Witness Thought Kickbacks Were Going To DiMasi

By Adam Reilly

May 24, 2011

BOSTON — The corruption trial of former House Speaker Sal DiMasi continued Tuesday with testimony from Bruce Major, the former business partner of Joseph Lally, the overeager software salesman turned government cooperating witness.

Lally and Major founded the software resale firm Montvale Solutions in 2005 and worked together until 2007. On the stand, the contrast between the two men was striking. During his testimony last week, Lally looked uncomfortable and spoke in stacatto, often grudging bursts. In contrast, Major was affable and articulate earlier today.

The former minor-league hockey player recalled a conversation with Lally in early 2007, as the Canadian software company Cognos was bidding on a state contract for "performance management" software that was ultimately worth $13 million. If the sale went through, Lally said, $500,000 of Montvale’s nearly $3 million commission would be paid to Richard Vitale, a close friend of then House Speaker Sal DiMasi. Major told Lally he assumed that DiMasi was getting a cut of that money — to which Lally angrily respoded: You don’t know where the money is going, I don’t know either, we don’t care, and it’s none of our business.

Major also recalled drafting legislative language aimed at assuring that that same $13 million dollar state contract went to Cognos — even though the company wasn’t mentioned by name. In his cross-examination, Vitale’s attorney Martin Weinberg suggested the $500,000 was actually paid to Vitale for legitimate services. Meanwhile, DiMasi’s attorney William Cintolo got Major to admit that he was never specifically informed of a plan to funnel kickbacks to the former speaker.

David Simas — a former deputy chief of staff to Governor Deval Patrick — also testified today. Simas is a former deputy chief of staff to Governor Deval Patrick; he later worked as a deputy assistant to President Barack Obama and is about to begin work in Chicago for Obama's re-election campaign. Simas told the prosecution that without DiMasi's interest, the $13 million contract to Cognos might never have been awarded. But during cross examination, Cintolo argued that the push to appropriate millions of dollars for performance management software was underway before DiMasi learned about it.

Former Administration and Finance Secretary Leslie Kirwan was also in court today – but didn’t make it to the stand. Simas's testimony continues tomorrow morning.


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