in the region. For more information on the event or to order tickets ($60 per person, with tables of 10 available), call (413) 781-8600, ext. 10, or visit

Summer Business Summit
June 27-28: The Resort and Conference Center of Hyannis will be the setting for the Summer Business Summit, hosted by the Mass. Chamber of Business and Industry of Boston. Nominations are being accepted for the Mass. Chamber, Business of the Year, and Employer of Choice awards. The two-day conference will feature educational speakers, presentations by lawmakers, VIP receptions, and more. For more information, visit

Jazz & Art Festival
July 8-10: A Mardi Gras theme will kick off the 5th annual Hampden Bank Hoop City Jazz & Art Festival on July 8, featuring Glenn David Andrews with the Soul Rebels, and hosted by Wendell Pierce, star of the HBO series TREME. The celebration, planned at Springfield’s Court Square on the Esplanade, continues throughout the weekend with a lineup of world-class entertainment. On July 9, performances are slated by Marcus Anderson, the UK Kings of Jazz Groove, Down to the Bone, 17-year-old jazz newcomer Vincent Ingala, and Gerald Albright. On July 10, performances begin with the Eric Bascom Quintet, followed by Samirah Evans and Her Handsome Devils. Kendrick Oliver and The New Life Orchestra will also perform, and Latin jazz performer Poncho Sanchez will close out the festival. Organizers will also be increasing the number of merchandise vendors, artisans, and crafters, as well as food vendors. For more information, visit

Western Mass.
Business Expo
Oct. 18: Businesses from throughout Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire counties will come together for the premier trade show in the region, the Western Mass. Business Expo. Formerly known as the Market Show, the event, produced by BusinessWest and staged at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, has been revamped and improved to provide exposure and business opportunities for area companies. The cost for a 10-by-10 booth is $700 for members of all area chambers and $750 for non-members; corner booths are $750 for all chamber members and $800 for non-members, and a 10-by-20 booth is $1,200 for all chamber members and $1,250 for non-members. For more information, log onto or call (413) 781-8600, ext. 100.

He’s a Driving Force in the Business Community

Tom Burton,  President and CEO of Hampden Bank

Tom Burton, President and CEO of Hampden Bank

Tom Burton calls it “the Beauty.”
That’s the name he gave to a 1953 Buick Super he acquired more than 20 years ago and now displays at several car shows each summer. As he talked about it, Burton said it is most definitely not the kind of vehicle most Baby Boomers — and he’s among the older members of that generation at 65 — set out to put in their garage upon being bitten by the “old-car bug,” as he called it,
“This is not a car you dream of having as a kid; most guys think about the old muscle cars — the Camaros, Mustangs, Firebirds, or Chargers,” said Burton, president and CEO of Hampden Bank, adding that, while he also likes those hugely popular models that now carry big price tags, he never really looked at anything other than that huge, chrome-laden, four-door sedan. Part of the reason was a fairly limited budget for this pursuit, but there was much more to it, as he explained in a recent issue of the bank’s newsletter, which focused on the broad subject of hobbies.
“When I was 7, my father purchased his first brand-new car,” he wrote in a piece titled “The Last Buick.” “Tragically, when I was 10, he died of cancer. Needless to say, my mother was saddled with me and my two younger brothers and that Buick for many years. Without a breadwinner, there was little money to replace the Buick when it became tired and old, and upon turning 16, it was the vehicle I learned to drive.
“By that time, it was totally obsolete, and I was ashamed to take it out on a date,” he continued. “Fortunately, my teenage self-esteem was redeemed when it was replaced by a somewhat used, very uncool, but more presentable Chevy Nova. Although I didn’t appreciate the significance of the Buick at the time, when it came to making a choice on the purchase of a classic car, there was no other.”
“The Beauty"

