Some people have wondered why Barry and Annette Goldberg would lease their building at 135 King Street to such an inappropriate tenant as Capital Video. The Goldbergs have made no response to numerous inquiries from us and the media. Even their leasing agent thinks it’s a bad idea. The answer may lie in the debt the Goldbergs owe on their property, as shown by public records at the Massachusetts Registry of Deeds.
In 1992, the Goldbergs secured a $712,500 mortgage from Florence Savings Bank ( FSB ) on their property at 135 and 137 King Street. In 2004, it appears they refinanced this property, with a principal amount of $700,000. In other words, they barely reduced their debt to FSB between 1992 and 2004.
In 2004, the Goldbergs signed a Collateral Assignment of Rents and Leases with FSB. This may indicate that FSB had concerns about getting their loan paid back. The agreement states:
“WHEREAS, Bank requires security for the prompt and complete payment and performance of all debts, liabilities and obligations of Borrower to Bank of any kind, nature and description, whether now or hereafter arising, absolute or contingent, direct or indirect, including, without limitation, all terms, covenants and agreements contained in the Note, Mortgage, this Assignment and all other loan documents incident hereto (collectively the ‘Obligation’).
“NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the above-stated premises, and for other good and valuable consideration, Borrower agrees as follows:
“1. Borrower hereby transfers and assigns unto Bank, and its successors and assigns forever, all of the rents, revenues, issues and profits now due and hereafter to become due from the Premises and also all leases and rental agreements affecting the Premises…
“6. This Assignment shall be held by Bank as security for the payment and performance of the Obligation; it being understood, however, that Bank shall not apply or enforce this Assignment so long as Borrower shall fully and promptly pay and perform the Obligation…”
The Collateral Assignment raises the possibility that Capital Video porn shop dollars may flow directly to FSB under some circumstances. We are not claiming that FSB is happy about this prospect. It has been observed that the bank has a branch at 176 King Street, just steps from 135 King Street.
We invite you to inspect the Goldbergs’ public mortgage documents for yourself:
135 King Street Mortgage – 1992 (PDF)
135 King Street Mortgage – 2004 (PDF)
Collateral Assignment – 2004 (PDF)
We respect the Goldbergs’ need to pay their debts. However, it’s not fair of them to do so in a manner that may impede commerce in the area and reduce the value of surrounding businesses and homes.
Many porn shop defenders have said this issue is about freedom of speech, diversity of expression, sexual liberation and other ideals. The reality, however, is that the primary motivation to make and sell porn has to do with generating profits. As Capital Video owner Kenneth Guarino told the Wall Street Journal, “It’s just a business. I like to watch the numbers.”
We don’t object to people making money, but we do object when they do it in a heedless way.
16 thoughts on “Is Debt Driving the Goldbergs to Lease to Capital Video?”
I’m not sure exactly where to start but here goes… The term carpetbagger springs to mind, the audacity of moving to our state, full of sex positive people that support marriage between any two people that love each other, and then trying to dictate the personal lives and business of that state is fairly amazing. Your focus on (straight) Porn that [may] concentrate on the degradation of women while ignoring the shades of nuance that exist, such as interacial, women with women, softer releases from Adam and Eve or Vivid, feet and shoes, men with men and bisexual is frankly, juvenile.
You discuss at length, degradation and humiliation of these women trapped in an industry of defilement. Then incorrectly state an average figure of $300 per scene. [That’s in keeping with what a straight man gets per scene. Women tend to get $1,000 plus dollars per.] Yet what of the degradation of gay men in the business? Are they being taken advantage of? Also what of the (many) straight women that enjoy adult films? Even (gasp) scenes showing (pretend) degradation of women.
Adult movies allow exploration of fantasy with no need to actually place oneself in or orchestrate a situation that might be dangerous.
Your supposition of higher crime rates and rampant prostitution are baseless and alarmist. If you fear crime in your town, set up neighborhood watches or fund more police to patrol the area. Personally I run a video store with inventory that includes adult films and we have yet to see any ill effects with crime, and you would be surprised to know just how many people avail themselves of our adult service. Of course I would never expose those people to your scrutiny for fear that you would post their home address on your website and ask people to harass them. Lastly, sex is a powerfull force in almost all of our lives. It’s something that most of us think about all the time, it’s what leads men to get married and it’s what allows women to put up with men day in and day out. I understand there is a lesbian phenomenon of no sex in long term relationships but please understand that adult films keep many, many people happy and that sex in fact is the lubrication of society. Your meddling can only cause harm.
