Howie Carr Talks Politics, Bulger, and Recent Book
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Most of us know him as the host of “The Howie Carr Show” that you hear weekdays from 3 to 7 p.m. on WHYN Radio, but he’s also a columnist for the Boston Herald and an author.
Howie Carr sat down with ABC40’s Dave Madsen Friday talk about James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, politics, and his latest book.
Carr has an event Friday night in Springfield, titled “Night of Crime with Howie Carr” where he will talk about the Bulger trial, as well as be joined by Anthony Amore, who will talk about the history of art crime. For more information, you can visit his website.
Below are excerpts from today’s interview. If you like to watch the interview in its entirety, click on the video above (please note: due to the length, it may take a few moments to load)
Madsen: Well Howie, everybody knows you around here. Maybe something that some people don’t know is that you went to Deerfield Academy, so you’re very familiar to western Mass.
Carr: Right, I lived in Deerfield as well. My parents were staffers at Deerfield. My mother was secretary to the head master, my father ran the school store, so I lived in Deerfield, as well.
Madsen: Let’s talk about your new book. This is your fourth book, Ratman, the trial and conviction of Whitey Bulger…hard to believe that was a year ago and they did let you in to see the trial.
Carr: They did. Whitey listed me as a defense witness, but that was obviously just to keep me out of the trial so they let me in, so I got to see the whole thing. It was a great trial, it’s a shame it wasn’t on TV. It’s really too bad they don’t allow cameras in federal courtrooms.
Madsen: Well, when you look at this whole story, you’ve got the bad brother and the good brother, you can’t make this stuff up.
Carr: Yea, I don’t know if I’d call Billy the good brother, especially after the stuff that came out at the trial. It really is like a movie and as you know they’re shooting the movie now in Boston, but it’s hard to imagine the most powerful gangster in the state and the most powerful politician in the state and they’re covering each others backs all the way through. There was testimony at the trial that Stevie Flemmi, Whitey’s partner, actual paid for some of the repairs on Billy Bulger’s house. He paid him in cash when they had a contractor in the area. A contractor they later shook down for $400,000.
Madsen: So you talk about your experience at the trial, kind of a day to day of this and exactly what went on.
Carr: Well, what I did, I divided it up into, there was so much in the trial, so much new stuff that came out, I divided it up. I wrote a chapter on how they run the drug racket, which is another interesting point. He picked a gangster to run it and they kind of used the hippy types underneath, but they wanted the gangsters as buffers. I did something on the extortions they ran. They had all kinds of different extortions. If any kind of a crime happened they would take credit for it and then go to you and demand money. In one case they had a drug dealer they couldn’t shake down, they couldn’t get him to join the organization. So his brother was shot by some people in Charlestown. They had nothing to do with it, Whitey had nothing to do with it. But he heard, oh his brother was shot. So he goes over and says look pal, I shot your brother last night, next time I’m gonna kill him.
Madsen: He enjoyed that reputation and wanted to build on it even though he wasn’t committing the crimes.
Carr: Oh yeah. Truly, in the underworld, I think your reputation precedes you and the other thing he had going for him that made his life a lot easier is that he owned all these cops. When he said he provided protection, what he really meant to a large degree about protection is he wouldn’t call the cops on you.
Madsen: It doesn’t seem like he has any remorse for what he’s done, other than the fact he got caught.
Carr: Yeah, exactly. He’s written a bunch of letters since he’s been in prison. He’s in Tucson Arizona now. I thought the most interesting letter he wrote was that if he had known that it was going to turn out this way, he said I might have considered going out like Bonnie and Clyde. My presentation is mainly, it’s different from last years, that was before the trial. So I talk a lot about what happened at the trial. We have so many new pictures sa well of things. Some of them are pretty gruesome, but some of them are funny too. I mean Whitey, he tried to put into the record some pictures of himself to make him look more human.