Big Dig Memo Writer Fired After Problems With Resume Arise

A former Big Dig safety official who said he wrote a memo warning of problems in a tunnel where a woman was killed in a ceiling collapse was fired Wednesday, according to his lawyer.

The firing followed questions about the accuracy of John J. Keaveney's resume. Earlier, questions were raised about the authenticity of the memo.

Keaveney had been employed by Shawmut Design and Construction, a different company than the one he was working for when he wrote the memo. His attorney would not go into detail about why Keaveney was fired.

"If it has to do with the events of the last few weeks, it's unfair and inappropriate," Robert Peabody said.

The company said in a brief statement that Keaveney had stopped working there Wednesday because of "personal and confidential reasons," The Boston Globe reported. The statement did not say if he resigned or was fired and a spokesman declined further comment to the newspaper.

Officials at Shawmut did not immediately return telephone messages seeking comment Wednesday night.

The Boston Herald reported Wednesday that military officials in Keaveney's native Ireland, and officials at the University of Galway, could not verify credentials he'd listed on the resume submitted to his former Big Dig employer, Modern Continental Construction Co.

Peabody said he's not sure where the resume came from.

"Our position is that the allegations are unfounded," he said. "We know he did serve, in fact, in the Irish army and did take classes at some point in time at the school."

Keaveney's memo, dated 1999, first became public after it was mailed anonymously to The Boston Globe. It claimed Keaveney had warned his bosses he was concerned about the safety of the tunnel ceiling where Milena Del Valle, 39, was crushed by falling concrete last month.

Modern Continental said after a review of its records it could not find a copy and believes it was fabricated. It also found discrepancies in dates the memo describes.

Keaveney later admitted he sent the memo to the newspaper but maintained it was authentic.

Keaveney claimed on his resume that he served as a lieutenant first class in the Irish Defense Forces between 1979 and 1986, the Herald reported. He also said he was a member of United Nations missions in Lebanon, Cyprus, Angola, Iran and Iraq. He misspelled Cyprus as "Cypress" on his resume.

An official at the U.N. in charge of the Irish military's missions confirmed Ireland sent forces to aid the U.N. in the countries listed by Keaveney, but a spokesman for the Irish Defense Force wrote in an e-mail to the Herald that he could not document Keaveney's involvement.

In addition, officials at the University of Galway, Ireland, said they could not verify that Keaveney, 43, was ever a student at the school. On his resume, he claimed he obtained a business degree in 1984. He told The Boston Globe he had an engineering degree from the college.