Refunds in the mail for Baker-Polito administration

Restitution is a great word — it means returning some money or other valuables that were lost or stolen to its rightful owner.

Restitution is a great word — it means returning some money or other valuables that were lost or stolen to its rightful owner.

It’s a feel-good word most often spoken in courtrooms, when a judge orders a convicted scammer or embezzler or robber to make “restitution” to his victims.

When you read “restitution,” you may feel good for a moment. But then you get to the next paragraph and you learn that the perp, after stealing maybe $30 million, is indigent, and thus will only be required to pay back the victims for the rest of his crooked life at the rate of, say, $25 a month.

But this is that rare story about restitution in which the scammers actually do give the money back, or at least some of it.

C’mon down, failed Gov. Charlie Baker and his equally bust-out sidekick, Lt. Gov. Karyn “Pay to Play” Polito.

In November, claiming that they were planning to run for re-election, the Bonnie and Clyde of Massachusetts politics relieved hundreds of assorted marks of a total of more than $481,000 in campaign contributions.

Then, as dawn broke on Dec. 1, they announced that, on second thought, they were throwing in the towel.

It was shocking, the size of the haul in their final spree.

At the time I suggested that the BPD’s bunco squad, if it still exists, should begin a probe of the Baker-Polito “pump ‘n’ dump” boiler room grift. On Beacon Hill, the Baker-Polito administration is now referred to as the Fraud Squad.

But now it turns out that the victims of this confidence game have been taking matters into their own hands, and demanding refunds from the Fraud Squad.

According to the latest documents filed with the state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance, last month Baker handed out about $67,000 in “refunds,” and Pay to Play’s patrons clawed back $23,000.

It’s not like the Fraud Squad can’t afford not to do the right thing. Polito still has $2.4 million on hand, and Charlie Parker is sitting on $624,262.

I wanted to know if the bust-out campaigns had offered to refund money to the people they’d conned, or if the victims had had to reach out on their own.

Alas, a hack on the moribund Charlie Parker committee, Jim Conroy, did not return repeated phone calls. Pay to Play Polito, whose cell-phone number I have, likewise did not return a call left for her.

The stampede to get their money back appears to have started with former Red Sox boss Larry Lucchino. He kicked in $500 last summer, and got his money back on Dec. 23. In other words, he got a refund, unlike with so many of his ill-advised free-agent acquisitions for the Olde Towne Team over the decades.

Another Baker fat cat who moved instantly for a refund, even before Christmas, was Thomas O’Connell from Marina Bay. He ponied up $500 Nov. 30, hours before the grift was exposed, and had his money back by Dec. 16.

Samuel Cabot of Beverly Farms sprung for $500 on Nov. 15, and was made whole again on Dec. 28.

Three people with the last name of Sepe from Cranston, R.I., each got $1,000 back. One Daniel Passacantilli got $1,000 refunds from both Parker and Pay to Play.

Most people give money to incumbent politicians expecting something in return. Take ex-Rep. Tom Petrolati of Ludlow for example. His wife Kathleen has or had a lucrative hack job in the Trial Court, and pocketed $139,150 last year.

(Petro, as he was known on Beacon Hill, is at age 64 now on a state-tax-free pension of $73,440 a year, which works out to a monthly kiss in the mail of $6,120.06.)

It’s only common sense for a career payroll patriot to take care of his wife’s employer. Conversely, it’s only common sense to not give money to your spouse’s former employer.

Thus Petro, whose wife Kathleen gave $250 in November, has collected a refund of $250 since Baker threw in the towel.

Lobbyists are a steady source of money to the denizens of the hackerama, although they can only chip in $200 per calendar year, as opposed to $1,000 for everyone else. (The lobbyists, who write many of the laws at the State House, obviously wrote this one, because it saves them big bucks.)

Many of the lobbyists at the State House are themselves former solons, and of course few of them are demanding refunds – only one that I noticed. Most, like ex-state reps Brian Dempsey and Carlo Basile, as well as ex-state Sen. Henri Rauschenbach, a/k/a Kickenbach, are standing pat. Charlie can keep the two C-notes. What are friends for, pal?

Professional courtesy, it’s called.

One question I would have asked, if the hacks had called me back, is how far back the two campaigns’ money-back guarantees extend. What if you gave money to the first winning campaign, back in 2014, and now have buyer’s regret?

Askin’, not for a friend, but for a spouse.

Meanwhile, Larry Lucchino, one-time Charlie Baker fat cat, cut a check on Monday for $1,000.

To Maura Healey.

The hack king is dead, long live the hack queen.

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