The state Attorney General’s office is now reviewing allegations that Middlesex Sheriff James DiPaola has been pocketing campaign cash, a probe that began the day after FOX Undercover revealed evidence he’s been using cash political donations as a personal slush fund.
The news follows DiPaola surprise announcement Sunday that he was resigning from office.
>> ON THE RIGHT: Listen to Sheriff James DiPaola react to the Fox Undercover investigation during an appearance on The Howie Carr Show.
FOX Undercover reported that a former high-ranking employee of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Department said under oath in a deposition and in a later interview that he and other employees routinely gave DiPaola cash donations that were never recorded with the state as required by law.
The former employee also said he and other workers acted as the DiPaola’s designated driver when the sheriff had too much to drink.
In an interview with FOX Undercover on Friday, DiPaola denied the accusations.
“Do you pocket cash campaign donations for your own personal use?” asked FOX Undercover’s Mike Beaudet.
“No I do not,” DiPaola replied.
“Do you use employees as drivers when you have too much to drink?” Beaudet asked.
“It’s not a matter of whether I've had too much to drink. On occasion, if I feel as though I'm tired, if I do want to have a designated driver, I'll take a driver from the office sometimes,” he said.
Sheriff DiPaola may soon have more people to answer to.
The day after our story aired, the Middlesex District Attorney's office referred the matter to Attorney General Martha Coakley. A spokesman says the AG’s office is reviewing the matter.
Jay Gonzalez, Gov. Deval Patrick’s top financial advisor, is also reacting.
“I don't know the facts behind this but to the extent the allegations are true, they're extremely disturbing. And it's one more example to the extent they are true of a situation where a public official is abusing public trust,” said Gonzalez, who is Patrick’s Secretary of Administration and Finance.
A spokesman for Sheriff DiPaola didn't return calls, but the sheriff told a local radio show he didn't resign because of our story and again denied wrongdoing.