An elderly Quincy man is recovering after he was seriously burned in an apartment fire on Wednesday night, Quincy officials said.
Quincy Deputy Fire Chief Jeffrey Starr said the fire began around 10:44 p.m. in a duplex on Arnold Road.
When emergency responders arrived, an elderly resident was standing outside the building with first- and second-degree burns to his neck and face, Starr said.
The resident, who Starr estimated is in his mid-80s, was taken to an area hospital and was recovering as of Thursday, Starr said.
Starr said it’s possible the elderly resident was cooking when the fire started. The official cause of the fire is still under investigation, he said.
According to Starr, no other residents were injured in the blaze. A few firefighters had minor injuries.
After a string of successes in tracking down bank robbers, Quincy police said they are hopeful of finding the man who robbed a Quincy bank on Tuesday
The most recent case occurred at the TD Bank on Adams Street at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Police said the suspect allegedly handed the teller a note demanding money, and fled after the teller gave him an undetermined amount of cash. Police dogs could not locate the suspect, police said.
In video surveillance, the man appears to be dressed in all black and wearing a black hat and black gloves. Police said he is approximately 5’9”.
According to Police Captain John Dougan, police have had a high success rate capturing robbers in the last year. Dougan did not have recent figures, but in August the Globe reported Quincy police had made arrests in 14 of the 15 bank robbery cases occurring since July 2012.
"[Banks] have good videotape … we put [the reports] in the newspapers and media and get tips," said Dougan, adding that the likelihood of arrest is "very, very high."
Recently, police said they found a suspect in a three-year-old bank robbery with the help of DNA evidence.
In that case, the department received a forensic report on Nov. 21 saying that a hat retrieved from a September 2010 bank robbery of the Bank of America of Adams had the DNA from a suspect.
During the 2010 robbery, the suspect allegedly tried to jump over the counter, police said. Two witnesses tried to subdue him, but the suspect was able to flee. In the scuffle, police said, the suspect lost a hat and sunglasses, later used to provide DNA evidence.
After video surveillance photos from the crime matched booking photos for the suspect, police put out a warrant for an arrest.
Michael A. Luciano, 36, from Hull, will be charged with unarmed robbery and intimidating to steal from a bank.
According to police, Luciano is currently being held in Norfolk County House of Corrections on an unrelated unarmed robbery charge.
The following is a press release from the office of auditor Suzanne Bump:
State Auditor Suzanne Bump today referred an audit report of a Quincy dentist to the Massachusetts Attorney General for further investigation into possible Medicaid fraud. The audit uncovered signs of pervasive fraud by the MassHealth dental provider, Dr. Shahrzad Haghayegh-Askarian, including $154,019 in unallowable and sometimes medically excessive procedures.
“It is clear to me that Dr. Haghayegh systematically bilked the MassHealth dental program,” said Auditor Bump. “Her operation was an affront to the taxpayers and her clients. I hope the Attorney General can use this audit as a tool to uncover the extent of her wrongdoing and obtain justice for the Commonwealth.”
A review of MassHealth payment information and the files of just 40 of the 357 MassHealth members seen by Dr. Haghayegh between 2008 and 2011 found repeat patterns of the dentist obtaining payment for dental procedures contrary to MassHealth regulations.
· 1,429 unallowable detailed oral screenings, intended for patients receiving radiation therapy, chemotherapy or organ transplants. The dental patients for which Dr. Haghayegh submitted claims were not undergoing any of these procedures;
· 865 claims for dental services including X-rays, fillings, and denture repairs that were not documented in member files;
· 259 oral evaluations in excess of MassHealth limits;
· 176 claims for “dental enhancement fees,” payments meant for more general health centers to improve their dental services;
· 13 cases of Dr. Haghayegh circumventing MassHealth limits on denture replacements by instead replacing every tooth in the denture individually;
· 98 tooth restorations in excess of state limits.
In addition, the audit identified 95 claims for medically excessive fluoride treatments. In one specific example, Dr. Haghayegh billed 53 fluoride treatments in a 12-month period for a single child-aged member. According to guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, a dentist should provide no more than four fluoride treatments in a year.
During the four year audit period MassHealth paid Dr. Haghayegh $912,167 for more than 10,000 claims of service.
