Massachusetts ticket brokers anteed up more than $60,000 in 2007 in an attempt to have the state’s anti-scalping law repealed, and virtually all of it went to former accountant Richard Vitale, a close friend of Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi. The total paid to Vitale is expected to rise based on brokers also allegedly retaining Vitale in 2008 because the repeal legislation remains in limbo in the state Senate.
In addition, more than $500 was paid to Gary Adler, legal counsel for the National Association of Ticket Brokers to testify on behalf of brokers to help get the law changed.
The revelations were first reported in the Boston Globe, which has launched a massive investigative series into Vitale and DiMasi and some questionable loans and deals between the two. Earlier this week, Vitale retired from the accounting firm he helped create more than 30 years ago, reportedly under pressure from partners embarrassed by the controversy. Vitale has said his retirement was pre-planned.
Vitale has denied he lobbied on behalf of the Massachusetts Association of Ticket Brokers, instead stressing that he was a strategist. The filings from the broker group, however, contradict that assertion, according to the Boston Globe. Vitale only recently registered as a lobbyist with the state for 2008 but not for 2007.
The office of Secretary of State William Galvin, which received the filings from the Massachusetts broker group this week, is looking into the matter.
In large part due to the popularity of the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots, Massachusetts is considered one of the most potentially lucrative markets for ticket resale. Current state law prohibits the resale of tickets for more than $2 above face value plus nominal service fees.
But, even with such legislation on the books, ticket brokers have thrived in the state, especially Ace Ticket, which was recently named the authorized ticket reseller for the Red Sox. Ace Ticket is owned by Jim Holzman, head of the Massachusetts broker group and one of the nation’s leading experts on the secondary ticket industry.