Mayor Martin Walsh’s Sit Down When It Was Time To Stand Tall

IMG_2796Here we go again. Are we going to see the old one-two-three-four play? Most of us are now familiar with the act. It has been used too often to fool us.

The steps are one, the editorial or spotlight report slanting the facts; two, the follow-up news stories, three, the columnists then carrying the ball, and four, the Boston U.S. attorney getting involved.

The last time we saw this it involved a taxi cab owner who was a real mean guy who made his drivers earn every penny they made. A spotlight started it;  news stories,  columnists,  and a raid by the U.S. attorney followed along in step.

The only problem with the last time it played there was no allegation the cab owner committed any crimes. As of yet it isn’t criminal to be a cheap old rich guy who treats his employees poorly. So why did Boston U.S. attorney conduct a raid? For that matter how did she get a search warrant to raid the taxi company with agents and cops running in with drawn guns where there was no crime? It all remains a big mystery. Was it done by the U.S. attorney just to please the demands of the newspaper with the spotlight?

Today, we are in the front row watching the first two parts of this four act play. The editorial to start it off came as a result of the indictment of five Teamsters. I’ll discuss the indictment later. The editorial says Mayor Walsh owes some answers to the public. I haven’t heard the public asking any questions. If it is then it is not the one the Globe is asking. But let us see what the Globe says the question is.

The Globe tells us some Teamsters Local 25 members were indicted for extortion. The Globe explains, “When the Teamsters learned the show’s producers had already hired nonunion crews, prosecutors say, they demanded jobs for their members.”

The editors concede: “By itself, advocacy is not a crime, it’s what unions do.” It says the prosecutors say the union members crossed the line by seeking jobs the employer did not want to provide and ‘then threatening violence’. It went on:“They slashed tires at a set in Milton and made verbal threats.” They were not: “aimed at unionizing the crew at “Top Chef,” but at getting money for themselves. It was, in other words, a shakedown.”

Those are the Globe’s words. Yes, tires were slashed but the indictment did not say the Teamsters did it. The word “shakedown” is an invention of the Globe. Using its rationale you could call every work action by a union a shakedown. The defendants were trying to get jobs for their members, not money for themselves.

The editors go on to say: “And City Hall, according to prosecutors, seemingly played a role in the scheme.” That role according to the indictment is that “a representative from the City of Boston called the Omni Parker House [and another place] to inform it that Local 25 was planning to picket” them if the filming took place at their locations. The editors noted “the effect of City Hall’s intervention was clear. The Teamsters, US Attorney Carmen Ortiz said Wednesday. “managed to chase a legitimate business out of the City of Boston and then harassed the cast and crew when they set up shop in Milton. This kind of conduct reflects poorly on our city and must be addressed for what it is — not union organizing, but criminal extortion.””

We are long familiar with Carmen Ortiz’s hyperbole.  With Aaron Swartz: “Stealing is stealing.” Her justification of her attempt to steal the Caswell Motel. So when she is quoted you have to keep all that is mind. The union did not chase anyone out of Boston. Picketing is not criminal extortion.

The editors end by saying Mayor Walsh should be “getting to the bottom of who in his administration served as a messenger for an organization with a known criminal history — and why.”  As expected, later in the day of the editorial a news story followed up. It spelled out the history of the union’s support of Mayor Walsh and other stories piled on.

Mayor Walsh had by then panicked. He hired a former federal prosecutor Kelly to investigate a non-criminal act. Kelly headed up the Public Corruption Union under Ortiz a little over a year ago. The natural question J.Q. Public will ask: “why did he need to lawyer himself up?”

Lawyer Kelly said: ““There are serious allegations involved here, . . . ”  Serious allegations? Does he know something we do not know? Otherwise this is a tempest in the teapot of the editors. Advising a business it may be picketed is not serious nor a crime. But in hiring Kelly the mayor sure makes it look like something else is going on.

Kelly said: “I see my role as assisting in an internal review of this matter and assisting the city in its dealings with the federal authorities.” The  mayor’s spokesperson said Kelly was hired to: to facilitate any necessary cooperation between the city and the US attorney’s office.”  Why are the federal authorities involved?  Are we to believe they are already working on “step four” by investigating City Hall?  

Is it the mayor is well aware of the one-two-three-four play and figures Kelly can stop four from happening? Is that how you save yourself by hiring a former federal prosecutor who worked with and is friends with the federal prosecutors who are handling the case? The whole idea feels a little icky. Makes something that looked pretty much like nothing now appear a little sordid.

Walsh should be ashamed of himself for his pusillanimity. The editorial is an exercise in nonsense. Walsh does not need to answer to anyone for what happened. Bringing in Kelly was a big mistake because it looks like he knows more than he’s telling.

