We had the meeting in a conference room that our lawyer had access to in a law office in Boston. The USPS wanted to hold the meeting at the Arlington office which to me was absolutely ridiculous. I really wasn’t satisifed with how the meeting went. Mail got turned back on but I don’t think we managed to address the root causes.
For one thing, Nick Francescucci was only in the room because our lawyer went over Regional Council Friedman’s head by contacting the Postmaster General directly. Nick only had 24 hours to prepare for this meeting.
- There was just lots of posturing and chest-thumping the whole time instead of listening to us.
- Nick Francescucci remarked that he has never seen anything like this in his entire career, yet didn’t seem to handle the conversation with a sense of urgency.
- Nick Francescucci repeatedly talked over Heather as she was speaking. Eventually Heather just stopped talking and gave up.
- Nick Francescucci had a copy of some scrawling in a small notebook apparantly written by Alan Hodgkins, where he accused me of calling him a ‘fag’. I plainly denied it, as I simply don’t use that type of bigoted language. I called him a ‘chump’.
- Not to mention the fact that where Hodgkins produced a notebook, I produced video/photo evidence that took hundreds of hours at this point to compile over a period of 18 months.
- He also wanted to gaslight Heather and characterize her as a person who wasn’t actually afraid of Hodgkins on the basis that she stood up to him when he continued to record after we put up the sign.
- He also said that the mail got stopped because we put up the sign, as it was a ‘brand issue’. That sounds like a Constitutional violation to me.
- He also said that he wasn’t willing to change Hodgkins’ route as if he did that he would violate some kind of ‘contractural obligation’, and then would have to do that for everyone else that has a complaint. Apparently there has been similar issues with other carriers in the Boston area.
- I had to interupt the discussion several times and repeat that this situation has continued for 18 months and has disrupted Heather’s and my ability to conduct normal life.
- He said that ‘there are explanations for everything’ when I pressed on issues of mail tampering by Sharon, and said that we have video and photo evidence.
- Nick Francescucci asked how he can confirm the authenticity of our video and photo evidence, implying that we would provide fake evidence. I countered, saying our video surveillance always has timestamps in the video itself.
- We also discussed that he has no control how carriers conduct their routes. I produced a map of how Hodgkins has deliberately passed the front of our house multiple times even though there is better paths to take.
- He said that he’s not firing anyone and he’s not changing routes.
Nick’s proposed solution:
- We would ‘start over’, which included us not being able to put up signage or go and record truck numbers.
- Heather interjected, saying that those terms would be a violation of our First Amendment rights.
- Nick backtracked, but with a belittling tone, that “Ok, I’ll take the high road, and you can keep your little signs and cameras.”
- He said that he would ‘put the best carriers on our route’, but he said earlier that he wasn’t going to do any route changes, which seemed like doubletalk.
- He said that he’s not afraid of firing anyone if he has proof. Our lawyer then committed to providing him that evidence after the meeting.
- He said that Hodgkins would not drive by the front of the house anymore.
- He said that there would be no future visits by the postal inspectors.
- He said that he would personally visit the Arlington USPS and clearly state that nobody should be giving us trouble.
I prompted Heather as to whether or not this arrangement was favorable to her to keep her in the conversation. She was just staring down at the table, looking defeated. She said: “I don’t think we have a choice. They have their minds made up. It looks like we’re not getting anything.”
Nick asked us to give him a chance, and even stood to shake my hand in agreement. I accepted it, and then told him plainly:
“I will hold you to your word.”
He replied: “What did you say?”
I repeated: “I will hold you to your word.” I stared him right in the eyes, in silence, for a long and awkward pause.
He tied this up, saying that resolving this issue was important to him because he wanted our business. I frankly just want peace at my house at this point.
When the meeting ended, only Jim Friedman, our lawyer Lauren Thomas, Heather, and myself were in the room. Mr Friedman decided to start a shouting match with our lawyer about how we looped in the Postmaster General after he stonewalled us. Such brazen unprofessionalism.
We went home, and all of our mail and our next door neighbor’s mail got delivered, which included tax paperwork from my job. Later that day our lawyer forwarded the evidence over email to Nick Francescucci to review.
So yea, I took Nick Francescucci’s word that he was going to fix it, and I as promised will make sure he does. My expectation is that everybody will act squeaky-clean from this moment forward. If they don’t, I will hold Nick accountable.