The Strange Case of Timothy Sullivan: A Man Personally Close To Mayor Walsh

() HareI got called around 9:15 am. I was told Timothy Sullivan had been arrested as part of U.S. Attorney Ortiz’s investigation into the happenings in City Hall over the Boston Calling hiring of union members. (I never understand arresting these people. Why not have the decency to have them appear at the courthouse?)

I went to the site that has the court records to read the indictment. Other Timothy Sullivans of the area have been defendants in the Boston District Court before. It took a little investigation to find the right one.

I clicked on one of the Timothy Sullivan’s and the notation appeared: “Timothy Sullivan is a defendant in 4 cases.”  I was quite sure it was not the same person in each case. Two of the cases were closed.  The other two were docketed on 05/17/16. The first was USA v. Brissette case number 1:16-cr-10137-LTS. The other was “Timothy Sullivan” with the case number  1:16-cr-10137-LTS.-2.  The latter number was the “First Superseding Indictment” 

I clicked on the case. it is the same as the first indictment which was one count against Kenneth Brissette but has added in Timothy Sullivan as a defendant which also allows the addition of a second count which is a conspiracy count. Then there is an allegation seeking forfeiture of  any property traceable to the extortion if they are convicted.

The superseding indictment has 18 factual paragraphs. 1 to 4 describes the parties;  5 and 6 tells how Local Union 11 tried to get Boston Calling to hire union members in the past. Paragraph 7 ominously states: “In January 2014, the administration of the City of Boston Changed.”  

The following paragraphs tell how things operated under the new administration.

Paragraphs 8 through 14 talk about the incident involving the “Top Chef” show and Brissette’s involvement in trying to get union jobs from them. No crime was committed there. It is in the indictment to show a pattern. It actually works against the prosecutors because it shows that even though “Top Chef” did not hire union workers it still received a permit.

Paragraph 15 tells about another incident involving Brissette with another company which did not hire union people and received permits.

The three last paragraphs set out the basis for the indictment. We suddenly read “Brissette and Sullivan” as if they are joined together at birth. This is the first time Sullivan is mentioned in the factual portion.

The paragraphs read: :”BRISSETTE and SULLIVAN” repeatedly advised” and Boston Calling “told BRISSETTE and SULLIVAN”.  All we know now about the case is that once it became a conspiracy the words of one man can be used against the others as part of the conspiracy. Hearsay testimony, which is impossible to defend against, runs wild throughout it. Remember Martorano testifying that he heard Whitey say that Connolly said that Billy said. How can a person defend against such garbage?

The indictment does not set out what language was used by either man. Perhaps that has to be worked out as matters move along. The prosecutors will need time to tidy up the case. One wonders why Sullivan was not indicted with Brissette back in May since these facts had to be known back then. Is this a play by the U.S. attorney to keep things in the news?

The strange thing is that there is no allegation that either Brissette or Sullivan said that the permits would not issue if Boston Calling did not hire the men. There is no crime for public officials to suggest to others it would be nice to hire union workers. It is only criminal when the issuance of a permit is dependent upon such actions.

One unusual  part of the indictment is paragraph 14 which tells how Brissette spoke with two state officials and one, the Director of the Massachusetts State Film Office, is quoted as saying: “it was none of our business, being in state government, whether something is union or non-union.” 

Why is that in the indictment since it is untrue? Of course government officials can be interested in trying to help out union members as long as they do not condition anything upon the failure to do so. Brissette and Sullivan have every right in the world to advocate for unions and union workers . They just cannot condition the performance of their duties upon that suggestion being met.

The big problem I see with the indictment against Sullivan is he had no power to do anything against Boston Callilng. He was not the one who could deny the permits, or, as the indictment alleges bring about the hiring of union people, “by the wrongful use of fear of economic harm.” Only Brissette could do that by refusing to issue the permits..

These are flimsy cases. The only harm alleged is Boston Calling hired eight laborers and one foreman to work its event and it paid them for their work. There is no allegation they would not get the permit if they didn’t. Nor that the union workers did not do the work. Where is the crime especially as it relates to the powerless Sullivan?

That is not to say there is not an extortion occurring. Ortiz’s office is squeezing Brissette and Sullivan by hanging prison over their heads unless they agree to plead guilty and cooperate whether they are guilty or not. They also face the high costs of attorneys and the great disruption in their lives. Why do two men face serious charges when no harm occurred?

The answer is simple – Ortiz is trying to get them to give evidence against the mayor and make him part of the conspiracy. Either Brissette or Sullivan merely has to say that he told the mayor he was doing this and the mayor agreed with him. It is the Globe which suggests the close personal relationship between the mayor and Sullivan hoping to  muddy up the mayor so that it readers can tsk tsk and further damage Walsh’s reelection chances.

Pretty shoddy dealings ongoing in the red brick building with the rat hole-like entrance on the waterfront and the soon to be vacated  plant built on the wetlands off Morrissey Boulevard. .

5 thoughts on “The Strange Case of Timothy Sullivan: A Man Personally Close To Mayor Walsh

  1. Matt, you mentioned in another post that the recent SCOTUS McDonnell decision may affect the current court cases of that miserable mob at Moakley. How specifically do you see it affecting the “B&S” conspiracy case?

    1. GOK:

      Sullivan’s lawyer believes that it does. I am not so sure. If the feds can prove B&S told the people they had to hire union guys to get permits that would be different than O’Donnell making recommendations to his underlings that they should listen to a guy pitching a product. I think it is a close call. With the O’Brien case I think it clearly applies to him and his conviction will be reversed. A lot will depend on how the judges interpret the Supreme Court’s language. It seemed to be the unamimous opingion of the court that the federal prosecutors are interfering with the states too much. The local judges will have to decide if the B&S conspiracy is an undue interference.

  2. Regarding the “plant built on the wetlands off Morrissey Boulevard”, what portions of Old Colony Parkway aka Morrissey Boulevard other than a few hundred feet on Savin Hill’s Fox Point are not built on wetland?



    Note that Old Colony Avenue north of the Calf Pasture aka Columbia Point is a rail line on the 1903 map.

    If you want to have more fun, toggle between different years of the aerial photographs and topographic maps on this site:

    You may note in one of the aerial photographs that the access road from the south past Loyola Hall leading to McElroy Hall at the front of B.C. High once was open water, not “wetland”.

    A photograph of Camp McKay, with Mile Road / Mount Vernon Street on the right and the Firestone warehouse to the rear of the camp, with rail service to the pump building in the background at the end of Mile Road connecting to the Old Colony Avenue rail line:

    1. Ed:

      Good points. It was all wetland as I recall on the right side of Morrissey Boulevard heading south from Columbia Cicle out past the Kully to Old Colony Terrace. The Globe was the first building that was built on that side. I do not remember much about the left hand side of the road. I’m talking about the time when it was a two lane quiet highway and the right side was a type of marsh with lots of dry areas where we could walk and set traps to catch the small fish. it was also the site of a WWII army camp and we often found live bullets in that area. We swam at the Kulvert that passed under the road letting the water flow into the marsh.

      I also spent time going out to the Mile Road dump where a group of us boys all under the age of ten would carry potatoes with us, set a fire, and throw the potatoes in to cook. They never tasted so good as when we retrieved them being burnt on the outside but soft and tasty on the inside.

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