SPRINGFIELD – A federal judge has set March 23, 2023 as the date for the trial of three accused in an alleged fraud on two municipal golf courses, and the liquidation of illicit funds to build two luxury homes.
Former Springfield golf pro Kevin M. Kennedy, home builders Kent Pickoy and his son Jason Pickoy are set to go on trial seven years after high-profile federal raids on two city public courses.
Kennedy is indicted on dozens of fraud charges, accused of cheating golf courses for hundreds of thousands when he was a city contractor. He allegedly used stolen cash to pay for two homes in East Longmeadow and Cape Cod built by the Pecoys. Pecoys was charged with one count of conspiracy.
All pleaded not guilty to the charges in 2019, after they were indicted by a grand jury.
Assistant US Attorney Stephen H. Breslow told the judge Friday during a pre-trial meeting that the elder Pecoy could face an additional charge of obstruction of justice. While legal motions regarding the potential charge have been filed with a seal, and meetings with the magistrate have been held behind closed doors, Breslow referred to the case in open court in 2020.
Picui is suspected of withholding material related to the prosecution when the federal investigator first issued subpoenas in 2015.
Michael O. refused. Jennings, Pekoy’s senior attorney, commenting after the hearing.
The case has dragged on three years since the men were indicted, hampered in part by the COVID-19 pandemic that has paralyzed the court system, and in part by a subplot to explore the alleged obstruction.
U.S. District Court Judge Mark J. Mastroianni initially acted when attorneys in the case brought a trial date in March 2023.
“Why? This case has been in pretrial for a long time and it’s just hard to imagine what you have to do to get the case ready,” Mastroianni said. “I’m not looking to give anyone a hard time but this case has some years to come.”
When the judge was a criminal defense attorney, Springfield attorney Vincent A. Bonjourney, attorney Jason Pecui and former partner Mastroianni quipped that many of the veteran attorneys involved in the case are slowing down.
“We old men take a long time to get ready,” Bonjourni said dryly.
“At least he admits it!” The judge said with a laugh.