Monday, May 2, 2016

May Days: Mayoral Muddle

I'm going to let you figure it all out:

"Mayor Walsh is drawn into federal labor probe" by Globe Staff   April 24, 2016

A sweeping federal investigation into allegations of strong-arm tactics by unions has triggered a wave of subpoenas to union leaders, developers, and Boston City Hall staff, bringing scrutiny to Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s administration and his work as a labor leader before taking office in 2014, according to people familiar with the inquiry.

At issue in the investigation is whether labor officials threatened developers and business people who hired nonunion workers on their projects. Walsh, though apparently not an early focus of the probe, became drawn into it through wiretaps on which he was recorded in 2012, saying he had told a development company it would face permitting problems on a planned Boston high-rise unless it used union labor at another project in Somerville, according to people familiar with the tapes.

The investigation renews a long debate about where the line falls between forceful advocacy on behalf of working people and unlawful coercion.

In an interview Saturday in his office, Walsh declined to address many specifics, but he said no government official had contacted him about any investigation related to his time as head of the Boston Building Trades, an umbrella group representing laborers, electricians, Teamsters, and others.

“No one has approached me on this at all,” Walsh said. “The only information I have on this is what the Globe is asking me.”

The mayor insisted that as a union leader he was not one for hardball tactics, such as erecting inflatable rats outside nonunion construction sites. “That’s in the past,” he said. “It’s a business now. I don’t agree with those tactics.”

In a follow-up statement, he said, broadly, “When I was head of the Building Trades, my role was to advocate for more jobs for working men and women in the Greater Boston region. Since becoming mayor of Boston, I have changed the development process to be more open and inclusive. Bottom line, no one gets any special treatment under my administration — developers, contractors, or unions.”

Walsh, in the interview, was also clearly concerned that a probe into events before his City Hall years could taint his image and legacy as mayor.

“Don’t paint an unfair picture of me, of what I’ve been doing in this building for the people of Boston,” Walsh told the Globe.

The federal investigation, which extends to communities beyond Boston, is proceeding at a time when the regional real estate market is beset by some of the nation’s highest development costs, due to the steep price of land, permitting, and labor — a cost generally higher for union-built projects. Development costs are considered a major driver of rising housing and rental prices.

Investigators have also issued subpoenas to City Hall staffers as part of an ongoing case of alleged union extortion and harassment of a TV production crew in 2014, which has already led to the indictment of five Teamsters members. Those cases are pending.

Did you see the e-mails?

Prosecutors are using at least one grand jury in their probe. Grand juries are panels of citizens who meet in secret, hear evidence presented by the government, and can be asked by prosecutors to sign off on indictments.

The review of Walsh’s work as a labor leader is part of a broader investigation into the tactics of local union leaders, according to one person with knowledge of the probe.

Many of the people interviewed for this story would speak only under the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing and they are not authorized to discuss it.

While investigators’ level of interest in Walsh could not be determined, he was, according to two people familiar with the investigation, recorded discussing union strategy in 2012, while he was a state representative and head of the Building Trades. Walsh led the trades from 2011 to 2013, when he resigned to run for mayor. As head of the Building Trades, he was an advocate on behalf of construction unions in Greater Boston, from Walpole to Reading.

In a conversation recorded in October 2012 between Walsh and Anthony Perrone, a leader of the Laborers Local 22 in Malden, Walsh said he had told a housing developer, AvalonBay Communities, that its then-pending project on Stuart Street would be held up at the Boston Zoning Board of Appeal unless the company used union workers at its housing project at Assembly Row in Somerville, according to the people familiar with the investigation.

The Globe reported in November that federal prosecutors — using years of wiretap evidence — have been investigating whether Perrone pressured developers into using union labor.

Membership on the ZBA is designed to represent different points of view on development, and the board includes labor representatives. The board approved the Stuart Street building but only after a union rep on the panel, Michael Monahan, asked AvalonBay whether it was using union labor in Somerville, according to a recording of the ZBA meeting acquired by the Globe through a public records request. An AvalonBay representative told the ZBA that the Somerville project would be built with a mix of union and nonunion workers; it’s unclear whether the mix had changed after the Walsh-Perrone phone call. Both AvalonBay projects have since been built.

