BOSTON Former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi is at least temporarily losing his nearly $5,000-per month state pension as he faces an eight-year prison sentence.
The state Retirement Board voted 5-0 on Thursday to suspend DiMasi’s pension starting with the September payment. The board will consider at a later hearing whether to permanently end it.
State Treasurer Steve Grossman, who chairs the retirement board, says he does not believe a former state officeholder convicted of a crime should collect a pension.
“The forfeiture process will go on, a decision will be made as to whether termination should take place or not,” Grossman said. “And so I think taxpayers know that we’re here to protect taxpayers’ money at the end of the day.”
The board had moved to suspend DiMasi’s pension in June after his conviction on corruption charges, but a judge ruled that the former speaker could continue to receive payments until his formal sentencing. That occurred last week.
Judge Mark Wolf has ordered DiMasi and co-defendant Richard McDonough to report for prison on Nov. 16. He also scheduled a hearing later this month on a defense motion to let them stay free while they appeal their convictions.
The board is also investigating whether McDonough was ever a legitimate state employee. McDonough receives a pension payment of $30,000 a year.
With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom