DeLeo criticizes Ware, calls him unprofessional

But Speaker cites selective evidence to make his case

House Speaker Robert DeLeo over the weekend lashed out at Paul Ware for suggesting a statement Ware made in 2010 should not be construed as clearing the Speaker of any wrongdoing in the Probation Department scandal.

DeLeo, in a statement released late Saturday afternoon, said it was puzzling why Ware, the independent counsel who investigated hiring practices at the Probation Department, waited four years to correct the record. Yet a news report from just weeks after Ware made his original comment suggests his office did try to correct the record then, an attempt that was ignored by the Speaker.

In November 2010, following the release of his report on the Probation Department, Ware was quoted by the State House News Service as saying he had “no reason to believe Speaker DeLeo did anything inappropriate” and added that he did not think the report “sheds any negative light on Speaker DeLeo.” Ware also cautioned that he did not investigate members of the Legislature during his investigation and law enforcement officials would ultimately decide whether criminal charges were warranted.

DeLeo has repeatedly cited Ware’s statement over the years, and particularly over the last couple weeks, to proclaim his innocence of any wrongdoing in the Probation scandal. On July 14, a DeLeo statement said: “Mr. Ware concluded that I had not engaged in any impropriety.” On July 24, DeLeo went further, saying “the jury’s verdict today is consistent with the findings of the independent counsel almost four years ago – which found no impropriety on my part.”

Ware on Friday took exception to DeLeo’s characterization of his remarks. “It is a distortion on the part of the Speaker to claim the investigation of the independent counsel exonerated him, because it did not,” Ware said. Ware added that he was not implying that DeLeo engaged in any criminal conduct, but nor was he implying that the Speaker was innocent of any wrongdoing.

DeLeo late Saturday afternoon released a statement calling Ware “unprofessional” and added that it was puzzling why he never refuted his original statement.

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

“Why, after almost four years of my publicly referring to this statement and during which time Mr. Ware and I spoke in regards to this matter and my court reorganization and hiring reform legislation, Mr. Ware would suddenly and substantially make an inconsistent statement is puzzling. Mr. Ware’s attempt to rewrite history is disturbing and unprofessional. Fortunately, the public record reflects accurately his statements and opinion up on which I and others relied,” DeLeo’s statement said.

But DeLeo left out a key piece of evidence. On November 30, 2010, just a couple of weeks after Ware made his original comment about DeLeo, Ware’s deputy independent counsel, Kevin Martin, stated emphatically in a State House News Service story that the Probation report “does not accuse any politician of criminal conduct in connection with hiring or exonerate any politician.” He added: “While we did not find any specific evidence of wrongdoing by Rep. DeLeo, that was not our focus. We leave it to other government agencies to follow up on the statistical evidence we noted with respect to legislators.”