Daily Wrap: Tuesday July 16, 2013

swan boats bridgeToday brought us two witnesses – Montanari the retired FBI agent and then Michael Solimando.

Brian Halloran told Montanari that Whitey Bulger had on his payroll a guy who worked at a grave yard and would bury people for him. I think this witness Solimando is the guy. I say that because unless Brennan can do something on him on cross, the games up. This guy really buried Whitey.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the jury didn’t come in tomorrow and tell the judge they had already agreed on a unanimous verdict, guilty on everything.

Solimando is a guy of 64 years but looks a lot younger because he’s been working out all his life. In fact he wishes he was a lot younger because when he was first asked his age he said 34, apparently that’s what he’s telling some of the young ladies he is meeting, but realizing he was in court and he’s going to be talking about things that he was involved in before he was born, if he were 34, he looked around, seeing no one there he knew, other than Whitey, he confessed to his true age.

An engineering graduate from Villanova he’s been in the construction business for 40 years. One project familiar to us Bostonians is the bridge over the Swan Boats, pictured above. So he’s a guy who has done something with his life which in this cast of characters means something, well it means a lot.

He’s also a hang-around type guy liking the night life and the night spots. Early on he was involved in a project around Chandler’s Restaurant in the South End which was owned by Jimmy Martorano and Howie Winter. He’d go there to have few pops while waiting for the traffic to clear on Fridays. He knew Jimmy who was a dozen years older than he was because he was a classmate of his sisters so he’d talk to him. Jimmy introduced him to his good friend,Steve Flemmi, (Benji Ditchman) who he worked out with for six to nine months before changing his residence,

He moved into Boston above the Rusty Scupper down on Commercial Wharf – there he met John Callahan (“a very gregarious person, always laughing, always with a bright side to him.”) and became friendly with him. He also knew Brian Halloran from the Nightclub Softball League; Brian played first and he played shortstop. Brian and John hit it off because they loved Irish music (not  Solimando’s cup of tea) and would hit all the local Irish bars.

He, Callahan and a lawyer Della Forna bought a building at 126 High Street in Boston. He was going to do the construction work on it. When he heard Halloran was killed he asked Callahan what he knew about it. Callahan said he was working with law enforcement and telling stories and that did him in.

He noticed a short time after the Halloran murder Callahan lost his happy edge and turned morose. He inquired of him and Callahan told him: “Whitey and Stevie don’t think I’ll stand up.” He pressed him but Callahan said forget it.

The last time he saw Callahan who he said was a big guy who liked to wear gold jewelry and Rolex watches was when they were scheduled to go to the Cape with one of Callahan’s friends. Callahan backed out with a lame excuse of having to go to Florida to do something to his Cadillac. Solimando said it made no sense to him – he told Callahan to sell the car.

What done did Whitey in was Solimando’s tale of Stevie his old friend inviting him to come over to Triple O’s to get together with him and some friends – he went and upstairs in a gloomy room he met Whitey and Weeks – he told how Whitey had a gun in his face above trying to squeeze him out of $400,000 and then took a machine gun Weeks gave him and held it under a card table with the barrel pointed between his legs – telling a joke of how it was hard to tell whether Brian Halloran died because he was full of lead or whether the was electrocuted he had so many wires on him – the three hoodlums laughed at the joke.  He eventually paid the 400,000 – Why did you pay it? Zac Hafer the prosecutor asked him – he said “I choose to pay them rather than get killed.”

Compelling testimony – believable testimony – the hens coming home to roost – if that’s what they do; in other words it’s no longer the guys with the big records and the big deals who are telling the story of Whitey – it’s a legitimate business man.

Whitey told Weeks, if you believe anything Weeks said, that he was against the killing of Wheeler because he was a legitimate business man. He should have listened to himself. He extorted money from a legitimate business man and now he’s receiving his pay back. This one makes all the difference. I wonder if he thinks the $400,000 was worth it now.

23 thoughts on “Daily Wrap: Tuesday July 16, 2013

    1. I disagree. More than a few people pay in cash. When contractors receive cash they usually put it in a safe place. Over the course of a career it adds up.

    2. Bobito:

      He had to sell many of his assets to come up with the cash. It is not as if he had it in his pocket. $225,000 came from a box in Switzerland owned by Callahan.

  1. Montanari was the chief FBI investigator of the Michael Donahue and Brian Halloran murders. He testified at the McIntyre lawsuit trial. Judge Lindsay asked him, “Was Bulger a suspect in the Donahue and Halloran murders?” Montanari answered, “Yes.” “Was the witness shown Bulger’s picture?” “No.”

    1. Afraid:

      Monntinari’s testimony left me somewhat disappointed. The shadow of protecting a top level informant hung over the whole FBW office. I thought it was amazing when I saw the pictures shown to the witnesses that Whitey’s was not included.

  2. In 1965, I was 19, I worked the whole summer for Mike Solimando’s Construction Company building the Neponset Skating Ring. I was in an all-Italian local laborers union. I recall Mike’s young son Mike who was about 15-16 then was working with us. I remember him. Nice young man. Nice family, great family, hard working, honest, close, giving. They helped me a lot; Uncle Joe got me the job; the other construction job I had during college was with DiStefano Construction building the school at Columbia Point, the summer of ’66. Ten to twelve weeks work at $5 per hour, I could pay my college tuition which ranged over four years from $1600 to $2000. (2) The bridge over the pond where the Swan Boats are in the Public Garden was rebuilt about 1975 and dedicated to a Marine from Bunker Hill, Charlestown, who was killed in combat in Vietnam. His father used to work with the Swan Boats. You can see his plaque as you walk from the Boston Common through the Public Gardens; it is at the left column of the bridge. You have to look down to see it. It says words to this effect: “From Bunker Hill to Vietnam . . . another great Patriot who gave his life for his country.”

