John “Zip” Connolly can thank Congress for his move to Massachusetts.
An interstate compact between the Bay State and Florida states the ex-FBI agent could relocate here because he is “retired with a pension” and can support himself. The Herald obtained the compact via a Freedom of Information Act request.
He kept his pension, despite being convicted of second-degree murder in 2008, because Congress passed the Hiss Act in 1954 that allows lawmakers, and therefore federal employees, to keep their retirement benefits unless convicted of espionage or treason.
The act is named after Alger Hiss, a former State Department official convicted of perjury for his alleged involvement in a Soviet spy ring before and during World War II.
“Unbelievable,” said Mary Callahan, whose husband was killed by mobster James “Whitey” Bulger’s gang in a case that landed Connolly in a Florida jail.
“They’re always covering their (backside),” she added Friday night. “I’ve called the FBI countless times trying to get my husband’s gold Rolex back and all his papers. They’re taking care of their own guy but I can’t afford a lawyer to fight them.”
The interstate compact was signed by the 81-year-old Connolly Oct. 28. It states “termination of supervision” is set for December of 2047. The former G-man won’t see that day. He is on home confinement with his wife and can only leave for medical appointments.
The Florida Commission on Offender Review voted 2-1 last winter to grant him a medical release from jail due to his ailing health. Florida prison officials say Connolly has multiple melanomas and diabetes. A commission member read into the record in February that he has about a year to live.
Connolly’s local lawyer Peter Mullane told the Herald Friday that Congress — in “taking care of themselves” — also shielded federal employees from forfeiting pensions for convictions not tied to national security.
“Congress is also exempt from Obamacare, because they have their own health insurance,” Mullane added. “Members of Congress are also exempt from insider trading.” There’s more, but he made the point.
Connolly was convicted of second-degree murder in 2008 for wearing his FBI-issued sidearm when he met with Bulger in Boston to warn him of what businessman John Callahan knew. Bulger was murdered in a West Virginia prison in 2018.
Callahan, the former president of World Jai Alai, was shot dead by John Martorano, one of Bulger’s hitmen. Martorano testified he was working for Bulger when he killed Callahan, who was also a friend of his. Bulger wanted Callahan dead because the Boston businessman could implicate them in a 1981 slaying of another World Jai Alai executive.
Martorano is also a free man and in Florida. He cut a deal to testify against Connolly, Bulger and Stevie Flemmi, another member of the Winter Hill Gang who remains in an undisclosed federal prison.