There’s Good Patronage; and There’s Bad Patronage: Fred Wyshak Explains

I subscribe to the Boston Globe to keep up with the happenings around the city. I don’t subscribe to the Boston Herald because of inane support of things of I find repellent, not the least the prominence of a bigot who has a radio show and routinely played Mexican music while reading off police reports of folk with Latino surnames ginning up hatred.

For all its faults, the Globe seeks to make America a place where mostly all can live in peace unless the Globe decides otherwise and targets people it does not like. It is usually done with the assistance of the Boston U.S. attorney. The Herald  on the other hands likes strife so it preaches and thrives on hate.

I have friend named Timmy O who will cut out articles from the Globe – he is one of the old timers who still buys a hard copy of it – and sends them to me. He apparently believes that because I don’t have it delivered I am unaware of what it contains. Sometimes, though, he does send me things that I have overlookedWhen I get them I often recall how a newspaper in the hard copy provided much greater enjoyment than one read over a smart phone or on the computer. What better experience was there than picking up the paper on the doorsteps or at a local shop and sitting over a cup of coffee perusing it at one’s leisure.

Two articles Timmy O sent to me recently piqued my interest. I will write about the other one later but this one is about the retirement of Fred Wyshak. When I think of him everything bad about the Globe comes to mind.  But that too is for another day.

The retirement article made me recall Wyshak’s prosecution of Massachusetts probation commissioner John O’Brien. The article noted Wyshak convicted O’Brien in the lower court but that the conviction was overturned in the court of appeals. Wyshak is quoted as saying: “I felt it was a righteous prosecution that could have eliminated the patronage system that permeates state government. I think that opinion sets us back 20 or 30 years.”

The Court of Appeals said: We find that the Government overstepped its bounds in using federal criminal statutes to police the hiring practices of these Massachusetts state officials and did not provide sufficient evidence to establish a criminal  violation of Massachusetts law under the Government’s theory of the case.”

There we have it, good old Fred Wyshak seeking to eliminate the patronage system in Massachusetts. You may recall O’Brien’s sin was hiring people who were recommended to him by members of the Massachusetts legislature. He received no money for himself. Wyshak cleverly argued since the probation department received money from the Legislature he was indirectly receiving money for himself.

What was surprising is that there was no allegation O’Brien gained anything for his actions other than the chance to improve the probation department which he did. He did not benefit personally. Nor did he hire anyone in his family. Wyshak’s lament  was that he did not hire the best available candidates for the job. Wyshak arrogated to himself (with the Globe’s help) to make that determination.

Now I suppose we must say there is good patronage and bad patronage. Good patronage is what the federal folk do. It is like what Trump did in hiring his daughter and son-in-law. Bad patronage is hiring the people in the state do like hiring people recommended to you by others. When Wyshak talked about O’Brien and the patronage system he was talking about Massachusetts, that is bad patronage. He was not talking about the federal government, that is good patronage.

You see Fred practiced good patronage. He managed to get his son Fred Wyshak, Jr. assigned to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston where he worked for many years. Had Jack  O’Brien done that he would be locked up in some federal prison doing hard time.  I’m sure you understand the difference between good and bad patronage. Fred does.

3 thoughts on “There’s Good Patronage; and There’s Bad Patronage: Fred Wyshak Explains

  1. To be clear, young Tre should not be faulted for taking advantage of opportunities. The main point is the brazen hypocrisy of the Elder for engaging in nepotism and patronage while trying to criminalize the same conduct for others. However, do not feel too badly for Tre. He did not suffer greatly as a starving law student or line prosecutor. Tre lived quite well in NY with his girlfriend in one of his daddy’s properties, a $10 million NY brownstone. The Elder owns that property jointly with his wife, except for the minority ownership rights that he conveyed to an unmarried woman who the Elder had worked very closely with throughout the 1980s.

  2. Matt,

    It was actually Fred M. Wyshak, Jr. (Elder) who retired and after a nationwide search installed his son Fred M. Wyshak, III (Trey) at the Boston DOJ.

    Fred the Elder has always helped Tre along, as well he should, had the hypocritical Elder not tried to make patronage and nepotism a RICO felony. While prosecuting innocent Probation employees under his overreaching RICO theory, it appears that the Elder was committing the the same “crimes.”

    For example, Tre attended St. John’s Law School in New York. By “sheer coincidence”, that’s where Fred the Elder attended law school. Of all the law schools in the country, these two MA residents ended up at the same NY law school. Remember that the hypocritical Elder jailed parents for influencing people to get their kids accepted to schools.

    After law school, Tre secured his first job when appointed to a highly coveted position as an Assistant Attorney General in King’s County, NY (Queens and Brooklyn). By another sheer coincidence, that’s the County where the Elder had worked for 10 years.

    Tre put in his years as a NY prosecutor and surely qualified to take the Elder’s place in the Boston DOJ. In fact the Queens prosecutor’s office is very much like the Boston DOJ. There was so much prosecutorial misconduct (mostly hiding exculpatory information and lying to the courts) going on in Queens (117 identified cases) that a conviction review commission has been established and cases are being reversed. By sheer coincidence a USA Today review found that the Boston DOJ has the highest incidence in the country of hiding exculpatory evidence and other prosecutorial misconduct. At least in this regard, Tre is well qualified for his appointment to the Boston DOJ.

    The Elder’s close grooming of Tre likely means that there will be another generation of Irish Catholics targeted in overreaching prosecutions and the Globe has another generation of leakers.

    1. P:

      I think the Irish Catholics have been pretty much beaten down by the federal prosecutors. I do agree that when Wyshak learned a potential target like Jack O’Brien was Irish Catholic his eyes lit up. (Keep in mind O’Brien had as legal counsel another Irish Catholic who was also a target but unfortunately for Wyshak he was a clean as they came.) Whatever caused it who knows. He did grow up in Boston and may have been picked on by one of those Irish roughnecks. He was though abetted by a lot of Irish Catholics especially cops (the begrudgers) who cozied up to him and who went along with him. I think at times maybe it wasn’t an Irish tough that turned Fred’s head but he was probably suckered in by the Globe folk who told him what a good guy he was.
      Who could ever forget the 102 page indictment with 113 counts of criminal activity filed by Wyshak’s office against Senator Brian Joyce a Boston Globe target. Here’s from Wikipedia: “Legal experts have expressed doubt over the merit of the charges against Joyce, and many of the governments’ allegations were later disproven.[12][11] Prosecutors’ attempt to disqualify Joyce’s attorney was met with alarm by members of the Boston legal community, who viewed it as an unprecedented infringement on a defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights.[15][16] The ACLU, along with the Massachusetts Bar Association and dozens of individual Massachusetts attorneys, jointly filed an amici curiae brief defending Joyce’s Constitutional right to counsel and rebuking the Government for its overreach.[17] The conduct of federal prosecutors in the case has exacerbated ongoing concerns over the legal ethics of the Boston U.S. Attorney’s Office.[18][19]
      Wyshak’s real Irish Catholic target throughout all this he never was able to charge with a crime. This is his great failing. He gave enormous gifts to murderers hoping to get a smidgen of evidence against him but found nothing. It showed what a desperate man Wyshak was going after a traditional Irish Catholic man mainly because he was out of favor with the Globe and other so-called progressives. He had no evidence other than what he tried to conjure up by what was in a sense bribing folk offering them sweetheart deals in exchange for information.
      I hope you are wrong about his son. Although the apple does not fall too far from the tree.

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