In addition to the report, Auditor Bump’s Bureau of Special Investigations has conducted an investigation into other potential fraudulent activity and has forwarded its findings to the Attorney General as well.
Unrelated to the audit, and acting on patient complaints about her dental treatments, the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Dentistry suspended Dr. Haghayegh’s license to practice for one year, effective May 31, 2013. MassHealth has terminated her participation as a MassHealth provider based on its own review of Dr. Haghayegh’s billing.
“Given the egregious findings of our audit and investigative work I believe the Board of Registration should review its current suspension and consider a further disciplinary action,” said Auditor Bump.
Today’s report comes after Dr. Haghayegh denied state auditors access to her records for nearly a year. Dr. Haghayegh was the first MassHealth provider to challenge the State Auditor’s authority to obtain such records. Auditors were only able to begin the review after a May 2012 decision by Suffolk Superior Court required Dr. Haghayegh to allow access.
“We appreciate the Auditor’s partnership with MassHealth in working to hold this individual accountable,” said MassHealth Director Kristin Thorn. “MassHealth initiated an internal audit that identified program violations with this provider, we ordered her to repay inappropriately billed funds to the Commonwealth, and terminated her participation in MassHealth.”
As highlighted in earlier audits released by the Office of the State Auditor over the past four years, MassHealth’s dental claims processing system, which is administered through the subcontractor DentaQuest, has not contained adequate controls to identify and reject unallowable claims for certain dental services. Since 2010, the Office of the State Auditor has identified $7,678,115 in total questionable Medicaid dental claims. In response to audit work, MassHealth has implemented many changes to its claims system to better prevent similar unallowable billings in the future.
The Office of the State Auditor conducts technical and performance assessments of state government’s programs, departments, agencies, authorities, contracts, and vendors. With its reports, the OSA issues recommendations to improve accountability, efficiency, and transparency.
Two men were arrested in Quincy after allegedly assaulting a man while attempting to rob him. One of them was also charged in the robbery of a Newton CVS.
According to police, a 29-year-old Quincy resident was walking on Chapman Street on Friday when a grey Nissan came driving toward him. Two men jumped out of the car and started beating the victim, punching him to the face and knocking him to the ground, police said.
As the suspects were kicking the victim, they demanded money, police said.
Police later located one of the suspects near the Wollaston T station. Police found the second suspect at his Quincy home.
Darius Mosfegh, 26, of Newton, and Jeffrey Cheung, 27, of Quincy, were charged with unarmed robbery, receiving stolen property, and assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon.
Police said the stolen property was Mosfegh’s mother’s car, which had been reported stolen out of Newton.
Mosfegh was also charged with resisting arrest. He already had an outstanding warrant for armed robbery out of Newton, police said.
Newton police confirmed that the charges stemmed from an armed robbery by knifepoint at a Newton CVS that had occurred the same week.
For the fifth time in three years, Quincy Jade Restaurant will appear before the Board of License Commissioners on charges of serving minors and serving alcohol after allowable hours.
According to City Clerk and Licensing Board Chair Joseph Shea, Quincy Jade has had more issues in the last three years than any other bar in the city in the last 15 years.
“I’d be surprised if he has much of a license left when we’re through with him,” Shea said.
The restaurant was scheduled to appear before the Board on Dec. 10. However, an attorney representing the restaurant requested a one-week extension. The matter has been rescheduled for a Dec. 17 hearing, Shea said.
Shea said the most recent charge stems from an incident on Nov. 28, when licensing officer Lt. Peter Turowski went in to the Cottage Avenue restaurant at 1:50 a.m.
According to a summons letter sent to owner Mihn Phuoc Giang, alongside patrons drinking beyond the 1 a.m. cut off, underage patrons had been served. Though the restaurant only has a beer and wine liquor license, patrons were also consuming hard liquor, the letter says.
According to Shea, Giang has been warned about similar infractions in the past.
In 2010 he was issued a verbal warning for serving alcohol to minors. In 2011, the bar was given a written warning for a similar infraction, Shea said.
Shea added that by 2012, the restaurant was back before the Licensing Board, this time for serving alcohol after hours. The Board levied a one-day suspension on the facility.