AvalonBay declined to discuss the issue with the Globe: “Given the ongoing investigations related to this matter, the company has no comment at this time,” a company spokesman said by e-mail.

AvalonBay executives have donated $3,850 to Walsh’s campaign fund since 2013, according to campaign finance records. The mayor’s staff noted that Walsh, as a union leader, testified in favor of the Stuart Street project in November 2011 when it was approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority. As mayor, Walsh attended the ribbon cutting for the building, and an AvalonBay executive serves on the administration’s housing task force.

Perrone’s lawyer, Robert Sinsheimer, said the purpose of unions is to advocate for their members, and that his client had done nothing wrong.

Investigators have also been questioning other developers about their interactions with unions.

One developer, Michael Rauseo, who confirmed he has received a subpoena in the investigation, told the Globe he had a run-in with Walsh in late 2012.

At the time, Rauseo’s company was working to convert an old Charlestown warehouse into 121 loft-style apartments. Rauseo said part of the project workforce at that point was union, but that organized labor and some members of the Charlestown Neighborhood Council were unhappy. He met with Walsh — then the head of the Boston Building Trades, and still a year away from being elected mayor — on Dec. 11, 2012, at Rauseo’s office, according to e-mails and other documents.

Rauseo said he was surprised when Walsh arrived with union leader and Boston Zoning Board of Appeal member Mark Fortune, who had not been invited to the meeting. Walsh said Saturday that Fortune, who was the Building Trades president (the No. 2 position), often accompanied him to meetings.

“First thing Walsh did was that he introduced Fortune as a member of the Zoning Board of Appeal — and he introduced Fortune as someone that we’ll have to deal with in the future,” Rauseo said.

Rauseo said Walsh and Fortune demanded to know why an “open-shop” general contractor had been hired for the apartment project. Rauseo said he told them several union shops had declined to bid, partly due to an uptick in the construction business.

Walsh “demanded that we rescind the awards to nonunion contractors, and I said that we would not do so,” Rauseo said.

The meeting was also attended by Mark Rosenshein in his role as a member of the Charlestown Neighborhood Council. Rosenshein said he arrived 15 minutes after the meeting began and was the first one to leave.

“During the time I was in the room, nothing inappropriate or threatening was said in my opinion,” Rosenshein told the Globe.

At the time, Rauseo was working on a separate project in Charlestown. The building, after its renovation, was also to become the home of a community health center with a pharmacy. The project was also to incorporate a neighborhood food pantry that was already operating but without proper zoning compliance.

Despite the written support of Congressman Michael Capuano, then-Mayor Thomas M. Menino, and the testimony of dozens of local residents — many of whom also packed the ZBA’s meeting room in City Hall — the board voted down its zoning variance, Rauseo said.

Rauseo filed suit — and also complained to the Globe at the time that the ZBA had inexplicably voted against a food pantry and a pharmacy — and the ZBA ultimately yielded.

Rauseo said he is convinced the project’s initial rejection was due to his refusal to satisfy Walsh and Fortune on the unrelated apartment project. “It was clear to me that this was orchestrated by Walsh, who brought Fortune to the [initial] meeting without telling us in advance,” he said.

Fortune has not responded to messages from the Globe. His lawyer, Tracy Miner, said Fortune “absolutely denies ever using his position on the Zoning Board of Appeal inappropriately. He always voted in the best interest of the community.”

Miner was also critical of the federal investigation.

“This is unfair union bashing to some extent,” she said. “Unions are allowed to voice opposition to a project for any number of reasons, including use of nonunion labor.”

That's a surprise.

Miner said Rauseo raised the same allegations about Fortune and Walsh in 2013, in a complaint to the state Ethics Commission. The commission, she said, investigated and decided not to take any action.

