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If Chuck Turner got 3 years for taking a $1,000 bribe, BPDA manager should get at least 4 years for a $50,000 bribe, feds say

Lynch taking a bribe, according to feds

Photo showing Lynch taking one of several bribe payments, prosecutors say.

Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to send now former BPDA middle manager John Lynch to prison for four years for accepting a $50,000 bribe from a developer to arrange a successful zoning-board vote on a South Boston condo project.

In a sentencing memorandum filed yesterday in advance of Lynch's sentencing this Friday, assistant US Attorney Dustin Chao argues that not only should Lynch, who spent most of his adult life working for the city, have known better, but:

The gravity of the offense cannot be overstated. This case has shown that development in Boston was not being played on a level playing field. That a mere $50,000 bribe could move the gears of government to favor a multi million condominium project undermines the public's confidence in its essential government institutions and erodes the public's faith in its public stewards. The public is the victim in this case.

Lynch's attorney, Hank Brennan, however, says US District Court Judge Patti Saris should not sentence Lynch to more than 30 months. He said Lynch's guilty plea to a bribery charge last September shows Lynch's remorse. Also, he has no prior record, he suffers a variety of health problems and he has the backing of numerous community leaders who wrote letters of support.

In pleading guilty, Lynch acknowledged his role in a Zoning Board of Appeals vote in 2017 to give developer Steven Turner more time to build 11-unit residential building on H Street in South Boston. The board at first rejected his request, because he'd already run out of time on a two-year extension the board had earlier granted him and he failed to appear before the board for his scheduled hearing, but then, two weeks later, voted, with no discussion, to grant him another extension.

In his role at the BPDA's Economic Development Industrial Corporation, Lynch would normally have little, if any, reason to deal 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.

In fallout from Lynch's case, zoning-board member and real-estate broker Craig Galvin - who voted for the extension in the first 2017 meeting and then moved, this time successfully, to award it two weeks later - resigned. Top mayoral aide and former ISD Commissioner Buddy Christopher, an architect who initially represented Turner and whose son James represented Turner at the two 2017 hearings, has taken a leave of absence.

In his sentencing recommendation, Chao writes Turner and Lynch already knew each other from their days working at the city Public Facilities Department, and that Lynch and Galvin had known each other for years as well, which led to the second of the two zoning-board votes in 2017:

The government learned that, in or about 2017, the Developer sought a buyer for a significant parcel of real estate in Boston. However, pivotal to the sale of the property was the Developer's ability to obtain ZBA approval for an extension of a permit that would allow his property to be developed into multiple residential units. In order to obtain this permit extension, the Developer entered into an agreement with Lynch whereby Lynch agreed to use his official position to advise the ZBA Member to vote in favor of a permit extension for the property in exchange for a cash bribe.

Lynch and the Developer had agreed that the Developer would pay Lynch the bribe in the form of a silent broker's fee of $50,000 after the property sale had closed. In May 2017, the ZBA Member, as per Lynch's instruction and advice, voted in favor to grant the permit extension to the Developer. After obtaining the permit extension, the Developer was able to sell his property at a substantial profit (approximately $541,000) – a profit that he would not have been able to realize without Lynch's official assistance.

Chao writes federal investigators learned of the vote deal in 2018. Based on the surveillance photo of Lynch taking cash - similar to photos taken of City Councilor Chuck Turner and state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson - they learned of the agreement before money passed hands and so were able to station agents to photograph at least one money exchange. Chao writes that the developer made several payments to Lynch between February and November, 2018, starting with a blank $25,000 check - which Lynch used to pay a contractor at a Dorchester two-family condo building he was rehabbing and which Galvin would advise him on - and finishing up with four cash payments over several months.

Chao referenced Turner specifically in arguing for a 4-year sentence:

Although Massachusetts recorded no bribery sentences for fiscal 2018, the public was reminded of an earlier corruption case when former Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner passed away late last year. After being convicted of accepting a $1,000 cash bribe in return for aiding a nightclub obtain a liquor license, Mr. Turner received a 3-year prison sentence in this District on January 25, 2011. This District is thus no stranger to meting significant sentences in corruption cases.

Lynch's attorney argued a case could actually be made for no sentence at all, because Lynch's quick admission of guilt, health issues and community-leader support mean he is unlikely to commit the same crime again. Still:

Despite the argument that a sentence of imprisonment is unnecessary to promote deterrence, incapacitation and rehabilitation in Mr. Lynch’s situation, he recognizes the seriousness of the offense, given his role as a former public official. With that role, Mr. Lynch accepts that retribution is an important goal of sentencing and a term of imprisonment would help the public to appreciate that he received serious and significant consequences for his actions.

Prosecutor's sentencing recommendation (49k PDF).
Defense attorney's sentencing recommendation (20.1M PDF).

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Comments

This will be an interesting case to see if a white irish american criminal gets proportional sentence to a black one. Lynch obviously took a much (50x) higher bribe, yet his defense is arguing he's 'different'.

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Voting closed 52

His lawyer isn't really doing anything unusual - you wouldn't really be a defense attorney if you didn't ask for the most lenient sentence possible (and, in fact, if you read the defense sentencing memo, you'll see the lawyer actually argues that Lynch really could get a prison-free sentence, but that he is willing to go away for 30 months to send a message to people not to do what he did).

