Joe Malone was the Treasurer of Massachusetts until 1998 when he gave up the post to run for governor, subsequently losing the Republican nomination to Paul Cellucci. During Malone's term a number of Treasury employees, some of them his friends, defraudedthe Commonwealth to the extent indicated. Nothing has tied Malone to the crime directly but his privatizing policies and protection of ranking aides did make the scam easier to accomplish. See July 24, 1999 and February 21, 1999 cartoons for other references to the Treasury scandal.
Thomas N. O'Brien was the Director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) until he was fired (one day after I drew this cartoon) for his role in the scandal referred to here. He apparently signed off on the low-cost resale of spectacular harbor-view condos in the old Charlestown Navy Yard to affluent buyers, even though the housing was intended for poor families. One unit sold for $158,462 to the BRA Chief of Staff, who is single and makes $90,000 a year.
The "housing profiteer" character was inspired by apartment owners and developers who whooped and hollered at the October 6 annual meeting of Boston's Rental Housing Association, when Governor Cellucci assured them that he would oppose any regulation or subsidy programs to combat skyrocketing rents in Boston. "The free market got us into this situation and it will be the free market that gets us out if it," said the Governor confidently.
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