Boston 2024 Finally Releases Bid 1.0 Chapters on Budget Info, Political Support
Facing a possible subpoena from city councilors in both Boston and Cambridge, Boston 2024 has released chapters five and six of the winning bid book it presented the United States Olympic Committee in December.
Boston magazine published the first four chapters of Bid 1.0 in May. Since then, bid organizers—citing confidentiality requirements put in place by the USOC—have refused to release the final two chapters on political support and budget information. With a potentially embarrassing subpoena brewing at Boston City Hall, Mayor Marty Walsh requested that Boston 2024 make public Bid 1.0 in its unredacted entirety.
Bid organizers capitulated late Friday afternoon, posting chapters five and six on Boston 2024’s website. “The preliminary bid book was intended to serve as a ‘proof of concept’ – a general demonstration that Boston can, in fact, serve as host city,” Boston 2024 Chairman Steve Pagliuca said in a release. “While it served that purpose well, it was not meant to be a final or operable plan. With extensive community input, we released an updated plan on June 29 for hosting the Games, and, with the benefit of continued community engagement, we’re confident our bid will continue to evolve and improve.”
“Recognizing the substantial risks undertaken by the City of Boston in executing the Host City Contract, Boston 2024 and the City of Boston have been developing a structure in our bid to minimize exposure by the City of Boston to such risks,” one section reads. “The City of Boston will agree to the terms, without reservation, but will benefit from indemnities from Boston 2024, insurance policies, investment from the business community and other protections.”
In the version presented to the public and billed as “a copy of the Boston 2024 documents presented to the USOC,” organizers omitted the word “substantial” from “substantial risks.”
“The release of Boston 2024’s unredacted bid documents confirm that the boosters have been saying one thing behind closed doors, and an entirely different thing to Massachusetts taxpayers,” No Boston Olympics said in a release. “The redactions made in January show that the documents were whitewashed to remove any mention of existing opposition to the bid, and to conceal budget estimates that indicated the Games may operate at a deficit. Boston 2024 is asking for a taxpayer guarantee to cover overruns, but they have not earned the public’s trust.”
While all mention of a referendum had been scrubbed from the public version, the USOC’s copy of chapter five extensively discusses the possibility of such a measure, and what to do in the event one succeeds.
“There is no applicable referendum process in Massachusetts,” the bid declared in December, a short six months before United Independent Party head Evan Falchuk held a rally for his ballot question on Beacon Hill.
In addition, opponents to an initiative petition have multiple opportunities to object and intervene throughout the process at every step, including through reviewing signatures for proper certification and working with the Attorney General to safeguard that summaries and explanations of the petition are appropriate, fair and accurate. Initiative petition opponents also may pursue court challenges, as is necessary.
If an initiative petition were to prevail, opponents to the petition could seek to have the legislature amend or repeal the petition’s decree through new legislation.
Other differences between the USOC and public versions of the chapters are more minor, like “additional revenue to support the Games” blank in the former, and colored-in in the latter.
Another notable passage outlines a potential partnership between Boston 2024 and the lottery. “One potential revenue source Boston 2024 continues to actively investigate is licensing opportunities with state and national lotteries,” it reads. “Based on early estimates, Boston 2024 conservatively believes that state lotteries potentially offer an additional $25-50M in revenue opportunities over the period of 2018-2024. Boston will continue to work with the MA State Lottery and the USOC to refine these estimates.”
You can read Bid 1.0 chapters five and six below.