Feds Aim to Take Down Cambridge Lawyer Who Once Seemed Destined for Politics

Thursday, May 28, 2015

I read the news today of the federal indictment against Attorney Tim Flaherty, who once came close to winning the Cambridge-Everett seat in the Massachusetts Senate and now stands accused of tampering with a witness in a criminal case.  Oh, boy.

It was a big surprise to me that Flaherty was indicted. He’s smart and has always had his head screwed on straight.
Several years ago, my firm worked with Flaherty on a case before the Cambridge Zoning Board of Appeals for a client we had in common.   It was a quick assignment, over in less than a month.  I have not had any contact with him since.  I doubt that he could up with my name if he bumped into me on a sidewalk or subway car. 

If I did bump into him, I’d shake his hand hard and try to project as much warmth as I could.  I like him, I trust him, I respect him.
A federal grand jury says Flaherty paid a man who was the victim of a bigotry-tinged assault and battery to stop cooperating with the authorities who were prosecuting the alleged perpetrator of the assault, thus making the case go away.  At the time of the alleged payment, Flaherty was serving as the alleged perpetrator’s attorney. 

Flaherty’s client was arraigned in Cambridge District Court on December 15, 2014.  That afternoon, according to the indictment, Flaherty called the alleged victim, apologized to him on behalf of his client, and “then offered the victim $1,000 to $2,000 if the victim was willing to tell the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office that he was too busy to appear in court and was not interested in cooperating with authorities.”
The indictment further states that:

  • On December 17, 2014, “…Flaherty called the victim and informed him that he had $2,500 in cash that he was prepared to give to the victim in exchange for the victim not appearing in court to testify against Flaherty’s client.”
  • “On or about December 23, 2014, at the direction of law enforcement, the victim called defendant Flaherty and accepted Flaherty’s offer of $2,500 in exchange for the victim advising the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office that he was too busy to appear in court and was no longer interested in the case.”
  • “On or about December 24, 2014, the victim met defendant Flaherty at a coffee shop in Medford, MA.  Defendant Flaherty provided the victim with an envelope containing $2,500 cash and instructed the victim, among other things, that if anyone ‘from the court’ contacted the victim, ‘just f***king ignore it because they will never bother you.’ "

It’s probably safe to assume that law enforcement was audiotaping the 12-23-14 conversation and both audiotaping and videotaping the 12-24-14 encounter in the coffee shop.  If so, it could be difficult for Flaherty to dismiss the accusations as a he-said/I-said misunderstanding.
The son of a former Speaker of the Massachusetts House, Flaherty, age 50, has many loyal friends and admirers.  Some were quick to defend him publicly after the indictment was made public yesterday afternoon.

Terrence Kennedy, a popular Everett-based attorney and member of the Governor’s Council, which approves judicial nominations, was quoted in the Boston Herald as saying, “…He (Flaherty) may have chosen his words poorly, but this is a good, honest lawyer.  I am outraged by the indictment.  I’m outraged by the way it was handled.  Criminal defense is a minefield, and any of us can get blown up.”
Flaherty’s defenders pointed out to the Herald that criminal defense attorneys offer settlements to accusers every day of the week.

I am inclined to agree with Councilor Kennedy.  If the case goes to trial, we’ll likely find there’s a great deal of ambiguity in the recorded conversations between Flaherty and the alleged victim.  I can’t believe Flaherty would approach a situation like this in the ham-handed way described in the indictment.
Regardless of what I think, Flaherty is in a huge heap of trouble.  When the feds decide to come down on you with their full power and resources, as they have with Flaherty, they can ruin you even if, ultimately, you are found innocent.  You will lose most if not all of your assets in paying for a necessary first-class defense.  You will lose so much shine from your professional reputation that you can never come close to recovering your full earning power.  And you will suffer the endless scorn of cynics who will always say you are crooked even though you were exonerated in a court of law.  Then there’s the toll a case like this takes on your physical and emotional well-being.  All ugly. 

UPDATE:  On June 3, 2016, Flaherty pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disrupting a state court proceeding , and was ordered to serve one year of probation.  He will not be able to practice law during that year and must report his conviction to the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers, which could penalize him in some fashion.

