Facing criminal indictment, DCR official placed on unpaid leave
Stop us if you’ve heard this one: A Republican-party-official-turned-state-parks-employee is in trouble. Again.
Christine Cedrone, a Quincy lawyer and one of several onetime state GOP officials hired at Governor Charlie Baker’s Department of Conservation and Recreation, is on unpaid leave from her $70,700-a-year state job after a grand jury indicted her on charges of stealing money from a client at her now-closed law firm.
The 48-year-old is slated to appear Monday in Norfolk Superior Court to face counts of fiduciary embezzlement and larceny of more than $1,200 from a person over 60 years old. The allegations, according to her attorney, are related to a civil lawsuit, in which she agreed to pay back more than $158,000 to the estate of a woman who had hired Cedrone to create a family trust, according to court documents.
Cedrone admitted to taking more than $164,000 from the woman, who has since died, and misusing “the funds for her own purposes” — despite repeatedly telling the woman for three years that she had deposited the money in the family trust, according to documents filed by counsel for the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers.
She initially paid back $20,000, and she later signed an agreement in the civil suit to pay back the rest, plus interest, according to the board petition and court documents.
Cedrone’s law license has been suspended since 2014, and the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers is weighing disciplining her for the third time in eight years, according to its website.
Troy Wall, a DCR spokesman, confirmed this week that Cedrone is also on unpaid administrative leave from her job as the agency’s assistant director of contracts, in which she’s responsible for reviewing award notices and requests for proposals but does not, according to Wall, directly handle any money.
“Because this is a personnel matter, no other information can be provided at this time,” Wall said.
Kevin Kirby, Cedrone’s attorney, declined to address the indictment.
A Quincy Republican, Cedrone has served as a Republican State Committee member, and in 2013, she introduced current party chair Kirsten Hughes at a state party meeting before Hughes was voted to her current post.
Her indictment, which was first reported by The Patriot Ledger, continues a line of Republicans facing trouble while working at DCR.
Longtime Republican operative and state committeeman, Matthew Sisk, was forced to resign in September 2016 after he used the blue lights on his state vehicle to get through rush-hour traffic in Boston. Just weeks earlier, he and DCR Commissioner Leo Roy were suspended for a week without pay for using several golf carts assigned to the Fourth of July events on the Esplanade to ferry a handful of GOP partygoers.
The next month, Michael Valanzola, a former GOP state Senate nominee, resigned, and his cousin, Jared, lost his DCR job after officials determined Jared tried to force a co-worker to persuade her fiance not to challenge a Republican state senator.
The problems continued in 2017, when Baker’s appointed western regional director, who is also a Republican State Committee member, was forced to resign his $91,000-a-year post after pornography was found on his state-issued computer.