Upping the ante in snow coverage

Local TV stations covered our first snowstorm of the season just like you'd expect: Reporters stood by the side of highways (I-93 in Andover seemed especially popular today for some reason), made snowballs, cleared off cars, climbed snow mounds and stuck rulers in the snow.

And then there was Steve Cooper on Channel 7. Not only was he next to I-93 in Andover, he reported while wearing snow shoes and goggles and holding ski poles - except for the moment captured by KMV, when he swapped out the snow poles for boxes of Devil Dogs and other pastries.

The most Massachusetts political scandal ever

In what other state would Dunkin' Donuts coffee figure so prominently in a federal corruption indictment? The lengthy indictment against former state Sen. Brian Joyce features page after page about Dunkin' Donuts coffee - hundreds and hundreds of pounds of the stuff, in bags and boxes and K-cups - that the owner of more than 100 Dunkin' Donuts franchises allegedly gave Joyce in exchange for legislation aimed mainly at protecting the guy from suits over the pooling of employee tips.

In or about January, 2015, following defendant Joyce's request for 500 pounds of coffee at cost, the Franchise Owner provided approximately 504 pounds of Coffee Franchise coffee - approximate retail value $4,278 - at no charge to defendant Joyce.

That 504 pounds came with Joyce (the indictment doesn't say how) to a meeting of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, where he gave it out to city and town leaders and administrators.

That's the basic pattern Joyce allegedly followed with most of the coffee deliveries - he'd give the stuff away as gifts, rather than consume it himself.

The 504-pound drop off came a month after Joyce allegedly took delivery of 200 pounds of coffee - giving out roughly half of the bags as Christmas gifts to fellow state senators. The indictment includes an excerpt from an e-mail allegedly from Joyce to the franchisee:

No decaf. Usually I bring around 200 bags to town halls, maybe fewer. We like k cups at my office, if possible.

Not long after, when the Globe began smelling the coffee-scented story, the indictment charges, Joyce gave the distributor a check - but backdated, to make it look like he'd paid for it in advance.

Between 2010 and 2013, prosecutors allege, Joyce accepted December dropoffs of Dunk's coffee in amounts of at least 50 lbs., which he would use to give out to constituents at meetings in his district and to visitors to his State House office. Every August between 2010 and 2014, the indictment continues, the franchise owner provided an unspecified amount of free coffee and food for a picnic Joyce ran.

And then there were the 12 Boxes o' Joe the franchisee gave Joyce for use at a trade show in 2014.

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