Bosley — after a meeting with MacDougall in Murray’s Ways and Means office, according to two other State House sources — then placed the $2 million into his committee’s latest supplemental budget, earmarked directly for MacDougall’s company, the Massachusetts International Marketing Partnership (MIMP). The legislation, which passed in February 2005, referred to MIMP as the entity that had been awarded the contract from the 2003 economic-stimulus legislation — a falsehood, as even MacDougall concedes, since no contract had been awarded at all.
To keep the Massachusetts Lodging Association from complaining — or, for that matter, bringing a lawsuit over the mysterious mothballing of the competitive bidding process — Bosley personally brokered a deal in Worcester, which several sources say was arranged by Murray. At that Worcester gathering, the MLA agreed to let MacDougall have the contract, and MacDougall agreed to put several MLA members on the governing board of his new entity, Tourism Massachusetts.
Perhaps by coincidence, MLA’s then-chair Mark Waxler, who hosted the Worcester meeting and agreed to the deal, soon received state funding for groups he was involved with in Worcester.
Meanwhile, the legislature earmarked $4 million more in the FY ’06 budget to MacDougall, overriding Romney’s veto. The next year, while the Business and Technology Department was still withholding some of the ’06 funds due to MacDougall’s failure to disclose his spending, the legislature earmarked another $5 million in the FY ’07 budget.
Romney again vetoed; the legislature again overrode.
None of your business
MacDougall says that he has bent over backward to demonstrate where the money has gone. But that documentation, obtained by the Phoenix, shows that expenses were broken down only in broad strokes.
Roughly $850,000 was spent on two marketing Web sites, for example, although his bid proposed spending just $35,000. MacDougall would not reveal who received that money, to the state or to the Phoenix. When asked for more detail by state officials, he responded: “There is no provision for us to provide contracts and/or invoices and we are not going to.”
So, for all anyone can tell, the Web sites might have cost half that, and MacDougall might have handed out the rest in stacks to friends. In a way, he has. His staff is mostly his old MOTT cohorts, as are the overseas sales representatives to whom he has paid nearly a million dollars in fees. Plus, his company, Tourism Massachusetts, rents space from, and has paid an undisclosed amount for Web design to, his friends at Rendon Associates — which is run by the husband of his former MOTT co-worker, and one-time MIMP employee, Tara Rendon.
Frustrated, Romney officials repeatedly tried to get MacDougall to disclose where the money had gone, and ultimately refused to sign a contract or release any FY ’07 money until he satisfied their requests for more information. But as the debates raged into November 2006, Romney abruptly stifled them, slashing the entire $5 million earmark as part of his “9C” emergency cuts.
Following those cuts, it was MacDougall who went ballistic, going so far as to bring a legal claim for the money, which proved unsuccessful.
Two of the Tourism Massachusetts board members, appointed as part of the deal brokered with the Lodging Association, resigned from MacDougall’s board in December. One said that MacDougall was running the enterprise “like a personal fiefdom,” according to Jay Fitzgerald, writing in the Herald.