With Boston’s bodybuilding firefighter Albert Arroyo still fighting to save his lucrative pension, a lot of us are curious how this has been able to go on for so long.
We know he collected some $24,000, tax-free while he was out on disability, all the while pumping up for a bodybuilding competition.
Barry from Laconia is one of many viewers who turned to the WBZ web site declareyourcuriosity.com for answers. He says, “I’m curious why the firefighter hasn’t been fired already and ordered to repay the state.”
We put that question to Samuel Tyler, president of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, which keeps track of city’s spending.
“It takes longer than it should,” Tyler explained. “Not only do the firefighters receive civil service protection, but also union protection. That does slow down the process because between the time that a firefighter’s injured and the time that there’s a decision regarding the disability retirement, that firefighter is earning 100 percent of his or her salary with no taxes taken out.”
Arroyo’s attorney, Neil Osborne, says his client is entitled to as much time as it takes for him to prove his case.
“This is a firefighter who has risked his life since 1986 for this city,” Osborne said.
Nancy from Mansfield says, “I’m curious why the body builder has not been arrested and brought up on insurance fraud charges.”
Tyler’s answer: since Arroyo’s application for disability pension was still under consideration when officials found out about his body building, it hadn’t reached the level of a crime…yet.
But Arroyo is still fighting to get that pension. His attorney says the body building was part of his physical therapy.
“There is a swirl of information that, based upon being seen in a body building video, that he has somehow committed some fraud regarding his disability. Nothing could be farther from the truth. All that Mr. Arroyo did was attempt to get better,” Osborne says.
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