    1. Thanks, Bill. I knew Paul Paget around 1960. The family have had the Swan Boats since 1877 when an astute ancestor had the idea and bought the license rights. They have made many donations to City Councilor campaigns over the years, as you might expect in Boston.

  3. I didn’t get to see and feel Solimondo on the stand, but in writing his story has a bad smell. He claims Callahan was morose and told him “Whitey and Stevie don’t think I’ll stand up.”
    First, Callahan is the last person they’d tell that to. Second, that term “stand up” is common, but too many gov witnesses have used identical phrases for it to be natural.

    Brian Halloran’s brother, Trooper Halloran appeared to take similar liberties when he said Brian became an informant because he feared Whitey and Stevie would kill him. The story Halloran told Agent Montanari was all back assward. Brian couldn’t get any facts straight and he was obviously making stuff up. Brian was facing a life sentence and he needed to give someone up to save his own ass. Thats a major reason why he became an informant. More importantly, all of Boston was trying to kill Brian Halloran. The LCN needed to take him out to keep Halloran from informing on Jackie Salemme for the Pappas hit. Presumably, Pappas family and friends wanted to kill Halloran too. He had so many people to fear that it is a little too cute and pandering that his trooper brother says it was only fear of Whitey and Stevie that drove him to be an informant. Brian denied to Montanari’s he killed Pappas, but admitted he had killed other people! Did Brian really have no fear from his prior murders catching up with him? Trooper Halloran never mentioned the other people Halloran killed.
    Trooper Halloran was a LEO, a man of the badge, a hero. He should have been fired for having a brother like Brian. Trooper Halloran should be “shunned” for not turning in his brother in!

    Every gov witnesses was originally interviewed by Doherty and Johnson. Of course the interviews werent recorded. Instead, Doherty and Johnson questioned the witnesses with an eye towards getting what they really wanted from the witnesses. Most witnesses knew they would receive tremendous benefits if they told Doherty and Johnson what they wanted to hear. Following these interviews and debriefings, Doherty wrote most of the reports to memorialize the portions of the witnesses stories that suited his primary career goal, get Bulger. These reports are the primary source of evidence in the case. Some were written by Doherty all the way back in 1993. Twenty years later, Doherty meets with the witnesses and shows them the report he wrote to refresh the witnesses before they go on the witness stand. I strongly suspect the witnesses are also shown the reports of other witnesses. There’s a bit too much consistency in their phraseology.
    Lastly, too many witnesses accuse Bulger of admitting murders to them. Trooper Halloran testified that Brian was afraid he’d be set up like Tommy King. The inference there is tht Bulger admitted to a drug addled screwball that he killed King and Leonard? Then Solimondo tops it of by saying Bulger admitted killing Halloran,Donahue and Callahan?! I don’t think so.

    1. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s cross. This guy sounds more than fishy.
      Innocent victims are few and far between in life. Thisgiy was up to no good. He played with fire and got burned.

    2. Patty:
      Solimondo came across as a believable witness. Wasn’t undermined to any extent on cross-examination, mostly going over some of his original testimony. They stayed away from the gun in the face episode and the 400,000 payment mostly – Halloran’s brother believes Whitey killed his brother so he’s just doing some pay back – Halloran was all over the park with what he told Montinari which seems to have been stuff he picked up from scuttlebut on the street.

      There is an overtone to things running according to a script. A lot of admissions by a guy who is supposed to be very disciplined.

  4. Matt,

    Why do you think C&B are letting Stearns and Mueller off the hook by not bringing them in as defense witnesses? If anyone can shed light on the O’Sullivan matter with Whitey its them.

    Is the defense taking a dive? Have they been “told” not to embarrass a federal judge and the former head of FBI?

    Your thoughts?

    1. Notaboyo:

      The judge won’t allow in the immunity defense so those witnesses necessary to prove it can’t be called. I’m sure the defense would love to do it but the judge said no so without that they can’t justify using them. Today about 2:30 pm the defense explained that.

  5. ~ Matt,

    The pattern of shaking down the person FIRST for all the money and then killing him is broken in this case.

    Here they kill the person with the money first and then force an outside person to go to freshly killed dead guy’s lawyer who in turn goes to Switzerland – I think in reading the tweets today a couple of guys liked to travel to Florida and Switzerland together – and gets $215,000 out of his secret?? account to “give back” to the bad guys.

    I’m trying to not jump to conclusions as an armchair ex-detective, so can you, or anyone else, explain?

    1. Firefly:

      It did seem strange they were able to rifle his Swiss bank account. Don’t look here for an explanation because I though that money would be beyond reach.

      1. Although it was not stated during testimony, I was told that Solimando was the executor to Callahan’s estate.

  6. they didn’t have weeks testify to the triple O’s machine gun story , did they.

  7. Solimando is a lot older than 64 if he built that bridge:

    “In 1837, Boston politician and philanthropist Horace Gray petitioned City Council to set aside part of the Boston Common for use as a botanical park. The Public Garden has since become one of the city’s most beloved landmarks, known in particular for its picturesque lagoon. As you cross over the water and its famous swan boats, you also cross what is said to be the world’s smallest suspension bridge. A suspension bridge consists of cables linked to vertical structures, which together support the weight of the deck—the surface used for crossing. This type of structure is generally used to cover longer distances, like the Golden Gate Bridge spanning San Francisco Bay. In this setting, the bridge adds a sense of grandeur to the quaint beauty of the gardens.”

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