Corrupt Boston Director Back; Carmen Boss Retires in Response

James E. Lydon, president of the Boston Carmen’s Union since 1996, announced that he would not seek reelection this Dec. and blasted the Board of the Mass. Bay Trans. Auth. Retirement Fund Sept. 25 for its decision not to fire its corrupt executive director, John J. Gallahue. Lydon, who as Carmen president holds a seat on the Board, said his decision is a result of his sheer frustration with the Board and its approval  of Gallahue as executive director until his retirement in six months. Gallahue orchestrated $7 million in loans to a racketeer named Francis K. Fraine, who provided apparent kickbacks to Gallahue between 1998 and 2000. The Board paid about $600,000 for a probe of Gallahue’s actions by attorney Nicholas Theodorou, whose report, which the Board has refused to release, said Gallahue breached his fiduciary responsibility. Lydon said of the Board, “They haven’t been able to police themselves. This guy is back at his job. . . . I’m sick of being the only one fighting.”

Boston Herald columnist Rachelle Cohen called Lydon “a hero or a martyr” and said the Board “refuses to confront the corruption in its midst.”

Gallahue, returned to the job from a forced leave (with pay) even as state and federal investigators are still conducting a probe of his alleged kickback activities. Gallahue agreed to retire in six months in exchange for the Board’s concession not to act against him. “He (Gallahue) got a nine-month vacation, a trip to New Orleans, and a pay raise (to $191,000),” Lydon said. Meanwhile Gallahue has cost the Board, and that means Lydon’s own members and retirees, $1.2 million in legal fees, including $600,000 for Theodorou’s report. “Seeing that members of the pension fund paid for that report,” Lydon said, “I made a motion that they each be given a copy of it. I couldn’t even get a second for it.”

Lydon, an ex-bus driver, also cited other activities that offended him such as the Board’s expensive weekend retreats at Ocean Edge in Brewster, Mass.. “I had a three-bedroom condo for myself,” he said. The board “retreats” cost $49,000 for a weekend. “That’s a year’s salary for a bus driver,” he noted.

Cohen concluded, “The same union members who donned their orange shirts and picked up their anti-privatization picket signs…just don’t seem to care that Gallahue has put their pension money at risk. ‘What I hear from members is: look at what he’s (Gallahue) done for us. So what if he steals a little?’…It’s too bad those guys in the orange shirts can’t wake up and smell the stench coming from their own pension board and vow to do something about it. They have the muscle. It’s high time they applied it.” [Boston Herald 9/26/01]