What was done was what should have been done. A “representative from the City of Boston,” learned of planned picketing activity at two business locations in Boston and advised them of the plans. Wasn’t that the right thing to do? Should he or she let the two businesses walk into a situation where pickets would disrupt their businesses?

The editors statement that someone in Walsh’s administration was “a messenger for an organization with a known criminal history” is nonsense. The messenger was not helping out the Teamsters but was protecting two businesses. If anything, he or she was working against the union. I assume the union would have preferred to tie up downtown Boston than someplace in Milton.

The bottom line is this. Much has been made out of nothing. No one was injured or hurt. No real threats were made. The indictment noted the picketing Teamsters uttered: “profanities and racial and homophobic slurs.” That is no crime.  It is reported the incident outside the Milton restaurant was isolated. There were no other problems while “Top Chef” filmed in and around Boston in May and June.

The real question I would think that the public should want answered is why Carmen Ortiz decided to include anything relating to the City Hall in the indictment. It had nothing to do with the conspiracy or attempt to extort. It was not criminal in any way. Is it because she and the Globe have conspired to “get Marty“?  And they will get him if he acts like he is doing and lacks the courage to stand and fight for what is right.

14 replies on “Mayor Martin Walsh’s Sit Down When It Was Time To Stand Tall”

  1. Matt,
    Can’t they (Fred and Carmen) subpoena the phone records?
    Apparently the old saying “You can’t fight City Hall” no longer applies.

    1. Rather:

      Yes they can subpoena the phone records but those would not be the same as having transcripts of the conversations. They may be able to show that the restaurants received a call from the City Hall but it may not be specific enough to show who made the call. Anyway, I would think the persons at the restaurant know who they were speaking with and they have already told the DOJ who it was. It is not mystery to them or to any one else involved. The most amazing thing is that this is an issue. No crime was involved. Even if the mayor told the person to call the restaurant as a favor for Local 25 it would not be a crime. The crime comes about with threats of violence which there are no indications they occurred.

      However, at the Milton restaurant it is alleged that threats were made and there was some stomach-bumping; can the U.S. Attorney say that by calling the restaurants in Boston the person who did was part of a big conspiracy with Local 25 to commit violence? It sounds absurd but that is an Ortiz trademark.

      1. Fred Wyshak and Laura Kaplan are cutting a deal with one of the Teamsters 25 defendants to implicate the Mayor’s Office. I think the Mayor’s challenges to the Wynn Casino site (btw represented by Gov Weld) may factor in. This is a petty USAO smear campaign, perhaps timed to coincide with Attorney General Lorreta Lynch’s Boston visit.

  2. Matt,
    The transcripts of the conversations from City Hall (or the underling’s cellphone) to Business X and Business Y should clear up pretty quick whether it was a courtesy call or an implied threat.
    The mere fact that calls were placed could be construed as threats in the minds of the people on the other end, but that’s not a crime.
    Marty Walsh was president of LU223, …been in the Union since he was 21, and he still used his advance knowledge to warn the companies and give them a chance to prepare.
    I think his actions should be applauded not indicted.

    1. Rather:

      Where will they get the transcripts of the calls? Won’t it end up being a “he said/she said” type of situation. I agree that his actions should be applauded but Walsh must know there is more to this — which I admit I don’ see – – because he is worried about Ortiz.

  3. I’m with Ernie (and Marty and O’Flaherty) on this one. Wyshak has proven himself amenable to helping his colleagues who move on to private practice. Remember that Fred took a dive and bagged Patrice Tierney’s case for his old pal Donald Stern. When Stern came into federal ct representing Tierney, Wyshak fawned over her and argued vigorously on her behalf.
    Here’s an interesting quote from Judge Young questioning Wyshak’s arguments. (The irony is steep when compared to Wyshak’s obsession with any relation to a Bulger):

    “Let me say it back to you because I’m not sure I understand it,” Young says to Assistant US Attorney Fred M. Wyshak Jr. “You’re saying that because she’s married to a congressman, who is not implicated in this in any way, shape, or form, but simply because of that marriage . . . that warrants probation where someone not in the news at all would get some jail time? That can’t be the argument.”

    At the end of the hearing, Young brushed aside Wyshak’s request for a sentence with no prison time, imposing a one-month sentence followed by two years of probation, including five months of house arrest.

    Here’s what Fox News reported:
    FOX: Young repeatedly pressed Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Wyshak Jr. on why he was not seeking jail time for Tierney. Wyshak said prosecutors considered that it is her first offense and that the government had “certain evidentiary problems” in its case against her. He also said that because of her position as the wife of a congressman, the case has received extensive media attention, which has served as a deterrent.

