Polito addresses rumors on family business ties
The Polito name is well known around Central Massachusetts, particularly in the Worcester-Shrewsbury area.
Three generations of Politos have been in the construction and municipal contracting businesses, and Karyn Polito has been representing Shrewsbury and part of Westboro in the state House of Representatives for a decade.
Now that she is the Republican candidate for state treasurer, whispers have been circulating that she in some way has benefited from her brother Ken's construction business, J.A. Polito & Sons.
Those rumors are probably fueled by the fact that Karyn is managing director, secretary and legal counsel for Polito Development Corp., a separate family-owned company that develops and leases real estate and has no municipal or state contracts.
Also giving the issue at least some legs - even though neither of her Democratic opponents, Steve Grossman or Steve Murphy, have raised it publicly - is that the Republican has often criticized "insider deals" with government agencies.
Actually, the two Polito-owned companies are separate and Karyn has no interest in her brother's company, both Karyn and Ken have noted, though both companies share an address at 587 Hartford Turnpike (Route 20), Shrewsbury.
Karyn said she has also never done legal work for her brother's company, and that her brother's work has always adhered strictly to state bidding laws.
"By definition, public works projects must be awarded and bid in an open and competitive manner to the lowest qualified bidder to eliminate the ability of any municipality to award a bid on an inside deal," she said.
She said the main targets of her criticism of "inside deals" have been proposals to award slot machine gaming contracts to racetracks in the state, in what she said would be a circumvention of competitive bidding.
J.A. Polito & Sons was awarded about $4 million in Worcester municipal sewer and water contracts over the last decade, all of them as the low bidder, according to city records. The company is working on water lines around the city under a $728,000 contract awarded earlier this year.
In Shrewsbury, the company was given $3.7 million in water, sewer and road work contracts over the last 10 years, according to town officials.
Kenneth Polito is the president, owner and sole stockholder of his 20-employee general contracting business, which he bought from his father, Francis J. Polito, 17 years ago.
While the company's only current government contracts are in Worcester and Shrewsbury, it has also done work in Holden, Millbury, West Boylston and Northboro, among other communities. The company has also had state contracts, he said.
"Everything is competitively bid," said Ken Polito, a member of the Shrewsbury Conservation Commission.
Officials distance themselves from Callahan letter
State Rep. Jennifer Callahan, D-Sutton, got a big bump out of news in early July that campaign literature supporting her Republican challenger, Ryan Fattman, falsely touted him receiving something called the Lincoln Chafee Blackstone Valley Heritage Award.
Mr. Fattman, a Sutton selectman, said a brochure that said he got the award was not authorized by him. In fact, the candidate was nominated for the award, actually known as the John H. Chafee Award, in 2008 but did not receive it.
After that dust-up, Ms. Callahan wrote letters that appeared in four Blackstone Valley community newspapers in which she attacked Fattman for allegedly purveying a series of lies about her, and rebutting each one.
The letter had 16 co-signers. Callahan also listed Sutton Town Administrator James Smith and Planning Director Jennifer Hager as contacts.
Now, though, two Uxbridge selectmen have distanced themselves from Callahan's letter, and Smith says he and Hager have nothing to do with any conflict between the candidates.
Here's what the players had to say:
"We never agreed to be part of that letter," Smith told me, referring to himself and Hager.
He added that he is concerned "if it's perceived in a way that appears that I've endorsed something like that."
As for the Sutton hiring freeze that Ms. Callahan refers to in her letter, Smith said that while the town never had a formal hiring freeze, most vacant positions other than critical public safety jobs have remained unfilled.
Bruce Desilets, one of the Callahan letter signatories, repudiated his role in a letter he had published by at least three news outlets.
"I have felt bad about this letter since it became public," Desilets wrote. "My name was inappropriately used for this attack. I do not agree with Rep. Callahan's letter, and I think its message is wrong."
The other Uxbridge selectman involved, Jay Cahill, acknowledged that he agreed to have his name on the letter, but said he now wishes he didn't.
"I did sign that letter, but without doing due diligence," he said. "I think I made a mistake. In hindsight, there's a lot more information that I would have investigated."
At least one area elected official I talked to is standing by Callahan.
Roger Dubois, chairman of the Blackstone board of selectmen, who lost to Ms. Callahan by four votes for her state representative seat in a 2002 primary, confirmed he signed onto the letter.
"I'm the chairman of the Democratic town committee," he said.
He said his political clashes with Ms. Callahan were in the past.
"That was eight years ago," Dubois said.
Frisch on the attack against Foley candidacy
Remember Bill Frisch, the retired deputy sheriff?
He's the irreverent, gravel-voiced former right-hand man to longtime former Worcester County Sheriff John M. "Mike" Flynn.
Frisch weighed in this week against sheriff candidate Tom Foley with a letter to Worcester Magazine, questioning Foley's ability to do the job given his heart disability and asserting that the sheriff must be physically able to perform the same functions as a correction officer.
Frisch argues that even with a reduced disability pension of $93,000 - down from the $112,000 tax-free pension Foley gets now after retiring as state police colonel in 2004 - Foley, if elected, would get "a salary of well over $200,000 for a position that currently pays about $120,000 a year."
One has to assume that Frisch is in the camp of Foley's Democratic opponent, Scot Bove, who has worked for the administrations of both Flynn and Sheriff Guy Glodis.
Contact Shaun Sutner by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read Shaun's blog daily on telegram.com.
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|Title Annotation:||LOCAL NEWS|
|Publication:||Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)|
|Date:||Aug 29, 2010|
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