State officials revoke former speaker DiMasi's pension

FILE - In this Wednesday, June 15, 2011 file photo former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi walks out of the Federal courthouse in Boston after his conviction on conspiracy and other charges in a scheme to steer two state contracts worth $17.5 million to a software firm in exchange for payments. Defense lawyers for DiMasi argued in an appeal filed Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012 that federal prosecutors failed to prove that the former Massachusetts House Speaker accepted payments in exchange for official acts. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File)
DiMasi emerging from the courthouse after his June 2011 conviction on corruption charges.
Stephan Savoia/AP

State pension officials today revoked former House speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi’s annual pension of $60,142, the treasurer’s office said.

DiMasi, once a political powerhouse, is now serving an eight-year sentence in federal prison for corruption. He is also battling cancer.

His pension had already been suspended last September after his sentencing in federal court.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Treasurer Steven Grossman chairs the State Board of Retirement.

In September, after the unanimous suspension vote, Grossman said, “We have a job to do, and first and foremost that is to protect taxpayer’s money. It does not include paying pension benefits to people convicted of a crime in the performance of their office.”

Grossman said at the time that DiMasi had contributed $127,000 to the state pension fund during his years as a state employee and a total of $154,600 had been paid out to him.

DiMasi last week appealed his conviction, arguing that federal prosecutors failed to prove that he knowingly accepted kickbacks in return for using his political power.

DiMasi’s attorney, Thomas R. Kiley, who has battled in court to preserve the pension, said he expected to go to court again.

“My operating assumption will be that we will be amending our pleadings in Boston Municipal Court and pursue our remedies there,” he said.

Kiley argued that DiMasi had not been “finally convicted” and said it would be a draconian penalty to take away the pension, which was based on money DiMasi had paid into the retirement system.

DiMasi “earned it” after decades of public service, he said.