Thursday, July 15, 2010

Where Was Tim?

Beleaguered Patrick Administration judicial appointee David Aptaker was on the hot seat yesterday, appearing before the Governor’s Council and trying to explain why he failed to disclose certain questionable campaign donations on his application.

But Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray – who normally chairs the Council’s meetings and has been one of Aptaker’s biggest supporters – was nowhere to be found. Instead, the meeting was presided over by Councilor Tom Merrigan who, ironically, was the beneficiary of special legislation that has allowed him to continue to practice law before state agencies, despite the obvious conflict of interest.

Aptaker – who has been nominated to serve on the Middlesex Probate and Family Court – claims he made “an honest mistake” and had “no intention of trying to deceive” the Governor’s Council when he failed to disclose $200 in donations to former State Senator Jim Marzilli and $550 in contributions to former Middlesex Registrar of Probate John Buonomo. Marzilli is facing multiple charges of indecent sexual assault involving four women, while Buonomo was convicted of stealing money from the court’s copier machines.

On July 2 – the day after these revelations came to light – the Senate Republican Caucus called on Governor Patrick to rescind Aptaker’s nomination, saying he had “blatantly obfuscated and misrepresented his position” and that his actions “call into question his character and qualifications to serve on the Probate Court.”

Two weeks ago, Tim Murray pulled a Sergeant Schultz (“I hear nothing, I see nothing, I know nothing!”), saying the concerns should have been brought up earlier. At the time, Murray was willing to look the other way and let Aptaker’s nomination vote proceed, despite valid concerns about his candidacy. Now it appears he’s doing it again, running for cover as the fallout continues.

Stay tuned.