Senate Wants to Spend $2 Million to Gain Much More Than That in Tobacco Taxes

Friday, May 22, 2015

Before long we could have a new, state-funded team of revenue agents targeting the illegal sale of tobacco products in Massachusetts, a surprisingly profitable criminal endeavor.

This past week, the Massachusetts Senate included $2 million in its version of the new state budget to create a “multi-agency illegal tobacco task force.”   The House of Representatives and governor still have to give their approvals before the expenditure can go forward.
The case for spending that money is convincing.  I’d be surprised if the envisaged task force is not up and running by the fall under the auspices of the Department of Revenue.  A specially appointed nine-member group known as the Commission on Illegal Tobacco, which studied the issue back in 2013-14, estimated the state could operate a 20-member task force on an annual budget of $2 million.

In recommending a new task force, the commission said “lost revenue from illegal tobacco distribution” ranged from $62 million to $246 million per year.  It noted that, if the state could recover even 10% of those sums, “revenue protection and enhancement of between $6.2 and $24.6 million” would result.  
In other words, a $2 million task force would pay for itself many times over.

Massachusetts is a hotbed of illegal selling of cigarettes, cigars and related products, such as chewing tobacco, for the simple reason that we tax the hell out of these products.  The higher the taxes on anything, the harder and more ingeniously some persons work to beat the system.
According to the commission’s formal report, submitted March 1, 2014, “Violators avoid paying the tobacco excise and sales taxes in Massachusetts in multiple ways, including individual bootlegging, organized wholesale domestic smuggling, international smuggling, and counterfeits,” that is, cigarettes made in unlicensed facilities and packaged for sale as established brands.

At $3.51 a pack, Massachusetts has the second-highest taxes on cigarettes in the U.S., behind New York, at $4.35 a pack. 
By contrast, Vermont taxes cigarettes at $2.62, the 9th highest rate; Maine at $2.00, 12th highest; and New Hampshire at $1.78, 18th highest. 

The other New England states, Rhode Island and Connecticut, have the third- and fourth-highest cigarette tax rates, respectively:  Rhode Island’s is $3.50, one penny below Massachusetts;  Connecticut’s is $3.40.
The Massachusetts legislature voted in 2013 to raise the per-pack taxes on cigarettes by $1 to $3.51.  The commission estimated the impact of that change at $157 million in annual additional state revenue.  The commission also estimated that the total cost of cigarette tax avoidance would rise by $24 million per year to $129 million.

Thus, the net advantage to the state of the new rate would be $133 million, ($157 million minus $24 million).
I’m sure there are folks who believe we’re overdoing it with tobacco taxes, that we’re forcing ordinary citizens into criminal behaviors by having the second-highest cigarette taxes.  Why can’t we be more reasonable, they probably wonder, like, say, Ohio, which has a per-pack cigarette tax of $1.25, the 28th highest in the nation?

I understand that view but I’ll never be won over by it.  Our “unreasonable” taxes have produced a smoking rate among Massachusetts high school students of 10.7% versus a national average among high schoolers of 15.7%. 
Anything that keeps kids off the cancer feed is good.

 

 

 

Blogster's Miscellany, or How FBI Could Be as Stupid as Any Other Outfit in History

Friday, May 15, 2015

‘DON’T WORRY, MR. HOOVER, WE’RE ALL OVER THAT DANGEROUS SONG.’  From the story of Whitey Bulger and the unfaithful federal agents he bent to his will, we know the Federal Bureau of Investigation is vulnerable to corruption.  From the story of Jack Ely, we know the FBI is vulnerable to idiocy.  Ely, who died last month at age 71 in Oregon, was the lead vocalist for The Kingsmen.  In 1963, he recorded a famously incomprehensible version of “Louie Louie,” one of the most frequently heard, not to mention overrated, songs of the Sixties and Seventies.  The way Ely performed it, you couldn’t tell what the hell he was saying.  Many listeners, straining to discern the messages they felt certain were hidden in the garble, concluded the words were dirty.  In 1964, an Indiana parent wrote to then Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, complaining about “Louie Louie” and declaring, “The lyrics are so filthy that I cannot enclose them in this letter.”   RFK turned the matter over to J. Edgar Hoover.  Next thing you know, the FBI and other agencies were conducting a full-scale investigation, complete with serious attempts at decrypting the lyrics in an FBI audio lab.  In an obituary on Ely published April 29, the New York Times reported that, “…After more than two years and a 455-page report, the bureau concluded that three governmental agencies dropped their investigations because they were unable to determine what the lyrics of the song were, even after listening to the records at speeds ranging from 16 r.p.m. to 78 r.p.m.”  There’s no comparison between corruption in the Boston office and a crazy quest for evidence of obscenity in the agency’s Washington headquarters.  People got wasted in Boston.  Only time and taxpayer dollars were wasted in D.C.