“They found the allegations were insufficient to go forward,” Miner said.

Through his attorney, Rauseo disputes Miner’s account, maintaining that he withdrew the complaint after the ZBA approved the variances he had been seeking.

Walsh’s extensive background as a labor leader helped drive his election as Boston’s first new mayor in a generation. Unions from across the country spent millions on his campaign. His family has deep ties to Laborers Local 223. While serving as state representative, Walsh ascended to his post as leader of the Building Trades.

The Globe first contacted Walsh directly about aspects of the investigation on March 30, and he declined an interview request through his spokeswoman, Laura Oggeri. At that time, and in subsequent e-mails in April, Oggeri said that Walsh had not appeared or testified before a grand jury and had had no contact with federal investigators.

In Saturday’s interview, Walsh declined to answer a question about whether he had been before a grand jury.

To help deal with Globe questions about the investigation in recent days, Walsh brought in Boston public relations giant Rasky Baerlein.

Labor tactics have come under increasing scrutiny by federal investigators in Boston.

Last year, federal prosecutors cited an unnamed member of Walsh’s administration in the indictment of five Teamsters members accused of extortion for allegedly harassing a television production crew that was using nonunion workers during the filming of a “Top Chef” episode. The indictment said that a city official, later identified as Kenneth Brissette, the director of tourism, sports, and entertainment, warned two businesses that the union was planning to picket those businesses for allowing the television crew to film at their locations. An investigator hired by the city, Brian T. Kelly, said in December that he found no criminal wrongdoing by any city employees but did find a concerted effort to preserve the administration’s relationship with the Teamsters union.

Kelly said that Brissette did not collude with the Teamsters, and Brissette was not disciplined.

You hungry for more?

The Walsh administration has refused to release text messages and phone records Kelly cited in his report. In rejecting a Globe request for the information under the state public records law, the administration wrote that a report detailing a search of city employees’ text messages was secret because of an “ongoing internal review.” Phone records used in the investigation also are secret, the administration claims, because, even though Kelly was paid from public funds, he was not a city employee.

The Walsh administration also denied a Globe records request for any public documents provided to federal investigators. “If the city were to receive a subpoena from law enforcement and provide information . . . we would be requested by law enforcement to keep it confidential to preserve the integrity of their investigation,” Oggeri, the mayor’s spokeswoman, wrote on April 11. The Globe has appealed the denial to the secretary of state.

Good luck with that, and I'm sure it had nothing to do with the coverage.

Lawyers for the five Teamsters members charged in the “Top Chef” incident have filed a motion to dismiss the case, and the AFL-CIO has intervened and filed its own separate motion to dismiss, saying it has broader implications on protected union activity and would discourage members who want to lawfully protest.

“The government in this case has taken misbehavior on a recognitional picket line and sought to make it a federal felony,” the union argued, in its filing. “If the government succeeds, it will change the structural foundation on which federal labor law rests and it will chill organizational activity and recognition efforts through the United States.” 

That's the exact opposite of what Obama says he is doing!

In recent years, three members of a local Teamsters chapter were convicted in federal court of extortion, for threatening to disrupt businesses if they did not provide union work....


"Mayor Walsh tells reporters: I will not be indicted in federal probe of organized labor" by Andrew Ryan and Mark Arsenault Globe Staff  April 25, 2016

Mayor Martin J. Walsh said Monday that a far-reaching federal probe into organized labor in Greater Boston may end someday with criminal charges — but not for him.

“If there is an investigation, I’m assuming at some point there will be indictments coming down,’’ Walsh told reporters in South Boston, in his first public statements since the Globe published a story on the investigation. “I will not be getting one of those.’’

Walsh, who led the Boston Building Trades — an umbrella organization of labor unions for laborers, electricians, Teamsters, and others — before his 2013 election win, told reporters atappearances Monday that he has done nothing wrong, and defended his record as a labor leader.

“No prior developer said that when I was at the building trades it was unfair to deal with Marty Walsh,” he said.

