Walsh Administration Official Arrested on ‘Union-Related Extortion’

Kenneth Brissette is City Hall's director of Office of Tourism, Sports, and Entertainment.

Photo via Mayor's Office/Jeremiah Robinson

Photo via Mayor’s Office/Jeremiah Robinson

Kenneth Brissette, City Hall’s director of Office of Tourism, Sports, and Entertainment, has been arrested for “union-related extortion,” U.S. District Attorney Carmen Ortiz announced Thursday morning.

Feds say Brissette, 52, was indicted for extorting an arts production company, and later placed on paid administrative leave. Federal investigators were previously reported to be probing a warning Brissette allegedly gave organizers of the Boston Calling music festival, that they would face difficulty if they did not use union stagehands.

“I am deeply concerned about today’s news,” Walsh said in a statement. “Everyone who knows Ken knows him to be a good and hardworking person. We will continue to work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to get to the bottom of this. Everyone in my administration should know that there is only one way to do things and that is the right way.”

In another statement, Walsh spokesperson Laura Oggeri said that attorney Brian Kelly, whose taxpayer-funded contract the city increased to $200,000 earlier this year, has not only been reviewing Boston Calling, but also conducting a “comprehensive review of the Office of Tourism, Sports, and Entertainment to ensure that the proper policies and procedures are in place.”

Brissette, who is currently on paid administrative leave, will appear in Boston federal court at 3:15, Ortiz’s office said.

You can read the indictment below.