FORMER SPEAKER OF THE MASSACHUSETTS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
AND LOBBYIST CONVICTED ON CORRUPTION CHARGES
Salvatore DiMasi and Beacon Hill lobbyist convicted by federal jury today in corruption case
Boston, Mass....A federal jury today convicted SALVATORE F. DiMASI, former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and a Beacon Hill lobbyist and close friend, of a scheme to deprive the Massachusetts citizens of his honest services by accepting bribes. In its verdict the jury found that DiMasi improperly used his power and influence to enable a software company to obtain multi-million dollar procurements from agencies of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Following a six-week trial, and three days of jury deliberations, DiMASI, 65, of Boston and RICHARD W. McDONOUGH, 66, of Foxboro were convicted by a federal jury in Boston of one count of conspiracy, three counts of honest services mail fraud and three counts of honest services wire fraud and one count of extortion under color of official right (Hobbs Act). Co-conspirator, JOSEPH P. LALLY, 50, of North Reading, previously pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf scheduled sentencing for DiMASI and McDONOUGH on August 18, 2011.
RICHARD D. VITALE, 66, of Boston, who was charged as a co-conspirator, was acquitted of all charges. VITALE was DiMASI’s accountant and financial advisor, as well as a long-time close friend.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said, “Public service and elected office is not a right or an entitlement - it is a privilege that comes with the public’s expectation of truthfulness and honesty. Today, justice has been served and the culture of corruption has been dealt another blow.”
Ortiz concluded, “The citizens of Massachusetts put extraordinary trust in Mr. DiMasi, and he betrayed that trust when he chose to conspire with his friends to use his office in order to line his pockets, and theirs. Today, Mr. DiMasi and Mr. McDonough paid the price for their decision to abuse their influence for their own personal gain.”
“In response to allegations of illegal activity by Mr. DiMasi, the FBI and the Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General initiated an investigation. Whenever honest and effective government administration is undermined by corrupt public officials, the FBI will turn its focus on those responsible,” said Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Division.
“Unfortunately, this is the third time over past year that Massachusetts elected public officials have been convicted of graft-related offenses. These elected officials used their public office to illegally tilt the playing field to their personal advantage and for self-enrichment,” added DesLauriers. “These crimes seriously erode and indeed undermine our democratic institutions and the public’s expectation of honest government - investigating them is a top criminal investigative priority of the Boston Division of the FBI.”
LALLY was an Area Vice-President of Sales for the State and Local Government Division of Cognos ULC (Cognos), a Canadian software company that sold business intelligence and performance management software and related services which targeted Massachusetts government agencies as potential customers. LALLY left Cognos and formed his own company, Montvale Solutions, LLC which was licensed to resell Cognos software to agencies in Massachusetts. McDONOUGH was a lobbyist hired by LALLY and a close friend of DiMASI.
According to testimony during trial, when DiMASI became Speaker of the House in 2004, income from his outside law practice decreased significantly. In December 2004, McDONOUGH, DiMASI and LALLY arranged to have money funneled to DiMASI through a law associate of DiMASI’s, Steven Topazio, with whom DiMASI had a fee sharing arrangement. Over the next two years, although Topazio was given no work nor asked to perform any services, he was paid $5,000 per month by Cognos as arranged by the defendants.
Through this sham arrangement, DiMASI was paid $65,000 over the course of the two
year period in exchange for taking official actions that would benefit Cognos, LALLY and McDONOUGH. Such actions included securing legislative funding for two Cognos software contracts with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts worth $17.5 million.
The evidence also showed that DiMASI lobbied Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and members of his Administration, in an effort to get the Cognos contract executed. After the Boston Globe wrote a series of articles in 2008, questioning the Cognos contracts, DiMASI suggested that Topazio “loose his check register” that showed the Cognos payments. DiMASI also lied to his press secretary about his knowledge of the Topazio payments from Cognos and LALLY’s connection to Cognos.
DiMASI and McDONOUGH each face up to 20 years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release and $250,000 fine on each of the six counts of mail and wire fraud; up to 20 years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release and $250,000 fine on the extortion under color of official right count; and up to five years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine on the conspiracy count.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance of the Massachusetts Inspector General’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys S. Theodore Merritt and Anthony E. Fuller of Ortiz’s Public Corruption Unit and Kristina E. Barclay of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.