H. Paul Rico. What do you know about him.
Here’s what Black Mass says:
“Rico, a dashing senior agent who favored a Chesterfield topcoat and French cuffs, cultivated Flemmi because of his access to the New England Mafia.”
“In 1967 Flemmi regularly told Rico about his illegal football lottery operation . . . [i]n 1968 he described his loan-sharking business . . . [h]e’d even hinted strongly that he killed the Bennett brothers, but it was as if Rico covered his ears, hear no evil.”
Here’s what Howie Carr says in Brothers Bulger:
“[In 1952] Whitey , , , was soon again turning occasional tricks in Bay Village, and that was where he met twenty-six year old FBI agent named H. Paul Rico, a Belmont native and Boston College graduates . . . and could justify his sojourns to the Bay Village gay clubs as reaching out to new “sources.”
“[A] few of his fellow tailgaters . . . might mention something about a future score to Whitey . . . and sure enough, when they showed up to grab the truck, the FBI or the local cops would be there waiting. J. Paul Rico’s personal file soon included commendations from the director, J.Edgar Hoover. At the time, no one suspected Whitey . . . .”
[In April 1961 Hoover’s memo instructed the agents to infiltrate organized crime groups] “In Boston, that ask would fall mostly to H. Paul Rico . . . who knew Whitey from the old days in Bay Village.”
“H. Paul Rico quickly became one of J. Edgar Hoover’s pets. Perhaps once a year, he would fly to Washington to pick up an award for meritorious service, along with a small cash bonus, after which . . . [he would have] his picture taken with the director and Clyde Tolson, Hoover’s top aide and reputed homosexual lover. The photos would be given prominent play in the Boston papers, especially the Hearst tabloid. The Record American.”
“Buddy McLean . . . became one of Rico’s most valuable informants. In 1964, Ronnie Dermody . . . [knowing Buddy thought he was trying to kill him] . . . called Rico to arrange to surrender to the police. When Dermody arrived at the agreed upon spot, a few blocks from Rico’s Belmont home, he was met not by FBI agents but by McLean, who shot him dead on the spot.”
“When Rico was gunning for the McLaughlins, [apparently because one of them called him and Hoover “fags”] . . . Flemmi had provided him with a throwdown — an untraceable firearm that Rico could have planted on any of the Charlestown mobsters . . . .”
“So Rico owed them both. [Salemme and Flemmi – Salemme fixed up his motor pool car] . . . And in September 1969, Stevie and Salemme met with Rico at dawn on Revere Beach, and Rico [told them they were going to be indicted and they had to get out of town.]”
“In May 1974 Rico called Stevie in Montreal and told him it was time to come home.”
“Callahan . . . would only control the [World Jai Alai] company for two years, but that was more than enough time to allow its thorough infiltration by organized crime. . . . Callahan . . . had a job waiting for Rico, as vice president of security for World Jai Alai. . . . In those days before cocaine became the focus of Whitey’s criminal empire, World Jai Alai was his steadiest, greatest source of income: $10.000 a week, skimmed from . . . [its] parking revenues in Connecticut and delivered every week to South Boston.”
[Wheeler was planning to sell the Hartford division of World Jai Alai but this] “was not an acceptable solution to Whitey, Stevie, H. Paul Rico, John Callahan . . . . No one could afford any serious investigation of the skimming — it would mean the end of the $10,000 a week for the Hill, and exposure of both Callahan’s role in setting up the skim and Rico’s acquiescence in the scheme.”
“Stevie Flemmie also headed for Florida . . . to meet his old FBI contact, H. Paul Rico. Rico’s task was to set up his boss . . . [Roger] Wheeler . . . . Flemmi got the details from Rico in Miami and passed them on to Martorano . . . . “
Reading that you’d have to guess the Rico was a pretty bad guy. But what if I told you it is mostly fabrications.
What if there was no skimming from World Jai Alai or organized crime infiltration of it? What if records show Rico only met J. Edgar Hoover once when he was first became an agent? What if Rico never met Whitey?
What if most of the information came from Stevie Flemmi who AUSA Fred Wyshak used as a government witness? Did you know Wyshak said Flemmi’s testimony before Judge Wolf was “belated, inconsistent and inherently implausible.” He called Flemmi a “lifelong organized criminal” who had “repeatedly lied“? If the lies we have been fed did not come from Flemmi, they were just made up by Howie Carr out of thin air.
Those are the facts that I’ve been trying to get out. No longer alone I can say: Don’t take my word for it.
Finally the voice of the FBI is starting to be heard. Two agents stopped being afraid and set out looking for the truth. Assisted by a person skilled at writing they have published a book: Rico. It’s a book with some major strengths and expected deficiencies. In some areas they are way off the mark. But on the matters they have concentrated on relating to World Jai Alai and the errors made by judges, prosecutors and investigators they provide great illumination.
Using their 30 years of FBI experience they set out planning to let the chips fall as they may with no predetermined result in mind. They investigate Rico’s FBI life quite thoroughly. They do a remarkably good job showing the inherent unreliability of much of the evidence against him.
I’ll talk more about their book’s strength and weakness as I go along but if you ever doubted my suggestions that the media has been feeding us the wrong story, then take a gander at their book. I welcome them to the fight. I hope they go on with their work. There is much more to do.