The Globe fills in some more details of the incidents that led federal prosecutors to charge a mid-level BPDA official, John Lynch, with bribery in connection with a small South Boston project that needed new approval from the Zoning Board of Appeal so that its developer could then sell the whole thing at a profit to another developer.
On May 9, 2017, Steven Turner was scheduled to appear before the ZBA to seek an extension of the time in which he could build an 11-unit residential building on H Street, but he failed to appear. Because the project, first approved in 2013, had already received a two-year extension, board Chairwoman Christine Araujo moved to deny the request.
Board member Craig Galvin - a real-estate broker whom the Globe reports worked with Lynch when Lynch built a two-condo building on Ashland Street in Dorchester - opposed the rejection, but the rest of the board approved. Member Anthony Pisani recused himself because, at the time, he was working with somebody looking to buy the project from Turner, the Globe says.
If you turn up your volume, just before the vote, you'll hear the board's attorney tell the board:
I just spoke with John Lynch outside, who spoke with the applicant, who made him aware this morning that he can't be here. I really don't have any more details.
Turner and Lynch once worked together at the city Department of Neighborhood Development, which, among other things, figures out what to do with surplus city property, but at the time of the hearing, Lynch was working at the BPDA, in charge of overseeing leases at the BPDA-owned Raymond Flynn Marine Industrial Park in South Boston and the Charlestown Navy Yard.
Despite the denial, the project came before the zoning board again at its next meeting, two weeks later. This time, the board unanimously approved the extension - with Pisani again recusing himself - after Turner's attorney, George Morancy, apologized for the miscommunication that led Turner to miss the previous hearing and said the new extension was needed because Turner had found an oil tank on the property that needed proper disposal and because of negotiations that were required with the BPDA over an affordable unit in the proposal after Turner reduced the number of units from 12 to 11.
Morancy spoke as Turner and a representative from his architecture firm - James Christopher, son of former ISD Commissioner William Christopher - listened:
After Morancy spoke, Galvin made a motion to approve the extension. The board then voted to grant the extension.
The US Attorney's office announced Lynch's charges - and his agreement to plead guilty, last Friday afternoon. It has yet to officially name the developer who allegedly paid him a total of $60,000 to help win the extension.