A Boston Fox News undercover operation was told repeatedly by Middlesex County Sheriff’s employees that Sheriff James DiPaola demanded and received stacks of cash from employees looking for favors or promotions.
The investigation was prompted by allegations of a former high-ranking official in the department who told Fox, “As an employee, I saw numerous people that were in management level positions giving cash, giving him envelopes with cash in them. Giving him birthday cards with cash in them.” The former employee made the statement under oath.
One employee described a typical cash-raising gathering: “I’ve been to 4-5 parties. I’ve seen the money counted, $2,100 in one case, $2,300 in another, and handed to the sheriff. He’d put it in his top left hand pocket and then smoke a cigar like it was normal business.”
“You go to someone’s house. They put a party together, there’d be 20, 30, 40 people there. Everybody would give cash,” the employee said
Fox talked to nearly a dozen current and former employees, who all told the same story. They all asked for anonymity out of fear of retribution.
A number of the employees admitted to giving cash at the parties, often in the thousands of dollars. One said that two of his fellow workers, that he considers friends, each forked over more than $3,000.
When confronted by Fox, DiPaola denied ever taking any cash for personal use. “No, I do not,” DiPaola said. “I have no idea what would motivate someone to say that.”
Besides the developing scandal over the pay-for-play cash bribe allegations, DiPaola was recently under investigation on another controversy.
After easily winning his re-election on Nov. 2, the Boston Globe reported that DiPaola was exploiting a legal loophole in the law, which allowed him to collect his sheriff’s salary and a $98,000 pension at the same time. After the pension controversy was widely reported, DiPaola resigned on Nov. 20.
He was found in a Maine hotel room six days later with a single gunshot wound through the head in an apparent suicide.
Officials say that despite DiPaola’s suicide, the case may not be over. If department officials are found to have paid for their promotions, the attorney general’s office could take legal action taken against them.