“The Beauty,” making one of its summertime appearances outside its garage home.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say Burton is a lot like the car that now has its own heated garage and gets regular pampering. Like the 58-year-old sedan, he represents stability, not flash; dependability, not speed — although he says the eight-cylinder Buick still has plenty of giddyup if one is so inclined, although the gas mileage is quite poor. “I don’t know what it is; I just know it isn’t good.”
Yet the bank president and the Super would both earn a good number of style points.
In his 18 years at the helm, Burton has overseen pronounced growth — from $150 million in assets to just under $600 million, and from four offices to 10 — while also orchestrating a change in operational mission, from a bond bank to one that now has a large portfolio of loans, both residential and commercial.
And he’s taken the bank public, a step he considered the best option to attain the capital needed to fuel an expansion plan that has taken the institution well beyond its roots in downtown Springfield.
Looking ahead, he said that Hampden, like all the banks in this region, have to essentially fight their way through this time of general sluggishness in the economy and be positioned for the day when the housing market rebounds and business owners regain the confidence needed to seek capital for expansion and new ventures.
“Loan demand has been very slow; it’s starting to pick up a little bit, but it’s nowhere near where it should be,” he explained. “There’s a hesitancy on the part of business owners to undertake expansions and hire employees, because they’re still uncertain about their future.”
For this, the latest in its Profiles in Business series, BusinessWest talked at length with a business executive who’s been a driving force, figuratively and it seems literally as well, in the region’s business community and, especially, the financial-services sector.

His Big Brake
Burton told BusinessWest that this is actually the second Buick Super he’s owned. The first was in relatively poor condition — “it was a lot junkier” — when he bought it, and he didn’t do much with it.
He found the second in North Carolina after a fairly lengthy search on an Internet that was then still very much in its infancy. After successfully negotiating a price, he had it shipped north. Burton said it doesn’t get out of that heated garage much — it still has only 44,000 miles on it — but he does display it at several area cruise-night gatherings, including a huge show in East Granby that features between 600 and 800 cars. He’s even won a few trophies at such events.
As hobbies go, this one can get fairly expensive — Burton has a plastic model of a 1953 Buick Skylark on the bookshelf in his office, a car that would fetch $125,000 to $150,000 on the open market because so few were made — but not all-consuming … if one keeps things under control, of course. “It can certainly become work if you have too many,” he explained. “At one time I had two cars, and that really became work, and I found that I can have one and thoroughly enjoy that one car instead of doing two or more.”
Besides, he has a number of other things on his plate at the moment, especially leadership of the bank through a period that, while it certainly doesn’t compare with the landscape-changing turmoil of the early ’90s, comes with its own set of more modest but still-intriguing challenges (more on them later).
Burton brings to this assignment an interesting background, one with its foundation in accounting, not banking. Indeed, he spent 23 years at KPMG, and didn’t even count banks among his clientele until he was roughly seven years into his tenure at the then-Big 8 firm’s Springfield office.
His “route,” as he called it, stretched from Hartford into Southern Vermont and New Hampshire, and eventually it included several financial institutions, including what was known then as Hampden Savings Bank.
In 1991, KPMG had a downsizing in its partnership ranks — about 25% of them left or retired. “And that left a lot of pressure on those who remained, including myself,” said Burton. “We went from four partners in our banking group down to two, and that was pretty stressful.”
Elaborating, he said he started to explore other career opportunities, including the opening in the president’s office at Hampden Savings.
“It was a small mutual bank, and I saw it as an attractive lifestyle change,” Burton said of his decision to pursue and eventually take the position after it was offered to him. “I knew banking … I had been working in it through tax and audit work and some consulting for a lot of years, and thought it would be a good opportunity for me.
“We were coming out of a very, very difficult recession at the time,” he continued, noting that banks tapping CPAs as presidents and other top executives was not uncommon during that turbulent period when financial stability was the top priority moving forward. “Prior to that time, the road to becoming a CEO at a bank was through the lending area, and having that lending discipline was important; what they found out was that the lenders didn’t do such a good job, so they said, ‘maybe we need some finance people.’”
The bank he took over didn’t look at all like the one he presides over now, an evolution he says is part of a much broader change that has come to the industry over the past two decades.
“This bank was very different then; it had only 29% of its assets in loans, and subsequently very few loan problems,” he explained, adding that the bulk of the holdings were in bonds. “Six weeks after the annual meeting in February 1994, there was a sharp rise in interest rates that led to the worst bond market since 1927; bonds just collapsed.”
In response, the bank expanded into residential and then commercial lending, with the latter being a pattern repeated at some other community banks, thus dramatically changing the business-lending landscape.
“The local savings banks that traditionally did just mortgages, except for maybe a few consumer loans, all got into business banking,” he explained. “So now, in this marketplace, they dominate the business-banking market — the Uniteds, Chicopees, Westfields, and ourselves are dominating that area.
“The commercial-banking landscape is diminished, and the savings banks have really taken over the commercial-banking realm,” he continued. “We filled a void; we needed to expand, and with the consolidation of the commercial banks, there was an opportunity for the savings banks, who filled that in. And all the commercial lenders we’ve hired, and that others have hired, came from commercial banks, so the players, the individuals, are very much the same people.”

