Ernestina Beam Probe Best If Recused to Plymouth County [OPINION]
Not that I think Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn would do anything to hurt the reputation of his office, but I think he'd be relieved if the D.A.'s probe into the removed inventory of the Ernestina-Morrissey's lumber at Quittacas Yard in Rochester moved to Plymouth County.
There are far fewer appearances of political conflict over there at Plymouth County DA Timothy Cruz's office. In my opinion, there has been a failure to maintain trust by New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell's office in its failure to disclose the fact that their lead investigator in this matter works closely with the sibling of a major subject of the probe.
That's just the biggest reason out of many that it should be moved to Plymouth County:
- Zeb Arruda is a financial campaign supporter of Mayor Mitchell.
- Emails reviewed by me show that City Human Resources Director Sandra Vezina excluded multiple email notifications made by others to include Zeb Arruda with clear and ample information that the Ernestina restoration planners were going to use the lumber.
- Other emails show that Arruda was much more aware of and involved with the Ernestina lumber while it was in the City's possession than the City's report would indicate.
- It is a very common practice for a local D.A.'s office to recuse itself when investigations focus on a municipality to which they serve.
- The physical act, whether non-criminal negligence or criminal, did happen on Plymouth County property in Rochester, even if the Bristol County-based City of New Bedford was the paying lessee.
- The aesthetics of it being moved is better for the public.
For those reasons, D.A. Quinn should recuse his office from the investigation.
Ken Pittman is the host of The Ken Pittman Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @RadioKenPittman. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.