THAT STATE HOUSE AIN’T ALL IT’S CRACKED UP TO BE: When interviewing the author of a book on the astronauts, Stephen Colbert, late of the Daily Show and soon to be David Letterman’s replacement, noted that more astronauts have come from Ohio than any other state.  Colbert asked, “What is it about Ohio that makes people want to flee this world?”  Observing recent developments in the legislature, it’s only right to paraphrase Colbert by asking, “What is it about the State House that makes people want to flee to city halls?”  Yesterday, The Republican newspaper of Springfield had a report on the latest legislator to announce his candidacy for mayor. Third-term State Rep. Mike Finn, who was just re-elected in November, will be a candidate for mayor of West Springfield this year.  “No matter how many miles I have commuted to Boston the last several years, I have never lost focus on what matters most to me – serving West Springfield and its citizens,” Finn was quoted as saying.  Given that it’s a four-hour commute to Boston, two hours each way, Finn may have unconsciously offered up a motivational key: the not-unreasonable desire to spend less time behind the wheel, dodging tractor trailer trucks on the merciless Mass. Pike.  Not two weeks ago, longtime State Senator Bob Hedlund, a rock and roll aficionado who can probably recite the actual lyrics of “Louie Louie,” announced he would be a candidate for mayor of Weymouth.  If his decision to take on the incumbent, Mayor Susan Kay, pans out, Hedlund would potentially put the Republican Party in a bind.  He is one of only six Republicans in the 40-member Senate.  Republicans will not have an easy time holding onto the seat if Hedlund, who has the gift of being effortlessly likeable, is not on the ballot in the Plymouth/Norfolk senatorial district.  Other legislators who have decided to run for mayor in their respective communities are Rep. Steve DiNatale of Fitchburg and Rep. Thomas Stanley of Waltham. And Rep. Paul Donato, according to the State House News Service, has said he is considering a run for the mayor’s office in Medford, which will be vacated at the end of this year by the dean of all Massachusetts mayors, the incomparable Michael McGlynn, who is retiring, like Rocky Marciano, undefeated. 

TRY TITLE ‘MADAME MAYOR’ ON FOR SIZE, MARTHA:  Looking at that open mayor’s seat in Medford, and recalling a recent news article in which former Attorney General Martha Coakley of Medford said she intends to keep trying to influence public policy in areas she cares about, I thought: Why not run for mayor, Martha?  I am serious.  Coakley still has much to offer the public, and she’s way too young to retire.  The problem is that most politicians are not willing ever to take what might be perceived as a downward step.  I contend, on the other hand, that the example of John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States, should have long ago removed for all time the stigma from such a move in this great country of ours.  After losing his presidential re-election bid in 1828, Adams ran for the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts and went on to serve with distinction for 17 years, almost nine terms, in what  was then often referred to as “the people’s House.”  He distinguished himself as a fierce and relentless enemy of slavery, driving his southern colleagues nearly out of their minds with anger.  (The defenders of that most odious of institutions were so rattled by Adams they passed a binding resolution preventing him from continuing to introduce anti-slavery resolutions.)  Martha, think about it.  There must be plenty of things in your city worth your fighting  for.

