Kraft’s buddies rally around him

Robert Kraft’s BFFs are rallying around him as part of what appears to be a well-orchestrated campaign to resurrect his image in the wake of his arrest for twice soliciting prostitution at a massage parlor in Jupiter, Florida.

The big news over the weekend was Kraft’s apology, where he said he was “truly sorry” without ever specifically saying what he was truly sorrow for. (Kraft is fighting the legal charges.) The statement by the owner of the New England Patriots also laid out his strategy for regaining his reputation.

“As I move forward, I hope to continue to use the platform with which I have been blessed to help others and to try to make a difference,” he said. “I expect to be judged not by my words, but by my actions. And through those actions, I hope to regain your confidence and respect.” Most news outlets focused on the statement, but the Boston Globe and New York Times also paired the statement up with lengthy stories about Kraft that allowed many of his friends – all of them men – to put in a good word for him. Presumably they agreed to talk to the two news outlets with Kraft’s blessing.

The Times story included comments from some big names, including former and current Patriots quarterbacks Drew Bledsoe and Tom Brady, former television talk show host Larry King, Philadelphia rapper Meek Hill, country western star Kenny Chesney, and fellow sports team owner Michael Rubin.

The Globe story had more of a local focus, and centered on the importance of the Jewish faith in Kraft’s life. It quoted Jonathan Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis; Daniel Margolis, the former executive director of the Bureau of Jewish Education of Greater Boston; and Stan Polovets, the chairman of the Israeli-based Genesis Foundation, which is scheduled to name Kraft its 2019 Genesis Prize Laureate. Also quoted in the Globe story were Jack Connors, the retired Hill Holliday exec and Boston power broker; public relations honcho George Regan; and Bob Segel, a childhood friend of Kraft.

The one person quoted in both stories was Steve Comen, an attorney who has known Kraft since kindergarten.

In both articles, Kraft’s friends remind readers of all the good he has done in his life, his strong Jewish heritage, and how difficult it has been for him since he lost his wife to cancer in 2011.

The stories also portray Kraft as someone with a penchant for the limelight. The Times story opens with an anecdote about Kraft cutting some moves with the pop star Cardi B at a pre-Super Bowl party. The Globe story runs through his personal real estate holdings, which include two penthouses in the Seaport (combined value $12 million), his $20 million home in Chestnut Hill, a $10.8 million summer place on Popponesset Island off of Cape Cod, and a $14.5 million condo at The Plaza in New York City.

The quotes from Kraft’s friends are supportive, sometimes fiercely so.

Comen tells the Globe he is heartsick over what happened to Kraft. “Anyone who is knocking him now is doing it because they’re jealous and have never been able to achieve in their lives what he’s achieved,” he said.

Connors sticks to the script. “Bob apparently made a serious mistake in judgment, but I think you will now see him redouble his efforts to do good things for the folks who have been victims in these kind of cases. And if he follows through on supporting those kinds of charities, I‘m going to be proud of my friend,” he told the Globe.

The 85-year-old King, however, veered off script in his interview with the Times. “I can understand someone being 77 and going to a massage parlor,” he said. “He’s an older man who finds himself with a need and he gets that need satisfied. Why do we care?”

BRUCE MOHL


BEACON HILL

The Senate doesn’t go along with House proposal allowing legislative caucuses to raise funds, an initiative that House Speaker Robert DeLeo said had been misconstrued. (State House News)

Rent control, which was abolished by a statewide referendum in 1994, is back on the agenda as some housing advocates say it’s the only way to rein in skyrocketing housing costs. (Boston Globe)

Gov. Charlie Baker says he wants to see the entire Mueller report before commenting. (MassLIve)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Women account for a little more than 300 of the nearly 1,200 select board seats throughout Massachusetts, and 85 towns have boards with no women on them. The pattern repeats in city governments in a state that Barbara Lee calls “the original old boys club.” (WGBH)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Democrats face a risk of backlash if they continue to pursue investigations of President Trump in the wake of the Mueller report that clears him of collusion with Russia. (Boston Globe) A Globe editorial says the lack of firm conclusion by Mueller on whether Trump may have obstructed justice is no small matter, and underscores the need for Congress to be provided the full sections of his report that deal with that question.

Lawyers for Civil Rights are using the courts to try to block the Trump administration from ending deferred enforced departure status for Liberians in the US. (WBUR) CommonWealth covered a bill that appears poised to pass the US House but not the Senate that would allow those Liberians to seek permanent residency if they had that status since September 2016 and have lived in the country for three consecutive years.

