The union that represents Massachusetts State Police troopers and sergeants Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to stop paying the legal fees of its former president who was indicted last week on a host of federal charges, according to a statement from the group.
The 1,900-member State Police Association of Massachusetts made the move to cease footing Dana A. Pullman’s legal bills by rescinding a prior union membership vote that took place in January.
“This decision puts the organization one step closer to the significant internal reforms that are already underway,” read the union statement.
Pullman resigned last year amid a federal probe into possible illegal reimbursement of campaign donations by union members. He was indicated last week on charges that included racketeering and conspiracy, and could face decades behind bars if convicted. Through an attorney, he has denied the charges.
Early Thursday, Pullman’s attorney, Martin G. Weinberg said his client “worked tirelessly and successfully to lead and support” the union.
“He never compromised his loyalty to the members of the union,” Weinberg said in a text.
Weinberg said Pullman “intends to fight to clear his name regardless of tonight’s vote which was one clearly dictated by union politics.”
“Dana Pullman’s extraordinary accomplishments as a union president entitled him to a different result,” said Weinberg.
This week has been a tumultuous one for the union, which is one of the most powerful labor groups in the state.
The person who succeeded Pullman as union president, Sergeant Mark Lynch, resigned on Monday, citing conflict with the executive board. Lynch would have faced a recall vote on Wednesday, after more than 500 union members signed a petition calling for his removal.
A day later, the union announced it had a new president: Trooper Corey J. Mackey.
“As an Association we must do better,” Mackey said in a Tuesday newsletter to membership. “We must become better. We must reform. It is my intention to start this reform immediately.”
In a newsletter sent earlier this month, then-union president Lynch indicated that the union’s executive board met in late August and voted 7 to 5 that the union continue to pay Pullman’s legal fees through to the end of trial. Lynch voted “no.” On Wednesday, a majority of union membership concurred with him.
Pullman served as the head of the union, known by the acronym SPAM, from 2012 until September 2018. He was arrested last month and accused of taking kickbacks from the union’s former lobbyist and using union money for personal expenses including meals, travel, flowers, and gifts for a girlfriend.
The lobbyist, Anne M. Lynch, was also arrested, accused of paying Pullman, 57, of Worcester, thousands of dollars in kickbacks for steering business to her firm.
A federal grand jury Thursday broadened the charges, adding new tax fraud counts and a third alleged kickback scheme. Lynch, 68, of Hull, allegedly paid two checks totalling $11,250 to Pullman’s wife, allegedly for his help connecting a State Police Association of Massachusetts lawyer with Lynch. The lawyer, who is not named in the indictment, was seeking a marijuana dispensary license.
Pullman and Lynch were also charged with attempting to obstruct the grand jury’s investigation into the matter by manipulating subpoenaed records. Lynch also allegedly lied to investigators, according to federal authorities.
They also face numerous other counts, including charges of racketeering conspiracy, racketeering, fraud, and fraud conspiracy. Each of those charges provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, according to federal authorities.