What’s So Urgent in Holbrook, Mr. Speaker?

What the hell was House Speaker Ron Mariano thinking last night when he went to Holbrook for a fundraiser for an obese, greed-crazed local hack Democrat named Daniel Lee?

I understand, Mariano’s spent his entire political career at the State House surrounded by dodgy pols so crooked that they need a corkscrew to get into their trousers in the morning.

But really, in his political dotage at age 76, shouldn’t the Speaker– or someone around him – have had sense enough to tell him that he shouldn’t go down to Lucky’s 777 to fete one of the sleazier local hacks on the current political scene?

Look at the invitation – Mariano’s name is at the top. He was the draw, for obvious reasons. He’s the second most powerful person in state government. He controls the money.

The name Dan Lee may not ring a bell — with the collapse of local newspapers, municipal politicians don’t get nearly as much scrutiny as they used to. Most get none whatsoever.

Lee is a selectman in the town of Holbrook, running for reelection. And he is a real piece of work. Channel 5 took him down a few pegs in 2021, and the headlines sum up the way the scandal developed:

“Landlord says top town official used COVID eviction ban to avoid paying rent.”

“Holbrook town official agrees to pay thousands in back rent.”

“Bid to oust Holbrook selectman over use of eviction moratorium protection.”

And of course the final inevitable news, since this is Massachusetts: “Holbrook politicians reinstate controversial head of Select Board.”

And now after trying to beat his elderly landlady out of $1275 a month in rent, Lee is running for reelection. And the hackerama is behind him 100 percent.

Of course Mr. and Mrs. Lee both had hack jobs at Town Hall. He’s in the town Department of Public Works, making about $62,000 a year.

His wife is Brenda Lee, but not the Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree Brenda Lee. No, this Brenda Lee is rockin’ around the hackerama tree. She used to work at Town Hall, but last year Ron Mariano hired her at the State House for $57,240 a year.

Another nationwide search!

Despite making six figures, as soon as the rent “moratorium” kicked in, the Lees signed forms claiming they didn’t have to pay rent because of the Panic. That year they made $109,430.50 from the Town.

Their landlady, 79-year-old Michaele Rodgers, told Channel 5 in 2021, “They don’t have any souls, or hearts, because they’re taking advantage of us, they really are…. He said, ‘I don’t have to pay anymore. I’ve got proof that I don’t have to pay because I qualify for aid.’”

Less than a year after they stopped paying rent, the Lees moved into a new home worth $443,000. They own that home, in addition to a cottage on Sebago Lake in Casco ME.

Selectman Lee did not return calls placed yesterday to both the DPW yard and Town Hall in Holbrook. On social media, Mrs. Rodgers’ daughter says her parents are still owed thousands by the Democrat power couple.

I always used to associate Holbrook with Andy Card, the former state rep who later served as George W. Bush’s chief of staff during 9/11. Kind of staid, straight-laced and swamp Yankee.

But when Dorchester began emptying out in the 1970’s, everyone who couldn’t afford to buy in Milton, Quincy or Braintree ended up in Holbrook. It filled up with toothless tigers who still remembered where they were the night Spike O’Toole stepped out of the Bulldog on Savin Hill Ave and into a hail of Winter Hill gang bullets back in 1973.

Now Holbrook is the answer to the question, where did Dorchester go?

It’s kind of a cross between Peyton Place and the Dukes of Hazard. I mean, just look at Daniel Lee. He used to practically live at the Golden Pacific, but he had a problem or two there – you can check out the police reports on youtube. Now he holds his, uh, office hours at Donahue’s Pub.

In that way, he’s like the second name on the invite list – Rep. Mark Cusack, of neighboring Braintree. Cusack has two district offices in Braintree – at the Brew House and at the Southside Tavern near the mall.

You may recall Cusack (his name rhymes with hack) for a famous post-midnight date he enjoyed in the House chambers back in 2011 with Diana DiZoglio, the future $229,377-a-year state auditor.

Holbrook’s in Norfolk County, so you can kind of understand Mariano and Cusack heading down there last night and holding their nose to spend some time with Deadbeat Dan Lee et al.

But what about those payroll patriots from Brockton? Why were they on the guest list?

I couldn’t figure that out until another barfly from the Golden Pacific filled me in.

The town administrator of Holbrook is Greg Hanley, and he just happens to be a… Plymouth County commissioner. If you’re a city pol in Brockton, it doesn’t hurt to do a favor for one of the county commissioners.

Again, though, why would Mariano want to be associated with such a motley collection of B- and C-list hacks, especially as he approaches the checkout counter?

Maybe hanging out with such a loathsome crew last night was merely an exercise in nostalgia – or should I say nostalgie de la boue, which is defined as a desire for low-life experience and degradation, which certainly describes politics in Holbrook.

Remember, Mariano served under three speakers who convicted of felonies, and was put on the path to his own speakership by an unindicted coconspirator.

And Mariano’s own heir apparent is Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, one-time consigliere to the crime syndicate run by ex-Speaker Sal DiMasi (Bureau of Prisons #27371-038).

So I’m sure a wonderful time was had by all last night at Lucky’s 777. If you were indicted, you were invited.

The only bon vivant missing was Spike O’Toole, and that was only because he set up by Eddie Connors on Savin Hill Avenue on that cold December night before he could flee to Holbrook and get a job with everybody else at Town Hall.   

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