Of General Interest
Hampden also expanded geographically, and boasts five branches in Springfield, (including one in Indian Orchard), two in Longmeadow, and one each in Agawam, West Springfield, and Wilbraham.
Such growth requires capital, however, and in 2006, Burton and the rest of Hampden’s leadership team decided the best course was to take the institution public, a move that mirrored several other area institutions and provided needed flexibility, said Burton.
One of the many aspects of taking a bank public is the resulting change with regard to the dissemination of information, said Burton.
“Transparent” was the word he used to describe how an institution must look and act. Among other things, this means that people like Burton are limited in what they can say and when they can say it.
“You have to let everyone know everything at the same time,” he explained, adding that this has been a learning process for those at the bank. And with that as a backdrop, he talked about the present and future in very general terms and with mostly predictable language.
“Our five-year plan is to simply grow the bank,” he said. “We’ve always done well in this marketplace, especially when there’s been turmoil.”
And by that, he meant mergers and acquisitions, or a further consolidation of the local banking community. Hampden, like most all community banks, fares well when regional institutions doing business in the area become part of much bigger regional or national banks.
As for whether Hampden might become part of such an acquisition, Burton would say only that the bank has been approached on several occasions, but there has been nothing but talk to date.
“We’re a very nice franchise, and we’re attractive to other institutions,” he explained. “We’d be offended if we weren’t invited to lunch every now and then. But our goal is to remain independent.”
Pressed for comments about the current state of the industry and what’s ahead for Hampden and the financial-services industry in general, Burton started by simply recalling a question from someone in the audience at a recent shareholders meeting — and his answer.
“He was asking when the bank was going to increase the dividend,” Burton recalled. “My response was, ‘when I feel comfortable that we can consistently have good quarters.’ My concern was that we’d have some quarters and we may have some that are not so good. The consistency isn’t there just yet.
“Things are starting to look a little better,” he continued, referring to banks’ bottom lines in specific. “Everyone seems to be posting profits — some of them of them are very small, but they are profits — and that should continue. We’re through the worst, things are starting to get better, but we’ve got a ways to go before companies start to feel really comfortable that they can make an expansion or they can hire employees and they won’t have to reverse those decisions.”
While working to help achieve that consistency he spoke of, Burton is keeping busy with many other things. He’s active in the community, with interests ranging from Western New England College (he’s an alumnus), where he has served on the board for many years, including a stint as director, to the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, for which he’s also been a long-term board member. He also plays some golf; he’s a member of Longmeadow Country Club.
He’s also following the professional exploits of his three sons. Tom, the oldest, is an attorney in the Boston area specializing in alternative-energy companies; his middle son, James, is in retail, while his youngest, Sean, is a college music professor.
Which brings Burton to another intriguing subject, a trumpet that dates back to when his father bought the Buick. A Pan American model, the instrument, which has been passed down to several family members, has lost much of its plating, “but still has a lot of character.”
Burton said bank employees have made some several entreaties for him to play it at the jazz festival the bank sponsors each summer, but he has thus far rejected those invitations, and plans to continue that pattern.
“Most definitely not,” he said when asked if there might be an appearance this summer. “I wouldn’t embarrass myself or put people through that.”
And then, there’s the Buick, and the approaching summer, which is its time to shine — in more ways than one.

