Walsh Tries To Move On After Report Ties Him To Union Probe

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Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is trying to move on from questions about his tactics when he was a union official, before becoming mayor.

The Boston Globe has reported that wiretaps recorded Walsh saying he had told a developer it would face problems getting permits for a Boston high-rise unless it used union labor on another project in Somerville.

The disclosure comes as federal investigators are reportedly looking into union activities in Boston.

The Globe, citing anonymous sources, reported that the wiretapped conversations happened in 2012, a year before Walsh was elected mayor, when he was still the head of Boston's Building Trades.

Greg Sullivan, longtime Massachusetts inspector general who is now at the Pioneer Institute, says the implications could be serious.

"The issue at hand is whether the permitting agencies in Boston and other cities have been improperly used to put pressure on private citizens and developers to hire union labor, and if that is happening, it would represent a very serious thing, and one that should be completely eradicated," Sullivan said.

Walsh has maintained he did nothing illegal, and never forced developers to use union labor. On Tuesday, Walsh repeatedly tried to put the issue behind him.

"Yeah, I'm not going to respond to it," Walsh said. "Enough was said already today. I'm just going to leave it at that."

City Councilor Tim McCarthy, who has known Walsh since McCarthy began working for the Boston Public Works Department years ago, came to Walsh's defense.

"He's always been cordial, above board, a man of integrity," McCarthy said. "I find it hard to believe what has been said. I've never seen a side of him that would ever make me think that that story could be true."

No other city councilors responded to requests for interviews.

This article was originally published on April 27, 2016.

This segment aired on April 27, 2016.


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Fred Thys Reporter
Fred Thys reported on politics and higher education for WBUR.



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