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A SPECIAL SECTION: Haiti, Since the January 12, 2010 Fierce Earthquake

Posted Friday, January 14, 2011  

By Laurel J.. Sweet and O'Ryan Johnson
Dianne Wilkerson
Dianne Wilkerson (Photo by Angela Rowling)

A desperate Dianne Wilkerson, in hock to the IRS for $80,000 in 2004, received almost $120,000 in cash gifts and loans from more than two dozen Hub businesspeople over a seven-month period that year — but failed to report the income to the feds, newly unsealed court documents reveal.

Wilkerson cleared the donations with the state Ethics Commission. Cash and checks totaling $115,750 — some bearing notations such as “gift” and “loan” — poured into the bank account of the disgraced Democrat during the first half of 2004, federal prosecutors claim in new court filings in their public corruption case.

Wilkerson failed to report those donations to the IRS, according to the filings. The donations brought her income over the $75,000-a-year limit under her agreement with the IRS — meaning she was supposed to pay taxes on the extra money.

Wilkerson, 55, who was convicted in 1997 of failing to file a tax return, “solicited” the money after the IRS shaved $70,000 off $157,000 in taxes she owed for 1991-1994, prosecutors stated.

Records show she purchased a bank check on March 19, 2004, for $80,000 made payable to the IRS.

In the filings, prosecutors state Wilkerson may have spent at least $20,000 of the money buying furniture, paying down credit card balances, covering her mortgage and cutting checks to her kids.

“Remarkably,” prosecutors wrote, her “solicitation of funds also resulted in a net profit to her.”

Prosecutors also noted that Wilkerson’s benefactors may have been “defrauded.”

“It is unclear whether her solicited ‘donors’ knew that she ended up with a net profit from this solicitation, or whether they were defrauded by her claims that the funds would be used to pay the outstanding tax debt,” the records state.

Wilkerson is slated to begin serving a 3 1/2-year sentence for attempted extortion in March. Neither she nor her lawyer responded to requests for comment.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined comment on whether she could face new criminal charges.

David Giannotti, spokesman for the Ethics Commission, declined to comment about her case.

Among the checks cut to Wilkerson:

• $10,000 from attorney Thomas R. Kiley, whose clients have included Wilkerson and indicted ex-House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi. Kiley told the Herald that Wilkerson never asked him for a thing and he cleared his gift with the Ethics Commission. “I decided I wanted to help,” Kiley said. “I love Dianne. I think she did great work for the community. I was happy to be of assistance.”

• $10,000 from retired advertising honcho John “Jack” Connors Jr., chairman of Partners HealthCare. “She came to me for help, and I gave it to her,” Connors said. “I never had any business with her before or since, and never sought any favors. I cleared the gift with my lawyers and reported it to the IRS.”

• $10,000 from former state Senate majority leader William “Biff” MacLean Jr., who did not respond to requests for comment.

© Copyright by the Boston Herald and Herald Media. Reprinted from The Boston Herald of Friday, January 14, 2011.
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