    One year later, Patrice’s brother went on trial and the evidence showed that, contrary to what Wyshak told Judge Young, Patrice was a principal actor in laundering between $10-15million in illegal proceeds over more than a decade. In addition, she had used some of the illegal proceeds to pay John Tierney when he was her divorce attorney. Her son, father and brothers were all involved in the illegal gambling business. The family had reverted to gambling after they were convicted of narcotics trafficking.
    Soooo, the bottom line is that Fred will clearly play a game and take a rug burn so his old buddies can make money.
    Kelly is the One and Only person who can talk Wyshak out of indicting the Mayor. It’s an easy choice. It looks like bribery, but it’s the reality. Former U.S. Attorneys have been playing this scheme for years. We usually never know about it because the target is some private white collar exec who pays the private legal fee/bribe to a former U.S. Attorney at Bingham or Nixon or Ropes. The huge legal fee/bribe makes the case go away or it’s reduced to an “information” and an agreed disposition and mild sentence. See Gary Crossen, Jim Keriasotis…
    The Boston Federal Court is a cesspool. Walsh has no choice but to play the DOJ’s game. It’s just too bad
    that Kelly’s first and only client is the taxpayer.

    1. Patrice Tierney was dragged into a Arthur Gianelli spinoff case because Congressman John Tierney and Chairman Dan Burton harshly criticized the DOJ/US Attorney’s incredulous “rogue agent stories” for the dozens of murders by USAO informants during hearings by the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform.

  4. You are right. This is another manufactured crime by the DOJ. What should the Union’s response be to this combination by the press and law enforcement? Does that union have to deliver the newspapers of the business that is trying to frame it’s members? Could the Union run a political or educational campaign to expose this obvious fraud? Should they picket the Moakley Courthouse? What other steps can they take? Is the Globe trying to get more favorable terms on their next contract? Are they sending a message to the Union that you better knuckle under or we will sig the DOJ on you? Who is committing the extortion? The press and the DOJ or the Union? Are they trying to drive a wedge between Walsh and his Union allies? Remember Walsh comes from that same despised class of blue collar Catholics that Quinn, King and Bulger emanate from. When there was a boomlet for Coolidge at the 1920 convention Henry Cabot Lodge scoffed at the idea of a person from a two family home being President. The same bigotry exists today in the Ivy League types that run the Globe and the DOJ. 2. Term limits for judges and politicians is essential. Life time terms should not exist.

    1. NC:

      The union did nothing wrong by picketing the show. It is a common tactic used by labor. Only would Ortiz find that it is criminal. What the indictment does is sets the union back on its heels. Its response should be what you suggest, a campaign to expose the indictments for the fraud they are. The question is whether the rest of the union members are running scared. The guy who runs it, the secretary-treasurer, has been indicted. If any of the other members picket what is to prevent them from being put into a conspiracy with him and indicted. What we are witnessing is a modern day version of union busting; in the old days the feds used to send in the Army.

      The Globe is sending Walsh a message. “See how easily we can get you investigated. You better play ball with us.”

      I don’t know to what extent the Globe is unionized. It has shaken off most of its union positions. It certainly is playing this up – as well it should as a business that may have some union members – for these indictments are of people who were picketing one place where there was no real violence or injury – I will talk more about the allegations. The question is whether unions can picket anymore; or, they may be able to picket but if someone shouts a profanity or a racial or a homophobic slur then they will all be indicted. Scary world and if you knew union history, which I believe you do, the media was always on the side of the employer in union disputes. If doubtful, see how it labeled the 1919 Boston Police Strike as being communist inspired, run by the Reds, and an attempt to overthrow America.

      I agree the Globe would be more comfortable with a minority or someone other than an Mick in the mayor’s office. It will reluctantly put up with Walsh if it can bring him to heel. By the way it was your friend Coolidge who crushed the aforesaid mentioned Boston police strike; perhaps Lodge was right on that one. He was certainly right on opposing Wilson’s League of Nations idea that would have given up the right of America in the interest of “world harmony” to control its own armed forces. Of course, we have to keep in mind that when Lodge went wobbly that Teddy’s first born, Alice Roosevelt Longworth who had a passionate hatred for Wilson bucked him up.
      2. That term limit idea is an absolute must. There should also be one for prosecutors so that some fresh air can come into all those positions. I’d suggest no one be allowed to remain in any of those position more than 25 years; probate judges I’d limit to 7 years because after that hearing the same thing over and over again they are all brain dead.

  5. Matt, unfortunately don’t you think the mayor did the most prudent thing? We all know Wyshak does not play fair and he is behind this indictment. Wyshak could convince some low life city hall scum bag to say anything against the mayor and others. Like he did with John Matarano, Steve Flemmi, Kevin Weeks, Judge Mulligan, and on and on.