The mayor continued to parse his words when asked whether he had appeared before a grand jury: He said he had not appeared before a grand jury investigating the alleged strong-arming of developers into using union labor, but would not issue a blanket denial that he has appeared before any grand jury.

The administration has also refused to say if federal authorities have subpoenaed city documents and other materials, but the state supervisor of records — in a ruling made public Monday — said that the city must reveal within 10 days if prosecutors have sought city documents with subpoenas.

As questions swirled, Walsh continued his mayoral duties Monday. At a breakfast honoring Boy Scouts, Walsh was greeted by a standing ovation after being introduced by construction mogul John F. Fish as a “role model for all Bostonians.” The crowd included not only Scouts in uniforms but business executives, elected officials, and labor leaders.

The applause continued at another public appearance at the Fort Point nonprofit Artists for Humanity, which celebrated a major expansion proposal. Liberty Mutual Insurance chairman and CEO David H. Long feted Walsh as “an exceptional leader.”

Reporters swarmed Walsh after both events with questions predominantly focused on the investigation....


Just one, really:

"It’s a simple question, Mr. Mayor" April 25, 2016

Stonewalling is not going to work. If Mayor Walsh or other city officials have appeared before a grand jury or received subpoenas in the federal government’s ongoing investigation into labor unions in Boston, they should say so. And they should tell the public whatever was told to jurors. Nothing in the law prevents doing so. Ducking direct questions, as Walsh continued to do on Monday morning, only threatens to turn the federal probe into a distracting issue the city can ill afford.

What he should not do is follow the route of some labor figures who have attacked the investigation, accusing the feds of criminalizing labor negotiations. The line between extortion and negotiation is not nearly as blurry as they maintain, and the suggestion that the two go hand-in-hand impugns the vast majority of labor officials who manage to do their job without running afoul of the law, and nobody can threaten to deprive them of that right to get their way in a private labor dispute.

Full transparency is particularly important in the context of Boston’s history and reputation for government corruption. The federal investigation also brushes against larger fears about how development works in the city, especially the perception that permits and zoning variances are too opaque and provide fertile ground for influence-peddling and favoritism. The platonic ideal of a city permit — something that should be available to everyone who meets clearly defined legal requirements — does not line up with the perception of many Bostonians of the way city government works. Fairly or not, Walsh the labor leader is now tied into an image that Walsh the mayor has to contend with.

The best way to move forward is simply to level with the public. Walsh was cagey on Monday, insisting he’d done nothing wrong....


Methinks the Globe was unhappy with the denial of document requests.

"The Democratic elite love labor when it pushes a progressive agenda. "conflicting narratives surrounding union activism. Unions have that right. Where they lose it can be a sometimes fuzzy line. For Walsh, it’s also the difference between basking in the glow of a presidential visit that extols “the grit, the resilience and the hard work of America’s working families” — and watching a cloud grow and darken over a mayoralty won as labor’s hero."

Is that the perception or reality?

"Perceptions and reality" by Kevin Cullen Globe Columnist  April 25, 2016

The idea of Marty Walsh strong-arming developers like some thug, like JoJo Burhoe, is a bit preposterous.

The truth is, Walsh has impressed a lot of business people with his pro-business, pro-development approach since he was sworn in as mayor in 2014. Walsh doesn’t see being pro-business and pro-union as mutually exclusive. He believes union jobs are a foundation of a middle class that has been disappearing in an ever-increasing race to the bottom.

Walsh’s best approach in this is not to complain about leaks but to be as transparent as possible and appeal to people’s better judgment. Do they really think when he was a labor leader he went around strong-arming people? Or that, as mayor, he threatens developers?

Walsh told me he’s done nothing wrong, nothing illegal, and that if anyone in his administration has, they’ll be held accountable.

Walsh deserves to be held to the highest standard of public accountability. But, in a process that is private, in part, to protect reputations, he also deserves the benefit of the doubt.

Now that it’s out there, he can’t parse words on what may be different grand juries. He’s got to confront it head on, with the very transparency by which he wants his administration defined and judged.

