MA Gov. Deval Patrick Appoints Former Chief of Staff to Fill John Kerry’s Senate Seat

William "Mo" Cowan

William “Mo” Cowan

From The Hill:

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) has appointed William “Mo” Cowen, his former chief of staff, to fill former Sen. John Kerry’s (D) seat until a special election is held this summer….

“Mo’s service on the front lines in our efforts to manage through the worst economy in 80 years and build a better, stronger Commonwealth for the next generation has earned him the respect and admiration of people throughout government,” Patrick said in a statement announcing the appointment.
Former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) had also pursued the seat, but his outspoken interest might have undermined his chances of winning the appointment.

Patrick will make the official announcement at 11AM this morning.

Some background on Cowan from The Boston Globe:

Cowan, 43, was first hired by Patrick as his legal counsel in 2009 and was then promoted to chief of staff in 2010. Last November, Cowan stepped down from the $144,000 a year job.

Cowan is a North Carolina native and Duke University graduate who came to Boston to attend Northeastern University Law School in the early 1990s – and never left the region. One of the city’s leading African-American lawyers, Cowan is a former partner in the politically connected law firm of Mintz Levin.

Cowan will become the first African-American to represent Massachusetts in the Senate since Edward Brooke held the seat as a Republican from 1966 to 1978….

Cowan’s selection was quickly praised by Martin W. Healy, chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Bar

Patrick and Cowan built up a strong friendship over the years, in part, because both men have risen from difficult childhoods to prominence in Boston and in the state. Patrick also served as a mentor to Cowan when both were practicing lawyers.

Much more at the link.


Breaking: Stan McGee “Abruptly” Resigns as Massachusetts Gaming Commission Head

Carl Stanley (“Stan”) McGee

The Boston Globe reports:

The newly appointed interim head of the state gaming commission abruptly resigned Wednesday night, saying that the ‘‘growing distractions’’ created by allegations of sexual abuse against him had made it impossible to be effective in the job.

In a message to the board, Carl Stanley McGee said that ‘‘after much personal thought’’ he decided to step down to let the commission ‘‘get on with the important public business of job creation and economic development it was created to perform.’’

Board chairman Stephen Crosby, who had staunchly defended McGee’s appointment as interim executive director and had called the 2007 abuse allegations ‘‘meritless’’ and ‘‘warrantless,’’ said Wednesday night that he agreed with McGee’s decision.

On Sunday, I wrote a post about McGee: The Story of Stan McGee: More Evidence that Children Are Expendable in America.

In 2007, while he was on vacation in Florida, McGee was arrested and charged with sexual assault on a 15-year-old boy. The charges were later dropped, but the boy’s parents filed a civil suit against McGee, and the suit was settled in their favor.

Criticism of the appointment had been building after several articles about the alleged assault appeared in local newspapers. According to the Globe,

The resignation by McGee capped a day of mounting criticism over the decision by the board to offer him the job without thoroughly investigating the abuse allegations.

The article suggests that the Commission had decided to hold up the appointment while it did a thorough background check on McGee.

A spokeswoman for the commission hinted the agency might hold up the appointment while it conducts a background check on McGee — even though Crosby has previously said that he and other board members had looked into McGee’s record and found it ‘‘pristine.’’

The spokeswoman, Karen Schwartzman did not return messages from the Globe, but she told New England Cable News host Jim Braude that ‘‘after voting to extend an offer to Mr. McGee, the vote made clear that it was subject to passing a background check. … The background check for Mr. McGee is under way and is not complete yet. Mr. McGee won’t be on the commission payroll until such time as the background check is complete.’’

McGee will return to his post as assistant secretary for policy and planning in Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration. Maybe it’s time the Governor also did a background check on McGee.


