Former House Speaker's house a mess

Matt Dunning

Former Speaker of the House Charles Flaherty may have a mess on his hands, according to the city’s department of inspections.

Flaherty, whose name appears on the deed of the crumbling house at 634 Huron Ave., told the city’s Inspectional Services Department that if his relatives didn’t clean up the debris — which includes everything from an old piano, a barber’s chair and several pairs of skis — then he’d do it himself.

“The porch is always chock-o-block full of God knows what,” said Jean Leveaux, who’s lived in the house next door to the Pattersons since 1978. “I don’t know why they’re so insensitive to the neighbors. Everyone’s really quite upset.”

Flaherty, who is still registered to vote in Cambridge at 25 Homer Ave., could not be reached for comment. He served as speaker of the state House of Representatives from 1991 to 1996.

Flaherty has been in trouble before. In 1996, he pleaded guilty to federal tax evasion charges involving a 13-year-old tax return. In 1990, the Ethics Commission fined Flaherty $500 for his acceptance of five skybox tickets to a Boston Celtics game from employees of Ackerly Communication.

“We talked to [Flaherty] and he said if they don’t do it, he will,” Assistant Building Inspector John Fallon said.

According to Fallon, Flaherty’s sister, Anna Flaherty Patterson, lives in the house with her husband, Robert. Fallon said the department planned to evaluate the house Wednesday morning.

“We told them it’s got to get done, or we have to go to court,” Fallon said.

Anna Patterson’s son, Jamisean Patterson, said his mother had been extremely ill recently, and that the family had simply gotten behind on the house’s upkeep. Half of the railing on the upper porch is missing, as are several panes of glass on the front and side of the house. Since 2004, city inspectors issued Flaherty and his sister four separate orders to remove the clutter from the yard.

“Everything’s going to be cleared,” he said. “We’ve just been behind on it. Everything’s going to be gone by tomorrow or Thursday at the latest.”

Though Jamisean Patterson tried to downplay the house’s deterioration and appearance, neighbors said they’ve gotten tired of looking at the pile of garbage and assorted junk in front of the house.

Patterson said he hadn’t been told inspectors planned to visit the house Wednesday.