Healthy Pharms Pays Jajuga $66,500; Jajuga Makes Donations to Local Political Campaigns During Same Period
Former state Senator and Methuen City Councilor James P. Jajuga was paid $66,500 to lobby in support of Healthy Pharms’ application to locate medical marijuana facility in Haverhill, a WHAV News investigation reveals.
Between Oct. 20 and Nov. 21, 2013, Jajuga now says he “was retained to garner local municipal support in the City of Haverhill for Healthy Pharms, Inc. to operate a Registered Marijuana Dispensary in that city.”
During the reporting period, Jajuga made a number of campaign contributions locally, including $100 each to Mayor James J. Fiorentini, Haverhill City Councilor Thomas Sullivan and state Rep. Diana DiZoglio. Jajuga lists his check to Sullivan as occurring Oct. 31; Fiorentini, Nov. 1; and DiZoglio, Nov. 7, 2013. Jajuga also contributed to $200–the maximum allowed by registered lobbyists–Nov. 1 to state Senator Sal N. DiDomenico (D-Everett). The Commonwealth requires lobbyists to list campaign contributions on disclosure forms to enable the public to more easily discern patterns. Sullivan is a former aide for Senator Jajuga.
Haverhill City Councilor Robert H. Scatamacchia said an undated letter of support signed by him was obtained under false pretenses. Healthy Pharms used the letter as “Evidence of Local Support.” He said Fiorentini supplied the letter and retyped it on to Haverhill City Council letterhead, on behalf of Jajuga. Scatamacchia said he is not sure if he signed the letter before or after the dates Jajuga made campaign contributions to others.
Spotlight on Galvin’s Office to Explain Discrepancy
Lobbying reports were due to Secretary of State William F. Galvin’s office during the first two weeks of January. However, the secretary of state’s office could not explain why Jajuga’s Healthy Pharms listing had not been posted by this spring when the company received a provisional license to open in Haverhill. Galvin’s lobbying division also would not say whether Jajuga had been compelled to make the filing after complaints were sent or whether he was fined or otherwise penalized. Fees for late disclosure statements are normally $50 per day up to the 20th day and an additional $100 per day for every day after the 20th day until the statement is filed.
Jajuga, who is also a past president of the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce, previously said publicly he had served merely as a “consultant” for Healthy Pharms.
A number of Haverhill officials deny they endorsed Healthy Pharms plans. These include William Pillsbury Jr., director of the Haverhill’s Economic Development and Planning Department; Joseph J. Costanzo, administrator of Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority; and Dennis DiZoglio, executive director of the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission. Each said they spoke informally with Jajuga and did not realize he was working for the company. All publicly dispute they “held meetings” as claimed by Healthy Pharms in its license application sent to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
The Haverhill City Council Administration and Finance is expecting officials from the state Department of Public Health to answer questions at its October 1 meeting.