In the public arena, especially in politics, perception is reality. But the perceptions based on characters like JoJo Burhoe should not be used to shape the reality facing Marty Walsh now....

Reality is the last thing I expect to find in the Globe these days.


His fate is in her hands now:

"A politically charged decision awaits US Attorney Carmen Ortiz; Legal and political analysts say they do not believe Ortiz would hesitate to pursue a criminal investigation against Walsh or anyone else involved in union wrongdoing" by Milton J. Valencia Globe staff  April 27, 2016

US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz arrived at her post in 2009 to find three big-name politicians indicted and awaiting trial. It was her job to oversee the prosecution of former state Senator Dianne Wilkerson, City Councilor Charles Turner, and former House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi — all within her first two years in office.

She is now a hero, Sal is being left to slowly die, and I don't know what happened to the other guy.

Seven years later, as Ortiz nears the traditional end of term as the state’s top federal prosecutor, she has one last big investigation ahead of her, and it requires a pivotal decision: how to handle the matter of Mayor Martin J. Walsh as part of an ongoing probe of union strong-arm tactics.

And that decision could be the diciest yet, involving a very popular sitting mayor — with whom she already has a somewhat testy relationship — and his work as a labor leader before taking office.

It would also mark the first time she herself has put a high-ranking public official in the crosshairs. The high-profile cases early in her tenure were launched by her predecessors.

Ortiz has overseen some of the most high-profile cases in recent memory, including the prosecution of James “Whitey” Bulger and Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, but she has also balked at charging high-profile figures such as House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who her own prosecutors have called a coconspirator in a state hiring scandal. DeLeo has denied any wrongdoing.

He's off probation, but they are still investigating (not the AG), even though DeLeo denied patronage links. Said he had “no clue” and he angrily disputed a Boston Globe report raising questions about the veracity of his sworn testimony, saying he “found the article to be a complete distortion,” with his testimony “taken out of context,” and he's wondering who leaked it to the Globe.

"A former state probation officer was sentenced Wednesday in federal court to a year of probation for lying to FBI agents investigating his “mistreatment” of a woman who was on probation. Lawrence Plumer, 46, of Brockton, apologized for his misdeeds and was fined $500. He has already resigned from his job as a probation officer in Suffolk Superior Court. Federal agents began investigating Plumer in January 2014 after a woman serving probation under his supervision reported to authorities “mistreatment” by Plumer. Assistant US Attorney Robert A. Fisher has said in court that the mistreatment involved the woman’s deprivation of rights. He has also said that the woman, and a second woman also serving probation, told agents that Plumer showed them pornography in his office. Plumer lied to the agents when questioned about the pornography, Fisher has said in court."

He pleaded guilty and claimed dementia as a defense.

Christina DiIorio-Sterling, a spokeswoman for Ortiz, would not comment for this story and would not confirm or deny a Walsh investigation....


Walsh can take heart. She just lost a case:

"Lightbody, two others acquitted in Everett casino land deal" by Milton J. Valencia Globe Staff  April 29, 2016

A federal jury acquitted Charles A. Lightbody and two codefendants Friday after three weeks of testimony involving more than 15 witnesses, hours of tape recordings, and hundreds of pages of documents. The jury deliberated for roughly six hours before reaching its verdict. 

I smiled when I saw it! The public does not trust authority!

Lightbody and codefendant  and Dustin DeNunzio and their family members celebrated after the decision was announced.

Michael J. Connolly, an attorney for codefendant Anthony Gattineri, said his client is “extremely relieved” and the jury’s swift verdict shows how groundless the charges were.

“His world was turned upside down for three years based on completely bogus charges, and the fact that they were bogus is reflected [in] the swiftness of the jury’s verdict,” he said. “He is extremely relieved to have this off his back and right now he is celebrating with his family.”

“In bringing this case, the government believed that it had the evidence necessary to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and while we are disappointed in the jury’s verdict, we respect the jury’s decision,” said US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “I commend the prosecution team and investigators who worked tirelessly to bring this case to trial.”

