Mark Shurtleff’s version of justice looks a lot like payback

By Jesse Harris

Watching the legal cases against Mark Shurtleff and his hand-picked successor John Swallow collapse was very hard. I was one of the first voices calling for Swallow to resign (which it took him a year to do), and the case by all appearances seemed to have been killed by incompetence, not on its own merits. While I continue to believe that the two of them are guilty as sin, the legal system performed as it should, placing as much emphasis on process as substance. This is the foundation of a just and fair legal system.

But that doesn’t seem to be enough for Mark Shurtleff. After having the charges dismissed, he was denied reimbursement of $1.1M in legal fees when a judge determined he wasn’t eligible under the law as currently written, a decision he’s now appealing to the state supreme court. Seeking to be made whole is one thing, but he also filed a suit several months ago to demand $60M from a veritable laundry list of government agencies and officials. Now he’s alleging that it’s all part of some kind of grand conspiracy against him.

Something that’s really getting to me is his allegations that the legal troubles cost him enough future business opportunities to justify that kind of large amount. This is not normal. Someone who has been in a powerful office shouldn’t be able to quickly parlay that into an immense personal fortune. In the minds of a critical public, it definitely makes him look guilty of the now-dismissed charges, that he was using his office for individual gain. $60M is well beyond the expected career path of opening a law firm and writing a few books.

I’m going to have a very hard time taking the #justice calls from Mark too seriously when it looks like he’s been angling to turn his public service into an exorbitant private profit. I can’t imagine I’m alone.

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