By: Brian Genest – May, 2021
When I make a mistake, I admit it. Three years ago, I said Phil Thibault wasn’t a bad guy. I was wrong.
Don’t blame me for the confusion; blame perennial candidate extraordinaire Phil Thibault. He seems to fluctuate between nice guy and total jerk, depending on which year he’s running for selectman. It’s hard to keep track, considering Phil Thibault has already lost 6 times – in 2005, 2007, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2020.
The voters keep sending the same message, but Phil Thibault doesn’t want to hear it, apparently.
Regardless, there are plenty of good reasons for Dracut voters to reject Phil Thibault, again.
Here’s three: This year, Phil Thibault appears more angry and bitter than ever when it comes to our town, his opponent and even the town manager’s search that everyone put in the rearview mirror last year, except Phil Thibault and his friends.
Here’s what the Lowell Sun said when Phil Thibault lost his selectman’s race last year.
“It just might be that in Thibault’s case, familiarity breeds more contempt than content.
Buoyed by the backing of several town influencers – including former selectmen – one would have thought it was his election to lose, which he did.
It could also be payback for the decision by that screening panel he ran not to put interim – now permanent – Town Manager Ann Vandal on the list of finalists for that position.”
Nonetheless, Phil Thibault continues to align himself with some of the most nasty and negative voices in our town, those who do nothing for Dracut except try to tear it down.
John Zimini is one of Phil Thibault’s attack dogs. For years, John Zimini has used his cable TV “shows” as a political weapon, attacking elected officials, town employees, private citizens, business owners – anyone he pleases and without consequences, so far, from Comcast, DATV or the ratepayers who fund his tirades and smear campaigns.
And Phil Thibault has been an active participant in that circus for years. Phil Thibault sits on the same stage with John Zimini, Gordy Scott and others, grinning and nodding his head in agreement. Other times, Phil Thibault just sits there silently, instead of speaking up when good people are being trashed.
John Zimini calls people sleazy, corrupt and many other things. He talks about back room deals, political patronage and insider politics.
His hypocrisy is stunning. Remember when John Zimini, then a Dracut selectman, was included in a flurry of news article in the Boston press in January 2012? He’d probably like you to forget.
Google “John Zimini” and you’ll find a bunch of published reports about his dealings with former Lt. Governor Tim Murray and former Chelsea Housing Authority Executive Director Mike McLaughlin, one of his friends who went to federal prison.
In the Boston Herald, Howie Carr wrote a column about Tim Murray’s ever-changing story about his 108-mile-per-hour crash, that said “Then there are his shifting stories about the aforementioned Mike McLaughlin. He knew him well enough to obtain a hack job for his son (who has since been fired) and for a friend, one John Zimini, who has likewise been booted from the public trough.”
According to an expose in the Boston Globe, “McLaughlin reveled in his proximity to power, say his former employees, and the help he could get from the lieutenant governor. Murray once angrily called former labor secretary Suzanne Bump when she fired one of McLaughlin’s old friends, John Zimini, according to someone who was briefed about the call. Murray later helped Zimini find a new job at a quasi-public state agency. In addition, Murray recommended people to housing authority boards on McLaughlin’s word, giving McLaughlin added clout.”
RedMass Group published campaign contributions from OCPF records showing that John Zimini, his wife and his daughter each donated $500 to Tim Murray shortly before John Zimini was hired at MassHousing in 2010.
Speaking of housing, don’t forget the scandal at the Dracut Housing Authority and the 217 phone calls between John Zimini and Mike McLaughlin. According to the Sun, “Zimini did not return multiple calls seeking comment for this story.”
Meanwhile, Phil Thibault recently said Dracut is starting to rot. He and John Zimini should look in the mirror. Thibault has benefitted financially from his affiliation with Dracut Access Television (DATV).
As reported in the Lowell Sun, Phil Thibault and his friends passed a confidentiality agreement to place a shroud of secrecy over DATV. As a member of the Board of Directors, I’m not able to publicly discuss any DATV matters, including my own votes.
Thanks to the First Amendment, however, I’m able to tell you that Phil Thibault is lazy, mean-spirited, vindictive and self-serving. Those are some of the nicer things I can say about Phil Thibault, based on the way I’ve seen him conduct himself.
Dracut deserves better than a political lackey like Phil Thibault.
— Brian Genest is chairman of the Dracut Republican Town Committee. ◊