BPPA Members Should Probably Read This (Shit Boston Cops Say Follow-Up)

One week after the Phoenix featured the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association (BPPA) and its racist newsletter on our cover, the union responded with a letter on its web site – not just to us, but to the general “media fury” that's exploded since the release of their May-June issue. It is not an apology letter. Quite the opposite actually; it reads, “We utterly reject the ugly accusations which are currently being hurled against [Pax editor] Jim Carnell, our Union, and our members.”

Prior to this, the only BPPA response to recent inquires about the Pax was to pull the archives offline (the union did not return calls from the Phoenix or any other news outlets). This was seen by some as an admission of guilt – not so, it turns out. “To the extent that critics gratuitously call us bigots or racists,” the anonymous message reads, “we wholly reject such scurrilous attacks.”

The letter continues, “For many years, Jim has taken on a thankless task of trying to keep our members, the police community, and our supporters apprised of the issues confronting us and the battles we have waged.” In fact, Carnell is generously compensated by the BPPA; he earns more than $6000 a year for his position as a union representative – more than six times what most reps make, and the biggest take for any delegate.

Furthermore, the letter addresses the BPPA scholarship fund: “Most, and in recent years, all of the net revenues derived from advertising in the PAX have funded scholarships for the children of our members. These scholarships are distributed by a lottery with each member having an equal opportunity to advance his or her child’s education. For the support for these scholarships we have received from our advertisers, we and our members are enormously grateful.”

We've turned up more information – a mere fraction of their revenue goes toward such educational opportunities. In 2009-2010, for example, the BPPA only gave away $44,000 in scholarships ($1000 to 44 recipients) despite selling $336,494 in advertising. That was an improvement from the year before, when they raised more than $400,000 in ad revenue and reported no scholarships expenditures at all. (The BPPA did, however, spend more than $100,000 on golf outings and retirement parties between 2008-2010. In that time they also spent more than $500,000 on "advertising sales" to a "Commonwealth Production" at 264 Raynor Ave. in Whitman. According to the Secretary of State's records, there is no such entity at that address.

ETA: There is a record of a Commonwealth Productions, which stated in its incorporation papers that its purpose was "distributor of a trade or organizational publication," as well as "fundraising ... including 'charitable solicitation'" for the BPPA. The manager is listed as Lisa M. Hutchinson at an address in Braintree; property records show that she also owns or owned the property on Raynor Ave. in Whitman.

(But more on that later...)

Further developments are being sought by a number of watchdogs, most notably the ad-hoc Occupy Boston-related group Clean Up BPPA. In addition to impugning the union's questionable tax filings, bloggers there have also posted footage of what it looks like when the type of vitriol that permeates Pax plays out in real-life, and becomes more than just rhetoric. Stay tuned. Unlike times in the past when the Pax has come under scrutiny, it doesn't look like this story will disappear anytime soon.

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