editor’s note: two pols go at it! Here’s a portion of the email exchange.
From Bill McManus to Jim Leary:
“I find it very sleazy that [Jim] Leary, a public employee, got roughly a !00% pay raise in a one year period of time for a newly created job that was created while he was the Lt’ Gov’s Chief Aide and his wife was a paid fundraiser for the same Lt’ Gov. It’s understandable that Leary wants to create a smokescreen and talk about anything else but the public money he is taking. He wants to somehow deflect the focus of attention from himself. This has nothing to do with me. I am not the public employee who got a raise from $100,000 to $180,000. My wife was not the paid campaign fundraiser for the same Lt. Governor. Jennifer Murphy, was also a paid political aide for Lt. Gov. Murray just like Carolyn Leary.
“Jennifer Murphy just got a newly created $105,000 job less than three weeks ago. That’s what this is all about and why it brings Leary’s pay raise and his wife’s role as a fundraiser into the news. During a recession and in the midst of a hiring freeze, two jobs were specifically created for the benefit of two consecutive campaign aides, AND the first one got roughly a 100% pay increase during his first year while others at the same institution were being laid off.
“This has nothing to do with me or anything but the last three weeks that show a pattern of $100,000 plus a year jobs being created out of thin air for people involved in Murray’s Campaign and Fundraising Committees. If Leary is so upset about the story, he should lower his salary so all those other people don’t have to be laid off. I would imagine that between his salary, and office expenses, and support staff, etc. he is costing UMass about a half million dollars a year — enough to keep 10 or 15 of those people from being laid off.
“The Campaign Finance Reports that are filed with the Massachusetts’ Office of Campaign and Political Finance are public records that are signed under the pains and penalties of perjury. Said documents are easily accessible online and clearly and specifically list the receipts and expenditures of political candidates. The names of who donated money to which candidates, how much was donated, the date said money was donated, and the employer of the person making the donation are clearly spelled out in detail.
“Similarly, records show who was paid and what date they were paid and for what purpose they were paid. You may not like the public records or the facts, but they are what they are. Anyone can access them. Carolyn Leary was in fact paid for services by the Murray committee in 2008, 2009, and 2010. That is a fact and of public record on file at the OCPF. James Leary was in fact the Chief Aide for Tim Murray during that time period until he was hired in a newly created job at Umass Medical School. That also is a fact.
“In roughly 18 months your salary has nearly doubled at UMass Medical while others have been being laid off and you have been making Campaign Donations to Tim Murray. You might not like those facts, but the are indeed the facts. You might not like what I infer from these facts and the timing of your donations and the donations of others but I am certainly allowed to make those inferences. Your salary for your newly created PUBLIC JOB jumped from roughly $100,000 to roughly $185,000 in an eighteen month period of time that others are being laid off in. Media outlets will decide for themselves whether that is newsworthy to publish.
“Coincidentally, are you at work at UMass Medical School right now? Is that where you sent this email from? As an attorney, I hope you are aware that the threatening of or the malicious filing of a Civil Claim in an attempt to coerce or intimidate one into a certain action is a felony and clearly could be construed as extortion.
“Finally, as for any claims I have made that you do not like: they are based upon public records and have been reported by the Boston Herald in one form or another, and have been previously made by others. Most specifically, members of the Governor’s Council in 2008 and 2009 went on the public record to question the pattern of donations to Tim Murray by judicial and clerk applicants and wondered how it was they were getting solicitations. When your wife, Carolyn Leary, is being paid to raise money for Tim Murray while you are at the State House where those confidential files are kept, and a sitting member of the Governor’s Council publicly questions the pattern of contributions by applicants, that certainly is a legitimate area of concern and not slanderous or libelous to be concerned with. …
“Do you have a laptop at work or are you using your UMass Computer right now?”
