Demoulas Case Closed: Paul Walsh Speaks

1203007943There were plenty of times over the last decade that Paul Walsh wished he had never gone on those job interviews. Walsh was the former law clerk caught in the middle of the Demoulas family’s ugly feud over their supermarket empire. Demoulas attorneys lured him to phony job interviews in Nova Scotia and New York, where they secretly tape-recorded him in the hopes he would reveal some dirt on a recent court decision—one that would transfer $1 billion from one side of the family to the other.

When the attorneys finally revealed their ruse, Walsh felt shattered: Would they ruin his career? Try to get him disbarred? “Well, you may not like the way we approached this,” a Demoulas attorney named Gary Crossen told him. “But…that’s life in the fast lane, Paul.”

It’s a chilling story—told here in the December, 2006 issue of Boston—and one that finally has a fitting conclusion: Last week, the state’s highest court unanimously ruled to disbar Crossen and his partner in the scheme, Kevin Curry (A third attorney, Richard Donahue, is in the middle of a three-year suspension).

Boston Daily tracked down Walsh in Hong Kong, where he now works for an international law firm, to find out how he is taking the news.

“Reading through the opinions by the [Supreme Judicial Court] brought back a lot of painful memories. It has been a long road and at times very difficult for my family and me,” he writes in an email. “I think disbarment sends a very strong and positive message to the legal community that such behavior by lawyers will not be tolerated, regardless of their standing within the legal community.”

He’s talking about Crossen, long one of Boston’s most well-respected lawyers, who was once ethics counsel (of all things) to governors Weld and Cellucci. But in her opinion supporting disbarment, Chief Justice Margaret Marshall pulls no punches.

“The record leaves no doubt that Crossen was a willing participant, and at times a driving force, in a web of false, deceptive, and threatening behavior…The scope of this misconduct has scant parallel in the disciplinary proceedings of this Commonwealth.”

Curry doesn’t get off any easier:

“Curry engaged in egregious, multiple, and prolonged violations of the disciplinary rules prohibiting attorneys from acts of deceit and dishonesty in their professional dealings…With no motive other than his own financial gain.”

Curry and Donahue have pretty much stayed out of the spotlight since the news broke. Crossen, though, told the Globe that he disagrees with the decision and is considering appealing to the Supreme Court. Still, he said, he’s happy the ordeal is finally coming to an end.

That goes double for Walsh. “There was a time I thought about what happened everyday, usually before going to sleep,” he writes. “That doesn’t happen anymore.”

Photo of Paul Walsh by Dana Smith for Boston magazine, Dec. 2006