Reporter's Notebook: Plea change hearing set in Wallace case

By 
Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Mar. 15, 2012

A hearing for a plea change has been set for next week in the campaign finance violation case of former state Rep. Brian Wallace. The South Boston Democrat and his campaign treasurer at the time were indicted last year by a Suffolk grand jury for allegedly failing to report thousands of dollars in campaign contributions in 2008.

Wallace’s attorney, Bill McDermott, declined to comment late Tuesday afternoon when asked about the plea change hearing, which is scheduled for March 20. A trial is tentatively scheduled for May, according to court records.

Wallace, 62, served four terms in office, representing the Fourth Suffolk District, which includes South Boston, Harbor Point, and some of Uphams Corner. A screenwriter, a former probation officer in Brighton District Court, and onetime aide to former mayor Ray Flynn, Wallace said in March 2010 he would not run for reelection.

After the charges were formally announced in July 2011, he pleaded not guilty and contended that the charges should be settled in a civil disposition with the state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance.
His campaign treasurer at the time, Timothy Duross, also pleaded not guilty.

Candidates and their treasurers are required to maintain records for campaign expenditures for six years after an election. Wallace and Duross are accused of failing to report $6,345 in campaign donations – 17 percent of total contributions that year – from 2008 reports. The charges come with a penalty of one year in prison or a $1,000 fine, or both.

In a February 2012 filing requesting that Wallace receive a $2,000 fine and community service, and a judgment without a finding, his attorney wrote, “During the OCPF investigation, Brian was responsive to all requests for information brought by the OCPF.” Pointing to similar state campaign finance cases that were not referred to the attorney general, the filing added that OCPF had been expected to recommend a “Civil Enforcement Order” and not refer the matter. OCPF ended up doing the opposite and the case is currently being prosecuted by state Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office.

“The public is protected by this sentence since it sends a message to Brian and other political candidates that they must uphold the law and keep records of their contributions and receipts properly,” the filing said.

After leaving public office, Wallace moved to Westwood and has two books he hopes to have published soon, titled “Night Runner” and “Born Down on ‘A’ Street,” according to the filing.

According to court documents, in Nov. 2009 at OCPF, Wallace told officials that his treasurer had all the bank records and he always would review what Duross prepared for filing with OCPF. In a separate sit-down with OCPF in Feb. 2010, Wallace said he trusted Duross completely and did not always look at OCPF reports he filed.

In a separate filing, Duross’s attorney also asked for a motion for continuance without a finding of guilty and unsupervised probation. Duross has requested the severance of his case and Wallace’s case.

Duross, 51, is a South Boston sprinkler fitter. His attorney, Thomas Finnerty, Jr., did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

Collins picks up state committee seat
State Rep. Nick Collins (D-South Boston) won a write-in campaign to grab a Democratic state committee seat, according to unofficial results. Collins gained 1,518 votes to local activist Craig Galvin’s 535.

At the presidential primary election, voters could choose a party committeeman and a woman for their respective state Senate district. State Sen. Jack Hart (D-South Boston) chose not to run for the First Suffolk committee seat, leading Galvin, who last year ran for Dorchester’s District 3 City Council seat, to launch his candidacy. But a signature-gathering snafu prevented him from getting his name on the ballot and caused him to wage a write-in campaign.

Collins jumped in last weekend, urging supporters to place stickers with his name on the ballot. Galvin claimed Collins had endorsed him for the committee seat, a claim Collins disputed. Galvin had the backing of others within Dorchester’s State House delegation, including state Rep. Marty Walsh.

Former City Councillor Maureen Feeney, who did not have an opponent, won the race for First Suffolk committeewoman with 97 percent of the vote.

Connolly taps Dot parent for policy director gig
City Councillor At-Large John Connolly has hired Ann M. Walsh of Dorchester as his new policy director. The Lower Mills resident is a former Boston Public Schools parent who was part of a group fighting to keep Lee Academy from merging with the Lee School.

She also was a teacher in Prince Georges County in the Washington, D.C. area, and worked on youth development with teenagers and as a program manager for the Brian Honan Fellowship.

Walsh started her job in Connolly’s office on March 12.

Connolly was first elected in 2007 and chairs the City Council’s education committee.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Material from State House News Service was used in this report. Check out updates to Boston’s political scene at The Lit Drop, located at dotnews.com/litdrop. Email us at newseditor@dotnews.com and follow us on Twitter: @LitDrop and @gintautasd.

Tags: