Bulger brother sues to reclaim revoked pension
BOSTON -- The youngest brother of fugitive mobster James "Whitey" Bulger is suing the state to reclaim a $65,000 annual pension which was revoked after he admitted lying to grand juries investigating his brother's whereabouts.
John P. Bulger, a former juvenile court clerk magistrate in Boston, argues in his suit against the State Retirement Board that the punishment is excessive, The Boston Globe reported.
The suit, the latest move by John Bulger to win back his pension, outraged relatives of Whitey Bulger's alleged victims, who said the loss of a pension is a small price to pay for violating his oath as a clerk magistrate.
"We've paid such a big price that these kind of things seem trivial about his pension," said Victor Davis, whose sister, Debra, was allegedly killed by Whitey Bulger in 1981. "Our punishment has been like a 26-year punishment. ... His punishment can't even come close."
Bulger, 68, has said the pension is his only means of support. The pension was permanently revoked by the retirement board in 2003 after John Bulger pleaded guilty to perjury in April of that year. In that case, John Bulger admitted lying to federal grand juries in 1996 and 1998 when he told them that he hadn't had any communication with Whitey Bulger and didn't know about a safe deposit box he jointly held with his brother.
Whitey Bulger, a former FBI informant, fled the state in 1995 to evade a federal racketeering indictment. He's suspected in the murders of 19 people.
Last year, the Supreme Judicial Court upheld the state retirement board's decision, rejecting an argument by John Bulger's attorney that his client didn't violate his oath as a clerk magistrate because he'd lied to the grand juries out of family loyalty.
State Treasurer Timothy Cahill, who chairs the retirement board, said he was growing weary of the battle with John Bulger.
"I'm not a lawyer, but I just assume when the SJC rules, that's the end of the line," he said. "I would prefer to put this behind me, and I think he would not want to keep reminding everyone of the situation.
"It's a tough punishment, there's no question about that," Cahill said. "But I think it was fair."
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)