First, let’s recap one of our earliest FAQ items:
FAQ: The founders of NoPornNorthampton haven’t lived here for a long time. Are they qualified to speak on this issue?
A: It is true that we are relative newcomers to Northampton. We moved here in 2003. If the depth of local ties confers legitimacy, we note that Capital Video Corporation is a chain headquartered in Cranston, Rhode Island. The profits from the King Street porn shop will flow south to owner Kenneth Guarino, while any ill effects will stay with us. Many Northampton residents more established than ourselves have expressed concern. We quote from the Gazette’s June 30 article, “Neighbors oppose porn shop”:
“‘We’re furious,’ said Summer Street resident Mike Kirby, a former city councilor, who, with his wife, Lu Stone, have lived in their home for 25 years….’We’ve put all this effort into our house and garden, and now this happens,’ he said. ‘We’re shocked.'”…
“‘I have mixed feelings about it,’ said Joshua Miller, who has lived at 33 Summer St. for 21 years. ‘I’m for free speech, I’m for freedom of expression and I’m against censorship. What I’m worried about is how pornography exploits women.'”…
“Mary Ellen Walsh, who said she has owned her Summer Street home for 30 years admitted that she would ‘really rather it not’ be located near her home…. And she added, the establishment ‘has a right to exercise free speech, but I’m going to exercise mine, too.'”
The FAQ also notes that we favor gay rights and gay marriage.
I am well aware of the many niches of porn. Quite a few of them are simply racist, and we will be expanding on this soon. We oppose degradation regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation.
“Softer releases” is not what jumps out at me when I visit a Capital Video website such as Amazing.net.
Please let me know where you get your facts about porn worker pay. I would like to check them out.
The degradation of women in porn is quite real. Dr. Gail Dines and Robert Jensen have studied porn for many years. They observe:
“This misogyny is not an idiosyncratic feature of a few fringe films. Based on three studies of the content of mainstream video/DVD pornography over the past decade, we conclude that woman-hating is central to contemporary pornography. Take away every video in which a woman is called a bitch, a cunt, a slut, or a whore, and the shelves would be nearly bare. Take away every DVD in which a woman becomes the target of a man’s contempt, and there wouldn’t be much left. Mass-marketed pornography doesn’t celebrate women and their sexuality, but instead expresses contempt for women and celebrates the charge of expressing that contempt sexually.”
By pooh-poohing our concerns (and voluminous evidence) about the impact of porn and adult businesses on people and communities, you’re imposing your value of unrestrained short-term pleasure over the people’s need to be safe and prosperous, and women’s need (everyone’s need) to be treated well.
The FAQ addresses your “anti-sex” argument:
FAQ: Being anti-porn really means you are anti-sex, does it not?
A: We are not against sex. We are against mindless sex, abusive sex, sex without regard for issues like love, fidelity, commitment, pregnancy, disease and children.
I’m glad you appear to be saying that marriage is a good thing. Doesn’t seem that way over at Capital Video. Have a look at their movies that promote infidelity.
Not all of the harms of porn will be immediately obvious or manifest on your doorstep. We’ve all noted the explosion in divorce rates over the past 50 years, a period that correlates with the rise of porn. More recently, we recall that at a 2003 meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, two-thirds of the 350 divorce lawyers who attended said Internet porn contributed to more than half of the divorce cases they handled.
If you’re selling movies that promote abuse, mindless sex, cheating or dangerous practices, perhaps you should reconsider. Media matters. To give a positive example, during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln is said to have met with Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, greeting her with, “So you are the little woman who wrote the book that made this big war.”
So, you’re saying that the Goldbergs will go broke unless they lease their property? In a dead part of King St? Will your property value go down if the building stands vacant for another year? Is there a relationship between vacant businesses and crime? Of course there is.
