Patronage on Trial

Patronage on Trial

Coverage of the federal racketeering trial of former Probation Commissioner John O’Brien.

Ex-Probation aide says jobs curried favor with lawmakers

Ex-Probation aide says jobs curried favor with lawmakers

Says O’Brien had to take care of lawmakers

Federal prosecutors began tying the string together on their case that former Probation commissioner John J. O’Brien and two top aides ran a rigged hiring system, getting a former chief deputy to admit that personnel decisions were made to curry favor with legislators who were in positions that allowed them to boost the budget and(...)

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Senator's alleged girlfriend 'woefully inadequate'

Senator’s alleged girlfriend ‘woefully inadequate’

Witness in Probation trial cites ‘grievous concerns’ over hiring

A woman described by a federal prosecutor as the girlfriend of Sen. Mark Montigny of New Bedford received the highest score in the final interview for a probation officer’s job in 2008 even though one of the two officials conducting the interview testified she was “woefully inadequate as far as her qualifications.” Edward F. McDermott(...)

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Petrolati donations raise legal issues

Petrolati donations raise legal issues

Probation official made two $100 cash contributions

A Probation official testified in federal court on Tuesday that he gave two, $100 cash contributions to his superiors at the agency to pass on to Rep. Thomas Petrolati of Ludlow, yet state law bars cash contributions of that magnitude and state records indicate the lawmaker never reported receiving any money from the official. Edward(...)

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Young reels in lawyers in probation case

Young reels in lawyers in probation case

Judge in federal trial admonishes both sides to stop trying patronage system

The third day of the federal racketeering trial of former Probation Department boss John O’Brien opened with US District Court Judge William Young turning aside a bid by O’Brien’s lawyers to grill a former Probation official about the details of hiring after O’Brien’s tenure. It took pit stops in an effort by Sen. Marc Pacheco(...)

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Whose ox is being gored?

Whose ox is being gored?

Even those charged with cleaning up probation have their own issues

Former commissioner John J. O’Brien and two top deputies, Elizabeth Tavares and William Burke III, may the ones being called to answer in federal court for a rigged hiring scheme at the state Probation Department, but even those brought in to clean up the damage had their own issues with using the agency as a(...)

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Reading between the lines

Reading between the lines

Opening statements in probation trial notable for what was unsaid

Opening statements in the long-awaited corruption trial of former state Probation commissioner John J. O’Brien were eye-opening not only for what the lawyers said but for what they didn’t say. But the clear takeaway from the prosecution and defense’s first presentation to the jury is that O’Brien, Elizabeth Tavares and William Burke III are not(...)

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Judge rules patronage not a crime

Judge rules patronage not a crime

Young says trial could last two months

The federal judge in the trial of former Probation commissioner John O’Brien and top aides set a high bar on Monday for prosecutors, saying he will instruct jurors at the start of the trial that the hiring of friends, family members, or preferred candidates is not a criminal offense. “I’m going to emphasize in my(...)

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Probation hiring files of Murray disclosed

Probation hiring files of Murray disclosed

Senate President’s office helped 12 land jobs

As part of its racketeering and bribery case against former Probation commissioner John O’Brien, the US Attorney’s office is seeking to enter into evidence files detailing how Senate President Therese Murray’s office sought jobs for people at the Probation Department. A motion filed Thursday indicates Murray employed a woman named Francine Gannon whose primary job(...)

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The payoff from patronage

The payoff from patronage

O’Brien allegedly used jobs to curry favor

Both sides in the upcoming racketeering trial of top former Probation Department officials generally agree that agency jobs were steered to those with political connections on Beacon Hill. One side calls it patronage and the other side calls it a crime. But what the Probation officials received in return – their payoff for running a(...)

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