Former Donovan employee: ‘I copied and pasted that signature’ | News

0 329

SALEM — A former employee of a company being run by John Donovan Sr. told jurors Monday that while working for him in 2016 her boss had dictated lengthy documents to her to type.

Paulina Park, who had just graduated from Gordon College that spring, was shown documents that bore the signatures of both her boss and her boss’ son, John Donovan III of Essex.

“I copied and pasted that signature,” she testified in the elder Donovan’s trial on forgery, attempted larceny and witness intimidation charges in Salem Superior Court. The trial is entering its third week.

Prosecutors allege Donovan Sr. was trying to wrest control of his late son’s fortune and real estate holdings and get out from under several mortgages and a judgment by filing more than two dozen fake documents after his son’s 2015 death.

“Was he alive when you worked at Send It Later?” prosecutor Jack Dawley asked Park.

“No,” she admitted. Nor had she ever met or spoken with the younger man, she acknowledged — something she later admitted during cross-examination she’d asked a lawyer about.

Park also told jurors she’d copied and pasted a notary’s signature and stamp on some of the documents.

But during an hour-long cross-examination by Donovan Sr.’s attorney, Park was confronted with text messages she’d exchanged — and a photo of financial information she’d shared — with co-worker Mark Formichella.

During his cross-examination of several witnesses, defense lawyer Robert Strasnick has brought up Formichella, who worked for Send It Later before being fired by Donovan.

Formichella was the son of Romano and Nancy Formichella, who had come up with the idea for a business that would allow people to continue sending messages and gifts after they died; a lawyer in Vermont introduced them to Donovan Sr.

But as Donovan Sr. prepared to take the company public, witnesses have testified, Romano Formichella was pushed out, angering Mark Formichella.

In his cross-examination of Park, Strasnick elicited testimony showing that Park didn’t like Donovan Sr. — who’d reneged on promised bonuses and stock options. and neither did Mark Formichella.

Strasnick introduced text messages between Park and Mark Formichella in which she referred to Donovan Sr. with a vulgarity.

And Park acknowledged that she and most of her colleagues, including Formichella, would have had access to Donovan Sr.’s office and computer, including while he was away on business trips.

Strasnick also sought to discredit Park’s memory, citing her testimony that she believes she began doing personal work for Donovan Sr. in October 2016. That’s a month after the allegedly forged documents were filed, something Strasnick hopes will shake jurors’ confidence in her memory.

“You pasted a signature of a man that was dead on documents?” Strasnick asked. When she said she had, he pressed further. “You’d agree those aren’t proper things to do?” He went on to raise the potential of criminal charges.

“I stopped doing those things as soon as I found out that they were likely illegal,” Park responded.

Strasnick also tried to suggest that Park, who was in the United States on a student visa at the time, didn’t have permission to work — though she said she was not paid during that period.

Dawley rested the prosecution’s case early Monday afternoon.

Strasnick told Judge Salim Tabit that he plans to call at least three witnesses on Tuesday.

Among them is James Donovan, the defendant’s surviving son.

Last month, James Donovan was ordered by a court in Virginia to obey a summons from the defense to testify in the case against his father.

The two have had a long and bitter estrangement. Donovan Sr. was convicted of trying to frame James for a December 2005 shooting outside his Cambridge office, after telling police that his son had sent Russian hit men to kill him. Police and a judge concluded that Donovan Sr. had actually staged the scene and inflicted a superficial wound on his belly before calling 911.

The two have also sparred in a long-running civil case involving all of the Donovan children.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis

- Advertisement -

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.