There will always be things that people find objectionable. For example, I find it objectionable that someone would send out a mass-mailing that accuses people, by name, of public immorality, like you did. But we live in a free country, and part of what that means is that you have to put up with things that you find objectionable. Because people are free to do things that you find objectionable. They’re free to do things that you regard as mistakes. That’s how it works.
Some people have tried to frame this issue as a romantic struggle for free speech, when the reality is it’s more about money.
Based on studies of secondary effects, it seems implausible to me that the risk to the neighborhood of an empty building is equal to that of a large porn shop.
The intent of our mailing, however unpleasant it may be to read, is to enhance the awareness, safety and quality of life of people in Northampton. I doubt a Capital Video porn shop will have these effects.
Capital Video is not free to make “mistakes” when those are likely to damage my neighborhood.
I am not naive. I don’t think it’s a “romantic” free speech issue. I don’t think that there is anything romantic about porno. I realize that renting and leasing property is all about money.
I also think that we live in a free society, in which the Goldbergs are permitted to rent or lease their property to whomever they choose, just as you’re permitted to send out whatever mailing you want, objectionable as it was. There’s nothing illegal in their proposal, which means that they *are* free to make mistakes with respect to your neighborhood. Because it’s not just your neighborhood; the Goldbergs own property there too. The fact that you don’t like who they’re renting to, and the fact that they’re doing it “for the money” is of no consequence.
If you don’t like the neighborhood anymore, you should move to a neighborhood you do like. I hear there are some vacancies at the Hill and Dale Mall.
But here’s the real point: You try to frame this issue as a romantic struggle to save the community from the big, bad, mob-connected pornographer, when really it’s all about money for you, too. You just bought a house in lovely, bucolic Northampton, and now someone wants to put a porn store next to it. You’re worried about the value of your property. You’re worried about losing money on your house. You act like you’re on some kind of a moral crusade when you’re really just worried about money.
If everyone else is naive for thinking that this is a romantic free speech issue, then you’re a hypocrite for acting like it’s a romantic morality issue. You’re manipulating people who really do think that porn is harmful, or mysogynistic, or bad for women, for your monetary gain.
Sure we’re concerned about the value of our property, both in itself and because it’s a rough marker of the quality of life in our neighborhood.
We’re also concerned for our physical safety. We’d like to continue to feel comfortable walking to downtown. We’d rather not see our favorite shops like Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters fail or move away.
Maybe, just maybe, we’re concerned for our friends and neighbors, too, and we’re hoping to see some concern from the Goldberg family, which has owned property at 135 King Street for decades.
Surely it would be easier to ask a large new porn shop to locate away from homes, rather than ask the existing homeowners to move to accommodate it, or is Northampton now all about the rights of corporations over individuals?
Our concern for women is authentic, but even if it wasn’t, surely it’s better than your apparent lack of concern.
You misread my opposition to you and your movement. It’s not a lack of concern for women. It’s disgust at your sanctimonious, self-righteous hypocrasy.
It’s also based on the fact that any law that you use to prevent a porn store from opening on King St. could also be used by people more conservative than the two of you to ban other types of store that we think have a legitimate right to do business. I’m thinking, of course, of stores like Pride & Joy and Oh My. I realize that you have an extensive section in your FAQ about the humongous difference between the proposed store on King St. and Pride & Joy, so please don’t bother pasting it into your reply. But if you think that it’s possible to write a law that would be effective against the proposed King St. store and would be totally unusable against Pride & Joy by someone with another agenda, then you’re just being naive. It’s hard for me to believe that someone who holds a law degree from Columbia (or someone who’s married to someone who holds one of those) wouldn’t know that.
Everything you say about porno is parrotted by the religious right when they talk about homosexuality, homosexual literature, and homosexual relationships. They speak of its harmful effect on families, neighborhoods, and crime. It may be pure B. S, but that’s what they say, and they have their own “experts” with thier own “evidence.” If a Republican were ever elected mayor, he could start saying things like this about Pride & Joy. And if there were already a law on the books, he could just use it to shut them down, regardless of the likely opposition and the simple fact that he’d be wrong.
