"Bribery defendant Wilkerson; Senator allegedly took cash for help on liquor license, development" by Michael Levenson and Jonathan Saltzman, Globe Staff | October 29, 2008
She had raised herself up from poverty, burst onto the scene as a crusading attorney for the NAACP, and championed good-government causes as a liberal legislative powerhouse. But 15 years after starting her career with the promise of a new kind of political leadership, state Senator Dianne Wilkerson was arrested yesterday and charged with a decidedly old-school form of corruption.
Wilkerson, the lone African-American in the state Senate, was taken into custody at her Roxbury home yesterday morning by federal agents and charged with accepting eight bribes totaling $23,500 to secure a liquor license that can sell for $300,000 on the open market and legislation to pave the way for a towering Roxbury development.
Was it WORTH IT?
She was released after a brief appearance in US District Court late in the afternoon, disappearing in a hulking black sport utility vehicle without responding to questions.
Left behind, though, were indelible images of Wilkerson allegedly accepting cash envelopes and vowing to work with "laser-focused" energy to manipulate powerful figures and the state's political process. A 32-page FBI affidavit laid out in painful detail allegations that Wilkerson took bribes, beginning with $500 over lunch at a Beacon Hill pub packed with political figures to $10,000 secreted inside a leather day planner at a take-out restaurant in her district some 16 months later.
The document reads like a dime-store political thriller: A meeting at posh No. 9 Park, where Wilkerson allegedly tucked 10 $100 bills into her bra; a two-day gambling spree at Foxwoods casino after allegedly accepting a $1,000 kickback at the Fill-A-Buster, a jam-packed shoebox cafe across the street from the State House.
At one point, she allegedly laughed after an undercover agent posing as a developer handed her $10,000 and said, "That's a lot of money." She boasted that she was "arm-twisting" and "knee-cracking" city and state officials.
Take a look at the ARROGANCE of POWER, America.
Doesn't look to good, does it?
The affidavit also describes an unnamed associate of Wilkerson who told the FBI's undercover agents that there were other politicians who also might need to be bribed: an unidentified state representative who should be paid $5,000, a second who should be paid $1,000, and an unidentified Boston councilor who should be paid $1,000. "Ninety-nine percent of the times, these people would accept or receive these things from a source that they are comfortable with," the associate allegedly said.
Well, let us see some NAMES, will ya?
The alleged bribes, recorded by a witness cooperating with the FBI and undercover agents posing as businessmen, carry potential penalties of up to 40 years in prison and $250,000 in fines and seem likely to deal a death blow to Wilkerson's political career.
Who cares about her damn campaign?
But they also opened a window on an ugly side of city and state politics, one in which leaders such as Senate President Therese Murray, Mayor Thomas M. Menino, and the chairman of the state-appointed Boston Licensing Board, Daniel F. Pokaski, seemed willing to engage in back-room dealing.
Which is why MOST of us find politics DISTASTEFUL!!!
Wilkerson, 53, was arrested just days before she was hoping to save her Senate seat by winning a write-in campaign against Sonia Chang-Díaz, who had defeated her in the Democratic primary in September. But the campaign appeared to have come to a halt yesterday. Her Roxbury campaign office was closed.
Wilkerson spent the day in the custody of federal officials, then was escorted by marshals into a packed US District Court in Boston shortly after 3 p.m. The courtroom fell silent as Wilkerson strode in and seated herself before Judge Magistrate Timothy Hillman.
She watched stoically as prosecutors said that Wilkerson had $6,000 in cash on her when she was taken into custody and that federal prosecutors will be scouring all of her financial records with an eye toward possible tax evasion prosecution.
Throw the book at the arrogant bitch!
Twenty-five minutes later, Hillman released the senator, setting the next court appearance for Nov. 17 and ordering her to avoid contact with witnesses in the case and to post a $50,000 unsecured bond. Wilkerson left through a rear door with a small entourage led by her son, Cornell Mills, pushing cameras away as they walked. They climbed into a black Lincoln Navigator with New York plates and sped off.
"As every defendant, Senator Dianne Wilkerson is entitled to the presumption of innocence," her lawyer, Max D. Stern, said. "There is a context to every one of the interactions you have been told about. There is something that happens before. There is something that happens after that has not been included in what you've been shown. You will learn that when there is a trial."
Yeah, I'm gonna love seeing her explain all this!
Wilkerson's arrest sent shock waves through the State House and City Hall and through her district, where she has long been a beloved, if controversial, figure. She had been reelected time and again, despite a 1997 guilty plea for failure to file tax returns, a 1998 probation violation that sent her to a halfway house for 30 days, and a 1998 finding that she had violated campaign finance laws dating back to her first Senate contest in 1992.
Those voters DESERVE HER!!
Republicans called on her to resign, while Democrats, including Governor Deval Patrick, who had backed her in the September primary, were more cautious.
