English Professors at the University of Massachusetts (all four campuses) are sadly not proponents of vigorous debate, democracy's cornerstone. When the editor suggested in an open letter to them that perhaps it was time to examine and radically alter the entrenched academic culture of sycophancy, turning a blind eye, PC indoctrination, and encouraged self-censorship. Only several of the 75 profs deigned to respond. Read their responses in my two blog entries on the subject: http://wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/2008/11/unspoken-mantra-of-u-mass-english.html and http://wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/2009/04/where-are-english-profs-of-u-mass.html.
In any case,The Bulger Brothers by Howie Carr is a very disturbing account of the rise of two very corrupt South Boston brothers, Billy and Whitey. The latter, a serial murderer, is on the FBI most wanted list, currently on the lam, and will likely never be brought to justice because of instrinsic corruption in the state and federal police. The following are a few pages from Carr's book. They briefly describe what Billy was able to do at the University of Massachusetts... as its president. Today, Billy, known as the "corrupt midget," is on the board of directors of the Boston Public Library. Incredibly (or perhaps not), politicians including Teddy Kennedy, William Weld, George Bush, and the Clintons still praise Billy today. I worked under Vinny Mara, a similar character, at Fitchburg State College, also in Massachusetts. He too was indifferent to truth, caring only about loyalty, cronyism, patronage, and especially his fat state pension. Carr's book provides superb insight into just how corrupt a state can become.
The Bulger Brothers (excerpt)
As president of the University of Massachusetts, Billy tried to ignore the circus unfolding down in Post Office Square. Usually when his name was mentioned, his spokesmen-two former State House reporters-haughtily responded that "the president" had no comment. On occasion, he had to respond. Eventually, former FBI supervisor James Ring took the stand and placed Billy at that dinner with Whitey and Stevie at Mrs. Flemmi's house next door to his. Billy was asked to comment on Ring's sworn testimony.
"I never met the man," Billy said. "It never took place, but the business of denying such things is to make it appear as if something sinister had happened."
Billy remained secure in his UMass sinecure, even after the departure of Governor Bill Weld, who had lost whatever little interest he still had in the governorship once he was defeated by Senator John Kerry in the 1996 U.S. Senate race. In 1997, Weld resigned and was replaced by Lieutenant Governor Paul Cellucci, that good friend of Billy's whose primary political handicap was a $700,000 debt that he couldn't quite explain.
Despite those lingering questions, in 1998 Cellucci eliminated two more of Billy's longtime foes. In the GaP primary for governor, Cellucci crushed state Treasurer Joe Malone. And in the general election, Cellucci edged the attorney general, Luther Scott Harshbarger, who had issued the final not-exactly-exculpatory report on 75 State Street.
Still, election night 1998 was perhaps the last time that Billy could tell himself that nothing had really changed.. Cellucci's victory meant four more years of business as usual, and what pleased Billy even more was that Cellucci had picked as his running mate yet another malleable ex-Republican state senator, Jane Swift, a member of the Senate's GOP Class of 1990.
Billy could relax for a while now. Even if Cellucci moved on, Billy would continue to have a close friend, a former senator, in the Corner Office. And that. was what counted, because the governor appointed the members of the UMass board of trustees. And Billy quickly discovered that it was even easier to control the board than it had been the state Senate. Just as he'd renovated his own office at the State House, now he moved the president's office to a much plusher location, at One Beacon Street. From the twenty-sixth floor, he could look down, literally, on the State House.
He now controlled thirty thousand square feet of prime office space, which he filled with the same crew of yes-men who'd subsisted for years, if not decades, on his Beacon Hill payroll. Paul Mahoney was gone, and in his place was Paul Mahoney Jr. Billy also continued the old State House tradition of "taking hostages"-hiring relatives of the politicians who controlled his budget. One of his new vice presidents was the wife of his handpicked replacement as Senate president, Tom Birmingham. Mrs. Birmingham made $148,000 a year.
