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CBS4 | cbs4boston.com
Waste and Cronyism Inside the Middlesex Sheriff's Office: Part 2
Nov 4, 2004 5:54 pm US/Eastern

Tonight, an exclusive I-Team investigation focusing on one state politician and how he's spending millions of your tax dollars. The I-Team has uncovered a trail of questionable spending and patronage that is costing you big time. I-Team reporter Joe Bergantino with a story every taxpayer should see.

You've probably never seen or heard of this man.
But he is spending 48 million of your tax dollars this year alone.

He is Middlesex County Sheriff Jim DiPaolo.

Salary: a hefty $107,000 a year.

Job duties: Overseeing two county jails.

After he was elected and sworn into office a few years ago, DiPaolo, a former state representative, made a lot of promises. But has he kept them?

The I-Team has spent the past several months combing through the Sheriff's records. What we found: millions of dollars worth of questionable expenses and a trail of broken promises.

Example: when he was elected DiPaolo promised to get the Sheriff's office budget under control.

Jim DiPaolo, Sheriff: "That's my first challenge to bring that budget back into line."

Instead, spending is up thirteen million dollars since DiPaolo took over.

Example: $2.9 million for new vehicles, including motorcycles in the past few years alone. Much more than most other sheriffs.

Joe Bergantino: "Do you need every one of these cars?"

Jim DiPaolo, Sheriff: "I believe we need every one of these cars right now."

Well how about this $800,000 command center? And this $150,000 armored vehicle?

Joe Bergantino: "Why do you need those vehicles?"

Jim DiPaolo, Sheriff: "The world has changed since 9-11."

True. But the State Police already have three armored vehicles. DiPaolo uses his mostly in parades. There's the Sheriff marching right behind, the command center?

The State Police have two of them.

DiPaolo also spent about $22,000 of your tax dollars driving his down to a national sheriff's conference in Nashville for a little show and tell.

Joe Bergantino: "So you think this is a justifiable expense?"

Jim DiPaolo, Sheriff: "Uh, yes, I do."

And speaking of travel, the Sheriff spent thousands of your dollars sending this staff lawyer to a legal seminar in China.

Joe Bergantino: "What did he learn in China that he brought back to your office?"

Jim DiPaolo, Sheriff: "I think it was a worthwhile program to participate in."

On the subject of lawyers, when DiPaolo took office there was one lawyer on retainer. Now three lawyers on staff and at least two law firms on retainer-including former House Speaker Tom Finneran's firm.

Cost: about $350,000 of your dollars.

Joe Bergantino: "This is good spending?"

Jim DiPaolo, Sheriff: "Oh absolutely. I think it's very good spending."

Here's another DiPaolo promise.

Jim DiPaolo, Sheriff: "I don't have any plans to hire anybody that worked on my political campaign."

That was DiPaolo a few weeks after becoming sheriff.

Since then he has put plenty of political pals on his payroll.

John Granara, DiPaolo's campaign coordinator makes $100,000 a year.
Michael Blatus, a DiPaolo campaign worker, $68,000, to name a few.

This management study commissioned by the Sheriff himself found "considerable patronage" in the Sheriff's office.

Joe Bergantino: "It doesn't seem like you kept that promise?"

Jim DiPaolo, Sheriff: "I think I have kept that promise."

Patronage, questionable spending, you be the judge of whether Jim DiPaolo kept his promises. Problem is, broken promises are expensive and you're paying the bill.

:BM: I wish the MSP had an extra 13 mil for more cruisers and patrols.
 

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Excellent topic ! my county sheriff has motorcycles too - but WHY ???!!! WHY armored vehicles ???!!?? IIt's all for the parades and totally impractible for keepers of a jail to have!! A squandering of tax payers money !! Whether it is county, state or federal money, it still comes out of your pocket. Does the government realize before granting massachusetts sheriffs this money that they are NOT 9-1-1 responders ??? this money should be used by municipal and state Police for vehicles, etc. Take the politics out and be pragmatic !! Sheriffs should concern themselves with making sure that the jail is secure - motorcycles and armored vehicles do not do that - that $$$$$ could and should have been given to Police Departments.
 

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The need for an over abundance of cruisers and motorcycles caught my eye too. I realize Middlesex is a large county and due to the cities/towns with pretty large populations and a good deal of knuckleheads to send off to the county jail they would likely need a fair amount of equipment, but come on? Motorcycles don't seem like too much of a necessity.

When all other departments are watching their budgets he is spending all this. How about all the departments responding to 911 and other calls for service that could use state money and aid to update their cruisers. That seems more sensible. I could even see more money being spent on a K9 unit, training, and some bloodhounds for searches rather than having a motorcycle and armored division for parades.
 

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Coming from the Middlesex county.. has anyone seen this equipment.... Better than what the State Police has.... They have a special repsonse team and vehicles.. that are equipped with state of the art tech... Quite impressive for parades since they have no need to use them. Shame on the system when there are other departments out there that are scrapping by...

By the way.. The Armored Vehicle.... that is the equivalent to the BEAR that Boston has... tell me the need for that.
 

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I can say I have witnessed the frivolous spending by Middlesex Sheriff on vehicles. They may have needed new patrol cars, but look closely at one next time you see it on the road, they are loaded with useless to LE options such as chrome grills, fancy wheels as well as other options not included on interceptors. Sheriff controls two jails...how many prisoners can a sheriff transport on a motorcycle? The command center gets me too, if a situation arrises where it would be used the sheriff is not going to get the call the SP will, unless its a prison riot and even then the sheriff would call in SP most likely.
 

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yes we are all supossed to get along, no one is disputing that. However, when there is a SHERIFF'S department spending millions on high-tech, high security equipment there is reason to be concerned. Most departments in this state can't get half of what the DiPiola has bought - and the municipals are the ones that have to deal with most of the knuckleheads that get sent DiPiola's way. sheriffs belong in the jails, not out on the streets driving these high tech toys.
 

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Just a little input, the BEAR that the Sheriff bought a few years back is used all the time for The Middlsesx S.O.U team everywhere in the state for swat missions. Middlessex has a very good swat team that is called upon often to help all departments, just ask Braintree about the recent drug bust.
 

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Its not. For all you LEC proponents, count the days on your calendars. If you think, for one single moment, that all of this kind of spending, expanding, etc will not eventually be the down sizing or downfall of your city or town police department, then I have ocean front condos to sell you in Kansas. The sheriffs are already being embraced by nemlec and metrolec and using their bikes for police duty beyond parades. Forget the us vs them crap, look at the facts. This is ONE case of ONE sheriff going above and beyond what his main job description is and wasting literally thousands upon thousands of dollars for nonsensical toys. Left unchecked, he will be in a position to one day step further outside his box and take over POLICE DUTY in your community because he will have obtained what you could not.

Folks, we are letting the fox walk right into the hen house.
 
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Just a little input, the BEAR that the Sheriff bought a few years back is used all the time for The Middlsesx S.O.U team everywhere in the state for swat missions. Middlessex has a very good swat team that is called upon often to help all departments, just ask Braintree about the recent drug bust.
If my department could get the money we too could have a well equippted/trained swat team. And USMCTrooper =D> Well put
 

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odob16 @ 09 Nov 2004 19:17 said:
the BEAR that the Sheriff bought a few years back is used all the time for The Middlsesx S.O.U team everywhere in the state for swat missions..


Okay.........................................

So now they're the Middlesex STATE sheriffs Dept?
:shock:

I'll Bet Braintree would have liked the $$$$$$ to have their own SWAT Team?
:roll:
 

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odob16 @ 09 Nov 2004 19:17 said:
the BEAR that the Sheriff bought a few years back is used all the time for The Middlsesx S.O.U team everywhere in the state for swat missions..


Okay.........................................

So now they're the Middlesex STATE sheriffs Dept?
:shock:

I'll Bet Braintree would have liked the $$$$$$ to have their own SWAT Team?
:roll:
YA they wish they were the Middlesex STATE sherif dept! :lol:
 

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mkpnt @ Fri 05 Nov said:
He ran uncontested this election too! There was no Republican canidate on the ballot!
I voted for write-in but didn't have anyone to write in... unopposed seats suck.
 

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If a position is unopposed, I simply don't cast a vote for that position.
 

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I too never vote for someone running unopposed. I don't think the Sheriff will be in that position again with all the waves he is making.
 

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The $$ that bought that bear should have been spent on all the Town, City and State Officers that dont have vests's or MDT's. Just another example of a Sheriff/ Politician spending our money with no fear of taxpayers.
 

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Next time vote for yourself.

This year alone I was voted for as DA, sheriff, and a whole host of other misc positions that only had one name on the ballot. In fact I might be the animal control officer in my town and don't even know it.

If a position is unopposed, I simply don't cast a vote for that position.
 
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