Milton senator claims victory even as clouds swirl
Embattled state Sen. Brian Joyce went before a television audience Wednesday night and stated at least one thing everyone can agree upon.
“The optics looked bad,” the Milton Democrat told Greater Boston‘s Jim Braude in his first lengthy defense of his myriad of alleged ethical and campaign finance missteps.
While Joyce, who also granted an interview to the Patriot Ledger, was referring specifically to paying for part of his son’s graduation party with campaign funds, the observation could extend to all his issues, including his interview with Braude. While he may have thought it would be easy doing a sit-down with the station that broadcasts the genteel Downton Abbey, Joyce probably left the interview feeling like he had just appeared on an episode of Shark Week on the Discovery channel.
Braude left no stone unturned and no defense unchallenged, repeatedly hammering Joyce with questions the senator studiously tried to avoid and deflect. Joyce consistently came across as defensive and evasive. The optics, indeed, looked bad.
While Joyce proclaimed complete exoneration, the nuance was a bit different. Braude hammered away at the cumulative effect of the mounting allegations, noting Joyce was forced to step down as assistant majority leader as well as give up his post as chairman of Bills in Third Reading last year. Joyce insisted the repeated media pounding was taking its toll on him, his family, and his political fortunes, without noting the fact that using political contributions to pay for his son’s graduation and declaring it a campaign event made his family part of the public debate.
He also said he was coming out to defend himself after being the subject of “550-plus stories” over the last 13 months. That number is probably overstated, but it reveals the persecution Joyce feels he’s been subjected to.
While Joyce declared vindication, Braude spent the first half of the senator’s 12-minute appearance talking about two issues still unresolved. One was the Globe’s most recent story about Joyce’s receipt of free dry cleaning from a Randolph businessman. The other was a reported Ethics Commission investigation into whether Joyce violated conflict of interest laws by lobbying state officials and introducing legislation on behalf of the power company Energi, which was a client of the senator’s law firm.
Joyce said the dry cleaning services were in exchange for legal representation he gave to Gerald Richman, the store owner. Richman and his son, Harry, both denied to the Globe that dry cleaning was exchanged for legal advice and that Joyce was handsomely compensated for his legal work, including at least $140,000 from Richman’s insurance company during a battle with the EPA over environmental violations.
Joyce repeatedly declined to tell Braude if or how much he was paid. “The attorney-client privilege prevents me from being entirely forthcoming,” he said.
The optics looked bad.
and sale of frozen, in-shell lobster parts in Massachusetts. (Gloucester Times)
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Worcester officials deny a claim by a worker in the city’s elections office that she was fired because of her political activities. (Telegram & Gazette)
A Globe editorial urges the Boston City Council to reject an arbitrator’s award of a 28.7 percent raise over six years to the city’s police detectives’ union.
Holyoke Tax Collector David Guzman resigns in the wake of a dispute with Mayor Alex Morse. (Masslive)
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Wareham officials are considering a plan that would make the 8th grade part of the high school. (Standard-Times)
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The Southeast Regional Transit Authority is making plans for new purchases such as buses and software from the expected money coming from a secret stash of $2.7 million that federal officials discovered belonging to former Dartmouth selectman and state lawmaker John George. George was convicted of embezzling money from the transit authority while his company managed the bus contract. (Standard-Times)
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Federal officials have drafted a plan to conserve the piping plover population on Massachusetts beaches while easing restrictions on recreational off-road vehicles in the habitat areas. (Cape Cod Times)
Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham says Middlesex DA Marian Ryan has been nothing but confusing in her statements on whether or not she wants to pursue state charges against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for the killing of MIT police officer Sean Collier.
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The Globe launches a new app for its e-editions on tablets and smartphones. (Media Nation)