HAPPY THE MAN WHOSE BOYHOOD DREAM COMES TRUE: I don’t know how he did it. Mike McGlynn, who has served as mayor of Medford since 1988, has aged like every other mortal.  Unlike most of us, however, Mike retains a youthful delight with his lot in life.  Perhaps that’s the key to his equally phenomenal energy and popularity.  Upon the announcement of his decision to retire from politics, McGlynn was quoted by Wicked Local Medford as saying, “We live in a great city with a diverse population, rich with history, and I am grateful to all of Medford’s residents for the privilege to serve them.  I met President-Elect John F. Kennedy, on January 9, 1961, at the State house with my father, Jack McGlynn, who was then the mayor and the state representative, and with my godfather/uncle, State Rep. Michael Catino.  That night, before bedtime, I told my father I wanted to be the mayor of Medford.  He said, ‘Go to bed, we will talk about it in the morning.’  Thank you, JFK, Dad, and the City of Medford.”   

NEVER GOT THE MEMO ABOUT NEVER SAYING NEVER:   I like how he said it -- plain and direct, with no fuzziness or weasel words -- but I can’t figure out why he said it.  While being interviewed on stage at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum on the night of April 21 by Boston Globe editor Brian McGrory, Governor Charlie Baker was asked if he would ever run for president of the United States.  “No, I’m never running for president,” he said without hesitation. “I had enough trouble running for governor.”  Very “unpolitical” of Baker, I'd say.  Why, so early in what is shaping up to be a very promising governorship, close off the possibility of serving in the world’s highest and most enviable office, especially when you belong to a party that is desperate for centrist, non-ideological, straight-shooting problem-solvers like yourself?  Why not at least leave the door open a crack and say something like, “I’m flattered even to be asked that question.  But it’s way too early to speculate on what I might do in the future.  I’m concentrating totally on my job as governor.”  Could it be that simple? Could Baker be different from most men and women who have ever won a race for governor, you know, the garden-variety, wildly ambitious folks who immediately indulge themselves in the fantasy, the dream, at least the glimmer of a dream, of one day occupying the White House?  As we chin-rubbers like to say, Time will tell.

 

 

Biz Groups with Statewide Outlook Cry for Solution to MBTA Quagmire

Friday, May 8, 2015

I am starting to think something might actually be done to fix the MBTA.  At the end of that process we might even have a public transportation system as good, say, as Chicago’s, where the trains don’t break down when it gets really cold and snow falls furiously from the sky.

I say that because Charlie Baker stuck his neck out a mile when he took “ownership” of the T:  the governor wants to get re-elected and could have a hard time doing that if obvious progress has not been made at the T by November, 2018.
I’m also encouraged that the state’s heavy hitters are trying to keep the spotlight on the MBTA at precisely the time when the longer days and warmer breezes of spring are otherwise softening our memories of what it was like to ride the T in February.   Even knee-jerk skeptics like myself, who suffer from acute post-mass-transpo traumatic stress syndrome, are already looking back on the winter of 2014-15 and saying things like, “You know, it really wasn’t that bad that night they put us off the trains and I was stranded in zero-degree weather for over two hours.  It wasn’t like I was being held hostage by terrorists or something.”

On April 29, a coalition of 25 business associations urged the governor and legislature to adopt the recommendations of the governor’s Special Panel to Review the MBTA.  It’s time to “swiftly begin the task of fixing the state’s public transit system,” coalition members said.
The Business Coalition, as it calls itself, includes the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the 495/MetroWest Partnership, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield, the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, the Massachusetts High Tech Council, the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Lodging Association, the Greater Boston Real Estate Board, and the Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties.

The statewide orientation of most coalition members is pertinent in the extreme as it evidences an historic co-dependence.  A high-functioning transportation system in Greater Boston is intrinsic to the health of the entire Massachusetts economy, and vice versa.
Here’s how the Business Coalition summarized the effects of the MBTA’s massive winter-time failure:

“The unreliability of our public transit system caused many businesses to lose substantial revenues from the loss of productivity due to delays and/or the inability of workers to get to work.  Many hourly workers forfeited wages; and the Commonwealth forfeited the income, sales and meals tax associated therewith.  A sub-optimal public transit system also caused roadways to be more congested than usual and commuting times to grow to unreasonable lengths for those who opted to drive or were transporting goods.  The adverse financial impacts totaled in the billions of dollars.  This is unacceptable and must not be repeated.”
This must be repeated: “The adverse financial impacts totaled in the billions of dollars.”

Here’s another, new way of measuring the benefits of good public transportation and the costs of bad.

