Here’s Everything We Know So Far About the Marty Walsh Probe
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has been drawn into federal probe for his time as head of the Boston Building Trades, once again calling into question not only Walsh’s strong ties to organized labor, but the balance between union advocacy and illegal coercion.
Citing anonymous sources, the Globe reported Sunday that the feds had wiretapped Walsh in 2012 and recorded him speaking with Laborers Local 22 head Anthony Perrone. Walsh reportedly told Perrone he warned developer AvalonBay Communities that they would find difficulty obtaining permits for a project on Stuart Street in Boston if they didn’t use union labor at Assembly Row in Somerville.
There were long-simmering rumors concerning a federal probe at City Hall. The Herald said it’s “repeatedly asked Walsh over the past year if he or any City Hall staff have received any subpoenas or if he’s been wiretapped,” and as recently as last week, his office has denied both. When asked Sunday, Walsh said the only information he had is “what the Globe is asking me.”
“Prior to running for Mayor, Marty Walsh spent a little over two years working for the building trades, advocating on behalf of working men and women in and around Boston,” Walsh’s spokesperson Laura Oggeri said in a statement. “He is confident that he always acted ethically and appropriately in that role. Whatever broad review of labor activities that may be going on, it has little to do with the Walsh administration. The mayor will continue to make the necessary reforms in Boston to guarantee an open and inclusive development process.”
Walsh, who appointed AvalonBay executive Scott Kinter to his housing task force, denied ever threatening the developer, whose execs made $3,850 in contributions to Walsh’s campaign fund since 2013. “Don’t paint an unfair picture of me, of what I’ve been doing in this building for the people of Boston,” Walsh was quoted in the Globe‘s initial story.
Former assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Kendall told the Herald that federal agents will leak to the press in order to “stir the pot and try and generate statements from witnesses where they don’t have any.” At Boy Scouts breakfast in South Boston, Walsh told the press that he does not expect to be indicted in the federal probe while maintaining that he has not been contacted by investigators. When asked why he was so confident, he replied, “Because I did nothing wrong.”
A member of Walsh’s administration was cited in the indictment of five Teamsters accused of extortion last year after they allegedly bullied a Top Chef production crew for using non-union labor. Walsh would not indicate to reporters Monday whether he appeared before a grand jury in either case.