“Sweetheart Deal” May Sour for Mt. Greylock Developers

This $150-million Mt. Greylock project has been shelved while Massachusetts State Inspector General Robert A. Cerasoli investigates allegations that the developer received illegal preferential treatment from political allies.

Christopher Fleming, the man behind the massive project in Berkshires, Massachusetts, obtained the state-owned land last August. Plans for the development include a golf course, 300 vacation homes, a conference center, small lodging facilities, and nature and cross-country ski trails.

The problems began when the Boston financier failed to disclose specific credit information when applying to the state for the project. For example, Fleming filed for bankruptcy in 1993 after defaulting on $55 million in loans.

Skeptics have also questioned his relationships with his former firm’s directors: Alexander H. Spaulding – former Republican party finance chief – and Spaulding’s brother, Josiah. Ten days after Fleming penned the Mt. Greylock deal, the Spauldings were removed from their positions.

The project also faces scrutiny from environmental groups, including the Massachusetts Audubon Society, the Sierra Club, the Berkshire Natural Resources Council and a local group, Save the Glen. The project would occupy 1,063 acres at the base of the highest peak in Massachusetts.

While Fleming’s deals are under scrutiny, the state will continue to seek local permits for the project.