Others were hired simply because they were longtime lackeys Billy felt comfortable with. Just as he surrounded himself with aides of questionable talent, so did his underlings. His new $168,000-a-year chancellor of UMass Dartmouth appointed as her $140,000-a-year associate chancellor a woman who didn't even have a bachelor's degree. The pair of State House reporters Billy had hired to issue his "no comments" to reporters were both soon making over $100,000 a year.
As his trustees, Billy sought out yet more of his "friends." Andy Moes, the rotund ex-narc-turned-weekend-talk-show-host who had been so obsequious to Zip-his wife was a lawyer, and she was quickly appointed a trustee.
Once the board was stacked with similar robber stamps and nonentities, Billy decided it was time to renegotiate his own contract. The $189,000 had seemed like a decent wage when he first engineered his own hiring, but since then, he'd been to conferences with other college presidents, and he'd also brushed up on the various foundations' annual salary reports. Billy now felt he deserved a salary more befitting a man of his... caliber. The negotiations were handled by Bobby Karam, a businessman from Bristol County and a friend of Senator Biff Maclean's, one of Billy's oldest cronies on Beacon Hill, whose career had ended with his payment of a $512,000 fine for conflict of interest in the awarding of state insurance contracts.
Billy's salary skyrocketed to $359,000, including perks. State employees began talking about just how huge Billy's pension would be, should he ever retire. Soon the husband of Karam's cousin was hired by Billy's handpicked UMass Dartmouth chancellor for a $ 120,000-a-year job at the school. Billy and his friends then tried to buy a nearby unaccredited law school for UMass Dartmouth, even though less than a quarter of its recent graduates had been able to pass the Massachusetts bar exam. But even Billy couldn't close that deal; faced with a need to spend perhaps as much as $40 million to win accreditation for a school the state didn't even need, the Board of Higher Education nixed the purchase. Billy's clout was starting to slip, if just a bit.
As Senate president, Billy had long chafed at the fact that reporters could find out how much he was paying, say, his niece, or his sister, or his son-in-law. So as soon as he was able to manage it, he had all the university payrolls transferred from the state comptroller to his own office. If any "savages" from the press now wanted to scour his schools' payrolls, they'd first have to get his permission, and that would happen at about the same time he "deemed it appropriate," as he once put it, to explain 75 State Street, namely, never.
Despite everything, Billy was able to land one prestigious event for the University of Massachusetts.
Presidential debates are always haggled over and arranged at the highest levels, and Billy knew that in this election year, he had both sides covered. On the Democratic side, there was Ted Kennedy, his old foe, now a friend. Soon Billy would be negotiating with the senior senator to turn his papers over to UMass. And UMass Boston was next door to the JFK Library in Dorchester. Any debate in Boston, especially the first one, would entail a week of media genuflection at the memorial. Teddy's slain older brother.
On the other side, the Bush family still felt warmly about Billy, and his surreptitious tips during the 1988 presidential campaign against Dukakis. And so the first debate of the 2000 campaign took place at UMass Boston, and Billy enjoyed a brief moment in the national spotlight as he welcomed everyone both to his city and his school.
Unbeknownst to Billy, however, Kevin Weeks had just told his law enforcement handlers about another of the death pits, and as George W. Bush and Al Gore flew to Boston to debate the great issues of the day, just south of the campus on Columbia Point, within easy view of the candidates and the national press corps, the State Police were exhuming the remains of Catherine Greig's late brother-in-law, Paulie McGonagle, whom Whitey had murdered a quarter-century earlier, with help from Tommy King, whose murder Whitey had orderedla year or so later, after which he was buried next to McGonagle..
In early 2001, Billy was subpoenaed to testify before the Boston grand jury. Once Weeks flipped, it had been only matter of time. It was Weeks who in January 1995 had arranged Whitey's phone call to Billy at the Quincy home of his longtime employee (and drive!), Eddie Phillips, whose was now on Billy's UMass payroll.