The New York Times reported yesterday on the latest results from a long-term study of upward mobility by a team of Harvard academics.  Commuting time “has emerged as the single strongest factor in the odds of escaping poverty,” the Times said.  “The longer an average commute in a given county, the worse the chances of low-income families there moving up the ladder.”
Paraphrasing Nathaniel Hendren, a Harvard economist and researcher, the Times said: “The impact of transportation on social mobility is stronger than several other factors, like crime, elementary-school test scores or the percentage of two-parent families in a community.”

So, bad public transportation not only suppresses economic activity and reduces the tax revenue that supports all governmental services, it also makes it harder for persons to rise out of poverty and for poor parents to set their children up for better lives.
The state of the MBTA is a much bigger story than we customarily believe it to be. 

You can read that New York Times piece, “Transportation Emerges as Crucial to Escaping Poverty,” by going to:


 

House Budget Debate Flares into Actual Debate, re: Delay of Earned Sick Time Law

Friday, May 1, 2015

Republicans in the Massachusetts House made a spirited attempt this week to delay implementation of a new earned sick time law through an amendment to the House version of the new state budget, but with only ten Democrats voting for the amendment, it didn’t have a chance.

Will advocates of delay, who include a well-respected Democratic state senator and the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the state’s premier business group, throw in the towel?  Or will they make another stab at postponement during upcoming Senate budget deliberations?

As we chin-rubbers like to say: time will tell.

The amendment in question would have delayed implementation of Chapter 505 of the Acts of 2014 for three months after the day on which the attorney general releases the final regulations spelling out how employers are to comply with the law.

Chapter 505 requires all businesses with 11 or more employees to give everyone 40 hours of paid sick time per year, and businesses with fewer than 11 employees to allow unpaid sick time of at least 40 hours.

In November, 2014, voters approved (59-41 percent) a statewide referendum mandating earned sick time across the board. The measure was subsequently codified in Chapter 505, with the stipulation the law take effect on July 1, 2015.  As is often the case, the law directed the attorney general to adopt rules and regulations necessary to carry out the purpose and provisions of the legislation.

Attorney General Maura Healey filed a draft set of Chapter 505 regulations with the office of the secretary of state on Friday, April 24, and announced a schedule of six public hearings where anyone may suggest changes to the regulations.  The hearings will be held at locations around the state, starting  May 18 and ending June 5.  Healey has said she will accept comments on the regulations through June 10 and expects to issue the final set sometime around the middle of June.  She has made it clear that, barring some new action by the legislature and governor, the law will go into effect on July 1.

It should be noted that, under the draft regulations, employees would begin to accrue sick time on the dates they were hired.

House Minority Leader Brad Jones of North Reading originally filed an amendment to the House budget that would have delayed implementation of Chapter 505 until January 1, 2016.  He subsequently changed the wording so as to delay implementation until “90 days following the promulgation and release of regulations by the office of the attorney general…”

Thus, if Jones’s amendment had been adopted in the House, and if a similar measure were adopted in the Senate, and if the governor were to approve that measure as part of the overall new budget, Chapter 505 would take effect sometime in mid-September, rather than on July 1.  We’re talking a two-and-a-half month delay here.

Just after 2:00 P.M. this Wednesday (April 29), Jones rose on the House floor to explain the amendment.  He said, in part, “Just this week the regulations came out in a draft form for a public comment that ends in June. So the regulations wouldn't be finalized until just days before this takes effect, so businesses will have only a matter of days to make changes to payroll and how they run their business.”

Jones emphasized, “This (amendment) does not seek any changes to the law made by voters. I'm sensitive to the fact that voters chose this law. But the regulatory framework is far behind, especially as this chamber has kept treble damages. I'll harken back to the tech tax and it took effect before the Department of Revenue even knew what it all meant."

[NOTE:  All statements by legislators quoted in this post have been excerpted from a State House News Service account of the proceedings in the House on the afternoon of April 29.]

Rep. John Scibak, a Democrat from South Hadley, spoke next.  “It's an interesting situation that we're in,” he said. “We had a referendum vote in November. The vote was clear. The gentleman (Jones) said we're not changing anything. In reality we are. Suspending this for 90 days means an employee can't accrue that sick time. It's true the regulations were released Friday. The attorney general is seeking feedback on the draft. We should let the process play out. We're looking at a change based on speculation. So we’re being asked to delay this without any hearing, any input, but just a feeling.”

