Attorney General Martha Coakley was accused of playing pressure politics to avoid the bad publicity attached to her conflict of interest with the CEO of the Caritas Christi Health Care System.  The charge was made by the Coalition To Save Catholic Health Care.

            “Not only has Martha Coakley failed to respond to our letter 6 weeks ago asking that she recuse herself from any approval of a buyout of Caritas Christi by Cerberus Capital Management L.P.,” said Coalition Chairman R. T. Neary, “but she appears to be involved with the foot-dragging of the Massachusetts Ethics Commission, as well”.  Both government functions are housed in One Ashburton Place in Boston, so the process would be expected to move at a fairly rapid pace.  Instead the requests to both have been stretched out far beyond what would seem to be reasonable, raising additional serious questions.

            Dr. Ralph de la Torre and his wife made the maximum-allowable contributions to the recent failed campaign for the U.S. Senate by Coakley, $9,600 in total, and they hosted a fund-raiser for her in their home.  They invited Caritas Christi officials as well as a number of other guests. Dr. de la Torre would stand to benefit enormously by becoming CEO of the new Cerberus entity, Steward Health Care, LLC.  The salary, bonus arrangements and other perquisites have never been revealed by Cerberus, the 25 billion dollar giant.

            The Massachusetts Ethics Commission was established to be an independent state agency whose Mission Statement calls for it “to foster integrity in public service” and “to prevent conflicts between private interests and public duties.”

             James McKenna, a Millbury lawyer, amassed over 27,000 write-in votes in the primary to have his name placed on the ballot of the Republican Party, which was unwilling to nominate a candidate to oppose Coakley.

             “Perhaps the fact that Attorney General Coakley now has an opponent in the upcoming election will make clear that her sense of entitlement is strictly subjective,” said Neary.  “She must respond to legitimate requests by citizens seeking to have integrity and transparency evident in her actions. These negotiations have been fraught with deceit, nebulous figures and outright lies, yet the entities seem to be operating as though they are above the law,” he added.

             The Coalition seeks to have negotiations with venture capital company Cerberus terminated, and to have the Roman Catholic identity and ownership preserved permanently.  They strongly disagree with statements that the chain is in bad financial condition, and call for complete disclosures of all facets of the proposed deal.  Both sides have refused to do so.