Billy admitted taking the call, but acknowledged little else.
"I don't feel an obligation to help everyone catch him," he said. ".I do have an honest loyalty to my brother, and I care about him, and I know that's not welcome news, but it's my hope that I'm never helpful to anyone against him."
Did he urge Whitey to surrender?
"I doubt that I did because I don't think it would be in his best interest to do so."
It would have been devastating to Billy's career if his testimony had been made public and the taxpayers had learned that the highest paid employee of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, not to mention an officer of the court, felt no compunction to assist the authorities in capturing a serial killer and cocaine dealer. But Billy made his admissions in the secret proceedings of the grand jury, and they did not leak, at least immediately.
Next it was Congress's turn to make a run at the Bulgers. Congressman Dan Burton was the chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform, and what in the federal if government could possibly need more reforming than the Boston FBI office?
The committee members had been following the developments in Boston as far back as 1997, when Governor Weld pardoned Joe "the Horse" Salvati, one of the four innocent men convicted in 1968 of the murder of Teddy Deegan on the perjury of FBI informant Joe Barboza.
As the FBI began releasing documents from the files of' Stevie Flemmi, it became clear that the FBI had known the identities of the real killers hours after Deegan's murder in: 1965, and had in fact known before his slaying that he was about to be killed.
Burton subpoenaed still more FBI documents, but the Justice Department balked. When Burton threatened to cite Justice Department officials for contempt of, Congress, the administration quickly folded, and turned over yet more previously classified reports. In:M:ay 2001, in Washington, Congressman Burton's committee held its first hearings into the thirty-year pattern of FBI corruption in Boston. Joe the Horse was a particularly compelling witness, as was his wife, Marie. Soon they would be featured once 60 Minutes, like Billy Bulger before them.
The Bulgers' old neighbor, Congressman Joe Moakley, died on Memorial Day 200.1. During one emotional interview, Billy recalled how an ailing Moakley had made a point of sitting with him in a public'place during some of the worst of the revelations about Whitey, as a way of showing his continued support
for the Bulgers.
Another linchpin had been knocked out from under Billy's base of support.
Had Moakley lived, the congressional hearings might not have gone quite so badly for Billy. Moakley was well liked on both sides of the aisle, and although he couldn't have halted the hearings, he might have at least been able to ...guide the membership with some relatively gentle questioning of his old pal.
But now that was impossible. In a special 2001 election, five state senators-four Democrats, one Republican-squared off to succeed Moakley. The winner was Steve Lynch, of South Boston. Zip Connolly had expected to be represented at trial by R. Robert Popeo, who had successfully defended a number of local politicians, including Billy Bulger. But Popeo didn't like losing, especially when he wasn't being paid much.. Zip's dwindling band of cronies had organized a Friends of John Connolly group to raise money for his defense, but the dollars dried up as one death pit after another was excavated. Popeo handed off the case to one of his lesser partners.
As 2002 began, despite the controversy that now enveloped him, Billy still felt he could hang on a few more years. Even if the next governor was a foe, it would take him years to gain a majority on the UMass board, and if the next governor was a friend, Billy would be able to survive indefinitely.
But Billy's luck finally failed him. Jane Swift had succeeded Paul Cellucci as governor a year earlier, when President Bush appointed his longtime supporter ambassador to Canada.
But Swift had been buffeted by a series of minor scandals and it was obvious she could not be reelected. Enter Mitt Romney, a wealthy Republican businessman from Belmont, a graduate of both Harvard Law and Harvard Business Schools. In March 2002, a poll showed Romney leading Jane Swift among Republican voters by a margin of 72-11, and three days later Swift dropped out of the race for reelection.
