Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley will announce tomorrow she is running for Governor. This is certainly no surprise to Massachusetts voters who have predicted this for months. What will be interesting to see is how she will handle yet another scandal from a state run agency.
The latest scandal involves a deceased worker at the UMass Medical School, Leo Villani, who stole approximately $3.5 million over the past five years by defrauding Medicare. So far neither Coakley or Governor Patrick has commented on this case. There has also been no report on how Villani was able to do this without being caught, despite the fact that he drove a Porsche, collected Salvador Dali paintings and built a lavish house.
The problem for Coakley is twofold. On the one hand, if she acknowledges there is a problem, she will be asked why she didn’t do anything about both this and the other scandals, including wide-spread welfare fraud and abuse, during her time as Attorney General. If she says nothing she should be sure her Republican opponent will bring the matter up and ask her why she didn’t do anything.
Coakley has been in a position to tackle all these cases of fraud and has done very little to stop it. Other than an isolated investigation here and there most of these cases have been ignored and no one has been held accountable. How much more money will state taxpayers lose until something is done?
In this Democrat controlled state there are only a few Republican legislators who generally seem concerned with this fraud and abuse. Taunton Republican Shauna O’Connell is definitely in the forefront of that group. She has consistently called for reform and oversight and has been fought the whole way by the entrenched Democrats and their “Nothing to see here” mentality.
Could this be the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back and bring real reform and oversight? Let’s hope so.
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