The union that represents Massachusetts state troopers will stop paying its former president's legal fees as he fights federal charges.
At a packed meeting Wednesday at the Sheraton hotel in Framingham, members of the State Police Association of Massachusetts voted overwhelmingly to stop funding former union head Dana Pullman's legal defense, rescinding authority the union granted in January to cover his court costs.
The association, which represents more than 1,500 state troopers and sergeants, has been rocked by internal discord following Pullman's arrest last month on charges he misused union funds for personal gain.
Legal bills for Pullman and the union's executive board now total more than $900,000, union sources told the NBC10 Boston Investigators, fueling dissatisfaction among the rank and file.
In a statement released to NBC10 Boston, the union said Wednesday's vote is a sign of "significant internal reforms that are already underway."
Pullman, who led the influential labor organization for six years, stepped down in October 2018 amid a federal investigation into the union's activities. The man who replaced him, Sgt. Mark Lynch, then relinquished the post Monday amid calls for his ouster.
Lynch faced a likely recall vote after more than 500 troopers signed a petition to remove him as head of the group, according to union sources with direct knowledge of the situation.
Pullman, 57, of Worcester, and a Beacon Hill lobbyist were indicted last month on a slew of charges including racketeering, fraud and tax crimes, federal authorities said. Pullman's lawyer said he denies the charges.
Investigators from the FBI and IRS began investigating the police association and Pullman around July 2018, according to court documents, and by October were investigating the union and Pullman's lobbying ties. The investigation included the review of documents, emails, records and interviews with multiple witnesses.
This week's leadership shakeup is the latest sign of turmoil within the union, which controls some $2 million in assets, largely made up of dues paid by members. It comes as state police also grapple with an overtime pay scandal, which led to criminal charges against several dozen officers, and prompted the state to disband the troop that formerly patrolled the Massachusetts Turnpike.
In his final message to the union before resigning Monday, Lynch wrote that he instituted a variety of positive reforms during his tenure, including terminating the union's relationship with its former lobbyist and former accounting firm, establishing a committee to represent the union in contract talks and increasing communication with members.
"I am proud of the advances we have made, key strategic relationships we have strengthened and the systemic changes we have been able to implement under extraordinarily difficult conditions," Lynch wrote.