Boston 2024 Says It Will Release Sought-After Bid Chapters Next Week

Facing pressure from Mayor Marty Walsh and the City Council, chairman Steve Pagliuca says organizers will release Bid 1.0 in its entirety.

Photo by Kyle Clauss

Photo by Kyle Clauss

Facing pressure from Mayor Marty Walsh and a potential siege of subpoenas from both Boston and Cambridge‘s city councils, Boston 2024 organizers say they will release the unredacted version of Bid 1.0 early next week.

Speaking publicly on the matter for the first time since Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson filed a subpoena order for Boston 2024 CEO Rich Davey, Walsh issued a statement Wednesday requesting that Boston 2024 release the winning bid it submitted to the United States Olympic Committee in December, including the previously unreleased chapters on budget information and political support.

“The question of releasing the original bid documents has become an unnecessary distraction in what should be a constructive civil discourse about the future of the City of Boston,” Walsh said. “It’s important that we continue our focus on building a concrete and sound plan that is shaped by community input and brings long-term benefits to the City of Boston and its residents. As a result, I asked Boston 2024 to provide the original bid, in its entirety, for public review. Both Boston 2024 and the United States Olympic Committee fully support the release of these documents in order to maintain an open and transparent process.”

Boston 2024 chairman Steve Pagliuca released the following statement:

When I was asked by the Mayor, the Board and the USOC to assume the Chair of Boston 2024 on May 21st, I wanted to ensure we ran an open and transparent operation as we developed a fact-based plan to bring privately-financed Olympic and Paralympic Games to Boston.  In our first week, we worked closely with Attorney General Healey to create one of the most transparent financial disclosures for any non-profit in Massachusetts.

Mayor Walsh and I spoke, and I agreed with him, that we should release the full version of the preliminary bid package (Bid 1.0) to the public in order to continue to maintain this high standard of transparency.  The preliminary bid package, produced in December of last year by the previous leadership team, included redacted portions as part of bid city confidentiality commitments.  Boston 2024, with the support of Mayor Walsh and the USOC, will be releasing the complete preliminary bid package, including the redacted portions, to the public early next week.

It is important to note that the preliminary bid package has been supplanted by the detailed release of Bid 2.0, which has been released to the public and posted in its entirety on the Boston 2024 website.

When pressed on why certain portions of Bid 1.0—most conspicuously, cost estimates and weaknesses—were scrubbed from the version made available on Boston 2024’s website and billed as what was handed to the USOC, bid organizers have deferred to the higher authority. For example, when Boston magazine published the first four chapters of the bid book in May, Boston 2024 Vice President Erin Murphy said: “As stated previously, there is a limited amount of proprietary information that the USOC has asked Boston 2024 not to release because they believe it will put Boston and the United States at a competitive disadvantage.”

In June, Davey’s predecessor Dan O’Connell, who presided over the compilation of Bid 1.0, said cost estimates were withheld for bargaining purposes. “The bid book that you received has a number that we thought we could get the co-op for. Once the co-op knows that, that’s where the negotiations start, that’s not where the negotiation ends,” O’Connell told Boston in a sit-down interview. “They went through the book with one of our staffers as well siting there, but the USOC played a principal role and said, ‘This is information we would not want to have out there in terms of negotiations on sites and in terms of perception of where we are in the process with the IOC. We want to put our best foot forward with the IOC.’”

Reacting to Cambridge City Councilor Nadeem Mazen’s proposed subpoena Sunday night, Murphy offered her best Bill Belichick impression. “Bid 2.0 is the plan we are moving forward with and we look forward to continued public dialogue as we build plans to bring the Games back to the United States,” she said.

Are we to believe both the USOC and Boston 2024 have fully supported the release of these documents all along, or only once staring down the barrel of a subpoena? Bid organizers have had no shortage of opportunities to release Bid 1.0, yet waited until the City Council eviscerated them on the eve of their televised debate with opposition leaders to act.

The first four chapters of the bid book comprise a 284-page PDF file, roughly 117 megabytes in size. The average upload speed in Boston is nearly 11 megabytes per second. This means it would take a Boston 2024 intern around 10 seconds, maybe 11, to post Bid 1.0 online for the public to review. Why must we wait until next week?