Sen. Montigny’s Backyard Probation Scandal: The Southeast Housing Court

For Immediate Release
March 26, 2012

Tim Buckley

Sen. Montigny’s Backyard Probation Scandal: The Southeast Housing Court

Despite not holding law degree, Montigny’s brother in-law made Housing Court’s clerk-magistrate

Boston- As the Probation Department scandal has the state’s top Democratic leaders denying accusations of corruption, Senator Montigny is under fire for a potentially massive patronage scam involving the Southeast Housing Court. Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly lays out compelling evidence showing numerous court employees have deep political connections with Senator Montigny, who happens to sit on the largest campaign war chest of any state lawmaker.

Southeast Housing Court seen as patronage hotbed by some
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
By Dan McDonald

“A tangle of campaign contributions and family ties to powerful politicians has the Southeast Housing Court fending off allegations of cronyism.

“Numerous court employees have given money to campaign coffers of politicians, one of whom is Sen. Mark C.W. Montigny. The New Bedford Democrat is already enmeshed in the fallout from the so-called Ware Report, which was released in the fall of 2010 and documents rampant patronage in the state’s Probation Department.

“Some Southeast Housing Court employees are related to various former and current lawmakers. A few are both related to power players and have contributed to campaigns. Others have close relatives who have made campaign contributions.

“At least a dozen of the court’s 27 employees who are listed as active have some sort of demonstrable political connection.

“’I was surprised when the Ware stuff came out,’ said a New Bedford attorney who asked not to be identified. ‘I always thought they would get [Montigny] on the Housing Court.’”

“One former Housing Court employee said political connections trumped qualifications in more than a dozen hirings.

“The ex-employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of concern for political and professional ramifications, said many in the Southeast Housing Court were worried in the wake of the Ware Report.

“’They thought the Housing Court was next. A lot of these were [Montigny’s] people, and they thought Mark was going to be crucified,’” the former employee said.

“Another New Bedford-area source questioned how Jeffries, whose education includes an associate’s degree in science from Unity College, a school that touts itself as ‘America’s environmental college,’ and a “certificate in supervisory management’ from Bryant College, ended up running a housing court.”

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