The US Attorney's office in Boston reports a BPDA official agreed to plead guilty today to charges that he took $50,000 in bribes and payments from a Boston developer in 2017 to convince a member of the Zoning Board of Appeal to vote in favor of a permit extension the developer wanted.
The US Attorney's office named neither developer nor zoning-board member in a statement on its plea deal with John Lynch, 66, assistant director of real estate at the BPDA's Economic Development Industrial Corporation:
In 2017, the Boston real estate developer sought to sell a parcel of residential real estate in Boston, but needed ZBA approval to extend a permit that would have allowed the property to be sold as a multi-unit development. To get the permit extension, the developer agreed to pay $50,000 in cash bribes and a check to Lynch, in return for Lynch using his influence at the BPDA to secure a vote from a ZBA member. The permit extension helped the real estate developer realize an additional half million dollars in profits that the developer otherwise would not have received absent the permit. After getting the permit extension, Lynch accepted $25,000 in cash payments and another $25,000 check, which Lynch used to pay a personal bill. Lynch then failed to report those and another $10,000 payment he had received from the real estate developer.
The zoning board routinely extends approvals for projects, although developers have to seek permission and give an explanation why they need more time to take advantage of a positive board vote.
In exchange for a guilty plea, prosecutors will urge a judge to sentence Lynch, 66, to 46 to 57 months in federal prison on one count of bribery involving an organization receiving federal funds, and one count of filing a false federal tax return that failed to report his receipt of the bribe payments. Lynch was looking at up to 10 years in prison if he went to trial and were found guilty, the US Attorney's office says.
Lynch agreed to plead guilty after the US Attorney's office had issued an "information" charging him today, which means a grand jury has yet to begin looking into the case.
In his role with the EDIC, Lynch would normally have little to do with the zoning board, because its main duties involve overseeing and leasing commercial space at the BPDA's Raymond Flynn Marine Industrial Park in South Boston and the Charlestown Navy Yard.