Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Nassour Calls On Aloisi To Disclose Past Legal Work

GOP Chairman Says Refusal To Talk "Unacceptable"

Boston, MA - The Massachusetts Republican Party issued the following statement today calling on Patrick Transportation Secretary James Aloisi to disclose all of his past legal work with state transportation projects he now oversees.

MassGOP Chairman Jennifer Nassour said, "In the interest of transparency, Secretary Aloisi should disclose all of his past legal work with transportation projects throughout Massachusetts immediately. It is unacceptable that a transportation secretary, whose involvement with the cost overruns at the Big Dig is well known, refuses to discuss his past legal work which may pose a conflict of interest with his job managing billions in transportation spending."

When Will Jim Aloisi Disclose His Past Legal Work On State Transportation Projects?

Today, the Boston Globe reports that legal bills of Patrick Administration secretary James Aloisi are the subject of a federal audit: Before James A. Aloisi Jr. became transportation secretary in January, his legal practice was involved with transportation agencies across the state. Now, some of his private sector legal bills are part of a federal audit that is holding up one of Western Massachusetts' most significant transportation projects, raising conflict-of-interest questions as the state works to move the project forward. (Boston Globe, 5/1/09)

Globe: "Aloisi's involvement with this long-stalled project highlights his many ties to the transportation system he now monitors.": Aloisi's involvement with this long-stalled project highlights his many ties to the transportation system he now monitors. In his current role, Aloisi works closely with the Federal Transit Administration on funding issues, as well as with the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority, which is overseeing the project and was the subject of the audit. And the state's executive office of transportation, prior to Aloisi's tenure, has directly spent millions attempting to get Union Station planned and built. (Boston Globe, 5/1/09)

Aloisi told the Boston Globe in January that he may have to recuse himself from some policy decisions because of financial ties between the turnpike authority and his previous employer: Governor Deval Patrick's new transportation secretary has acknowledged he may have to recuse himself from some policy decisions because of the extensive financial ties between his former law firm and the agencies he is now being asked to overhaul. That firm, Goulston & Storrs, where James A. Aloisi Jr. was a partner, collected $2.8 million from the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority and $1.6 million from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority over the past five years, Aloisi's spokesman disclosed in response to written questions from the Globe last week. Aloisi, now chairman of both agencies, declined to be interviewed yesterday. Neither Aloisi nor his spokesman elaborated on which decisions, if any, he may have to avoid. But significant limits in his participation could jeopardize his ability to direct a complicated and controversial transportation reorganization that has become a top priority on Beacon Hill. In his new job, which he assumed last week, he is expected to lead Patrick's push to restructure and bail out the bureaucracies that run roads, tunnels, bridges, subways, buses, trains, and airports. (Boston Globe, 1/22/09)

Jim "Big Dig" Aloisi - Patrick's Transportation Secretary Has A Long History With The Big Dig

The Boston Herald reported that Aloisi is a long time Big-Dig insider, and was also the chief defender of James Kerasiotes, who was fired for concealing cost overruns: Because of his familiarity with the project's inner workings, Aloisi has remained involved in the Big Dig as an outside legal consultant - work for which he has billed the state more than $3 million. He was also the chief defender of former Big Dig Boss James Kerasiotes, who was fired for concealing billions of dollars in cost overruns. (Boston Herald, 12/14/06)

The Associated Press also noted that Aloisi was an advisor to former Turnpike chief Matt Amorello: He also helped advise former Turnpike Chairman Matthew Amorello in the wake of last July's fatal accident in one of the Big Dig tunnels, helping convince Amorello his legal options were running out in the face of efforts by Gov. Mitt Romney to oust him. Amorello eventually resigned. (Associated Press, 12/14/06)

The Worcester Telegram and Gazette Editorialized that Aloisi presided over "a golden age of patronage, waste, abuse and political manipulation.": When word got out that lawyer James A. Aloisi Jr., a well-wired mover and shaker in Democratic politics, was being considered for the position of state transportation secretary in the Patrick administration, reporters' questions focused on his billing for legal work relating to the Big Dig. Far more troubling is his record at the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority.As general counsel, he and former chairman Allan R. McKinnon presided over a golden age of patronage, waste, abuse and political manipulation. (Telegram and Gazette, 12/17/06)

The Boston Herald reported that Aloisi received a state pension while consulting for the Turnpike authority as recently as last year: New transportation secretary James Aloisi has made big money off the Big Dig debacle, rolling up in the past two years nearly $1 million in his law firm's consulting fees from the Turnpike Authority while taking a $31,000 a year pension from the state agency. Critics blasted the transportation chief - who was profiting as a consultant from the $22 billion boondoggle as recently as last year - for taking $343,000 in pension payments while also working for the state...Aloisi, who's been on the new job for four days, worked for the state and the Turnpike Authority for almost 18 years combined, and began taking early retirement in 1996. Shortly afterward, he went to work for the now defunct law firm Hill and Barlow, which was a Big Dig consultant. Aloisi also collected consulting fees when the Turnpike later hired his firm Goulston and Storrs, taking in a total of $3 million off the project. (Boston Herald, 1/15/09)