Billy was backing state Treasurer Shannon O'Brien, a former state senator and the daughter of a governor's councilor who had served with Sonny McDonough. Shannon had an impeccable hack pedigree, but she ran a surprisingly inept campaign. She sealed her fate in the final debate against Romney when she tried to make a joke about, of all things, parental consent for teenage abortions. Wearing an all-black outfit that accentuated her weight problem, Shannon suddenly flashed a weird grin at debate moderator Tim Russert and said, leeringly, "Want to see my tattoo, Tim?"
Mitt Romney won convincingly, and it couldn't have come at a worse time for Billy.
Billy went to work on the new governor-elect immediately. He had co-opted the last four governors, so he had no reason to believe that Romney couldn't be brought around with a little blarney and bluster. But just in case he couldn't work his magic one more time, Billy wanted to make sure his pals were taken care of. Lame duck Governor Swift found a Superior Court judgeship for Stevie Flemmi's lawyer, Ken Fishman. Billy's $175,OOO-a-year top aide, Jim Julian, had a younger brother named John who worked as an assistant district attorney in Boston. Swift appointed John Julian to an open district court judgeship on Nantucket.
But even as judgeships for his loyal retainers were being arranged, the U .S. HouseCommittee on Government Reform was painting a target on Billy's chest. Chairman Burton would be holding his next series of hearings in Boston, and a couple of weeks after Romney's election, the committee issued a subpoena for Billy. Billy had researched the situation, and he knew that under the new rules of the House, Burton was term-limited as chairman by Tom Davis of Virginia, an Amherst College graduate who Billy was certain would be amenable to working something out privately.
So Billy decided to duck the appearance. He made no such pronouncements himself, of course, but his minions put out the word. Burton was nothing more than a "habitual headline fiend," as one of Billy's lickspittles in the press put it. But then someone asked Governor-elect Romney what he thought of the impending Bulger no-show.
"I believe," he said, "that President Bulger has a responsibility, as all citizens do, to respect Congress by responding to their subpoena."
That changed everything. Billy couldn't afford to alienate the man who would be appointing the trustees to the UMass board for at least the next four years.
Then Billy suffered a staggering setback, when transcripts of his 2001 testimony before the grand jury suddenly appeared or the front page of the Globe. All the devastating quotes about not wanting Whitey captured were suddenly on the public record.
On Friday, December 5, Billy appeared at the old McCormack Courthouse in Post Office Square. The press, including some of his most severe critics, sat in the jury box, just a few feet away. With C-SPAN broadcasting the hearing live, Burtor began by reading a quotation from Edmund Burke: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
Billy stared straight ahead. He was usually the one wha quoted Edmund Burke to great effect. Present that morning were TWO Republicans, Burton and Chris Shays, from Connecticut, and three Democrats, all from Massachusetts-John Tierney, Marty Meehan, and Bill Delahunt, the former district attorney of Norfolk County, whom Whitey had long ago disparaged in Zip's FBI reports. Neither Meehan nor Delahun were members of the committee, but would be allowed to ask questions. The other Massachusetts congressman who served on the committee, Steve Lynch of South Boston, the Bulgers' recent nemesis, was running late.
Burton, a graduate of the Cincinnati Bible Seminary, looked down at Billy and asked him if he had anything to say for himself before the committee began questioning him.
"I believe," Billy said haltingly, "my attorney if it, if it, uh, if it, uh, is acceptable would like to make a statement." Burton.smiled wanly. "You may confer with your attorney, but we want to hear from you, so could you pull the mike close to you, sir?"
Then Billy read from some notes, citing Rule 11k(5), which allowed the committee to proceed in closed session if the hearing "may tend to defame or ridicule the witness."
In other words, Billy wanted the press expelled, so that he could take the Fifth behind closed doors. Burton smiled again. The hearing was not going to be closed. Burton ran his committee hearings much the same way Billy had run his state Senate deliberations-everything had been hashed out beforehand, behind closed doors. When the congressmen appeared in public, at least at these sorts of regional hearings, everyone was on the same page. The vote by the committee members not to close the hearing was 4-0, with the tardy Steve Lynch arriving just in time to join the two Republicans and John Tierney to make it unanimous.