Lawyers for the three defendants argued that prosecutors sought to “dirty up” the defendants’ image to make it look like they were in a Hollywood-inspired conspiracy tied to organized crime.

“I hate to tell you, but....”

My government lied to me?

The case had been closely watched by casino industry insiders, saying the case has tainted the integrity of the licensing process....

Whatta laugh is that last sentence!


They finally saw the lighthouse at the end of the tunnel, 'eh?

Related: Boston Globe Card Counter 

A stunning draw on the river!

Secrets of the grand jury

I suppose we will just have to wait and see what happens.

Walsh dismisses link to federal probe

Walsh backs tax hike for community works 

Is that why the union story surfaced now?

Outside panel to review Boston’s tourism office

A Dorchester dream dimmed by union demands 

That's what they do, destroy dreams.

Mayor Walsh using campaign fund to pay PR firm

Why would he need a PR firm?

Jack Connors stands by Walsh

“I think it’s unconscionable for the US attorney’s office to be leaking as much information as they’re leaking,” declared Connors, after joining dozens of others on City Hall Plaza Wednesday to cheer on Walsh as he embraced a property tax increase that would direct more money to housing and parks. “It’s never fair when it’s an individual against all of the US Justice Department,” said Connors, acknowledging, however, that sometimes it’s deserved. But...."

Why did the name Bulger just come to mind?


Fitzpatrick’s Fibs 

Former FBI agent pleads guilty in perjury case

Oh, right, he wasn't alone against the government.

Feds probe City Hall’s dealings with Boston Calling

A statement issued Friday night in response to Globe questions regarding federal authorities investigating union tactics in Greater Boston.

What was Mayor Walsh like as a union leader?

He was "in the middle of virtually every major construction project in the region."

And now he has turned his back on them.

At least they are clearing all the rats out of Bo$ton.


A mixed bag for Eastern Mass. mayoral incumbents

"Everett mayor reportedly target of federal investigation; Prosecutors are said to look for dealings on behalf of unions" by Andrea Estes Globe Staff  November 24, 2015

Federal prosecutors are investigating whether Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria strong-armed a developer to use union workers while converting the old Charleston Chew factory into a luxury apartment complex, according to several people familiar with or briefed on the probe.

Must be a job requirement.

Witnesses have been called to a grand jury and quizzed about the development, called The Batch Yard, a $90 million, 328-unit apartment complex that opened last year, the people familiar with or briefed on the investigation said. The buildings had been vacant since the factory closed in 1985.

The developer, Andy Montelli of Post Road Residential in Fairfield, Conn., who sold the complex for $145 million in September, told the Globe several months ago that he had no problems in Everett and that the project went smoothly. He and his attorney, Richard O’Neil, declined to comment further this week.

But according to two people familiar with or briefed on the investigation, prosecutors have focused on a meeting at which DeMaria asked Montelli to hire union labor for the project. Montelli, the people said, told DeMaria that hiring union laborers would significantly increase his costs.

Montelli did, however, end up hiring some union workers and prosecutors want to know why, said two people familiar with or briefed on the investigation.

DeMaria declined to answer questions about the federal investigation. But in response to a separate question about reports that at a recent fund-raiser he said he no longer enjoys going to work, he replied: “This is the best job in the world. I gain strength each day from the overwhelming support and trust placed in me by our residents. I’m proud of the progress we as a city are making. I am working every day to build a bright future for the city of Everett.”

The investigation appears to be part of a larger federal probe of labor unions, said three lawyers familiar with the proceedings.

Four members of a local Teamsters union have been indicted on extortion charges for allegedly harassing a television production crew that was using nonunion workers. Last week, a former member of a different Teamsters local, James E. Deamicis, was convicted for threatening businesses if they did not provide unnecessary jobs.