ELECTIONS

A hotel owner running for the Board of Selectmen in Sturbridge is accused of voting twice in the last presidential election, once in Sturbridge and a second time in Shrewsbury. (Telegram & Gazette)

US Sen. Elizabeth Warren and her staff booked it into Penn Station to catch a train, and then spoke to TMZ about running for president and the Mueller report, which she said isn’t a big concern with voters who have spoken with her.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Negotiators from the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 328 and Stop & Shop say they will meet again Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday after more than a week apart, following the end of a three-year contract February 23. If negotiations break down, Local 328 members are prepared to strike, following a unanimous vote in early March. (Cape Cod Times)

EDUCATION

K-12 virtual school enrollment is growing rapidly in Massachusetts. (Daily News)

Prosecutors say psychologists were a key part of the college admissions scandal, diagnosing the children of wealthy scammers with phony learning disability diagnoses so they could take SAT or ACT tests at special locations where the test proctor was bribed and helped them cheat on the answers. (Boston Globe)

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals files suit against UMass Amherst for failing to turn over videos of monkey experiments after being ordered to do so by state public records officials. (Hampshire Gazette)

After an uproar over how North Andover schools handle alleged victims and perpetrators of sexual assault, students met with Reps. Tram Nguyen and Christina Minicucci, and school administrators are hoping to meet with a group of alumni who have circulated a petition. (Eagle-Tribune)

Marblehead voters could be looking at an override of the cap on real estate taxes as town officials struggle to come up with a solution for an $800,000 shortfall in the school district’s fiscal 2020 budget. Earlier this year school officials resigned following an audit that showed they postponed payments due in fiscal 2018 until fiscal 2019, exacerbating current budget woes. (Salem News)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Robin Wallace thought she was helping her son by obtaining an involuntary commitment for substance abuse, but now she believes the trauma he experienced after that 2017 commitment contributed to his suicide last year. (WBUR)

ARTS/CULTURE

The Academy of Performing Arts in Orleans is struggling with financial woes that threaten teacher paychecks, even after its playhouse was temporarily closed and employees laid off. (Cape Cod Times)

TRANSPORTATION

The MBTA, wanting to give riders a visible reminder that service is improving, vows that a $25 million “blitz” will make targeted stations smell and look better. The blitz will be followed by a $65 million initiative to overhaul some stations, starting with Park Street this summer. (CommonWealth

T notes: Debut of new Orange Line cars delayed again…T oversight board struggling to manage all the moving parts involved in revamping bus service. (CommonWealth)

The MBTA says privatization of its part inventory operation has cut costs and improved service, but not without some bumps along the way. (CommonWealth)

New York is on the verge of becoming the first US city to institute congestion pricing for accessing streets in Manhattan. (New York Times)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

The New England Aquarium is hanging do-not-disturb signs along beaches after it says people have tried to take selfies just a few feet from seals and seal pups. (Patriot Ledger)

Somerset Town Administrator Richard Brown says a dramatic increase in the cost to dispose of recyclables could be made up by adding a flat fee or increasing town trash bag fees. (Herald News)

CASINOS

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo signs a bill into law authorizing mobile sports betting. (MassLive)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins releases a policy memo that reinforces her vow not to pursue prosecution of 15 lower-level offenses and says there should be a presumption that defendants are released before trial on personal recognizance. (Boston Herald) The memo’s call for members of her staff who observe Customs and Immigration Enforcement agents apprehending or arresting people or near Suffolk courthouses to notify a top-level aide at once drew swift criticism from a local ICE spokesman. (Boston Globe)

Police are investigating an incident at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Natick, where assailants shot at an unidentified man inside the lobby. (MetroWest Daily News)

US District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns has placed suspended state trooper Eric Chin on one year of supervised release, after one day in prison with three months to be served in home detention. Chin was involved with embezzling $7,000 in the ongoing investigation of overtime abuse by Massachusetts State Police troopers. (Brockton Enterprise)

MEDIA

A Canadian federal budget proposal would offer tax breaks to news outlets that employ reporters and to people that subscribe to digital publications. (iPolitics) Erin Millar, a Canadian journalist, thinks the proposal will only prop up failed business models. (Nieman Journalism Lab)

Media critic and Northeastern professor Dan Kennedy says the movement to get rid of the Electoral College is having a moment. (Media Nation)