Burton immediately asked Billy if he knew where James Bulger was.
"On advice of counsel," Billy said, "I am unable to answer any questidtls today. This position is based among other things on privacy and due-process rights and the right against being compelled to provide evidence that may tend to incriminate oneself, all of which are found in the Bill of Rights.
Burton adjourned the hearing, and Bill rushed for the courtroom door, several ofhis sons behind him blocking the reporters tumbling out of the jury box in pursuit. Accompanied by a flying wedge of beefy state court officers, Billy scurried down the back stairs of the courthouse toward a double-parked
sedan out on Devonshire Street, like so many just indicted State House pols before him.
In the hallway outside the courtroom, Billy's attorney told UMass students watching on television that their president's refusal to testify in a congressional probe of organized crime was merely "a lesson in civics. ..[that] this constitutional protection exists to protect the innocent."
Meanwhile, on the other side of the hall, Burton addressed his comments directly to the oldest Bulger brother.
"If Whitey [is] paying attention today," he said, "he could have done his brother a real service by turning himself in. I'm sure taking the Fifth Amendment is going to cause Mr. Bulger a great deal of concern."
Billy had always been lucky. With a couple of exceptions like 75 State Street, everything had always broken right for him. Now nothing did. Every few weeks, it seemed, new lawsuits were filed by survivors of one or another of the victims of Whitey and Stevie. The families of John Mcintyre, Deb Davis, Brian Halloran, and both Wimpy and Walter Bennett all filed civil suits against the U.S. government, claiming that the FBI's protection of Whitey and/or Stevie had resulted in the murders of their loved ones. In almost every news story, Billy Bulger's name would be mentioned along with his brother's. But Billy had gotten used to that.
Then, in February, Will McDonough, Billy's childhood friend a:nd 1960 campaign manager, died suddenly while watching ESPN SportsCenter. For Billy, McDonough's death was a crushing blow. Will was a contemporary, and, like Joe Moakley, he had always stood by the Bulgers, in godd times and bad.
At the funeral Mass at St. Augustine's, Billy collapsed and had to be wheeled out on a stretcher. Moments after the videotape it appeared on TV, cynical talk radio callers began suggesting that "the Corrupt Midget" was setting himself up for a 72 percent tax-free disability pension-"white man's welfare," as Billy's constituentts always called it.
Billy and Mary flew to Florida. Ostensibly Billy was "fundraising" for UMass, but it appears that after forty years of taxpayer-funded junkets, he was enjoying one last "trade mission." He spent days holed up in the finest hotel in Palm Beach, The Breakers, where sixty years earlier James Michael Curley and Joseph P. Kennedy had been turned away as undesirables. Times, and standards, had obviously changed.
Back in Boston, Romney was laying waste to whatever little reputation Billy had created for himself as a university administrator. The UMass payrolls were leaked to the Herald, and soon they were posted on the Internet, available for perusal by faculty members who had gone years without a pay raise. The UMass payrolls had been larded almost beyond belief. There was layer upon layer of bureaucracy --entire new levels of Bulgerite hackocracy had been created in less than seven years. Everyone in both academia and politics, it appeared, had been allowed to hire or promote whomever they wanted. The husband of the state rep "from Amherst, a history professor, was being paid $128,000 year. An obscure former state rep was making $125,000 as an "associate chancellor." There were new provosts, chancellors, and deans by the dozen, all making more than $100,000.
In February 2003 came word of the first confirmed Whitey sighting in six years. On September 10, 2002, a British man and now sporting a goatee, and asked him how he'd been. The American, shocked at being recognized, told the Brit he had the wrong man, and then set off quickly in the opposite direction. The Brit thought no more of it until a few months later, when he was watching the movie Hannibal. When he noticed a brief shot of Whitey as the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List appeared on the screen, the Brit decided to tell Scotland Yard 01
their brief meeting.
