Candidate Quits After Admission Of Underworld Solicitation
BOSTON (AP) _ Candidate Gregory Hyatt who dropped out of the GOP gubernatorial primary after acknowledging he had asked a reputed underworld figure to raise campaign funds is the second Republican to quit the race.
Hyatt was on the Sept. 16 Republican primary ballot along with state Rep. Royall Switzler, who removed himself from the campaign after admitting he had lied about his military record.
If both men decline the nomination, as they have promised, the Republican State Committee will be able to appoint a new candidate to run against incumbent Gov. Michael S. Dukakis in this Democratic stronghold, where no GOP candidate has won statewide office since 1972.
Hyatt’s departure Tuesday follows a tumultuous six-month campaign that saw the ambitious 32-year-old lawyer besieged by claims of forged signatures and strange work habits.
He issued a two-paragraph statement that said he was withdrawing his name from the race. He gave no specific reason.
″Upon advice of counsel I will have no further comment on this matter. I will spend the next few months of my time clearing my name and seeking vindication,″ he said.
Hyatt’s campaign was first derailed in April when a business group that once employed him accused Hyatt of strange work habits, including twice appearing in his office nude.
Just six days ago, Hyatt held a news conference to announce he would remain a candidate despite evidence of more than 1,000 forged signatures on his nomination papers. The state Ballot Law Commission ruled he could continue campaigning due, in part, to a legal technicality that prevented the commission from considering evidence of another 1,000 forged names.
Even after the attorney general launched a criminal investigation, Hyatt rejected calls from party leaders to end his campaign, saying last week he still thought he would do better than any other Republican candidate against Dukakis.
Hyatt said his decision to withdraw came after several days of consultation with family members and advisers.
The announcement came just hours after The Boston Herald reported Tuesday that Hyatt, who has had to keep his campaign afloat by personally loaning it money, had asked reputed mobster George Kattar to do some political fund- raising for him.
Kattar, 67, a family friend of Hyatt, never raised any money. But Hyatt confirmed he accepted a small amount of money from Kattar to help cover his personal expenses while running for governor.
″He did give me a small amount of money, but it wasn’t a campaign contribution ... It was a fairly trifling amount of money,″ Hyatt told the newspaper.
Campaign finance laws prohibit candidates from taking cash contributions of $50 or more and require that all contributions of $25 or more to be reported. Essex County District Attorney Kevin Burke is investigating to see whether state campaign finance laws were violated.
Kattar was convicted of tax evasion in 1970. The following year, Vincent ″Big Vinnie″ Theresa told a U.S. Senate subcommittee investigating organized crime in New England that Kattar once ran a loan-sharking business.