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Accepted Cash from a Contractor

April 28, 2010

BOSTON, Mass. - The former Brockton Superintendent of Buildings was sentenced today in federal court on charges that he received kickbacks from a contractor in exchange for his allowing the contractor to perform work for the City.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, Warren T. Bamford, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Division and Susan Dukes, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation – Boston Field Office announced today that Senior U.S. District Judge Edward F. Harrington sentenced JOSEPH L. VASAPOLLO, JR., 67, of Brockton, to one year and a day in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release. In February 2010, VASAPOLLO pled guilty to three counts of extortion under color of official right and one count of bribery.

The case arose out of VASAPOLLO’s relationship with an asbestos removal contractor who had previously performed work for the city. In 2007, VASAPOLLO hired the Norwood-based contractor to remove materials containing asbestos from the Brockton War Memorial Building, which the City of Brockton has been attempting to renovate into a performing arts center. VASAPOLLO directed the contractor to break the work up into multiple invoices under $5,000, so that he alone would be authorized to approve them without resorting to the City’s more formal bidding process. After the work was completed, VASAPOLLO approved the City’s payment of three invoices totaling approximately $15,000 to the contractor. In three secretly recorded meetings that took place in restaurant parking lots in Brockton, the contractor paid VASAPOLLO a total of $4,000 in cash kickbacks for his approval of the work. At the conclusion of one of the meetings, VASAPOLLO insisted that they continue the kickback arrangement with new asbestos removal projects, encouraging the contractor to “keep the flow” so that they could “make a couple of bucks on the side.”

United States Attorney Carmen Ortiz said, “Taxpayers expect that public officials will do what is right for the communities they serve -- not what is financially best for themselves. Mr. Vasapollo’s actions are unconscionable, and Brockton residents deserve honest and faithful services from their local officials -- uncompromised by personal gain and cash payments.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan F. Mitchell of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.


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