Furthermore, the fact that conservatives could (and have attempted to) use the same tactics to shut down legitimate businesses is a sign that there is something illegitmate about doing what you’re doing in a free society. Pile onto that your self-righteous, paternalistic attitude and the fact that you’re not up front about your monetary motive for opposing the porn store, and you leave a bad taste in my mouth.
If you really oppose porn because of its effect on women and the community, then I can’t understand why you’re fighting this fight, rather than some other, more significant one. Why wouldn’t you oppose porno at the industry level? The fight your fighting is small potatoes; this is a small, out-of-the-way town in a rural area. If you really want to change the world, you shouldn’t be spending your $5,000 on a petty mass-mailing, you should use that money to oppose the porn industry in California, where it is actually located, and where the real harm to women is actually being done. Why don’t you use your impressive resources to try to bring it about that women are no longer exploited, rather than selfishly trying to prevent a tiny, insignificant symptom of that exploitation from ruining your property value?
We trust the people can find the right balance between freedom and safety. If they can do it in New York, they can do it here. ‘Slippery slope’ arguments assume human affairs just move in one direction, but in many areas, such as alcohol consumption, the people move back and forth as new theories, facts and experience come in. In 2007, the rights of porn merchants are out of balance with the rights of residents in Northampton.
As for opposing porn at the industry level, it’s an interesting thought. Who knows what the future may bring? In the meantime, we feel action in our hometown is the most appropriate and feasible thing we can do at the present.
Is that what you’re going to say when conservatives try to use your little law against people and businesses that you support? “Your honor, if these people use that law in this way, then a slippery slope argument against my position will have been correct. You cannot allow that to happen.”?
Slippery slope arguments don’t assume that human affairs move in only one direction. I’m really not sure where you’re getting that from. The argument I made in my previous reply doesn’t say anything like that. It just points out that the law you propose can be used in ways that you don’t intend. It points out that you haven’t made any principled distinction between the shop you oppose and other businesses that you don’t oppose. If your law goes into effect, people who disagree with you could use it do shut down businesses that you think are legitimate. The argument says, if you do this then that could happen. That’s dangerous and you’re being reckless. And, given your credentials, you should know better. If you think that your little “pornography is that which destroys love” blurb is a legitimate definition or will be legally useful if conservatives go after Pride & Joy, you’re crazy.
Another thing: your response to slippery slope arguments in your FAQ, that you can make a slippery slope argument about anything, is *itself* a slippery slope argument. If it’s effective against the slippery slope argument you were attacking, then it’s effective against itself, too. It’s self-defeating. It’s not sound argumentative strategy to respond to attacks with self-defeating arguments.
I think you should come up with a new response. The new response should be a reason why the alleged slippery slope is *not slippery.* That’s how you construct a legitimate response to a slippery slope argument. You explain why the law you propose could not be used against people and businesses who you don’t intend to harm. It should point to a real, relevant, defensible difference between the shops you oppose and the ones you don’t. But I think we both know that you’re not going to be able to do it.
It’s naive and stupid to just cross your fingers and hope that no one will use your law that way, or that people will automatically show good judgment when it comes to the application of your law. That’s not responsible lawmaking. It’s hard for me to believe that someone who holds a law degree from Columbia (or someone who’s married to someone who holds one of those) wouldn’t know that.
Adult business regulations similar to or stricter than those Northampton is now considering are now in effect in many cities in Massachusetts and elsewhere. I am satisfied that these laws are benefiting those cities, and are rarely if ever misapplied to damage local political, artistic, or cultural life. Your fears are simply not supported by the actual experience, whereas the evidence for the harm of adult businesses on their surroundings is strong.
Northampton city council president Michael Bardsley noted yesterday that people raised censorship concerns in the late 1990s when Northampton considered and passed regulations on live nude dancing. These fears were not borne out.
If down the road the people of Northampton find their laws are no longer serving them, they can change them. Planning director Wayne Feiden says the planning board makes 10-20 changes to Northampton’s zoning ordinances every year.
I think you should have a little more trust in the people of Northampton to find the right balance to these issues, and make wise adjustments over time.
As for our distinctions between porn and erotica, this is not a matter for law. This is something we would like people to consider personally, in their own minds.
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