Walsh’s Wiretapped Convo Leaked as Labor Probe Winds Down

Walsh told a union leader he wanted a hearing 'thrown off the docket at the ZBA.'

Marty Walsh

Photo via Mayor’s Office/Don Harney

An account of a wiretapped conversation from 2012 involving Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who at the time was head of the Building Trades, has been leaked as the probe into labor union tactics winds toward a conclusion.

According to a report in the Globe this weekend, court documents indicate that Walsh was overheard talking about wanting to get a hearing for a Boston building proposal from AvalonBay “thrown off the docket” at the Zoning Board of Appeal. He was talking with Anthony Perrone, head of the Local 22 labor union in Malden, the Globe says, about wanting AvalonBay to use unionized labor at the Assembly Row project in Somerville, and wanting Local 22 business manager Lou Mandarini to contact then-Mayor Tom Menino about it.

From the Globe:

On Oct. 1, 2012, the Avalon project on Stuart Street was scheduled to come before the Boston Zoning Board of Appeal. The day before the vote, Walsh and Perrone discussed strategy again, in a second call recorded by investigators. Perrone refers to Kinter with a crude term and says, “He thinks everybody is stupid.”

Walsh responds: “Tomorrow, do me a favor and have Lou [Mandarini] call the mayor’s office because AvalonBay is on the docket for 45 Stuart Street. We want him to get it thrown off the docket at the ZBA.”

Walsh also says that he told Kinter that if he didn’t go union in Somerville they would knock his project off the zoning board’s docket in Boston, the documents say. Walsh does not specify who “they” refers to.

Walsh and his staff brushed off the new details, reiterating that the mayor believes he did nothing wrong and does not expect to be indicted. He has also declined to say whether he testified before a grand jury in relation to the labor union investigations, citing the fact that the case is ongoing.

The court will have to decide what constitutes legal advocacy for jobs and what amounts to illegal strong-arming of builders, including the role played by influence over permits at City Hall.

Two Walsh aides this year have been indicted on extortion charges, tourism czar Kenneth Brissette in May and Timothy Sullivan in June. Their cases, which are separate and related to union jobs sought for a music festival, are pending.