Donoghue vs. Cox — reprise
Thanks to City Hall Reporter Lyle Moran for the first portion of Wednesday’s Column Blog post. He stopped by the trial Tuesday of former Lowell Building Inspector David St. Hilaire and listened to the following testimony.
In the final months of John Cox’s tenure as city manager, then-councilor Eileen Donoghue was one of the councilors peppering him with tough questions and helping lead the charge to oust him.
The tables were turned Tuesday during the trial of former building inspector David St. Hilaire who is accused of bilking an 86-year-old woman out of her Lowell property before she died.
Cox is defending St. Hilaire and got to cross-examine Donoghue, a witness for the prosecution. Donoghue, now a state senator, was initially the attorney for Erika Magill, the 86-year-old woman.
Cox honed in on how Donoghue reacted to learning that Magill had signed her home over to St. Hilaire while at Wingate Nursing Home.
He asked Donoghue if she had contacted police and given them a statement.
She could not recall.
Cox pressed further, asking if Donoghue had contacted Lowell Police Superintendent Kenneth Lavallee or Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone about the St. Hilaire matter.
Donoghue said she did not contact either of those two officials, but she volunteered there was another prominent local official she did contact about St. Hilaire: City Manager Bernie Lynch.
After pursuing other questions, Cox returned to Donoghue’s disclosure about the Lynch conversation.
The former city manager asked Donoghue if it is true that the city manager of Lowell runs day-to-day operations in the city. Donoghue agreed.
Cox then asked why Donoghue contacted Lynch about St. Hilaire.
Still remaining in the house were the ashes of Erika’s dead husband, which those close to Magill wanted to procure.
“I made him aware of the situation and asked him to speak to Mr. St. Hilaire,” Donoghue said of her conversation with Lynch.
Donoghue said St. Hilaire complied with the request of releasing the ashes to those seeking them.
While the Donoghue/Cox exchange had political circles buzzing Wednesday, others asked the following question: How did local notary Nicholas Rabias and Kimberly Hayes-Hackett, a close friend of St. Hilaire’s and a city employee, avoid prosecution.
On July 26, 2010, the day that St. Hilaire allegedly convinced Magill to sign over her home to him while she was bed-ridden and extremely ill at the Wingate Nursing Home in Lowell, St. Hilaire was accompanied by Rabias and Hayes-Hackett.
Rabias notarized the paperwork, which was allegedly prepared by Hayes-Hackett. Hayes-Hackett used to work in the Inspectional Services Department, alongside St. Hilaire. She has since been transferred to the Division of Planning and Development.
Both Rabias and Hayes-Hacket were investigated, The Column Blog has learned.
But according to Jessica Pastore, a spokesman for District Attorney Leone, a decision was made not to prosecute either because there was not “Sufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges that would have achieved a guilty finding beyond a reasonable doubt, and that’s a high standard.”
As for Rabias, Pastore added: “Notorizing a criminal transaction is not a crime unless the notory has knowledge of the criminal nature of the transaction and shares a bad intent.”Explore posts in the same categories: The Column