A real-life mystery at Boston library

In a building whose shelves are packed with gripping fictional whodunits, it’s a real-life whodunit that is also a whodunwhat.

On Tuesday, the Boston Herald broke the story that three Boston Public Library facilities managers were on unpaid leave pending the outcome of an investigation. A BPL spokesman confirmed that the action was taken on July 18, but other than nugget of news, nobody was saying nothing to no one. Mayor Marty Walsh’s office referred all calls to the library officials.

Today the paper reports that the matter has been referred to Boston police. A Boston Police Department spokesman confirmed that fact but would not provide any further details — other than to tamp down the story a little bit by saying there was no full-fledged police investigation at this point and that the department was only “reviewing” the matter.

With not much more to go on at this point, the Herald goes full-bore at the fact that the city isn’t saying anything, with a sarcastic headline, “‘Transparent’ Walsh mum as library workers suspended, cops called in.” The article frames the story as another case of Mayor Marty Walsh being less than transparent about an important city matter only weeks after facing heat over the quiet engineering of the appointment of an interim superintendent to replace Tommy Chang following his abrupt exit.

The story also points to the turmoil at the BPL three years ago when Walsh forced out the library director over the disappearance of two pricey pieces artwork — though it turned they had simply been misfiled 80 feet from where they were supposed to be.

Herald columnist Joe Battenfeld says Walsh’s “hands-off attitude” toward the case “won’t cut it.” He says Walsh needs to step in and “get to the bottom of the mini-scandal.” But for all we know — and it seems more likely than not — Walsh already knows exactly what’s going on with the case, or at least he knows as much as the library officials who ordered the suspensions and referral to the police.

The real question may be whether it is appropriate to hold back details of who the suspended employees are and exactly what city officials are looking into. Maybe there is very good reason for the tight-lipped stance; maybe there isn’t. Some judgment on that can be made — but not until the full story is put on the table.

MICHAEL JONAS


BEACON HILL

Gov. Charlie Baker filed an amendment to the just-passed bill regulating short-term rentals, a move that could imperil the legislation. (State House News)

A stalemate that saw efforts to pass a revamped education funding formula die in the waning hours of the Legislature’s two-year session this week has given way to finger-pointing of who or what is to blame for the standoff, with lots of blame directed at House leaders, who, for their part, say there was too much uncertainty over the funding calculations in the proposals on the table. (Boston Globe)

Horse racing and simulcasting in Massachusetts was thrown into limbo by lawmakers failing to pass a measure reauthorizing the activities before ending formal sessions for the year. (Boston Herald)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Michael Lupoli, the brother of prominent developer Sal Lupoli, paid a $30,000 fine to settle charges that he used a family company to donate $13,000 to 13 pols in Lawrence, Andover, Haverhill, and Lowell at a time when Sal was seeking approvals for a number of projects. (Eagle-Tribune) Michael Lupoli allegedly put up the money for the donations, which were actually made by two of the company’s employees. (Lowell Sun)

The Quincy Conservation Commission could not muster a quorum and was forced to postpone a decision on one of three permits Boston needs to rebuild Long Island Bridge, which is the subject of a pointed conflict between leaders of the two cities. (Patriot Ledger)

The Fields Corner section of Dorchester is considering forming a cultural district, and a debate is brewing about how to rebrand the area. Members of the Vietnamese population favor calling the area Little Saigon or Viet Town, but others worry those names would not be welcoming to all. (WGBH)

Brockton state Rep. Michelle DuBois is facing criticism for her Facebook claim that The Enterprise newspaper was disseminating “fake news” when it said a parking control officer was accused of hurling a racist epithet at a disabled black man. DuBois’s since delete post suggested the paper was misleading readers into thinking it was a city police officer who was involved in the conflict. (The Enterprise)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

President Trump said on Twitter that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should “stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now” — a directive that would appear to hand special counsel Robert Mueller more material for a possible obstruction of justice case against Trump — but Trump’s lawyers quickly tried to argue he wasn’t actually issuing an order to stop the investigation, but merely venting an opinion. (New York Times) The Globe reports on how legal matters involving Trump are litigated nightly by lawyers involved in the issues in the court of public opinion on cable TV shows, a far cry from the past standard in which attorneys would be very limited in what they would say publicly outside formal legal proceedings.

ELECTIONS

The three candidates for Berkshire County district attorney all say their background is the key to victory. Paul Caccaviello, the interim district attorney, said his 30 years at the office gives him credibility. Andrea Harrington, a private practice attorney, says her lack of experience as a DA means she is ready to embrace criminal justice reform. And Judith Knight says her work as an assistant DA and a defense attorney gives her the most well-rounded background. (Berkshire Eagle)

Rep. Michael Capuano is maintaining a 13-point lead over challenger Ayanna Pressley in a new survey for WBUR by the MassINC Polling Group, a margin virtually unchanged from the 12-point lead he had in a February poll. (WBUR)

ARTS

Only two artists submitted proposals for art installations in Springfield’s cultural district, but officials say they are more interested in quality than quantity. (MassLive)

Thanks to the override of a gubernatorial veto, the Massachusetts Cultural Council got a $2 million budget increase this week, raising its funding level to $16.1 million. (WBUR)

EDUCATION

Alma del Mar, a charter school in New Bedford, applied for state approval to open two new schools and add 1,188 more students. Mayor Jon Mitchell said he will oppose the move. (South Coast Today)

Asian-Americans are divided over a lawsuit charging that Harvard’s admission procedures harm their chances for admission to the elite university. (Boston Globe)

Someone called campus police at Smith College saying a person “seemed out of place” who ended up being a black student at the Northampton liberal arts college who was sitting quietly and eating her lunch in campus common room. (Boston Globe)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Addicts say medication-assisted treatment is the only way to beat opioids. (Metro) The opioid bill the Legislature approved sets up a pilot program in county jails to treat inmates with medication-assisted treatment. (Boston Globe)

TRANSPORTATION

A Daily Item editorial slams the MBTA for not making a Blue Line extension to Lynn a priority.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

The state’s utilities file their contract with Vineyard Wind with the Department of Public Utilities, and the project’s price of power seems competitive. (CommonWealth)

The owner of the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth said it intends to sell the facility to a New Jersey company that will oversee its decommissioning. (Boston Globe)

With support from the fishing industry, the US House has passed legislation easing some fishing limits, but environmentalists say it could imperil the very fish stocks the industry relies on. (Boston Globe)

CASINOS/MARIJUANA

A marijuana task force in Framingham recommended the city allow six pot shops along Route 9. (Metrowest Daily News)

The Swansea Planning Board voted 3-1 against recommending allowing commercial marijuana cultivation in rural areas of the town. (Herald News)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

In an incident not publicly reported at the time, a shot was accidently fired from the gun of a Rhode Island police sergeant near the July 20 burial of slain Weymouth police sergeant Michael Chesna, and debris from its ricochet injured two MIT police officers. (Patriot Ledger)

The town administrator in Blandford disputes the claims of the four members of the town’s police force, who resigned en masse earlier this week claiming that working conditions were unsafe because of old and faulty equipment. (Berkshire Eagle)

A Globe editorial urges the Federal Communications Commission to block a planned acquisition by one of the biggest companies providing telephone service to inmates across the country, arguing that the takeover would likely only make already costly prison phone calls even pricier.

A man claims a woman honked at him while they were driving and then hit his car — all because he had a Trump bumper sticker on the back. (Cape Cod Times)

MEDIA

Conde Nast, which lost $120 million last year, plans to sell three of its 14 magazines — Brides, Golf Digest, and W. (New York Times)