FBI sting operations: MA art and MA fishing

May2_gardner972x663.jpgFBI posed as art buyers for Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist scam

Thirteen works of art were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum  March 18, 1990, one of the highest profile art thefts of the century and listed as #2 on the FBI top 10 art crimes list. There has been an ongoing investigation for recovery ever since including incentive for tips that was raised to ten million dollars. Todd Andrew Desper of West Virginia had the dead stupid and criminal intent to advertise the Gardner Museum’s masterpieces, The Storm of the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt (for 5 million), and The Concert by Vermeer (for 50 million) …wait for it…on Craigslist overseas. FBI posed as potential buyers and arrested Desper May 20, 2017. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in Boston on July 20, 2017. Here’s a link to the FBI press release. Last week, Desper plead guilty to wire fraud and attempted wire fraud. Sentencing is scheduled for May 15th.

Meanwhile, the Berkshire Museum case is pending Single Justice decision.

“Famed Fishing Port Shudders as Its Codfather Goes to Jail

excerpt from New York Times Feb 11, 2018 article by Jess Bidgood:

“Carlos Rafael, who ruled New Bedford’s fishing of cod and haddock, was caught lying about his catches. Now the piers have grown quiet.” 

“Carlos Rafael, whose initials are emblazoned on boats all over this port city, boasted that his fishing empire was worth even more than official records showed. His trick? When he caught fish that are subject to strict catch limits, like gray sole or cod, he would report that his nets were filled with something far more plentiful, like haddock.

“We call them something else, it’s simple,” Mr. Rafael told visitors who seemed interested in buying his business. “We’ve been doing it for over 30 years.” He showed off a special ledger labeled “cash.” And he described an under-the-table deal he had going with a New York fish buyer, saying at one point, “You’ll never find a better laundromat.”

But Mr. Rafael’s visitors turned out to be Internal Revenue Service agents, and the conversations, caught on tape and described in court documents, began the unraveling of Mr. Rafael, whose reign over a segment of this region’s fishing industry gave him his larger-than-life nickname, “the Codfather…” read the complete article

I didn’t know John Bullard, NOAA Northeast Administrator who worked there from 2012-and retired Jan 5, 2018–was a former Mayor of New Bedford, despite good coverage on his tenure in the Gloucester Daily Times. I missed that detail but it jumped out to me with the sting stories. Maybe more reason to be recused from Gloucester decisions…

Fishing Industry Movie Based Out Of New Bedford

From The Preview It Looks Like They Could Have Just As Easily Said It Was Made In Gloucester As Our Fishermen Are Faced With Similar Fishing Industry Dilemmas.  I hope Rob Newton Gets It At Cape Ann Community Cinema

Here’s A Preview-


WHALING CITY is a dramatic narrative feature film set in New Bedford, Mass. in the rapidly changing world of the modern fishing industry. It tells the story of a third-generation independent commercial fisherman, struggling to keep a grasp on his way of life – and a long-held family boat – as costs rise and the heavily regulated fishing industry is pushed towards a corporate model of efficiency. While developing an unlikely relationship with a marine biologist, he is tempted to do whatever it takes to keep his boat. Principal photography was completed in fall 2010, and the film is currently in post-production. The finished film will run approximately 90 minutes in length and is slated to be ready for screenings and festival entries in spring 2011.

The screenplay was workshopped at Columbia University’s graduate film program from 1999 to 2002. It won the 2005 Alfred P. Sloan Screenwriting Award and the 2007 Sloan Feature Film Production Grant, and has been recognized in Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.


WHALING CITY’s campaign – featuring an early trailer for the film – is now live on Kickstarter.com, after our project received an exclusive invitation to be featured on the innovative online funding platform for filmmakers and artists.  View Now »

Click picture to view the trailer-

whaling city trailer

2009 Festival T-shirt Design Contest

I caught this on FOB (friend of the blog) Craig’s Commercial-Fishing.org forum

I know lots of people that check out the site are designers and have love for working ports so I thought I’d pass this along-

http://www.workingwaterfrontfestival.org/ In New Bedford they are having a tshirt design contest-

The Working Waterfront Festival invites artists 16 years and older to submit a creative design for the 2009 Festival T-Shirt.  Designs should convey festival’s emphasis on the commercial fishing industry and the working port.  The winning entry will receive a $100 cash prize.  Entries must be emailed by or postmarked no later than May 29th.  The winning entry and designer will be announced at the June 11th AHA Night in Downtown New Bedford!  Applications can be downloaded from the festival’s web site: www.workingwaterfrontfestival.org.

For Ernestina Fans-

Developers offer beams from New Bedford mill building for Ernestina

This photo is from the Ernestina website. I can't take gredit for this!
This photo is from the Ernestina website. I can't take gredit for this!

For those of you who are interested in the Ernestina:

Ernestina, the state’s official vessel, is undergoing an extensive $1.1 million rehabilitation of the forward end of the vessel, including bow and foredeck. The work is being done at the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard in Maine. Brawley is in the process of raising an additional $3 million to do the aft end. The schooner is expected to return to New Bedford on May 9.

The developers of Riverside Landing in New Bedford plan to donate 24-foot-long beams of southern yellow pine to the preservation of New Bedford’s historic schooner Ernestina, city officials announced Tuesday.

The beams will “be carefully extracted as part of the demolition process of the remaining Fairhaven Mills structure,” Mayor Scott Lang’s office said in a press release.

For more info, click here.  Thanks, Penelope, for the link! —Sharon

Amazing To Me

It’s Amazing To Me That New Bedford can get a Marriott on their Waterfront While Gloucester Still Struggles To Get Out Of It”s Own Way.

City Council rallies behind waterfront hotel plans

Marriott grants Fairfield Inn and Suites franchise for New Bedford waterfront hotel

A whaling city sets about recasting its gritty image