Polito said she attended brother’s graduation party

Says attendees were practicing social distancing

LT. GOV. KARYN POLITO on Tuesday denied a report that she hosted a party at her home over the weekend, saying instead that she attended a graduation party hosted by her brother where the guests followed all the appropriate guidance on social distancing.

A blog post on the website TB (for Turtleboy) Daily News reported on Monday that Polito hosted a party at her Shrewsbury home, with more than a dozen cars parked outside the lakefront property. The report suggested Polito, after urging Massachusetts residents to go out over the weekend only for essentials or to reopened businesses and to practice social distancing, was doing just the opposite.

“No, I did not host a gathering at my home,” Polito said at a press conference at the State House. She said she did attend a family gathering hosted by her brother, who lives next door and has two children celebrating graduations from high school and college.

“He invited some family to get together. I did stop by to say hello,” she said. “It was an outdoor gathering when I was there, spread apart and social distancing, which is allowed under the governor’s order and with the social guidance that we’ve issued. I would just say that this is going to happen when people want to get together and as the weather improves so it’s a natural thing to want to do and should be done in a manner where people come together and practice social distancing and keep it small, which is what happened with my brother’s family.”

According to a 2016 Boston Herald article, Polito and her husband, along with her parents and brother Kenneth, used a trust called South Shore Realty to buy the property after a previous owner filed for bankruptcy. The story notes several family members built homes on the property, according to Shrewsbury assessor data.

According to the Worcester County Registry of Deeds, Polito and her husband Stephan Rodolakis own a home at 2 Tatassit Circle and her brother Kenneth and his wife Irene own a home at 8 Tatassit Circle. The deeds information indicates no homes separate them.

Aidan Kearney, the author of the Turtle Boy report, tweeted on Tuesday that “Polito admitted to attending a graduation party at her brother’s house, but says that it was OK because they were all social distancing. Does anyone believe they all stood 6 feet apart the entire party?” Kearney also called Polito a hypocrite in another tweet.

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Sarah Betancourt

Reporter, CommonWealth

About Sarah Betancourt

Sarah Betancourt is a long-time Latina reporter in Massachusetts. Prior to joining Commonwealth, Sarah was a breaking news reporter for The Associated Press in Boston, and a correspondent with The Boston Globe and The Guardian. She has written about immigration, incarceration, and health policy for outlets like NBC, The Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, and the New York Law Journal. Sarah has reported stories such as a national look at teacher shortages, how databases are used by police departments to procure information on immigrants, and uncovered the spread of an infectious disease in children at a family detention center. She has covered the State House, local and national politics, crime and general assignment.

Sarah received a 2018 Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for her role in the ProPublica/NPR story, “They Got Hurt at Work and Then They Got Deported,” which explored how Florida employers and insurance companies were getting out of paying workers compensation benefits by using a state law to ensure injured undocumented workers were arrested or deported. Sarah attended Emerson College for a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Communication, and Columbia University for a fellowship and Master’s degree with the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism.

About Sarah Betancourt

Sarah Betancourt is a long-time Latina reporter in Massachusetts. Prior to joining Commonwealth, Sarah was a breaking news reporter for The Associated Press in Boston, and a correspondent with The Boston Globe and The Guardian. She has written about immigration, incarceration, and health policy for outlets like NBC, The Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, and the New York Law Journal. Sarah has reported stories such as a national look at teacher shortages, how databases are used by police departments to procure information on immigrants, and uncovered the spread of an infectious disease in children at a family detention center. She has covered the State House, local and national politics, crime and general assignment.

Sarah received a 2018 Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for her role in the ProPublica/NPR story, “They Got Hurt at Work and Then They Got Deported,” which explored how Florida employers and insurance companies were getting out of paying workers compensation benefits by using a state law to ensure injured undocumented workers were arrested or deported. Sarah attended Emerson College for a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Communication, and Columbia University for a fellowship and Master’s degree with the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism.

Other officials have also been criticized recently in connection with parties. Last week, Malden’s City Council president, Jadeane Sica, held a party with around 50 people in the parking lot of an area business in celebration of her daughter’s 21st birthday.

“Were there some people closer than 6 feet together? Sure, people who lived together most likely. I won’t proclaim it was the most perfect execution of the social distancing guidelines. But I was surprised when someone called the police,” Sica wrote on Facebook. “I was even more surprised when someone called Fox News and Channel 7.”