In the Driver’s Seat
On the day he talked with BusinessWest, Burton was readying for a trip to a Florida, where he and his wife, Kathy, have a condo and spend several weeks a year. He was also planning on bringing the Buick over to Robbie’s Auto Repair on the corner of State Street and Columbus Avenue in Springfield for some work on the master brake cylinder, which had been leaking.
“He [Robbie] takes a great interest in old cars — I think he likes working on them more than he does the modern ones,” said Burton, adding that he brings the Super in at least a few times a year for needed service and replacement parts to keep it running smoothly.
Just like the bank he leads.

George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]

Commercial Real Estate Sections
Know the Rules to Avoid Any Unintended Consequences

Carolyn Bourgoin

Carolyn Bourgoin

Maximizing one’s current tax deduction for rental real-estate losses requires planning and an awareness of the maze of rules that must be considered in order to avoid any unintended consequences. Focusing on some of the more overlooked areas will help taxpayers to avoid some of the potential pitfalls in the passive loss rules.
The passive-activity-loss rules were enacted in 1986 as a means of discouraging taxpayers from investing in activities whose primary purpose was to generate losses to offset various sources of income. The PAL rules prohibit offsetting passive losses with income from non-passive activities, such as salary, professional fees, interest, dividends, or income from a business in which the taxpayer materially participates. As a result, losses from passive activities can only be used to offset income from other passive activities. If there is an excess of passive losses over passive income in any tax year, the excess loss is suspended and carried forward indefinitely, until passive income is generated or the property is sold.
One way taxpayers have tried to generate passive income in order to utilize passive losses is by leasing their personally owned commercial property to a related business. Under the passive-loss rules, it would seem that any net rental income generated by this arrangement would be classified as passive income. However, if the taxpayer materially participates in the trade or business to which the commercial building is being rented, then a set of rules known as the self-rental rules will cause the rental income to be recharacterized as non-passive.
The self-rental rule holds that an otherwise-passive rental activity will be treated as non-passive if the activity generates net income and the taxpayer rents that property to a trade or business in which the taxpayer materially participates. A taxpayer is considered to materially participate in an activity if he or she is involved in the activity on a regular, continuous, and substantial basis. This is determined when a taxpayer’s involvement falls under one of seven tests defined in the IRS regulations.
Though net rental income from such an arrangement is recharacterized as non-passive income, a loss from such a related-party leasing activity would not be subject to the self-rental rule and would be considered passive.
Due to the inconsistent results of the self-rental rule, its validity has been challenged by taxpayers in the courts. However, the courts have upheld the self-rental rules, and so taxpayers must plan accordingly taking these rules into account.
Actively participating in a rental real-estate activity may allow taxpayers to deduct a loss of up to $25,000 against non-passive income. A taxpayer will be considered actively participating if he or she makes key management decisions, such as deciding on rental terms, approving new tenants, or approving capital expenditures. The term ‘active participation’ does not require regular, continuous, and substantial involvement.
Additional requirements to qualify for the $25,000 loss allowance include owning at least 10% of the rental property (can aggregate ownership with spouse) and having AGI that doesn’t exceed specified levels.
Taxpayers may want to consider selling an activity that continually generates passive losses. Disposition of an entire interest in a passive activity in a fully taxable transaction will permit the taxpayer to deduct any suspended losses from the activity.  Where the disposition is by gift, however, a different set of rules applies. First, the donor loses the benefit of the suspended losses; second, the tax basis of the transferred property is increased by the amount of any PALs allocated to such interest. In the case of a partnership interest that has been gifted, a donee must increase his outside basis by an amount equal to the donor’s suspended PALs. Thus, the transfer of an interest in a passive activity by gift does not allow the donor to take a deduction for any suspended losses associated with the property.
Qualifying as a real-estate professional is another option that should be explored. If a taxpayer qualifies as a real-estate professional, rental real-estate interests are not automatically treated as passive activities. This testing is done annually. The following requirements must be met in order to qualify as a real estate professional:
• More than one-half of the personal services performed by the taxpayer in trades or businesses during the tax year are performed in real property trades or businesses in which the taxpayer materially participates; and
• The taxpayer performs more than 750 hours of services during the tax year in real property trades or businesses in which the taxpayer materially participates.
A taxpayer does not have to work full-time in real estate to qualify as a real-estate professional. However, a taxpayer must be able to establish by any reasonable means, such as calendars, appointment books, etc., that he materially participates in the operation of a rental real-estate property in order to treat that property as non-passive. Each rental real-estate interest is treated as a separate activity for purposes of the material participation testing unless an election is made to group interests.
This article provides a few considerations for planning how to maximize passive loss deductions from rental real estate. As always, you should consult your tax advisor or legal advisor regarding applying this general information to your specific situation.