And federal prosecutors have long been investigating at least one member of a Boston chapter of the Laborers Union, Local 22, according to someone with direct knowledge of the inquiry. That investigation, involving years of wiretapping, is looking at whether a union leader, Anthony Perrone, pressured developers and contractors to use union workers, according to that person, who also said prosecutors also are looking at whether he forced members to campaign for favored politicians or be denied work.

Members of the Laborers Union ended up working at The Batch Yard, according to the person with direct knowledge of the investigation.

Attorney Robert Sinsheimer, who represents Perrone, said, “My client is absolutely and unequivocally innocent. He’s done nothing wrong whatsoever.”

Paul Kelly, who represents the union, said, “Local 22 has fully cooperated with the investigation and has been assured that the local union is not the focus of the investigation.”

The uncertainty surrounding DeMaria may be taking a toll at Everett City Hall, where more than a half-dozen key officials have quit in recent months, including the mayor’s chief of staff, the communications director, the city’s liaison with Wynn Resorts, the chief financial officer, the planning director, the head of city services, and the human resources director.

The most recent departure, assistant city solicitor David Rodrigues, is particularly striking since he, unlike the others, resigned without another job.

Rodrigues had been the principal liaison between the city and Wynn Resorts, which is building a casino in the city.

Rodrigues declined to discuss his departure.

DeMaria, who has served as mayor since 2008, said the turnover is creating new opportunities at City Hall.

“We have welcomed several new members to a team that is dedicated to our city’s future,” said DeMaria, in a statement. “These professionals bring with them exciting new ideas, unique perspectives, great enthusiasm, and a commitment to our residents.”

Prosecutors have also been looking at whether the DeMaria administration has given special treatment to certain developers and contractors, according to two people briefed on the probe, including a company that does a lot of the city’s snow removal and landscaping.

A spokeswoman for US Attorney Carmen Ortiz declined to comment on the investigation.


I'm wonder whose toes he stepped on.


"Revere mayor unsure of a recount" by Kathy McCabe Globe Staff  November 04, 2015

REVERE — Mayor Dan Rizzo led Revere through two successful casino votes, recovery from a tornado, and a record snowfall that dumped 9 feet of snow in 45 days on this North Shore city.

But he could not survive a contentious election on Tuesday, when he lost his bid for a second four-year term by 117 votes to Brian Arrigo, 35, a two-term city councilor who works as a budget manager for the MBTA.

Are you guys sure he is an improvement?

Arrigo defeated Rizzo by a vote of 5,208, to 5,091, according to city election results.

On Wednesday, as he arrived at City Hall just after noon, Rizzo appeared to be taking his defeat in stride and said he had not yet decided if he will seek a recount.

“I think it’s just the general climate of politics now,” said Rizzo, 56, dressed in a Red Sox windbreaker. “As I reflect back on my four years, we’ve done some tremendous things.”

He cited the hiring of 19 police officers, which he said has led to a drop in crime; the construction of a new elementary school; a new football stadium; and improvements to the downtown business district.

“You can look up and down Broadway right now,” Rizzo said, nodding his head in each direction as cars whizzed by. “It’s a completely different place than when I took over four years ago. I promised to revitalize our central business district. We did. I promised to make our neighborhoods safer. We’ve done that. I promised to continue to make sure our kids get a top-notch education, and we’ve done that. The promises I made, I kept.”

Arrigo’s victory surprised political observers, who could not remember a time when a Revere mayor lost reelection after only one term in office....



Revere mayoral recount request may be heading to court
Judge orders recount in Revere mayor’s race
Challenger confirmed as new Revere mayor in recount

Also seeMedford mayor bids farewell after 28 years


It's off to London for him:

"Muslim’s Labour candidacy shapes London mayoral race" by Stephen Castle New York Times News   April 30, 2016

LONDON — The son of a London bus driver, Sadiq Khan has had a remarkable rise into the upper echelons of British politics. He grew up with seven siblings in a three-bedroom home in public housing and attended state schools before becoming a human rights lawyer and then a senior government minister.

