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DCR official resigns over porn

The western regional director for the troubled state Department of Conservation and Recreation was forced to quit his job Thursday after his supervisors discovered pornography on his office computer, according to two sources knowledgable about the situation.

Michael F. Case, a major GOP political figure in the Berkshires, submitted his resignation after DCR Commissioner Leo Roy confronted him in the agency’s Pittsfield office Thursday and told him to resign. The agency had first warned Case about inappropriate conduct on Jan. 13.

Case, who was paid $91,000 a year, did not respond to requests for comment. In a one-sentence letter to Roy, he did not state the reason for his resignation.


The night before Roy met with him, Case, a member of the Republican State Committee, had cast a vote for Governor Charlie Baker’s candidate for state party chairwoman in what was a tough but critical victory for the governor.

Asked if the forced resignation was delayed until after the GOP vote, Baker’s senior adviser, Tim Buckley, said there was no connection between the timing of the resignation and the state committee balloting.

After the initial warning on Jan. 13, Case was again confronted by his superiors on Jan. 19, this time about using offensive language. At that point, DCR officials began an investigation into his conduct.

“After becoming aware of a Human Resources issue, the Department of Conservation and Recreation began an internal investigation one week ago,’’ said DCR spokesman Troy Wall in a written statement Friday. “Because this is a personnel matter, the agency will not have any further comment regarding the issue.”

At the request of the Globe, the DCR released Case’s resignation letter, but the agency — and a spokesman for the governor — declined to discuss the details of why Case was forced to leave.

Case also resigned his board position at the Holyoke Soldiers Home, effective Friday.


Republican sources describe Case as a power broker in the Berkshires who is able to deliver other Western Massachusetts party committee members on major issues. “He’s a very respected Republican operator out west,’’ said a senior Republican who did want to be quoted by name.

GOP sources said Case was a critical supporter of Baker’s favored candidate Kirsten Hughes when she was challenged for another term as party chairwoman by a leader of the conservative wing of the party, Steve Aylward of Watertown.

Hughes had only a three-vote margin of publicly committed members on the 80-member state committee ahead of the vote. In the end, she won handily, 46 to 30.

Case’s resignation from his DCR job comes several months after the agency was hit with controversies over its staff’s misuse of resources. One incident occurred July 3, 2016, when DCR officials provided agency golf carts to ferry Republican Party officials and their guests around the Esplanade.

In another, a deputy commissioner was fired when he used the flashing lights on his state vehicle to get through a traffic-jammed Boston street during rush hour.

Baker appointed Case to be western regional director in February 2016. The office oversees 39 parks including Mount Greylock, Mount Holyoke, Mount Tom, and the Pittsfield State Forest.

Case, a Berkshire native and former Pittsfield police officer who served as a selectman in his hometown of Washington, retired after more than three decades from the Air Force. He served four tours of duty, including in Iraq and Bosnia.


Frank Phillips can be reached at frank.phillips@globe.com.