Carolyn Bourgoin is a senior manager in the Tax Division of Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C., a public accounting firm in Holyoke; (413) 536-8510.

Chamber Corners Departments

(413) 787-1555
n June 3: ERC5 Annual Meeting, 7:15-9 a.m., Twin Hills Country Club, Longmeadow.
Tickets: $20 for members; $30 for non-members . Speakers: Suzanne Strempek Shea and Tom Shea on “Keeping it Local.” For more information and to purchase tickets call (413) 787-1555
n June 15: ACCGS Annual Meeting, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Marriott Springfield. Tickets: $40 for members; $60 for non-members. Speaker: Greg Bialecki, secretary of Housing and Economic Development. For more information and to purchase tickets call (413) 787-1555.

(413) 594-2101
n June 1: Annual golf tournament at Chicopee Country Club; 10 a.m. start. For more information, please contact the chamber at  (413) 594-2101
n June 10: Global to Local — A Workshop Series, Part 3 Growth Strategy: A New Approach, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., Hampton Inn Chicopee, 600 Memorial Dr.  Cost: $65 for members, $75 non-members.

(413) 773-5463
n June 24: Annual Meeting and Legislative Breakfast, 7:30 – 9 a.m., Eaglebrook School.

(413) 534-3376
n June 8: Holyoke Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting. Program at 4 p.m. followed by social hour and dinner; The Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House, 500 Easthampton Road, Holyoke. Tickets: $25. For reservations, call (413) 534-3376 or register online at
n June 15: Chamber After Hours, 5-7 p.m., Wistariahurst Museum. Sponsored by Sunshine Village. Admission is $5 for members; $10 cash for non-members. For more information, call (413) 534-3376 or sign up at
n June 23: Job Fair, presented by the Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce, CareerPoint, Chicopee Chamber of Commerce, and Elms College. Hosted by Elms College, 291 Springfield St., Chicopee. Please check for details.

(413) 584-1900
n June 1: June Arrive @5, 5-7p.m. A casual mix and mingle with your colleagues and friends. Hosted by Hotel Northampton, A2Z Science & Learning Store & The Northampton Education Foundation, 36 King St., Northampton. Sponsored by: Calvin Coolidge Nursing & Rehabilitation Center for Northampton, Webber & Grinnell Insurance. Cost: $10 for members; $15 for non-members.
n June 21: June Meet & Eat Breakfast, 7:30-9 a.m., Smith College Conference Center, Elm St., Northampton. Cost: $15 for members.

