Lawsuit: Marty Walsh Told Southie Parade Organizers ‘Don’t F— Me Over’

An alleged skirmish over LGBT vets marching in the 2014 St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Photo via Mayor's Office/Isabel Leon

Photo via Mayor’s Office/Isabel Leon

A new lawsuit filed against Marty Walsh in Massachusetts District Court alleges the mayor coerced organizers of South Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade into allowing LGBT veterans to join in the festivities.

The South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, bolstered by a 1995 Supreme Court ruling that it can exclude certain groups from participating on the grounds of free speech, says Walsh pressured the group into allowing LGBT vets to march in the 2014 parade.

The suit includes an episode at the South Boston Citizens Association banquet at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, in which Walsh allegedly floated the idea of issuing a press release including LGBT vets and police to parade organizer Philip Wuschke, who quickly rebuffed it.

Mayor Walsh then launched into a frenzied verbal attack shouting “Don’t fuck me over, you’d better not fuck me over.” He shouted the phrases several times. Wuschke responded, “Do you realize that you threatened me five times.” There were many people nearby.

Wuschke then went down to the lobby of the Boston Conference Center, and while waiting for his wife to join him he was approached again by Mayor Walsh, who was accompanied by four men. The shouting renewed until Mrs. Wuschke interrupted the exchanges. Wuschke then said to Mayor Walsh ‘That is not the way to negotiate, Mr. Mayor.”

Later that evening Mayor Walsh called Wuschke and apologized and said that he “snapped” and that “we were under a lot of pressure and that I shouldn’t have done it.” The Mayor did not march in the 2014 Parade.

Chester Darling, the attorney representing the parade organizers, reportedly provided the Globe with the voicemail containing Walsh’s apology. “The first mistake [Walsh] made was pushing us to change our speech to include gay groups so that Marty would march in parade,” Darling said. “Mayor Walsh made a second mistake, when he tried to strong-arm [Wuschke], a Marine.”

In a statement, Walsh spokesperson Laura Oggeri said the mayor is “incredibly passionate about ensuring Boston is an inclusive and welcoming city for all people, and he will continue to fight for the LGBTQ community in every aspect of his work.”

Walsh ended his boycott of the parade in 2015, when parade organizers invited the group OUTVETS to participate.

You can read the full complaint here.