Boston 2024: The Grift That Keeps on Giving

June 11, 2015

As you splendid readers well know, the Boston news media – from the Boston Business Journal to WGBH to Boston Magazine to WBUR to the Boston Globe – are on Store 2024 like Brown on Williamson.

But not the Boston Herald.

Sure, the feisty local tabloid has provided some basic coverage of the five-ring monte Olympic bid, but it’s not breaking news the way other local outlets have. The Herald these days is more about Deval Patrick’s financial shenanigans.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Exhibit A: Yesterday’s Joe Battenfeld column.

Patrick Secretly Diverted Junket Cash

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Former Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration secretly diverted nearly $27 million in public money to off-budget accounts that paid for a $1.35 million trade junket tab, bloated advertising contracts, and a deal with a federally subsidized tourism venture backed by U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, a Herald investigation has found.

The maneuver to fatten the hidden “trust” 

accounts with millions from state quasi-public agencies allowed Patrick to skirt the state Legislature and evade state budget cutbacks during the recession, the Herald found.

 

Elsewhere in the piece, the number seems to be over $37 million. Helpful chart:

 

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Whatever.

Exhibit B: Today’s Herald page 5 (with bonus Inexplicable Green 1).

 

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See? Even the paper’s Olympic coverage is part of its Devalue Pak.

Meanwhile, the latest Boston NOlympics revelations include this in the BBJ, which suggests that those expecting the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority to “save the Boston Olympics” Must Be Taking Acid. The Boston Globe contributes this front-page piece about Boston 2024 relocating the Widett Circle food wholesalers to the Seaport (one really smart person we know thinks the entire Boston 2024 effort is just a land grab to develop the New Boston Food Market site). The Globe also features this Metro piece about the full-court press on the Boston 2024 organizers to finally get down to specifics.

WBUR also has a couple of new reports today about bigger Olympic footprints, and WGBH tosses in this piece about new venues and public relations.

But the Boston Herald? Call it the shelfie local tabloid.

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Boston 2024 Is Now Officially Circling the Drain

April 4, 2015

From our Late to the Going-Away Party desk

Good Friday turned out to be Bad Friday for Store 2024.

As in, all news was bad news for the local machers mucking up the bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Start with yesterday’s Boston Globe (which has generally taken pity on the totally inept Boston 2024niks), where two – count ’em, two – columnists wrote MISTIA (More in Sorrow Than in Anger) pieces about the botched bid.

First, Shirley Leung on the Business front page:

Olympics bid needs a world-class PR save

In all the hand-wringing over the mess that is Boston’s Olympics bid, Doug Rubin has managed to escape scrutiny.

Until now.unnamed(42)

Boston 2024 is awash in problems — and none bigger is the group’s ability to get its message across that the Games can make Boston a better version of itself. The Olympics are supposed to be a feel-good event, but not here. Instead, the Games are toxic, as if organizers are proposing to build a nuclear waste dump on the Greenway.

There’s plenty of blame to go around, from Boston 2024 chairman John Fish to our naysaying selves. But Rubin and his firm Northwind Strategies are most responsible for making sure the public understands why hosting the Summer Games could be good for Boston.

 

Which the public assuredly does not.

Next, Scot Lehigh on the Globe’s op-ed page:

Taxpayer risk is Boston 2024’s highest hurdle

WHEN IT comes to hosting the Olympics here in 2024, I’m a skeptic. But now that everyone agrees that voters will get to decide the fate of the Olympics bid, I’m a skeptic in a wait-and-see mode.

The threshold question that Boston 2024 faces is crystal clear. Well before the public vote, the group will need to present a convincing plan showing how Boston (or Greater Boston) can host the 2024 Summer Games without putting taxpayers at risk.

So far, what we have are professions of good intentions. “Tax dollars will not be used to build venues or pay for the operation of the Games,” Boston 2024’s new briefing book asserts.