(413) 584-1900
n June 9: Party with a Purpose, the NAYP Non-Profit Board Fair, 5-8 p.m., at the
Smith College Conference Center, Elm Street Northampton. Free for NAYP members as well as Easthampton, Northampton, and Amherst Chamber members;
$5 for non-members.

(413) 426-3880
n June 15: Table Top, 4:30-7:00 p.m, Fathers & Sons, 214 New Bridge St. West Springfield. This event will feature tabletop displays of various businesses. The WRC is looking for sponsors of this event. For more information, call (413) 426-3880.

(413) 568-1618
n June 8: WestNet, the after 5 networking event,  5-7 p.m. Hosted by the YMCA of Greater Westfield @ Camp Shepard. Come and shoot hoops to support the chamber’s Scholarship fund. Tickets: $10 for members; $15 for non-members. For more information, call  (413) 568-1618; [email protected]
n June 10: Chamber June Breakfast, hosted by: Tekoa Country Club, 459 Russell Road, Westfield. Registration begins at 7:15 a.m.; program, 8-9. Guest Speaker: Timothy Brennan, executive director, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. Sponsors: Platinum Sponsor: First Niagara; Gold Sponsors: Westfield State University, United Bank, Noble Health Systems; Silver Sponsor Westfield Bank. Tickets: $25 for members; $30 for non-members. For more information, call (413) 568-1618; [email protected]
n June 20: 50th Annual Golf Tournament, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., at Tekoa Country Club, 459 Russell Road, Westfield. Title Sponsor: United Bank. For morte information or to sign up, call Sandy Sorel at (413) 779-0075.

n June 9: Martini Magic, 6-9 p.m., Max’s Tavern at The Basketball Hall of Fame, 1000 West Columbus Ave., Springfield. Join YPS at Max’s Martini Magic and help support the Ronald McDonald House. The event will include a creative selection of cocktails, exquisite hors d’oeuvres, carving stations, and live music. Tickets: $65 per person.
A $10 discount will be given to YPS members who purchase their tickets before May 27. Tickets are limited. For reservations please contact AnnMarie Harding at [email protected]; or by phone at (413) 746-6299, Ext. 381.
n June 19: Lighthouse’s 1st Annual ‘Cue it up for Employment’ Billiards Tournament,  3 p.m., Smith’s Billiards, Worthington Street, Springfield. Doors open at 3; match play begins at 4. Sponsored by: Mercy Medical Center, Burger King, Sisco, and YPS. Tickets: $20 for players; $10 for spectators. Player tickets are limited. For reservations please contact Jeff Trant at [email protected], or call (413) 736-8974, Ext. 101. All proceeds benefit Lighthouse, a division of Human Resources Unlimited, a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization serving disabled and disadvantaged adults.

Bankruptcies Departments

The following bankruptcy petitions were recently filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Readers should confirm all information with the court.

AB Auction Plus
Houle, Arnold Lee
121 Turner Falls Road
Montague, MA 01351
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/14/11

Barnard, Peter A.
19 Knox St.
Palmer, MA 01069
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/12/11

Basile, Eugene L.
Basile, Sally A.
59 Shawinigan Dr.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/12/11

Bovee, Cynthia Lynn
a/k/a Dearborn, Cynthia Lynn
15 Willow St.
Adams, MA 01220
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/12/11

Bredenbeck, Patricia A.
229 Miller St., Apt. F
Ludlow, MA 01056
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/14/11

Bryden, Shirley A.
96 Hastings St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/15/11

Carlin, Steven Paul
Carlin, Theresa Louise
26 Corey Colonial
Agawam, MA 01001
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/15/11

Corbin, Donald L
Corbin, Mary C.
One Foxrun Lane.
Brimfield, MA 01010
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/14/11

Cordi, Tina M.
15 Hazen St.
Springfield, MA 01119
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/14/11

Czupryna, Walter M.
Czupryna, Diane A.
176 Dunhamtown Palmer Road
Brimfield, MA 01010
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/12/11