In July 2013, violations were again found at the restaurant. In addition to the late night drinking after allowable hours, patrons were also drinking outside, according to Shea after an August hearing on the matter.
Though Giang, through a translator, initially denied the event had occurred, he eventually admitted to the offenses during the August hearing. Both the food and liquor license were revoked for five days in mid-September.
“This is flagrant disregard for our rules and regulations and the laws,” Shea said.
Quincy attorney William Keener, who is representing Giang, did not return calls for comment.
Shea said he’s only revoked two licenses in his 22 years on the Licensing Board. Typically the bars are shut down due to assaults or drugs.
“Not to say this is a minor infraction. It’s important,” Shea said.
Though Shea said during the August hearing that any future infractions would likely result in a revocation of the license, nothing is certain. Punishments in Quincy are based on the level of infractions and the circumstances surrounding them, Shea said.
According to Shea, Giang has previously said he didn’t understand the laws, or didn’t see the problems as he was busy cooking in the back. Shea said those aren’t likely to be good excuses now.
“We’re very tolerant, but we have to remove this attractive nuisance,” Shea said.
n the same day that Granite Telcommunications LLC. dedicated its new headquarters in North Quincy, city councilors voted to offer the company 15 years of tax breaks as an incentive to continue growing within the city borders.
Councilors debated the issue for over an hour during a Monday night meeting, with some fully supporting the communication company, which recently announced plans to double its 1,200-person (cq) work force over the next five years.
Others, who ultimately voted for the tax break, felt it made little sense to offer tax exemptions to a company that is already thriving in Quincy.
“We’re forgiving taxpayer dollars that will have to be made up elsewhere or will result in a decline in the budget,” said Councilor Brian Palmucci. “That’s the question … if we’re giving someone a [Tax Increment Financing] for a project they would do if they gave them a TIF or not, then all we’re doing is giving [up] taxpayer money.”
Quincy has Tax Increment Financing agreements with several other entities in the city, including Fallon Ambulance, Boston Scientific, Bluefin Robotics, New England Aquarium, the office building at 100 Hancock Street, and P.V. Sullivan in West Quincy. (cq)
Such agreements allow the redevelopment of industrial or commercial properties in exchange for tax benefits, often involving a reduction in property tax bills by specified percentages over a number of years.
In the agreement negotiated between Granite and the mayor’s office, plans were to cut any increase in property taxes by 50 percent from 2015 through 2019, 40 percent from 2020 through 2024, and 30 percent from 2025 through 2029. The company would still be taxed fully on personal property.
Because the company will be investing in the facilities over the years, the assessed value is expected to rise and result in higher property taxes, said Peter Moran, chairman of the Board of Assessors.
In exchange for the tax break, the company – which provides telecommunications, data and networking services to 10 of the largest retail companies in the country and dozens of Fortune 200 companies -- agreed to add jobs within the city.
At Monday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at Granite’s headquarters in North Quincy, Chief Executive Officer Rob Hale recalled now the company had grown from 17 employees working out of a rented space in 2002.
The company would also be required to make $7 million of capital improvements to its new office spaces at 150 and 100 Newport Avenue Extension, work with city boards on employment training, give thousands annually to the Quincy Parks Conservancy, and thousands more to the Montclair/Wollaston Neighborhood Association.
Despite the benefits, Councilor Brian McNamee questioned the timing. Granite was already committed to the space and had entered leases for the new space at 150 Newport Avenue Extension – in addition to office space at 100 Newport Avenue Extension.
Meanwhile, two other buildings in the area remained vacant and could benefit more from tax incentives, he said.
“We have to be careful to not be too liberal conferring this kind of tax relief,” McNamee said. “What I support is the job creation. That’s why I’m going to vote for it.”
Councilor Doug Gutro mentioned the company’s homegrown history and the desire to keep it in the city, but also questioned how much revenue the city might be giving up.
Moran said it would be impossible to predict valuation in future years, even knowing what improvements were planned.
Instead, officials from the mayor’s office emphasized the jobs created within the city and the improvements to that part of town.
The company is also a prime example of a strong corporate citizen, Quincy Chamber of Commerce President Dean Rizzo said, pointing to the company’s large charitable donations.
“If there was a company like Granite that wanted to go to ever corner of the city, I would expect this council to give them the incentives they need to spur that development,” Rizzo said.