Weeks later, the FBI discovered a safe-deposit box registerec to James Bulger at a Barclays branch bank in Mayfair. Inside the safe-deposit box, police found more than $50,000 in various currencies and a key to another safe-deposit box, in Dublin. Then word leaked that Theresa Stanley had told the FBI about the Barclays box in 1996.
"I find that interesting," Congressman Burton commented on this latest example of FBI ineptitude. "There was either some sloppy work done or they didn't want to do it."
America's Most Wanted put Whitey back in the spotlight running segments on him February 22 and again on May 3.
Bernard Cardinal Law was the. next friend of Billy's to go, after more than a year of newspaper accounts of pedophile priests running amok in his archdiocese. Law was "reassigned," first to Maryland, then to Rome.
Billy had lost yet another person with whom he could commiserate over the decline of morality in American society. Fortunately for Bill, John Silber, nearing eighty, still endured at Boston University. He urged Billy to hang in as president of UMass, that it was his "destiny" to lead.
Negotiating with the Congressional committee, the most Billy's lawyer could arrange was a grant of immunity from prosecution for his sworn public testimony. That meant that Billy could not be prosecuted for anything he admitted to under oath. But if he lied, he could be charged with perjuty. The stakes were high as Billy reached Washington on June 19, 2003, to testify about an organized crime faction that had for all practical purposes ceased to exist.
Billy's position, he knew, was untenable. He had been summoned to Washington to be pummeled, humiliated. And if he lied, he would be indicted for perjury, like his brother Jackie.
He had prepared to some degree. His attorney provided a number of produced affidavits for the committee and the press. Harold Brown said no one, i.e. Whitey, had threatened him in the 75 State Street scandal. Mike Barnicle, the disgraced former journalist and longtime apologist for the Bulgers, said Billy had never told him that Whitey taped his conversations with FBI agents. An executive from Boston Edison, now known as NSTAR, wrote that Billy had never intervened to get Zip Connolly a job. And on it went.
The congressmen, though, seemed more interested in that morning's front-page story in the Herald, headlined "Whitey," in which it was reported that two perpetually destitute South Boston hangers-on had somehow scraped up the cash to purchase a ramshackle inn in the Caribbean. One of the buyers admitted knowing Whitey, whom he called Seamus, which is Gaelic for James. His name was Concannon and his brother worked in the probation office, with Billy's son Chris. The other buyer was a Boston police officer who had recently returned to active duty after twenty-nine years on disability.
Workers at the club said that soon after the place was purchased by the Southie men, a strange-acting priest took up residence.
"He was wearing a collar, but he didn't act like a priest," the bartender said of the strange, Whitey Bulger-like cleric, "He had a foul mouth apd a bad temper."
Billy's lack of memory did not play well with either the congressmen or the public, The Massachusetts congressmen stuck mainly with specific lines of questioning--Lynch, for instance questioned Billy at length about which FBI agents he had known, and took pains to point out the well-paying jobs they
had landed upon their retirement, Chairman Burton, meanwhile, worked the broader themes, as in this exchange.
Burton: "There are people who say Whitey came up to them and said, 'Do you know who I am and if you don't leave my brother alone you'll regret it,' You
don't know anything about that?"
Billy, after a pause: "I don't know much about it, no."
Burton: "Do you know who the people were who were threatened? "
Burton: "You had no connection or relation--"
Billy: "I can assure you, I would never never authorize or ask for such a madcap kind of conduct on his part or anyone's part."
At other times, Burton did inquire about specific incidents, such as a rider anonymously attached to the 1982 state budget that would have forced the retirement of several high-ranking members of the State Police, one of whom was Lieutenant operation. After word of the budgetary attack on O'Donovan got out, Governor King had immediately vetoed the outside section. At one point during the hearing, Billy suggested that perhaps a State Police union had managed to insert the rider. Later that year, congressional investigators would be dispatched to Massachusetts to pore over the ancient budgetary records and to interview the legislative leaders of the time, But no fingerprints--of anyone-were ever found,
Still, Burton questioned Billy relentlessly about the surreptitious attempt by someone to sack a cop who was hot on the trail of Whitey Bulger.