In reply, Jones said, “I appreciate the comments of the gentleman from the west, but are they saying the draft regulations are a done deal and the public comment period is a ministerial fa├žade? That concerns me. It sounds like we don't care. We know what the regulations are. They came out last Friday. Look at the tech tax, done in a rush. We're not proposing one i or dot be changed. We just say let there be a 90- day period as there is with most laws we pass, so people know what the ground rules are. I don't think that's unreasonable.”

With the “tech tax,” Jones was referring to a controversial 6.24% sales tax on a range of computer and software services, which was passed by the legislature early in 2013 as part of a transportation infrastructure funding bill.  Once the business community realized the impacts the tax would have, it mobilized against the law in a way seldom seen in Massachusetts.  Many businesses threatened to leave the state if the law stayed on the books.  The legislature quickly repealed it, and the governor just as quickly signed the repeal into law.

Rep. Sheila Harrington, a Republican from Groton, said, “What we learned from the tech tax was that we found out we made a few mistakes and we repealed it. Let's make sure we don't have egg on our face three months after the law is implemented. I think the tech tax taught us a lesson. We don't know all the facts right now, and we may have a lot of problems with the implementation.”

Rep. Kenneth Gordon, a Democrat from Bedford, said, “This is a matter of carrying out the will of the ballot initiative. And we're talking about calculating dates, here.  In 90 days, there are people who will get sick. The balance is important to take into account. People who are getting sick are relying on this.”

Rep. Shauna O'Connell, a Republican from Taunton, said, “I think it's interesting that there is talk of not ignoring the will of the voters, but that certainly did happen when voters decided to roll back the income tax to 5 percent. That was supposed to be a temporary tax. Now we're not going to give the business community a break. This does a great injustice to the small business communities, to people who are self-employed. Ninety days is perfectly reasonable.”

Rep. Denise Provost, a Democrat from Somerville, said, “…the analogy to the tech tax is not a good one at all. There is no ambiguity in the parameters of the sick leave law. It was clear on the ballot.
Whereas (with) the tech tax, it was never clear what the entity was that was going to be taxed, and that's why some of us voted against it.”

Rep. Byron Rushing, a Democrat from Boston, said, “I want to speak against this amendment because we do this process all the time and it is unusual that when we have laws passed by the people directly - and when was it passed? It was passed in November. In November businesses could begin thinking, What are the problems they need to solve to carry out this law in July?

“I don't know how many businesses belong to associations, but I do know that most of the organizations spent tons of money mailing me. They are out there working to change laws all the time. Most of the businesses in this state have sources. They have help in what they are asking for, changes in the preliminary regulations. If they are given another three months they will come to us at the beginning of the fall saying delay it again.

“Let us let the process go. Look at the preliminary regulations and give all the opinions they wish to give. Let's see what those permanent regulations are. If the attorney general is not having hearings, or it is a setup process like the minority leader suggested, then let us come back here. We're not going anywhere. We have a lot of work to do. But let us not assume that the system is not going to work. I think the system's going to work and I think we have time if, in some strange happening, the system falls apart and we come to the end of May and it looks like no one knows what they're doing.”

At Jones’s request, there was a roll call vote on the amendment, meaning every member in the House chamber at that time was recorded in favor or opposed.  This differed from the quick voice votes on which most budget amendments are decided in the legislature.

Forty-five representatives were recorded in favor of the Jones amendment and 114 were in opposition.  One member of the House, Edward Coppinger, a Democrat from Boston, was absent at the time.

Of the 160 members of the House, 35 are Republicans.

Of the 125 Democrats in the House, 10 voted in favor of the Jones amendment.  Those 10 are:

Bruce Ayers of Quincy, Thomas Calter of Kingston, Josh Cutler of Duxbury, Stephen  DiNatale of Fitchburg, James Dwyer of Woburn, Colleen Garry of Dracut, William Pignatelli of Lee, Dennis Rosa of Leominster, Walter Timilty of Milton, and Jonathan Zlotnik of Gardner.