Sent: Wed, Mar 30, 2011 10:08 am
Subject: Response to Bill McManus’s Accusations from Jim Leary
“Dear Mr. McManus,
“Please consider this email as a formal request that you cease and desist from any and all libelous communications about my wife, Carolyn, and me such as the vicious anonymous email distributed by you to a variety of statewide community and political leaders, members of the press and others, a copy of which is below. (For those of you copied on this email who were recipients of the email below, please know that it was sent by former State Representative William McManus, formerly of Worcester and now of North Carolina. The address email@example.com, from which the email originated, is Mr. McManus’s).
“As you may recall from your practice as an attorney, libel occurs where one “publishes” a defamatory message that results in injury to the reputation of the person who is the subject of the message. “Publishing,” as you know, occurs where the defamatory/untrue material is shared with others. Here, you not only knowingly spread outright lies about Carolyn and me in an attempt to tarnish our reputations, but you clearly did so with the hope that recipients of the email would in turn do the same. Your inclusion of numerous print reporters, talk show hosts and local bloggers as recipients leaves no doubt as to your intent.
“And, Bill, your wild and unsupported allegations are not shielded by the higher standard of proof applying to public figures in defamation cases pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court’s New York Times vs. Sullivan decision. As you probably know, in cases where public figures are the target of alleged libel, plaintiffs must prove “actual malice” in order to prevail. “Actual malice” can be proved where a statement is made with knowledge that it is false or with reckless disregard of whether it is false. Setting aside the issue of whether or not Carolyn could be considered a public figure under the law (she probably would not), your allegations are so completely devoid of any evidence or factual support that I have no doubt they surpass the legal standard of maliciousness. Moreover, you have a clear motive and intent to defame, given our past political rivalry and history.
“Bill, both Carolyn and I are fortunate to have good reputations in the community – reputations developed from years and years of community, civic and professional involvement. As a teacher, coach, volunteer, and friend to many, Carolyn has touched countless lives in the Worcester community and has earned tremendous goodwill for her kindness, generosity and professionalism. Throughout my years as a lawyer, elected official and volunteer – and now in my position managing government and community relations for UMass Medical School – I have always prided myself on handling even the most contentious matters honestly, professionally and respectfully. As a result of our approach, we are on very friendly terms with people from all corners of the community and across the political spectrum, including those with whom I have disagreed on issues and political races. I realize that you still harbor anger toward us over your loss at the polls in 2000, but that certainly does not justify defaming Carolyn and me eleven years later. If you think for one moment that we will sit idly by while you try to smear us and tear down our reputations, you are sorely mistaken.
“You have every legal right to express your opinion about us; feel free to call us names and tell people how much you don’t like us, if that makes you feel good. But when you lie, invent false accusations, accuse us of criminal behavior, and disseminate your baseless allegations to a statewide group of government, community and civic leaders, as well as the press, it seems pretty clear that you have crossed the line from 1st Amendment protected expression of opinion to defamation. Any further baseless missives by you will be responded to promptly with legal action, whether that has to take place in North Carolina or here in Massachusetts.”
Bill McManus’ original email, re: Jim Leary:
Subject: 63 WITH SENIORITY LAID OFF AT UMASS
“Jim Leary was Tim Murray’s former Chief Aide at the State House WHILE Carolyn Leary, Jim Leary’s wife, was a paid fundraiser for the Murray Committee in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Lt. Gov. Murray had a new $82,000 a year job created for Jim Leary in 2009.
“Both Murray and Leary blatantly lied to the media and the public and said that it was only coincidental that Leary got the newly created position, and his application was treated like everyone else’s.
“Now 63 people at UMass Medical School are being laid off as Leary now makes $185,000 a year in this newly created position. The Salary for his unnecessary, no-show, previously nonexistent job was increased 125% in a single year as other people are being laid off due to budgetary cuts. …
“Jim Leary is now making over $100,000 a year more than what he started at just a year ago.
“Carolyn Leary, Jim’s wife, was a paid political fundraiser for Murray in 2008, 2009, and 2010. During that time period … .”