While we like to think the Berkshires is populated with good people and only good people, we are not always right. The combination of bad actors and naiveté has resulted in more than one Berkshire swindle.
The town of Stockbridge and its village improvement society buried electric wires, chose simple street lights, maintained historic structures, and assured that the width of the street allowed for not just roadbed but also walkways and trees to be planted at the edge of the pavement.
The young screenwriter let it be known to his Berkshire hosts that he was interested in settling in the Berkshires, and he looked at a number of large estates with a real estate broker. The one that struck his fancy was Wheatleigh, the upscale hostelry. His name was Thilo Rethmann. In fact, however, he was wanted in Germany on 57 counts of fraud, and had fled California after swindling his landlady out of $40,000.
Why do we fall for it? All good con men offer what you most want. The promises to Berkshire are always the same – they will create jobs, they will rejuvenate the economy, they will save historic buildings, and their taxes will lower taxes for the rest of us.