Arroyo, on paid leave, makes fundraising plea

Andrew Ryan
FEBRUARY 14, 2017

The fundraising plea came in a bright red font: “Félix Arroyo is Under Attack, He Needs us NOW More Than Ever!”

That would be Felix D. Arroyo, Suffolk register of probate, whom court officials recently put on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into the operation of his office. The e-mailed fund-raising pitch included a story from Tuesday’s Boston Globe, which noted that court officials have not provided specifics about any allegations.

Arroyo has hired the prominent Boston attorney Walter B. Prince, who put the Prince in the law firm Prince Lobel.

“Our friend and long-time champion of social justice, Félix D. Arroyo, was placed on administrative leave from his elected position as the result of a unilateral decision by Harry Spence, the Court Administrator,” read the e-mail from Arroyo’s campaign manager, Patrick Keaney. “We need your financial support now more than ever so that we can mount a vigorous legal and community campaign to fight this unilateral and unjust decision.”

Arroyo raised $52,000 in 2014, the year he was elected register of probate, according to the state Office of Political and Campaign Finance. But according to Arroyo’s most recent filing at the beginning of this month, his campaign account has sunk to $9,500.

“Félix has a 40-year record of speaking truth to power and standing by those in their hour of need,” Keaney’s e-mail read. “It is our turn to stand by him … Please donate generously.”

The e-mail delineates Arroyo’s grievances: He was suspended without due process or informed of allegations of wrongdoing; he inherited an office with a history of mismanagement; and he trying to hire a diverse workforce, which upset the status quo. Arroyo has also asked that the entire investigation be open to the public.

So far, the Massachusetts Trial Court has said little. Arroyo has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation by Retired Probate and Family Court judge Anthony Nesi. A court spokeswoman has said that the “inquiry and related documents are confidential personnel matters upon which the Trial Court is not at liberty to comment at this time.”