Corruption: one man’s Cambridge fiefdom

“That which you call corruption I call influence.” – John Mortlock

Calling all far-flung expats bemoaning local corruption and bureaucracy, I give you John Mortlock, “Master of the Town of Cambridge.”  Local amateur historian, C. Hadley, fleshes out the following details:

“He served as mayor 13 times over the next twenty years, alternating in the post with his sons and business partners. During this period he ran the city as a private fiefdom, selling off city property (and some property that wasn’t strictly his to sell) to friends at knock-down prices, and diverting taxes and city funds into his own pockets and those of his cronies. The amazing thing is that he made no secret of it, using city money to buy the influence that made him mayor, again and again. A banker and a politician called Mortlock – you could just tell he’d turn out to be a baddie. The only positive side of the story is that the freeholds of several premises were sold to cronies on extraordinarily long leases, which has in some cases prevented their subsequent redevelopment, preserving buildings which would otherwise have long since been bulldozed.”

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