“We disagree with the Appeals Court that a 47-year career, pension worth $1 million, that was earned with blood, sweat and tears, should be taken away for the theft of $500 worth of dirt,” Gleason said in a January interview about Flaherty’s conviction for stealing paving material from the city. “After we exhaust our options in state court, we’ll go to federal court if we have to. We’re going all the way.”
Gleason could not be reached yesterday for comment on the new court ruling.
In May 2009, Flaherty was convicted by a jury of felony larceny over $250 and pleaded guilty to three counts of filing false tax returns following his trial in Salem Superior Court. He was also indicted but found not guilty of procurement fraud and improper compensation by a municipal employee.
Three months later, the city’s Retirement Board revoked Flaherty’s pension, based on a law that states a person convicted of using his public position to steal from the public forfeits the right to collect the benefit.
Gleason has said many public officials in Massachusetts, including some right here in Haverhill, have committed more serious crimes but were allowed to keep their pensions.