For Councilor Kevin Coughlin, and ultimately the entire board, the arguments were enough.
“The concept is to make our city a place where businesses grow and develop,” Coughlin said.
Statues of the baby Jesus and Mother Mary have gone missing from the Quincy Center Nativity scene, with Quincy Police asking locals to be on the lookout for the pair.
The theft of the religious figurine has become a recurring problem in Quincy. The Jesus figuring was stolen in both 2004 and 2012. In 2004, it ended up at the waterfront. In 2012, Jesus showed up at a Wollaston Cemetery.
According to Captain John Dougan, the Jesus figurine was bolted to the manger, but somehow managed to be taken. He didn’t believe Mary was secured in any measurable way, but said the pieces are both very heavy.
“They tried to take the shepherd but they never got him. He was lying on the sidewalk,” Dougan said.
A street sweeper took note of the full manager at 1 a.m. on Thursday morning. By 2:20 a.m., the employee noticed the shepherd was lying on the sidewalk. When he took a closer look, he realized both Jesus and Mary were missing too.
Police said there was no damage to the shepherd.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Quincy Police Detective Tip Line at 617-745-4014.
When Dao Trung Tran fled from Vietnam’s communist government in 1981, one community welcomed him, the Philippines. Now, after the destruction brought by Typhoon Haiyan, Tran and Boston’s Vietnamese community wants to give back.
“When we left Vietnam for freedom, the Philippines welcomed us with open arms,” explained Tran, 58. “They treated us like brothers and sisters during a difficult time and that memory stayed with us.”
On Saturday close to 500 of the area’s Vietnamese community will come together at the China Pearl restaurant in Quincy to raise money to help the more than 9-millon people estimated to have been impacted by the powerful November storm. The storm known as Typhoon Haiyan is also called Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines.
“The Philippine people need help,” said Tran, a Braintree resident. “Many of us in Boston lived in the Philippines when we first escaped; they helped us in a difficult time and now it’s time for us to give back.”
Saturday’s event is expected to include an interfaith prayer, poem reading, and candle light vigil to remember the up to 6,000 estimated to have been killed by the storm.
“You have to take a negative situation and find some hope and that’s why we wanted to come together,” added Tran.
Tickets for the event, which went for $50, are sold out and the money will be donated to the US Philippines Society for disaster relief, according to Tran.
The tax bill for the average single-family home in Quincy is expected to increase around $107, with Quincy officials finalizing the tax rate for the fiscal 2014.
The increase will mean taxes for the average single-family home – valued at $315,350 - will increase to approximately $4,686.
Quincy officials said the number is slightly higher than the anticipated $98 increase, presented to the council in May. But Mark Cavanagh, director of municipal finance, said the "average tax increase is less than half the state average.”
The measure was unanimously approved with minimal discussion.
Tax increases in Quincy have remained relatively steady for the past several years, with nominal decreases in fiscal 2010 and 2011, and an increase of $97 in fiscal 2012 and $110 in fiscal 2013. which ended this past June 30.
Compared with nearby communities, the number is markedly less. In Braintree, from fiscal 2010-2013, real estate taxes increased $361. In Weymouth, they went up $431. Plymouth saw an increase of $535, and Brockton $434. All of those were below the state’s average increase of $561.
Braintree officials pointed out that the comparison isn't entirely fair. Even with the lower increases over the last few years, the average home in Quincy is worth $15,000 less than Braintree and pays well over $800 more annually in property taxes, said Peter Morin, chief of staff and operations for Braintree.
Yet in a document compiled by the mayor’s office but not formally presented to the council on Monday, city officials said the limited increases “translat[es] into savings of several hundred dollars for homeowners.”
The presentation also detailed significant growth to the city’s stabilization fund – an account frequently looked at by bond-rating agencies to survey a community’s financial stability.
In Quincy, the stabilization fund has grown steadily from $4 million in fiscal 2010, to over $7.2 million in fiscal 2014.
Additionally, city officials pointed to over $20 million in levy capacity as a marker of financial success. The capacity stems from the city taxing under the Proposition 2 ½ mandate annually, meaning that though the city is authorized to tax homeowners hundreds more apiece without an override, they chose not to do so.