The reality, however, is that at some point, Boston will have to guarantee that the various Olympic venues will be ready. And that means the city could have to step to the plate if plans go seriously awry. Given the deep opposition to using public dollars for the Games, it’s difficult to see how Mayor Marty Walsh could put Boston in that position without an air-tight assurance that taxpayers won’t be left holding the bag.

 

Ah, yes, Marty Walsh.

Crosstown at the Marty Walsh Gazette (a.k.a. the Boston Herald), the marty local tabloid – which had been a sort of house organ for City Hall until being thrown under the buss on Thursday – was silent yesterday on all matters Olympic.

Which brings us to Friday’s New York Times drive-by hooting.

U.S.O.C. Misjudged Appetite for a Hot Potato

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After completing its long, complicated and anything but transparent process of choosing a city as its candidate to host the 2024 Summer Games, the United States Olympic Committee has found itself in an awkward position.

Boston, the city the committee chose to represent the United States, does not appear to want to host the Games at all.

Too expensive, some Bostonians say — the money used to host the Games should be dedicated to improving schools and social programs. Too many people, others say — Boston has terrible traffic, so why invite thousands more to further clog the streets?

Too unnecessary, say those personally hurt by the notion that the Olympics could improve Boston’s image worldwide: Why does Boston need the Olympics to validate it as a world-class city when Bostonians are perfectly happy with Boston as it is?

 

Except they’re not. Never really have been.

But Bostonians are even less happy with the Olympics. Then again, that’s just one of many problems with the town’s bid. And so, according to the Times, the endgame is near, in the form of the 2016 statewide referendum Boston 2024 has promised.

If recent history is any guide, that public vote will deal the fatal blow to Boston’s chances. Voters in Munich; St. Moritz/Davos, Switzerland; and Krakow, Poland, all batted away their bids for the 2022 Winter Games. Vienna retreated from its 2028 Summer Games bid after a vote, too.

 

Everyone under the sun has denied this week’s Wall Street Journal report that “the U.S. Olympic Committee may drop Boston’s bid to host the 2024 Summer Games if local support doesn’t improve soon.”

But now comes today’s Boston Herald, which has apparently found a new go-to guy. “Boston 2024 should ‘clean house’ and install a ‘better team’ that can keep a shorter leash on Chairman John Fish and prevent more embarrassing gaffes — like questioning the patriotism of Olympic critics, U.S. Rep. Stephen F. Lynch told the Herald yesterday.”

Oh, right – we had forgotten that one: Bostonians are unpatriotic if they don’t support this game of five-ring monte.

Please, someone, put these people out of our misery.


Boston 2024: The Grift That Keeps on Giving

March 13, 2015

From our Five-Ring Monte desk

Nice his ‘n’ her columns in today’s local dailies about the latest hijinks from the high-rolling Boston 2024 machers.

Ladies first. The Boston Globe’s Shirley Leung gives the 2024niks a front-page dopeslap for “acting like a private club.”

The secrets boomerang on Games organizers

The Boston Olympic movement hit a new low this week, and even ringleader John Fish would have a hard time arguing with that.

That would explain all the mea culpas.

“There were some mistakes in communication,” acknowledged Fish, the chief executive of Suffolk Construction, in a lengthy phone interview.

 

The mistake, of course, was not communicating, but why get technical about it.

Crosstown at the Boston Herald, Howie Carrtoon’s column gives the Boston 2024 boyos a much harder time.

Let hack Games begin at St. Pat’s feed

Will Boston 2024 set up a booth at Halitosis Hall on Sunday morning so that all the hacks can fill out their applications for gainful unemployment at the next Big Dig?

The St. Patrick’s Day breakfast — what better place to recruit yet more indolent dolts and layabouts who need no-heavy-lifting jobs Nancy Kerrigan Devin Logan, who won the silver medal in slopestyle in Sochi this pat February(as opposed to work)?

Come Sunday, John Fish, the unelected pooh-bah of this fiasco, can personally greet the payroll charlies as they stumble into the BCEC.

If you “work” at the MBTA, boys, no need to fill out any of these intrusive forms. Your bona fides are in order. Have you lads been to visit your Uncle Whitey lately?

