Over the past six years, as he rose to power on Beacon Hill, House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi purchased two luxury cars for considerably less than their estimated values from a used car dealer he was steered to by a top State House lobbyist.
DiMasi bought the two used BMW sedans at a savings of at least $20,000 from the estimated retail value of the vehicles, a Globe review has found.
The speaker declined to be interviewed about the transactions, but his spokesman confirmed that DiMasi was referred to the dealer, who operates out of a small lot in Middleborough, by Richard W. McDonough, a close friend of the speaker's and one of the most active and influential lobbyists on Beacon Hill.
The dealer, Robert Weaver, owner of Sports Limited Auto Sales, acknowledges that he sold the cars to DiMasi, with a minimal markup, after being urged by McDonough to try to find the speaker "a good deal."
Weaver also said he agreed to help DiMasi find a bargain because he thought he might someday secure a favor from the high-powered legislator.
"To be honest with you, of course, I had it in my mind that maybe he could do me a favor someday," Weaver said, in an interview. But he has never had occasion to ask for help from the speaker, he said.
At least the guy has the decency to be honest about the corruption. DiMasi's spokesman say DiMasi gave the fellow the money twelve thousand dollars less than everyone else was selling the vehicle, no questions asked, and he does not believe he got special treatment...
Kyle Sullivan, DiMasi's spokesman, denied that the exceptionally low prices the speaker paid for the two BMWs resulted from any favoritism or improper deal-making. "Let me be crystal clear, [DiMasi] paid a fair price for the vehicles in question and he never asked for and does not believe he received any special treatment,"
No, really. Honest to god. Cross their hearts. If somebody wants to sell him a Rolex for a hundred dollars, and spend time talking about which way to vote, he's on it like stink:
McDonough, who declined to be interviewed, has long been one of Beacon Hill's most influential lobbyists and his impressive list of clients paid his lobbying firm $675,000 last year. Among the firms and groups he represents are Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc., the Massachusetts Nurses Federation, the Massachusetts Insurance Federation, and Insurance Auto Auction Inc., a California-based auto auction house that specializes in the selling of salvaged vehicles.
He has also long been a close friend of DiMasi's. The two men often play golf, attend sports events, and socialize together with their wives. Despite their close personal bond, DiMasi has never officially recused himself from working or voting on any of the dozens of bills that McDonough lobbies the Legislature on every year.