Crime

Former State Police Union Chief and Lobbyist Charged with Conspiracy and Obstruction

Dana Pullman allegedly used his fellow state troopers' dues to fund caviar, champagne, and gift baskets.


A State Police vehicle

Image via Massachusetts State Police

Dana Pullman, the former union chief of Massachusetts’ State Police Association (SPAM), and Anne Lynch, a lobbyist who worked for the union, were arrested at their homes Wednesday morning and charged with conspiracy and obstruction.

Prosecutors allege that Pullman and Lynch conspired together to defraud the Police Association through bribes and kickbacks that Pullman received from Lynch. The pair is also accused of lying to investigators, obstructing the probe into State Police finances.

“Simply put, both Pullman and Lynch were being paid to look out for the best interests of union members, but they were only looking out for themselves,” the FBI’s Joseph Bonavolonta said at a press conference Wednesday morning.

Pullman retired as union president and as a trooper last fall, amid a federal probe into the State Police Association’s finances. He cited “personal reasons” at the time, and his attorney, Martin G. Weinberg, said his client’s retirement was “in no way a response to any ongoing investigation.”

Officials say that in actuality, Pullman was running the union like “an old school mob boss,” embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from his fellow troopers’ dues and intimidating anyone who tried to investigate him, in a multi-year scheme dating back to 2012.

To Pullman, officials say, the SPAM debit card was like a personal piggy bank. He racked up a series of extravagant charges—$9,300 went to flowers and gifts for his friends and a “romantic partner,” $8,000 went to luxurious meals including champagne and caviar, and thousands more went to a Chevy Suburban, iTunes, and getaways to Miami Beach and New York City.

Prosecutors say Pullman also demanded $250,000 in union money to pay Anne Lynch’s lobbying firm so he could get a $20,000 kickback. When the treasurer of SPAM expressed surprise at the amount the group would pay the lobbying firm, Pullman pounded the table and yelled “Stop breaking my f*cking balls and give me the check!”

Overall, prosecutors estimate Pullman embezzled around $75,000.

The State Police department has battled a series of scandals over the past two years, including allegations that troopers collected pay through phony overtime shifts and fabricated tickets. 46 troopers have been implicated in the scandals.

Pullman and Lynch are due to appear in federal court Wednesday afternoon. Pullman’s attorney asserts that his client has not participated in any wrongdoing.

“Dana Pullman will strongly and vigorously deny today’s allegations,” Weinberg told the Boston Globe. “The centerpiece of the government’s case is a series of legitimate checks that in no way constitutes a kickback or a bribe. Dana Pullman was a highly successful president of the Massachusetts State Police union for six years and never acted in a manner that compromised his loyalty to his union.”