Burton: "You had nothing to do with it and you don't remember?"
Billy: "Well, the premise is not true that such people were penalized."
Burton: "Well, what did the amendment do?"
Billy: "I'm uncertain of that."
Burton: "To say it wasn't penalizing you must know what it did."
Billy: "But it never became law, Congressman."
Burton: "If you don't remember it, how do you recall it didn't take effect?"
Billy: "Because subsequent to that, it's been written about."
Burton: "Oh, I see, You picked it up from the newspaper."
At the end of his disastrous day in the District, only one or two new-breed Globe sycophants were willing to deny the obvious: that Billy had damaged himself beyond repair, Of course, he still had his handpicked university trustees behind him. Mter the hearing ended in mid-afternoon, Grace Fey, the chairman of the UMass board, issued a statement saying she had "never been prouder" of Billy.
Both Republican Governor Romney and Democratic Attorney General Tom Reilly, a longtime Bulger ally who had once taken a $100 campaign contribution from Zip Connolly, expressed their disbelief that Billy would try to stonewall a congressional committee. Romney, moreover, decided to do
something about it. Fey's husband had at least one contract with the university, so the Republican State Committee quickly filed a complaint with the State Ethics Commission, charging her with a conflict of interest. Embarrassing headlines appeared in both newspapers, and it would cost her thousands
of dollarsln--Iegal fees to contest the charges. Billy had deliberately picked trustees who could be controlled, like the state senators he'd once dominated. With his shot across Fey's bow, Romney had made it clear that he was not averse to trashing the trustees' reputations or their bank accounts, if they were unwilling to vote to fire Billy.
When, on June 26, the trustees again gave Billy another ringing endorsement, the Romney forces decided to go a different route. They would pack the board with Billy's "foes."
Three vacancies were opening up in September. Romney's operatives began talking up three people: Alan Dershowitz, Judge E. George Daher, and a Herald columnist-the author of this book-who had sat behind Bulger at the hearings. All expressed willingness, indeed eagerness, to join the board.
One Sunday night in late July, Billy and his wife, Mary, dined at Baxter's in Hyannis, enjoying the same treat they'd shared on their first date, almost a half-century earlier, fried clams. When Billy spotted a former UMass trustee and his wife, he invited them over to his table, and talk quickly turned to the ongoing struggle with Romney.
"I think it's pretty well blown over," said Billy. "Don't you?"
"I don't think so," said the former trustee. He then named the trhee men Romney planned to appoint.
"He wouldn't dare," Billy said.
Two weeks later, in Lowell, Billy resigned as president of UMass. Ted Kennedy issued a statement saying that he was "saddened" by the news. Bill Clinton, who had phoned Billy a couple of the later St. Patrick's Day breakfasts, called from Chappaqua with his condolences. The settlement of the deal
the trustees had negotiated with him cost Massachusetts taxpayers more than $960,000.
And Billy got a pension too. He took the survivor's option, which assured that Mary would continue to receive the kiss in the mail even if Billy predeceased her. After taxes, his monthly check from the commonwealth came to $11,312.29 a month.
But even that wasn't enough for Billy. In his final hours on the job, he ordered one of his lackeys to send over more documents to the State Retirement Board, claiming that his "housing allowance" and his annuities, which amounted to another $40,000 or so a year, should also be included in calculating his pension, thus adding another $32,000 a year to what was already by far the largest public pension in state history.
The Herald led its next edition with the story and a photo of a grinning Bulger next to the headline, "Back for More." One of the few anti-Bulger trustees on the board told the newspapers, "[He's] going out the door, grabbing everything but the pictures on the walls. It's supposed to be public service, not self-service."
It was a concept the Bulgers never did grasp.