Now Khan, 45, a lawmaker and former transport minister for the opposition Labour Party, is the favorite in the battle to become the next mayor of London. He would succeed Boris Johnson, the extroverted Conservative who has held the post since 2008 and is a leading figure in the campaign for Britain’s departure from the European Union.

A victory Thursday would make Khan the first Muslim to lead the city, where one in eight residents adheres to that faith, and when Britain is struggling to integrate minorities and combat radicalization.

Londoners have elected their mayor directly only since 2000, and just two politicians have held the post: Johnson and Ken Livingstone, who ran as an independent in 2000 and then for Labour in 2004.

Khan’s election would be a boost for the Labour Party at a time when Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives are deeply divided on Europe. It would also probably strengthen Labour’s left-wing leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who is at odds with many of his own lawmakers, and whose leadership has been embroiled in a dispute about anti-Semitism in party ranks.

What that means is Corbyn has been unwilling to toe the Zionist line. If you dare suggest any even-handed approach to Israel and Palestine the charge is hurled at you.

But the main policy battles being fought in London relate to the problems confronting a city that has an acute shortage of affordable housing and a creaking and overcrowded mass transit network. Khan’s closest rival is Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative candidate, who says he wants to make London “the greenest city in the world.”

The two have battled over issues like transportation and how to build more homes to relieve sky-high real estate and rental costs. Khan points to the fact that the average rent in London is equivalent to 55 pounds, or about $80, a night — the price of a decent hotel in many European capitals. And Goldsmith has said the overcrowded conditions endured by London commuters “would be illegal for chickens, pigs, and cattle.”

Imagine what it is like in the rest of the country.

Appropriately, perhaps, for a globalized city that accommodates the extremes of wealth, Khan and Goldsmith are living examples of London’s diversity.

Goldsmith, 41, a son of the tycoon Sir James Goldsmith, inherited a fortune and was educated at Eton College, Britain’s most exclusive school. He edited the magazine The Ecologist, founded by his uncle, and was elected to Parliament in 2010.

The fight between the two main contenders has not been pretty, bringing delicate issues of ethnicity and religion into a mayoral election in a way never seen here before.

Goldsmith has called Khan dangerous and without principle and said it was his job “to prevent London falling into the wrong hands.”

Khan has suggested that Goldsmith has run a desperate and divisive campaign, has targeted voters on religious or ethnic lines, and has no track record suggesting he could perform as London mayor.

Goldsmith has also accused Khan of giving tacit support to extremists by speaking on the same platform in the past as those who espoused radical views or who had been accused of supporting terrorists, when he was a human rights lawyer and campaigner.

When Cameron repeated the claims in Parliament, he was met with cries of “racist” and accused by one opponent of “dog whistle” politics.

Part of Khan’s pitch to Londoners is that, as an observant Muslim (he does not drink), he has a plan to tackle extremism and that like many people in London he has “multiple identities.”

“I’m a Londoner, I’m European, I’m British, I’m English, I’m of Islamic faith, of Asian origin, of Pakistani heritage, a dad, a husband,” Khan said in an interview, before accusing his main opponent of seeking to “divide communities.”

Khan routinely highlights his humble origins, but he has been careful not to attack Goldsmith over his wealth.

“I don’t hold his background against him,” Khan said. “None of us are responsible for who our parents are — our families — that’s not fair. My point is: What experience does he have to be mayor of London? What is his vision? What are his values?

Goldsmith says his privileged upbringing is irrelevant.

“I don’t have to be in a wheelchair to know that it is not just that people in wheelchairs can’t use our public transport system,” he said in an interview, describing efforts he has made to improve access to the subway system. “You either care about issues or you don’t, and if you do you solve them, and I have done that.”

The personalization of the campaign underlines the lack of deep policy differences confronting Londoners, analysts said.

Neither candidate has challenged London’s existing model of openness to immigration and investment, allied to rapid economic growth, said Tony Travers, the director of a research group on London at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

In policy terms, “it is hard to argue that they are radically different from each other,” he said.

Looks like $tatu$ quo to me.


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