We Need Better Money Management

John Matheson. For Mayor. For Malden.

Return the Mayor's Seat to the People of Malden

We Need Better Money Management

In May, 2019, Maldonians paid $150,000 to settle a whistleblower lawsuit brought by a Malden Police Detective alleging that Gary Christenson interfered with a criminal investigation to protect a political supporter caught stealing money from the City.
Not only did taxpayers lose money from the theft, they paid a second time to settle the suit against Christenson before the matter went to trial this summer - during his re-election campaign.
In 2014, a senior Captain of Malden’s Police Department with 36 years on the force, and Head of the Detective’s Unit, was investigating a theft of public funds which lead him to an employee at the City’s Permits Department.
A search of the employee’s home uncovered approximately 75 City of Malden permit checks and several high-capacity magazines for an AR-15 assault rifle. The employee was arrested while trying to destroy evidence and was later indicted. 

On February 2, 2015, the Detective interviewed the employee’s co-conspirator who confessed that the employee had been paying her to cash City of Malden checks the employee had stolen and altered. Later that same day, Christenson and the Chief of Police asked to meet with the Detective in the back of the Chief’s police cruiser. Christenson questioned the Detective about the strength of the case and remarked that he thought the investigation was “long gone.” The Detective found Christenson’s conduct and demeanor surprising considering the strength of the case. 
As the whistleblower suit explains, the employee and his mother had close political and social connections to Christenson and his campaigns. After being elected Mayor, Christenson had transferred the employee from an obscure, part-time IT position, to a full-time position with the Permits Department, where he allegedly committed his crimes.
Despite the strong evidence against the employee, and contrary to official recommendations to terminate him immediately, the employee was initially placed on administrative leave during the investigation.

According to the whistleblower lawsuit, the Christenson Administration failed to cooperate with the prosecutor’s request for city records in an effort to impede the investigation. As a result, the prosecution was delayed. Although the City Council gave the Detective a unanimous vote of confidence to continue his investigation, in November of 2015, with the investigation still pending, he was removed from his position as Head of the Detective’s Unit, placed in a newly created desk job,  and told to work on “nothing else.”  The suit alleged that this was retaliation for pursuing a politically connected criminal, and it effectively ended his distinguished career as a detective.

Now that the case has been settled, it is clear that the result was very favorable for the criminal, and very unfavorable for the Detective and the taxpayers of Malden.  Despite being caught red-handed with stolen checks and a full confession by his accomplice, a criminal conviction was never pursued against the employee.  Meanwhile, the residents of Malden paid twice for his crime: once when their public money was stolen, and second time to settle the claims against Christenson for retaliating against a detective for doing his job.
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Committee to Elect John Matheson for Mayor
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Malden, MA 02148

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