The Story of Stan McGee: More Evidence that Children Are Expendable in America

Stan McGee

Carl Stanley McGee (he goes by “Stan”), a top aide to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, has been hired as interim director of the new Massachusetts Gambling Commission. Unfortunately for McGee and for the commission, McGee was charged with sexual assault on a 15-year-old boy in Florida four years ago. Although most people involved are claiming this no big deal, some–including the boy and his family–are raising objections.

BACKGROUND

McGee, who is originally from Alabama, was a Rhodes Scholar and holds a degree from Harvard Law School. Before being hired by Governor Patrick, McGee worked for the WilmerHale law firm.

In 2004 McGee was actively involved in the effort to keep gay marriage legal in Massachusetts.

In 2005, McGee and his partner John Finley IV married, and they even featured in the trendy and exclusive New York Times Vows column.
An excerpt:

The affably preppy Mr. Finley, who is also the founder and the director of the Epiphany School, a private, tuition-free middle school in Boston for children of poor families, has a classic New England pedigree, which includes a degree from Harvard, where his grandfather was a master of Eliot House. His family, he said, was staunchly Republican “until the second Bush administration.”

The bespectacled Mr. McGee is a Harvard Law School graduate and a former Rhodes scholar who now works as a junior partner in the Boston offices of WilmerHale. He has a serious mien, a booming drawl and a shock of prematurely white hair. His passion for Democratic politics is rooted in the Deep South, and he has long been interested in the “pernicious connection” between church and state, he said.

“John had more of a sense of faith being a positive force,” Mr. McGee said. Yet, of the two, he says Mr. Finley “is more impetuous, more Gestalt, more big picture.” He added, “We’re more yin-yang, more complementary, than opposites. John’s all sugar and I’m all lemon zest.”

Apparently, McGee is quite the man about town. In 2007 he was named one of the Globe’s 25 most stylish Bostonians. In the accompanying interview, he described his style as

English traditional with an Alabama twist. I am not someone who is always chasing fads or trends. I spent a fair amount of time at Oxford on a Rhodes fellowship. My style wasn’t created there, but I think it was reinforced. Many would call it traditional, but it’s also subversive and ironic. You cannot wear pinstripe suits and have my hair color.

ALLEGED SEXUAL ASSAULT

From The Boston Globe, February 7, 2008:

A top official in the Patrick administration has been placed on unpaid leave because he was arrested in Florida and charged with sexually assaulting a 15-year-old male in a steam room at a $500-a-night Gulf Coast resort.

Carl Stanley McGee, 38, assistant secretary for policy and planning, is scheduled to be arraigned next week for sexual battery in Lee County, Fla. McGee helped draft Patrick’s casino bill, life sciences legislation, and his plan to bring broadband Internet service to the farthest reaches of the state.

According to police reports, McGee was arrested Dec. 28 and accused of performing oral sex on the 15-year-old, who was a guest at The Gasparilla Inn & Club, a 95-year-old hotel and championship golf course in Boca Grande. McGee was held overnight on a $300,000 bond.

The Globe reported that McGee’s co-workers were surprised to learn of the charges, because they had been told he was out sick during that time.

McGee’s mug shot

Here’s a little more detail about the alleged assault.

McGee…met the boy, who police said is between 12 and 16 years of age, in a bathroom at the resort a day earlier where they engaged in small talk, according to the police report.

The boy told police he ran into McGee again the next day in the resort’s steam room. McGee sat next to him, removed his towel, rubbed the boy’s back and shoulders and performed oral sex on him, according to the police report.

The boy’s father contacted police, who spotted McGee at the resort based on a description from the boy.

In March the Lee County prosecutor decided not to press charges even though the police investigator disagreed.

…[A] child abuse investigator asked by the Florida governor’s office to review the case told the Cape Cod Times Thursday he found the boy’s story credible. He urged prosecutors to reconsider criminal charges, he said.

“The child reported it immediately, he identified (McGee) from the backseat of a police car, and he gave a good statement to police,” Terry Thomas, a special agent with 27 years of experience investigating child abuse cases with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, said Thursday.

Then he reiterated something he wrote in his report: “I have seen cases successfully prosecuted with less evidence than this case.”

There was just one more little bump in the road before McGee could breathe a sigh of relief and return to his glamorous life and brilliant career.

When the prosecutor declined to move forward with charges, Boston attorney Wendy Murphy filed suit in 2009 against McGee on behalf of the boy and his family and the case was settled in a confidential agreement in 2011, she said Thursday.

Hmmmm…sounds McGee had to pay a few bucks to get out of his little scrape, doesn’t it? I wonder how his husband reacted to all this? I checked and they were still married as of this year.

CURRENT CONTROVERSY

Fast forward to May 2012. After the hiring was reported in the Globe, some people started asking questions. But the gaming commission wasn’t worried.

Stephen Crosby, gaming commission chairman, said commissioners reviewed the incident and were convinced it should not be a factor in whether to hire him.

“Two of us had looked into it quite a bit and everyone we talked to from the state attorney in Florida, to his employer at the time Dan O’Connell, to Gov. Deval Patrick — everyone came to the same conclusion that there was zero substance to these charges,” Crosby said. “Given that there is zero substance to the allegations, to hold that against him would be inappropriate. He’s a superstar. He’s very intelligent and a first-rate public servant.”

A superstar who likes to take advantage of underage boys. But so what, “there is zero substance to the allegations” even though Stan settled a civil suit by the boy’s family.

Today, the Globe reported that the gaming commission didn’t actually investigate the incident or contact Florida law enforcement or prosecutors. In fact the chairman of the commission felt really sorry for poor Stan and probably couldn’t imagine him doing such a thing.

The chairman of the state’s new gambling commission last week called Carl Stanley McGee’s record pristine, saying he had reviewed the 2007 sexual assault charges against McGee in Florida and found them warrantless and meritless.

‘‘He went through this horrendous experience of being accused of a sexual harassment charge several years ago in Florida,’’ chairman Stephen Crosby told his colleagues Tuesday, according to a transcript of the meeting posted on the agency’s website, before they voted to name McGee interim executive director.

But today, Crosby admitted to the Globe that he didn’t really bother to order an investigation, he simply relied on what he read in “news reports.”

‘‘I did not do any independent analysis of the state attorney’s work, nor do I believe that would be appropriate,” he wrote in an e-mail to the Globe Friday. ‘‘Stan is presumed to be innocent of the allegations.’’

The Globe reported last week that law enforcement officials in Florida had believed the alleged victim, who was 15 but looked younger, and had urged the local prosecutor to bring charges against McGee soon after the alleged attack. They described a teenager who was scared but credible, providing consistent accounts of the incident.

Crosby claimed he had been assured by the Patrick administration that the charges were “meritless,” but according to the Globe that would have been impossible because the Patrick administration never investigated the charges either.

The alleged victim in the case, now a 20-year-old college student, reacted angrily Wednesday after reading that McGee’s former boss — Daniel O’Connell, formerly secretary of housing and economic development in the Patrick administration — had called the allegations false when interviewed by the Globe about McGee’s selection. The family then released the results of a 2008 investigation by Florida child welfare officials recommending that McGee be prosecuted.

The state investigation was conducted after the family complained to the Florida governor’s office about the local prosecutor’s decision not to press charges. An investigator for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement subsequently recommended that the prosecutor reconsider the charge of sexual battery on a child under 16 and add a second charge of lewd and lascivious acts upon a child under 16.

But the prosecutor still refused to press charges, and the family filed suit and won a settlement from McGee with the help of Massachusetts victim rights attorney Wendy Murphy.

And that’s the whole sordid story so far. I decided to tell it in detail, because I think this is probably typical of what happens when a successful, powerful person is accused of an offense against a child. Why do Americans place so little value on the lives of children?

And so another child predator goes free. Raise your hand if you think this was the only time Stan took advantage of a young boy. Perhaps another victim will come forward after all the publicity.