    Should the mayor have said, “Fuck you, nobody in city hall did anything that remotley resembles a crime”? That would have been the truth but like you, the mayor is a street kid, he knows the even for the sainted, truth and honesty is not always the safest route to go. Rather keep your mouth shut and play the fuckin game Wyshak developed. Unfortunately That is what’s best for the city of boston.

    I wish Liz Warren would set her wolves on the justice department and The Moakley Building in particular. These people are hurting the good people of Massachusetts

    1. Ernie:

      Good points – when I think of it then I have to agree the Mayor realizes he is not dealing with an even playing field. In other words he looked at O’Brien and all the others that were taken down with the one-two-three-four punches – he looked at the phony cases like those against Flaherty, Fitzpatrick and Smigliesky – figured there were some Martorano/Mulligan types who’s enjoy taking him down – thought the better approach was to sit down rather than fight knowing that a fight involved being charged with whatever frivolous charge the Wyshak Wonders could come up with (and you know practically anything anyone does can be charged criminally under the broad federal laws) – having to resign once the indictment is handed down (see Teamsters case where they are written about as if they are guilty) even though nothing was proven (the Globe would insist) – become broke defending himself – go to a court where the judges are mostly former prosecutors and live in the same building and of necessity encounter them often – and face conviction because of the whole set up. I suppose there is a time when you have to retreat but once you do they’ll keep pushing you back more and more until you surrender and do what they want you to do.

      Liz Warren would have no interest in this because it is so discrete and discreet. She paints with a very broad brush and the small injustices done daily in the Boston federal court house would not pique her interest. The best result would be for the judges to get a little courage and stop following every silly whim of the prosecutors and start thinking of justice rather than a daily pay check.

    2. Unfortunately, we’ve seen this movie before. I had a case with AUSAs Fred Wyshak, Brian Kelly, the USAO Strike Force, and some of the U.S. Dep’t of Labor Racketeering agents in this case. It was a total frame-up.

      The case agents, Boston ASAC, Wyshak and Kelly were all under Washington DC internal affairs investigations for were for suborning perjury, obstruction, false ROIs, false affidavits in support of search warrants, $50,000 cash bribes to the case agents “to make the case go away”, and “press leaks” to the Globe and Herald. Wyshak had Special Attorney Durham start a sham pretext grand to obstruct the Internal Affairs investigations and brought in AUSA Laura Kaplan from Newark to assist handling the cover-up. Wyshak repeatedly denied the existence of this malfeasance in open court before judge Woodlock, whom as a 1979-1983 AUSA/Special Attorney, had worked closely with Jerry O’Sullivan.

      One month before trial, Wyshak immunized the informants, case agents who turned on their DOL ASAC and the New York/New England Regional SAC to deflect their own malfeasance. In June 2005, Mike Sullivan issued Giglio Letters disbarring the case agents as criminal investigators, Wyshak was “censured” testified the news reporters were protected Strike Force informants. Several other informants were protected by Jeffrey Howard, U.S. Attorney NH for their involvement in the Hudson, NH armored-car/double homicide case.

      The sham Worcester Durham grand jury lasted until the 5 year criminal statute of limitations, 18 USC 3282, expired while Wyshak, Kelly, Kaplan, used the State Police, their immunized murderer informants to intimidate witnesses and Judge Woodlock (himself the subject of murder investigations). Woodlock and now 1st Circuit Chief Judge concealed their conflicts and wrote several opinions ridiculing and covering up the misconduct, their former informants, and supported Wyshak.

      Now Mayor Walsh is walking into the “Lion’s Den” by bringing in Brian Kelly with former AUSA Tom Frongillo. A HUGE mistake, because, respectfully, Mayor Walsh will be spared indictment while he becomes Fred Wyshak, Carmen Ortiz, and Brian Kelly’s new “Bitch”. Mr. Mayor, please do yourself a favor and bring in a high-powered Washington DC firm like Williams & Connolly.

      1. Bruce:

        I agree the mayor is making a big mistake. First, there is no crime here but that probably would not deter Ortiz/Wyshak from inventing one. Next, Kelly’s involvement speaks of making a deal which will forever put the mayor in the position of being obligated to the Ortiz/Wyshak/Globe. Maybe the mayor knew how easily he could be destroyed so he had to buy into the game just to save himself. He would have been better off if there is going to be a charge against him of hiring a real defense firm like you suggest; hiring Kelly must mean there will be no charge but a deal among which will require the mayor not to criticize the work going on in the Boston federal prosecutor’s office.

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