BOSTON Amid mounting criticism from city councilors, the local Olympics organizing group Boston 2024 has released the full version of their original bid — including previously redacted portions.
The original bid (“bid 1.0”) has since been superseded by a newer plan, dubbed “bid 2.0.” The original bid was what Boston 2024 submitted to the U.S. Olympic Committee back in December, and that proposal beat out three other cities to be the U.S. choice to host the 2024 Summer Games.
The release of the materials comes a day after Boston 2024 representatives faced off in a prime-time TV debate against the opposition group No Boston Olympics.
Boston 2024 has been criticized for a lack of transparency, an issue that was raised again in Thursday’s debate. Chris Dempsey, co-chair of No Boston Olympics, said it took the threat of a subpoena for Boston 2024 to move to release its original bid documents.
On Monday, Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson sought a subpoena order to gain access to the complete version of Boston 2024’s original Olympic proposal. In his call for the complete “bid 1.0” documents, Jackson said he specifically wanted to see the group’s budget as well as chapters five and six — which were not previously released and deal with public and political support for the Olympics.
The city council eventually tabled the move to subpoena Boston 2024.
Then on Wednesday evening, Mayor Marty Walsh said he asked Boston 2024 to release the full documentation, which the group promised to do.
In Thursday’s debate, Boston 2024 Chair Steve Pagliuca said the focus should be on “bid 2.0,” not the group’s first bid.
He made a similar point in a statement Friday: “Since I became chairman [May 21] we have created from the bottom up the new Bid 2.0, which has been made public on our website in its entirety.”
At a press conference Friday, Gov. Charlie Baker said he was focusing on “bid 2.0.”
“I think public sentiment for the most part at this point, in particularly after the debate last night, is going to be driven by the conversation around bid No. 2, which is frankly as it should be,” he said.
Baker also reiterated that he’s not taking a position yet on Boston’s Olympic bid until he receives the results of a state-commissioned report on the plan.
In a statement Friday, No Boston Olympics said Boston 2024 has not earned the public’s trust. The opposition group said the redactions in original bid “whitewashed” the documents to conceal budget estimates and remove mention of opposition to the bid.
“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 taxypayers,” No Boston Olympics said in the statement.
Calls for transparency from Boston 2024 have persisted over months, as public support for the games has sagged. Statewide support for the Olympics is at 42 percent, while Boston area support for the games is at 40 percent, according to the latest WBUR poll, out earlier this month.
In a previously redacted section of the original bid, Boston 2024 appeared to downplay opposition efforts, saying “a bold initiative inevitably brings with it doubters.” In the section (page 17 of chapter five), Boston 2024 said:
Four local activists formed a group in opposition to our bid, and while we respect their differing views and their right to promote them, our polling data shows that they do not represent the majority of public opinion. No elected official has publicly endorsed the group, they have not received significant financial backing and their efforts have been limited to social media.
A WBUR poll in January (conducted after the original bid was created and ultimately selected by the USOC) did find Boston area support for the Olympics at 51 percent. Here’s a look at Boston area poll numbers since January:
In Thursday’s debate, USOC board member Daniel Doctoroff, who joined Pagliuca, said mistakes were made early on in the process and “more transparency is always better.”
Pagliuca echoed that sentiment Friday. “When I was asked to assume the Chair of Boston 2024 on May 21, I wanted to ensure we ran an open and transparent operation as we developed a fact-based plan to bring privately-financed Olympic and Paralympic Games to Boston,” Pagliuca said in the statement. “With this commitment to openness and transparency, it was clear that making the preliminary bid package available to the public was simply the right thing to do. ”
Pagliuca said the original bid was intended to serve as a “proof of concept” and not intended to be a final plan. He said parts of the original plan were kept private due to concerns over competition and confidentiality.
USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said due to those concerns the committee worked with Boston 2024 to redact certain information after the initial decision to make the documents public — something he said had not been done in prior active bid processes.
“We have learned much from the Boston bid and in many ways it will set the stage for a more transparent bid process for future Games, consistent with the principles of Olympic Agenda 2020,” Blackmun said in a statement. “We now are focused on bid 2.0 and have again been impressed as Boston 2024 has moved from the initial vision and created a fact-based plan based on robust community engagement.”