Greig was a good listener and some of the other staffer members confided in her. But she offered little in return.
“Cathy was a very private person, very close to the vest about many things,’’ said Connolly-Atkins, the former associate dean at Forsyth.
By 1975, that had changed. By then, Greig was dating “Jimmy.’’ Charles “Chip’’ Fleming, a retired Boston police detective and former member of the Bulger Task Force, says that he was told that Greig had deliberately sought Bulger out, had even tracked him down at one of his favorite bars, The Triple O’s Lounge. Her motive, at least in part, may have been to get back at her unfaithful husband.
“Cathy knew Jimmy hung out there and she knew she had to go there to create a relationship,’’ said Fleming. “I received information that she did it to get back at her former husband, plain and simple.’’
However the relationship began, some of her dental school colleagues were pleased to see her so enamored.
“After all she had been through with her ex-husband, I think she just wanted to be loved,’’ said Linda Hanlon, the former Forsyth dean. “And Jimmy was very good to her. Certainly, in a material way he was.’’
After the two had been dating for a while, some of Greig’s colleagues invited the couple over for dinner or suggested a double date. They wanted to meet this Jimmy fellow who seemed to have an unending supply of jewelry and furs for Cathy. But Greig always declined, always had some other engagement. Hanlon, who considered Greig a friend, was perplexed until one day, another teacher pulled her aside and said, “Don’t you know who Jimmy is?’’ Hanlon recalled. “I said, ‘I don’t have a clue.’ And they said, ‘Jimmy Bulger; you know, Whitey Bulger.’ I knew who that was of, course. I think my first thought was that she could have done better.’’
Forsyth staffer members soon learned that there were two versions of the man. While the Whitey Bulger that they knew from news stories was a rising gangster involved in the Southie rackets, Greig portrayed him as a local hero.
“She told how he had paid to have someone’s teeth fixed, how he gave money and things to people who needed them, on and on,’’ recalled one former colleague who asked not to be identified. “She was totally and completely enthralled with him. I guess in the culture of South Boston he is either God or the devil and to her he was God.’’
Just as some of Greig’s colleagues had given up on the idea of having the couple over for dinner, now some surrendered hopes of having much of a friendship with Greig. Although Greig did not say so explicitly, now that she was with Bulger there were certain rules to be observed. You were not to call her at home. You were certainly not to drop in on her on a weekend. And if you happened to see Bulger waiting for her outside of Forsyth, you kept right on walking.
“A lot of us socialized outside of work, but Cathy did not,’’ said Connolly-Atkins. “I didn’t find it particularly odd. It was just the way it was.’’
By the end of the decade, Greig could be proud of several achievements. In 1978, after six years of classes, Greig was awarded a bachelor’s degree of science with honors and was working at Forsyth as the clinic coordinator for second-year students. She had also been instrumental in the development of an innovative computerized grading system called “The Clinic Manual.’’ As Julia McCarthy describes it, “Cathy was the driving force behind the manual. . . . It was brilliant.’’
Bulger, however, was not happy about Greig’s blossoming career. Greig confided in some of her colleagues that he had urged her to stop working, in part because he wanted her to devote more time to him. Bulger, as usual, eventually got what he wanted.
In 1982, Bulger and Greig began sharing a three-story condominium in a Quincy apartment complex called Louisburg Square South. Although Greig is listed as the former owner of the unit in city property records, investigators believe that Bulger put down the $96,000 in cash to purchase the unit. There was no mortgage.
By that time, Bulger had established himself as a preeminent figure in Boston’s organized crime scene. Having been recruited as an FBI informant in 1975, Bulger had allegedly embarked on a string of brutal killings that ultimately left 19 people dead. One body was buried just a few hundred yards from the couple’s new condo on the banks of the Neponset River. He would not be charged with the killings for more than two decades.
At the same time, Bulger had expanded his criminal empire southward into Quincy and the rest of the South Shore, and authorities struggled to keep track of his doings. Local detectives maintained a steady surveillance of the couple’s unit—No. 101—and routinely went through their trash, which included grocery lists written in Greig’s elegant script. For a brief period in 1984 the US Drug Enforcement Administration placed a bug in the condominium window and got an earful of Bulger’s legendary temper. Continued...