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State reveals who got $5 million in secret settlements and severance deals

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It was front page news in 2008. Prosecutors accused 10 Massachusetts Turnpike workers of skimming thousands of dollars in tolls from passing motorists – saying it was “the very definition of a violation of the public trust.” Most were convicted, but the case against two of the workers, Paul Iacobacci and Tony Pasuy, quietly fell apart. The state dropped the charges, gave them back their jobs and paid them six months in back wages in 2010. There was just one thing the workers didn’t get back, however: Their reputations. The state never announced the workers were cleared or returned to their posts. It blacked out the workers’ names on documents describing the financial settlements, citing the need to safeguard workers’ privacy. And workers were afraid to alert the media themselves since they still worked there. For years, the state has used secret settlement and severance deals to make embarrassing problems go away, often requiring workers to promise to keep the payments confidential and avoid saying anything critical about the agencies.

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