• U.S.

MASSACHUSETTS: Consciousness of Guilt

2 minute read

Last week Judge Frederick W. Fosdick of the Massachusetts Superior Court handed down a decision holding that two good Bay State Democrats were guilty of accepting graft in a manner intelligible to the humblest citizen. One was James Michael Curley, thrice Mayor of Boston, once Governor of Massachusetts: the other his political satellite. Dr. Joseph Santosuosso, twice Democratic candidate for State Secretary of State.

In 1931, when ruddy, jovial Jim Curley was Mayor of Boston, a city water connection burst, flooding the premises of General Equipment Corp. From Ernest Wr. Brown Co., its insurance agency. General Equipment collected $70,199.29. The agency salvaged $15,488.15 worth of equipment, was left $54,711.14 out of pocket. Thereupon the agency, represented by Lawyer Santosuosso. sued the City, settled its claim out of court for $85,000 of taxpayers’ money.

But less than one-fourth of that sum went to the insurance agency. In a suit brought by the city against Messrs. Curley & Santosuosso, Judge Fosdick found tha’t the $85,000 had been split: 1) $20,000 to the Brown Agency, 2) $20,000 to Lawyer Santosuosso, 3) $15,000 to one Frederick Graves, a Brown representative. 4) $30,000 to Mayor Curley. According to Mr. Graves, Mayor Curley had asked before approving the settlement: “What is there in this for me?”

Ordering Mr. Curley and Lawyer Santosuosso to repay their shares to the city plus 6% interest. Judge Fosdick dryly concluded: “I find consciousness of guilt on the part of both defendants in that each testified falsely before me in material particulars.”

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