The Big Dig
Ah, the Big Dig. What remains to be said about the little ol' road-and-renewal project designed to replace an elevated highway that ran through the heart of Boston? That estimated costs were $2.6 billion and the final price tag was more than $14.5 billion? That everyone involved made money while the work was shoddy at best, resulting in the death of a motorist? That it proved to be equal-opportunity payola, for both Democrats and Republicans alike? All that and more, as the Dig has since set the standard for what a Hall of Fame–level scandal should be.
Ted Williams Tunnel, Leonard P. Zakim Bridge, and Rose Kennedy Greenway, among others
University of Massachusetts Boston
In the 1970s, the colleges and universities for which Boston is universally renowned collided with the city's love of corruption. A scandal in which a contractor doled out bribes to legislators to construct the UMass Boston campus brought down the Senate majority leader (Joseph DiCarlo), as well as other high-ranking figures from both parties, who were sentenced to time in federal prison.
100 Morrissey Boulevard, Dorchester
Former Suffolk County Sheriff Richard J. Rouse
In 2001, a Boston Globe exposé caught the then-sheriff taking four-hour workdays, using state vehicles for private errands, and spending far too much time on the golf course. All while seven of his guards at the Nashua Street Jail were facing charges of beating detainees, and while 50 inmates filed a civil suit against Rouse's guards at the South Bay House of Correction, claiming beatings and sexual abuse.
20 Bradston Street (South Bay House of Correction) and 200 Nashua Street (Nashua Street Jail)
State Senator Dianne Wilkerson
The entrees apparently aren't the only things stuffed at the tony No. 9 Park restaurant. While dining there in 2007, Wilkerson stuffed bribe money into her bra. The incident, caught on tape, ultimately led to her resignation from the State Senate. She recently pleaded guilty to eight counts of taking bribes, which may include a $500 offering allegedly taken at the Scollay Square restaurant, and others at the popular Beacon Hill eatery Fill-a-Buster.
9 Park Street (No. 9 Park), 142 Bowdoin Street (Fill-a-Buster), and 21 Beacon Street (Scollay Square)
Boston City Council Member Chuck Turner
In 2007, Turner was videotaped accepting cash in his district office in Roxbury, allegedly in exchange for pushing for a liquor license for the Dejavu nightclub near his office. (The same circumstances were connected to some of the bribery charges against Wilkerson.) Whereas Wilkerson admitted guilt, however, Turner has fought his charges, claiming he's a victim of a government conspiracy against African-American officials.
51 Roxbury Street, Roxbury (Turner's office); corner of Mass Ave and Melnea Cass (proposed site of never-opened Dejavu nightclub)
Former Speakers of the House Charles Flaherty, Tom Finneran, and Sal DiMasi
The Boston locale that best lets visitors breathe in the air of corruption is the base of the Bay State's power, the State House. It is there that the curious can pay homage to the stunning streak perpetrated by the last three Speakers of the House, each of whom was federally indicted. In 1996, Flaherty pleaded guilty to federal income-tax evasion; in 2007, Finneran pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice; and in January 2009, DiMasi resigned from his post as his alleged legislative-largesse-for-cash investigation grew in scope (criminal charges were officially filed against him last June).
24 Beacon Street
Lawrence "Huggy" Bergman is co-host of the Joe and Huggy radio show on WTKK. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.