Daily Archives: March 8, 2011

DiMasi Co-Defendant Pleads Guilty

Published March 8, 2011

Joseph Lally Jr., the software salesman at the center of the corruption case involving former House Speaker Sal DiMasi, today pleaded guilty to eight charges leveled against him, including conspiracy, extortion and fraud.

Under the terms of the plea deal — outlined yesterday — Lally will testify for the government — providing “substantial assistance” — in return for a maximum prison sentence of three years. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mark Wolf today accepted those plea deal terms.

Lally, the former salesman for the Burlington software firm Cognos, is admitting that he colluded to direct two multimillion-dollar state contracts to his firm. Prosecutors say DiMasi received more than $60,000 in payments for encouraging approval of the software deals. DiMasi, Lally and two other defendants — Joseph McDonough and Richard Vitale — were indicted in 2009.

“Joseph Lally is in the position now to do great damage to the defendants, and of course to the chief defendant, Sal DiMasi, because in fact it was Lally who allegedly arranged the payments,” said WBUR’s David Boeri from U.S. District Court in Boston.

Federal prosecutors are recommending a sentence of two to three years in prison for Lally, followed by two years of supervised release. He has pleaded guilty to charges that carry maximum prison sentences of 20 years.

Following the hearing, Lally walked straight to reporters outside the courthouse.

“Today I took responsibility for my actions,” Lally said. “I’m looking forward to moving forward and putting this matter behind me. I’ve been very fortunate to have a loving wife, family and friends. I will live up to my agreement that I have made with the prosecutors.”

Judge Wolf set Lally’s sentencing for after the trial of the other three defendants. That trial is scheduled for April 27.

Mass. Pols Speak Up For Obama’s Visit

Published March 8, 2011

With President Obama Hub-bound today to talk education at TechBoston Academy, the thriving Dorchester pilot school, current and former Massachusetts politicians have taken the opportunity to speak their minds.

Here’s a brief roundup:

Sen. Scott Brown penned a letter to the president in today’s Globe, outlining what he called America’s “three great challenges: jobs, debt, and a deficit of trust.”

Massachusetts’ junior senator urged “pro-growth policies:”

Creating jobs, growing our economy, and cutting wasteful spending are too important to let partisan politics get in the way. There is a D next to your name and an R next to mine. And while we don’t always agree, I hope we can work together to support pro-growth policies that will put people back to work and make the hard choices necessary to lead our country toward a fiscally responsible path….

— Another Republican, former Gov. Mitt Romney, penned a more pugnacious op-ed in today’s Herald:
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Tuesday Morning: Boston Gets Presidential Treatment

Published March 8, 2011

President’s Day may have come and gone, but President Obama will be in town today to kickoff a series of events designed to highlight the country’s education system.

Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will tour TechBoston Academy in Dorchester and introduce a new federal agency designed to use technology to improve education. TechBoston Academy draws from a pool of students that the city has traditionally struggled to educate but, as the Globe reports, its “83 percent graduation rate is 20 percentage points higher than the citywide average.”

In other education news, WBUR’s Fred Thys reports on UMass Amherst’s efforts to distance itself from its party school “ZooMass” reputation. Some say the school has become too heavy-handed in disciplining its students. WBUR’s Monica Brady-Myerov reports on the Cambridge Schools Superintendent’s plan to buck current educational trends and create four middle schools for the city’s students.

On the first day of a five day trade mission that will take him from Israel to the UK, Gov. Deval Patrick met with Israeli officials and the CEO of El Al airlines in an effort to bring business to the state, the Globe reports. Across town, the Herald is focusing on a report that says Boston’s Inspectional Services Division Commissioner said that his department has allowed takeout restaurants across the city to evade paying many of the fees they owe.

What we’re watching: We’re following Obama’s visit, the latest developments in the corruption trial of former House Speaker Sal DiMasi and RadioBoston will dive into the controversy surrounding the payment of the leaders of nonprofits.