Why is it that LIBERAL DEMOCRATS have such a TOLERANCE for CORRUPTION -- when it is ONE of THEIR OWN?!!!
An FBI affidavit paints a behind-the-scenes portrait of Massachusetts politics rarely seen by the public. According to the affidavit, Wilkerson contacted powerful officials in an effort to manipulate the political system again and again over the course of 18 months. All the while, she was taking thousands of dollars at a time in cash, authorities allege. She told of "calling in chits" with Menino and the Licensing Board.
On Oct. 2, she accepted a $10,000 cash payment from the agents posing as developers, saying she needed the funds for her reelection effort, the FBI said.
The FBI's case portrays a system in which phone calls and pressure from a single, powerful, well-connected state senator got results in Mayor Thomas M. Menino's administration, the City Council, the Legislature, and the Boston Licensing Board. According to FBI documents, it is also a system in which favors are privately traded, legislation is delayed on officials' whims, threats are leveled, and decisions are made far from public view.
That's MASSACHUSETTS' DEMOCRACY for you!!
No wonder this state is in such horrible shape!
Here is the story of how the mighty Wilkerson fell, readers:
"Allegations against Wilkerson shock colleagues, constituents; Republicans call for her to step down" by Matt Viser, Globe Staff | October 29, 2008
Born in a small Arkansas town, Wilkerson moved in 1960 to Springfield, where her father worked as a steel factory laborer. She became pregnant with her first son, Kendall Wayne, while she was a senior at Commerce High. A year later, she gave birth to her second son, Cornell, as she earned a full scholarship to attend American International College in Springfield.
She divorced, went on welfare as a single mother, and started law school at Boston College. She worked for two years as assistant legal counsel for Governor Michael S. Dukakis. As a respected lawyer and NAACP vice president, she began to lay the groundwork for a career in politics.
From what I can see, she is STILL ON WELFARE!!! She has been RIPPING OFF TAXPAYERS for YEARS!!!
She spoke out against violence in the community and held meetings to call upon on residents to condemn drug use, reduce teenage pregnancies, and take responsibility for neighborhood children.
Yeah, while the HYPOCRITE did NONE of those!!!
In 1992, using the slogan "We Can Do Better," she challenged veteran Senator Bill Owens in the Democratic primary and pulled off a surprising victory. Owens, who in 1974 became the first African-American elected to the state Senate, was backed by a wide array of black leaders, and Wilkerson's victory was seen as ushering in a new era in urban politics.
Why does the phrase STOLEN ELECTION come to mind, readers?
Almost immediately her name was floated as a future mayor or congresswoman. Yet from the beginning of her career as an elected official, she was dogged by her seeming indifference to the most basic of civic obligations: paying bills. She frequently played the role of victim, even when it was painfully obvious that she had misstepped, and implied that her critics were motivated by her race.
That's why that card is a LOSER now!! Because of WOLF-CRYING like HERS!!!!
Also see: The Boston Globe Promotes Book of Lies
Ready for the LONG LITANY of CRIMINAL TRANSGRESSIONS, readers?
She defaulted on a $10,000 federally guaranteed student loan in 1987, which became an issue in her first political campaign. She neglected to pay $51,000 in federal income taxes in the early 1990s, charges that she pleaded guilty to in 1997 and for which she served six months in home detention.
In 2000, she faced foreclosure of her condominium after falling behind on her mortgage. In 2001, the State Ethics Commission fined her $1,000 for failing to report that a bank was paying her $20,000 a year as a consultant. She was also sued that year for not paying $4,671 in condominium fees.
So WhereTF was all that BRIBE MONEY going, girl?
But her problems continued. In 2004, her car was towed from the South End after she ran up about $1,300 in unpaid parking tickets. In 2006, she failed to gather enough signatures to place her name on the ballot, instead having to run a write-in campaign. In August, Wilkerson paid a $10,000 fine to the state attorney general's office and acknowledged campaign finance violations.
"This woman is extremely powerful," said an unnamed associate in the FBI affidavit. "If she says no, you're [expletive] dead. If she says yes, you're golden."
Well, not anymore!
Despite all this, she was endorsed by Patrick and Mayor Thomas M. Menino in her reelection campaign this year. She lost the Democratic primary to Sonia Chang-Díaz, a 30-year-old former Jamaica Plain schoolteacher, but was still planning to run a write-in campaign next week.
Why are LIBERAL DEMOCRATS scummier than REPUBLICANS?
"I don't think there ever will be a time of complete freedom from this kind of scrutiny," Wilkerson told the Globe in January 2006. She also said she expected to be the target of more investigations. "Who knows what it will be?" she said. A year after she made those comments, the federal probe began.
Despite all her personal problems, the good often seemed to outweigh the bad.
If you want to read the Globe's P.R. Puff piece, you can.
I'm not posting it, that's for damn sure!!