Friday, July 1, 2011

Senator Scott Brown | Not Happy with Whitey Bulgers chopper ride

In a stinging rebuke, U.S. Senator Scott Brown today slammed accused serial killer James “Whitey” Bulger’s $14,000 taxpayer-funded helicopter ride to court yesterday.

“Speaking on behalf of the people of Massachusetts who, like myself, have sat in traffic on Route 3 coming to and from Boston, I too have imagined about how nice it would be to have a helicopter get me where I needed to go,” he said today. “I agreed with US Attorney Carmen Ortiz when she said Whitey Bulger would be ‘treated like every other defendant.’ So far, that does not seem to be the case.”

The cost of the chopper ride has come into dispute as angry U.S. Marshals sought to tamp down public outrage saying the round-trip helicopter ride only cost $1,500. The U.S. Coast Guard, which ferried the geezer gangster, is sticking by its original estimate of $13,800.

“The Marshal Service takes many considerations into account when moving federal prisoners and therefore regularly varies routes of travel based on weather, threat levels, traffic patterns and other significant events that may be happening in the area,” the Marshal service said in a statement sent to the Herald today.

The U.S. Coast Guard, however, stood by its number saying the $13,800 reflects the cost of fuel, manpower, and wear and tear on the aircraft, said Petty Officer Luke Clayton. The Coast Guard let marshals use their helicopter for Bulger’s ride to and from federal court in Boston yesterday. Brown urged the Marshal’s office to find a better way to move the elderly gangster.

“This seems to be far in excess of what the Marshals have provided in the past to federal detainees,” Brown said.

The Bay State Republican then called on federal prosecutors to find cheaper transportation for Bulger: “In the absence of an extraordinary and specific security concern that would render alternative transport options a threat to public safety, I strongly urge your office to explore less costly and less extravagant means to bring this person and all federal detainees to and from their court appearances.”