Brad Williams

Update: Rush denies involvement in note to Roslindale Transcript

Brad Williams and Rep. Mike Rush are both candidates for State Senate in the Suffolk and Norfolk District currently represented by Marian Walsh who is not seeking re-election.

Rep. Rush has been deeply entangled in the recent Probation Department patronage jobs scandal. It has been reported that Rep. Rush is one of the people who are able to help family and political supporters secure jobs at Probation, and that he was instrumental in getting a promotion for his father James Rush. Two years after being promoted to Chief Probation Officer, James Rush retired under a cloud of allegations of racial and sexual harassment of two employees at Probation. It is said that Mike Rush has been seeking revenge against Justice Mulligan ever since.

This year Rush filed an amendment which would force Justice Mulligan to move from his prime downtown office space to a dingy third floor space at Charlestown District Court.

So far we have heard little from Rush directly about these allegations. Yesterday, in the Roslindate Transcript, Brad Williams called Rep. Rush to talk about the probation scandal. Williams’ statement follows:

Charlestown District Court

State Senate candidate Brad Williams called today for State Representative Michael F. Rush to give a full accounting of his involvement with the Massachusetts Probation Department.

Representative Rush recently sponsored an amendment to the budget that would force the offices of Robert A. Mulligan, the Chief Justice for Administration and Management of the Trial Court, who oversees facets of the Probation Department, to relocate from its current downtown Boston location to an uninhabitable floor of the Charleston District Court.

Purportedly, the amendment was offered as a cost saving measure, but at the time he sponsored the amendment, Rush had already given a deposition under subpoena as part of an ongoing lawsuit involving his father’s tenure as chief probation officer of West Roxbury District Court charging discrimination on the basis of race and sex.

According to a Globe article from May 23, “A source with direct knowledge of the matter said Rush had spoken of wanting to punish Mulligan… for how his father was treated.”

“Any person of integrity could not sponsor this budget amendment in good faith knowing that their father’s lawsuit would immediately undermine their credibility. It can only lead observers to the conclusion that it is political payback, which is clearly unacceptable. We expect our government officials to be above this sort of thing. It is no surprise that voters have grown tired of the current politicians and state of politics here in the Commonwealth,” said Williams.

Mike Rush

Mike Rush

The May 23 Boston Globe article also presented evidence that suggests Rush’s position on the House Ways and Means Committee, which considers all legislation affecting state finances, including the probation budget, has also been abused by the West Roxbury representative.

In her deposition regarding the discrimination lawsuit, Judge Kathleen E. Coffey said, “It’s my understanding that a lot of [probation] employees believe that loyalty and allegiance to the legislature, and in particular to Mr. Rush, ensures job safety and protection.”

Coffey continued to chronicle in her deposition how “the overriding presence of Representative Mike Rush and his perceived influence within the probation department” has added to the tense atmosphere of the probation offices in the West Roxbury District Court.

Sponsoring this budget amendment is a clear conflict of interest and smacks of political retaliation and thuggery. Using his power as a state representative to vindictively settle a family vendetta not only calls into question Rush’s judgment and ability to represent West Roxbury and Brookline impartially, but also casts serious doubt on his fitness to represent the voters of Hyde Park, Roslindale, West Roxbury, Norwood, Westwood, and Dedham in the State Senate.

“As a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Representative Rush should have recused himself from all dealings with the Probation Department given his father’s lawsuit. I have built my campaign for state senate as an advocate for higher ethical standards, pension reform and more transparency in every aspect of state government. When a politician on Beacon Hill does not act as a fiduciary for the people they represent, it undermines our political system and the public’s trust,” Williams continued. “As a government official, Representative Rush must be held to a higher standard; he should offer a full explanation of his involvement with the state probation department.”

Update: In a comment to the Roslindale Transcript, Rep. Mike Rush denies involvement in the probation department patronage scandal:

“I have no involvement with the Probation Department as I have said in my deposition.  Unfortunately, because I was questioned concerning a civil lawsuit against the state involving my dad and the trial court, I cannot comment on the issue until it is concluded. As you know, I am not a party to this civil lawsuit and when these suits do take place, anyone can be asked any question.”