Davis, Doreen L.
21 Quaboag Valley Co-Op
Palmer, MA 01069
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/13/11

Dinh, Nina Tuyet Nga
6 Bissonnette Circle
Southampton, MA 01073
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/12/11

Douchette, Jerome A.
365 Tokeneke Road
Holyoke, MA 01040
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/15/11

Dowd, Mary C.
a/k/a Cronin-Dowd, Mary Austin
333 Ohio Ave.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/13/11

Dzuris, Leslie D.
1286 Granby Road #57
Westover Trailer Park
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/12/11

Febus, Carmen L.
81 Conz St., Apt 602
Northampton, MA 01060
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/14/11

Fiore, Anthony J.
Fiore, Angela M.
205 Shady Brook Lane
Springfield, MA 01118
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/12/11

Gregory, Jeffery Edward
Gregory, Rhonda Jean
412 Elm St.
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/13/11

Halas, Timothy John
15 Pisgah Road
Westhampton, MA 01027
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/12/11

Henderson, Jennifer Lynn
8 Twelfth (12th) St.
Turners Falls, MA 01376
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/14/11

Hohenberger, Ann T.
15 Village Road
Holyoke, MA 01040
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/15/11

Hunt, Dolores A.
P.O. Box 636
Otis, MA 01253
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/14/11

Kennedy, Tanya L.
37 Imperial Ave.
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/14/11

Keyes, Elaine T.
131 Bridge St.
Northampton, MA 01060
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/12/11

Knight, Kathleen Marie
Knight, James Edward
P.O.Box 147
Windsor, MA 01270
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/12/11

LeBlanc, Philip A.
LeBlanc, Samantha L.
100 Line St.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/12/11

Lee, Jonathan W.
Lee, Teresa D.
a/k/a O’Connor, Teresa D.
205 Stebbins St.
Belchertown, MA 01007
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/14/11

Legein, Joseph T.
Legein, Jenna C.
a/k/a Marszalek, Jenna Christine
111 Feeding Hills Road
Southwick, MA 01077
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/12/11

Link, Patricia Ann
5 Sutton Court
Amherst, MA 01002
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/14/11

Lizana, Arnold J.
111 Ingersoll Grove
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/15/11

Negron, Jorge L.
Negron, Jessica
a/k/a Ortiz-Torres, Jessica
4 Eastland St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/13/11

Nowak, Richard J.
Nowak, Jean A.
22 Frederick St.
Westfield, MA 01085
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/13/11

Paige, Clifford F.
Paige, Mary Eve
23 Newell Cross Road
Rowe, MA 01367
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/15/11

Pannozzo, Dominic A.
11 Maple Lawn Dr.
Monson, MA 01057
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/15/11

Parent-Dorsey, Laura Jean
108 Warren St.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/14/11

Pasek, Chester J.
20 School St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/14/11

Poulin, William J.
12 Main Road
Gill, MA 01354
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/15/11

Sawyier, Georgia P.
310 Stafford St., Apt.
Springfield, MA 01104
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/15/11

Spink, Debra A.
120 Beacon Dr.
Palmer, MA 01069
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/14/11

Steiner, Louis
10 Congress St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/15/11

Terlik, Brian Wade
134 Woodbridge Road
Chicopee, MA 01022
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/15/11

Thornhill, David Ross
Thornhill, Tameka Lynn
66 Pineview Circle
Agawam, MA 01001
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/14/11

Tobey, Linda J.
26 Balis St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/15/11

Turcotte, Joanne C.
155 West St., Apt. 9C
Northampton, MA 01060
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/14/11

Viens, Jennifer A.
13 Darlene Ave.
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 04/14/11

Vogel, Michael L.
10 Memory Lane
Palmer, MA 01069
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/12/11

Warner, Dale L.
a/k/a Healy, Dale L.
74 Ferry St.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 04/14/11