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Patrick refused to honor DiMasi Cognos request

Governor says DiMasi asked him for PR help

BY: Kyle Cheney
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

When the Boston Globe began publishing stories in 2008 questioning Speaker Salvatore DiMasi’s role in the passage of a state contract for Cognos, the speaker met with Gov. Deval Patrick, blamed his administration for “leaking” harmful information to the newspaper and demanded that a senior administration official issue a statement distancing DiMasi from the contract, Patrick told jurors Friday.

The governor, in highly anticipated sworn testimony at the federal John Joseph Moakley Courthouse, testified that he refused to honor DiMasi’s request because, he said, it wouldn’t have been “accurate.”

Patrick, who remained calm on the stand, hands clasped in his lap, testified that DiMasi had repeatedly queried him about the status of a pending performance management contract throughout 2007. In fact, at a July 2007 meeting organized by Congressman Michael Capuano – a meeting at Boston’s Four Seasons hotel that Patrick said the congressman set up to help “clear the air” between DiMasi and the new governor – Patrick said DiMasi asked him for an update on the procurement process for the software contract.

“Don’t forget, that contract’s important,” Patrick said the speaker told him as he exited the meeting.

After leaving the meeting, Patrick sent a Blackberry message to his budget aide, Leslie Kirwan, who had the final say on awarding the Cognos contract: “Spkr’s interest. Please call me.”

Prosecutors displayed that message for the court, but noted that the email was sent to Kirwan from a “Sally Reynolds.” Sally Reynolds, the governor explained, was a code name he used on his emails, a combination of his grandmother and grandfather’s names.

DiMasi is charged with steering two state contracts – including a $13 million deal in 2007 and a $4.5 million deal in 2006 – to Cognos in exchange for kickbacks. DiMasi’s accountant Richard Vitale and veteran Beacon Hill lobbyist Richard McDonough are also charge in the scheme.

During cross-examination, William Cintolo, DiMasi’s defense attorney, immediately drew a parallel between payments DiMasi received from Cognos and political contributions that Patrick received from Liberty Mutual and Dunkin’ Donuts in support of his 2007 inauguration. Cognos, in fact, contributed to the governor’s inauguration, Cintolo noted, and he asked the governor whether his administration’s decision to approve the Cognos contract had occurred as a direct result of the political contribution.

“Of course not,” Patrick said.

The defense has argued that DiMasi never explicitly backed Cognos to win the contract and sought the type of software that Cognos offered, performance management, to improve the efficiency of state government. Rather, defense attorneys have argued, DiMasi simply believed in the value of performance management software. Patrick acknowledged the speaker never explicitly named Cognos in their conversations.

Prosecutors say DiMasi received $65,000 funneled through a law partner, in exchange for pushing Cognos software. Vitale, they argue, received $500,000 after the Cognos deal went through. McDonough received $300,000, according to prosecutors. The defendants are charged with conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud. DiMasi is also charged with extortion.

During cross-examination, DiMasi’s defense attorney, William Cintolo, emphasized that DiMasi never indicated to Patrick that he was being paid to advocate for Cognos.
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