The estate of convicted mob boss and loyal Boston magazine subscriber James “Whitey” Bulger will soon hit the auction block, and for a good cause.
Bulger’s personal belongings were taken from the Santa Monica apartment where he and girlfriend Catherine Greig were captured in 2011 after 17 years on the run. Proceeds from the auction will be placed in a fund benefiting survivors and the families of those killed by the South Boston underworld king, according to federal prosecutors.
Items up for grabs include a few pieces of art, clothing, and furniture, as well as a 1986 Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup championship ring, which Bulger said he received as a gift from NHLer Chris “Knuckles” Nilan. The former Habs enforcer and South Boston native has denied this.
“I gave that ring to my father, Henry Nilan. I am currently in possession of that ring as it is being resized as a gift to my son, Christopher,” Nilan said in 2011. “In 1988, Montreal Canadiens general manager Serge Savard heard that I had given my original ring to my Dad and Serge generously presented me with a second Stanley Cup ring which I wear to this day.”
Nilan, who also played two seasons for the Bruins, said he asked a Montreal jeweler to make three women’s Stanley Cup rings for his mother, former wife and late mother-in-law. His former wife and mother still had their rings as of 2013, and his late mother-in-law gave her ring to Nilan’s daughter.
“At no time, to my knowledge, did I or any member of my family give James Bulger a Stanley Cup ring. I have no idea where any ring in Mr. Bulger’s possession was made and I hope that this statement provides absolute clarification in this matter,” Nilan said, later telling TSN Radio 960 that Bulger must have made his own copy.
The ring was the only item Bulger fought to keep exempt from forfeiture, per a Globe report.
“Hopefully he can keep it and hang on to something while he spends the rest of his days in jail,” Nilan told ESPN in 2013. “If that makes him happy, then it’s good for him. He’s never going to see the light of day again. He spends 23 hours a day in a cell and, you know, it’s payback time. That’s the way it goes. He’s a big-enough man.”
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