 

You can probably fill in the rest of the hacky local tabloid rant. Of course if you want some facts about the Boston 2024 payroll patriots, you’ll have to look elsewhere. The hardreading staff recommends Adam Vaccaro’s piece at Boston.com that compares local Olympic spending to previous bids by Chicago and New York. The numbers are very instructive. Not to get technical about it.


Five-Ring Monte: Boston Herald Is on the Money in Olympic Salary Flap

March 10, 2015

The local dailies are currently on Boston 2024, the high-rolling Olympic wannabe outfit, like Brown on Williamson – especially in the matter of who’s getting paid what.

Today Boston hits the Dailies Double, with both papers front-paging the buckraking at the Olympic trough.

Boston Globe:

Olympic bid panel offers salary data

Patrick to earn $7,500 per day during travels

Former governor Deval Patrick will earn $7,500 a day for occasional travel as a global ambassador for Boston’s Olympic bid, selling the city and its vision for the Games to the International Olympic Committee, according to salary data released Monday by local 0109patrickOlympic planners, who say they do not know how often Patrick would be on the job.

The local Olympic bid committee, Boston 2024, which is funded by private donations, is also paying $1,390,500 in annual staff salary, with six of 10 salaried employees making more than $100,000 a year. Chief executive Rich Davey topped the list at $300,000.

 

Mark Arsenault’s piece features other hauls as well: “Boston 2024 is paying $44,000 a month to communications consultants, including $15,000 each to Northwind Strategies — overseen by former Patrick aide Doug Rubin — and Keyser Public Strategies, whose president, Will Keyser, was a key strategist in Governor Charlie Baker’s winning campaign.”

And: “The committee also has monthly contracts, for $10,000 each, with William Coyne Jr. and Jack Hart — well-connected lobbyists with South Boston ties.”

And: “Nikko Mendoza, who was Patrick’s director of operations, is vice president for engagement and external affairs, making $120,000 a year, according to Boston 2024.”

That’s a lotta dough-re-mi, eh?

Crosstown at the Boston Herald, it gets even worse.

 

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Inside, the fiscally local tabloid features this handy clip ‘n’ save pay sheet:

 

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Do we see a pattern emerging here? Boston 2024 operates clandestinely, local media force the issue on some issue, Boston 2024 forks over some information. Time to stock up on crowbars.


Five-Ring Monte: Boston Dailies on Olympic Cronies

March 8, 2015

Both Boston dailies take on the machers piling up at Boston 2024, the bulldozing bunch trying to bring the Olympic Games to town nine years hence. But the papers have different bigwigs to target.

The Boston Sunday Globe gives the cudgel to Metro columnist Yvonne Abraham, who drops the hammer on Mistah Mayah.

Too close for comfort

You can’t be both cheerleader and watchdog.

Mayor Marty Walsh was initially skeptical about a Boston Olympics, promising to protect the city’s interests as assorted bigs pursued a 2024 Games. Now he’s the Games’ booster in chief.

“Make no mistake, we are in this to win it: to bring the Olympic Games to Boston, along with the immense global investment and community benefits that come with it,” he said at Wednesday’s annual meeting of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau.

Walsh and Boston 2024 are now one. He has fully melded his operation with the one run by John Fish and other titans pushing the Games.

 

Abraham’s conclusion: “[Marty Walsh] now owns the bid, and all that comes with it, good or bad . . . The mayor has leapt from the Olympic high board. No turning back now.”

Of course, there’s no water in the pool – just a bunch of double-talk – so that doesn’t bode well for anyone.

Crosstown at the Boston Herald, it’s former Gov. Patrick who’s Devalued.

Page One:

 

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Inside, Patrick gets the expensive two-page spread (with special bonus Inexplicable Little Green Numbers!).

 

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This Olympic bid has all the earmarks of classic crony capitalism: The high-priced array of usual suspects, the sleight-of-hand secrecy, the see-no-evil stonewalling – the whole megillah.

The biggest Olympic event of all would be if any of these characters dealt straight with the people of Boston for two minutes at a time.

So far, the prospects don’t look good.