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Boston City Councilor Essaibi George Denies Using Her Office To Help Husband

Boston City Councilor At-Large Annissa Essaibi-George. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Boston City Councilor At-Large Annissa Essaibi-George. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Boston City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George, who is running for mayor, defended herself Thursday from accusations that she used her position to help her husband's business.

Essaibi George's campaign issued a statement insisting she has worked hard to separate her work as a city councilor from that of her husband, Douglas George, a real estate developer in Boston.

“She'll continue to do that," according to a statement provided by Essaibi George's campaign.

The statement follows an investigation by the Boston Globe, which detailed how Essaibi George used her office to try derail a building project that would have blocked the view of a 24-unit luxury condominium building in South Boston owned by her husband. The Globe noted her office's involvement appears to violate the state’s conflict of interest law and underscores her involvement in her husband's controversial real estate practices.

But Essaibi George's campaign pushed back against suggestions she did anything inappropriate or illegal.

"This was not her husband's project, his name didn't come up, so the staff proceeded to do what they always do — working with the other councilors and community leaders," her campaign statement said. "But as soon as we were made aware of even the potential of a conflict — when the Globe brought it to our attention — Annissa immediately took action, talked to counsel, and will take any steps necessary."

The Globe investigation also found that Douglas George, who has been a landlord and developer for decades, has routinely flouted city and state housing and building laws, drawing the ire of condo buyers, low-income tenants, and city inspectors and tax collectors.

The statement from the Essaibi George campaign did not directly address the Globe's reporting about Douglas George's real estate practices. Instead, the campaign said that if elected mayor, Essaibi George would continue to separate her work at City Hall from her husband's.

"As Annissa has stated publicly in multiple interviews over the course of this campaign, Doug will not be doing business before the ZBA or the BPDA during Annissa's time as Mayor."

Essaibi George's campaign declined to make her available for an interview.

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Anthony Brooks Twitter Senior Political Reporter
Anthony Brooks is WBUR's senior political reporter.

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