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Voting closed 30

1. Though in a public position, he is not the elected official
2. He is seeking the mercy of the court by tendering a plea.

These are two huge differences between Turner and Lynch. He should still serve time as corruption is abhorrent but those are two major differences.

Personally, I view Turner’s cheap price tag as worse, showing how easy it was for him to sell out the public.

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Voting closed 32

So if this guy held out for $200k he'd be a model citizen?

Turner's move really didn't enrich him personally whereas this guy made bank. Both are scummy and illegal but this asshole is worse in all ways in my book.

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He admitted that he did wrong. That's got to count for something. Personally, I don't think it should mean no jail, but comparing this to the Turner situation isn't right. Similar acts, but each case played out differently in court.

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Voting closed 13

Just to see Frank Baker and Lydia Edwards try and say this was just good advocacy in action! Then watch and see if Lynch gets convicted, how many lobbyists, pols and pals of Marty's will kick in to his GoFundMe because that evil Andrew Lelling persecuted him!

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Voting closed 23

That way he has something to gloat about in the big house

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Voting closed 18

Should the street be longer or shorter than turner. I'm confused.

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Criminal Way.

That should cover quite a few people.

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Voting closed 11

And he's probably got enough stashed in various nooks, crannies, and mattresses that he'll be just fine.

This kinda stuff happens all the time it's just that if the public finds out then they all have to act the part and say "Bad! Bad Johnny!" and scold him with stern letters and statements.

It's bs

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Voting closed 15

The comparison with the Chuck Turner case is certainly relevant. Turner was locked up in a West Virginia Federal prison for 28 months shortly after he turned 70 (he got a 3 year sentence but got released early for good behavior). That was for taking a $1000 bribe in a case that looked more like entrapment. He didn’t ask for the money; it was offered to him under hazy circumstances by an informant working the Diane Wilkerson case for the FBI -see Banner link below.

Should 66 year old John lynch get a lighter sentence for his $50k bribe, there will be some serious explaining to do about the discrepancy.

https://www.baystatebanner.com/2019/12/26/chuck-turner-79/

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Voting closed 57

Should 66 year old John lynch get a lighter sentence for his $50k bribe, there will be some serious explaining to do about the discrepancy.

Serious explaining?

You mean like I cannot have a little fun pointing out the three year sentence included perjury?

"If it had been just a $1,000 bribe unaccompanied by false statements to the FBI and without the ludicrously perjurious testimony, we’d be in a different place.’’ - U.S. District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock

Ludicrously perjurious. Those are words you get when adults in the room are forced to deal with kindergarten antics.

Explaining the "discrepancy" starts with dealing in the facts, not hand wringing over obscenely biased editorials.

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Voting closed 27

but to waive the sentence of a city official who has engaged in an act of corruption is arguably an even greater act of corruption. Money cannot be the arbiter of justice. Period. The argument that Lynch himself will not repeat this behavior is an insufficient one; as a representative of his people, his policy decisions have lasting systemic consequences for the people of Boston by definition. Let's not pretend that Lynch is alone in this kind of behavior, either. It might be necessary to make an example out of one man in order to deter his peers from abusing their own positions of power -- as I don't see a sweeping assault on corruption anywhere on the horizon. I can't imagine how many of these stooges would get cuffed if a chunk of the funding for "fighting gang violence" was funneled into holding officials to account for financial crimes.

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Chuck was a elected official. John was a employee of the city. So as the saying goes, don’t hate the player - hate the game.

Nothing new to anybody that this is how The City works. Marty has over 15 million in campaign contributions. Menino was mayor longer and only amassed 4 million. So when I see contributions to the mayor from people who have well paying positions in the city, to me, that’s just how The City works.

The City is ripe with corruption. And it’s done by people of all colors. The only thing Chuck, John, Diane, and all others soon to be indicted have in common is they play the same game - The City.

This isn’t going to compare to the news coming down shits creek when it comes to the pot licenses. The feds have all of their emails. More indictments soon to come. Get your popcorn ready.

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Voting closed 15

They stuck it to poor chuck, RIP. Equal justice.

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Can't wait to see the charges on the crooks who paid the bribes

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You shouldn’t hold your breath. Let me try to simplify a very complicated equation.

If John is convicted for accepting bride from X developer, then person passing John money in photo of federally set up sting must = X Developer.

What charges did X developer avoid being prosecuted for is what makes me curious. Remember, the college admissions scandal started with some privileged Chad avoiding jail for a completely unrelated crime.

#IndictMarty

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Ha. His name is Lynch. Magoo.

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Corrupt hacks are everywhere.

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are making these sorts of payments to get their projects approved? I don't trust the mayor or his minions and I'd be willing to bet this won't be the last case such as this.

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Who paid for Marty's Cedar Grove mansion (lifetime politician and union official)? Was Galvin involved in that Dorchester real estate transaction too? Lynch? Who did the renovations? Were any permits issued by Buddy Christopher? Asking for a friend.

Lynch should get the maximum sentence, reduced only if/when Mr. Lynch begins naming names. If he acted alone, great. The maximum sentence will be a deterrent to others. If he tells who else was involved, cut him some slack. The choice of a Friday afternoon of a holiday week with a snowstorm threat, impeachment and Red Sox cheating dominating the news assures the story --if this is it-- will be quickly forgotten if the Dems get their way. I'm sure when the date was picked, it was expected the Patriots would be one win away from another Superbowl. Anything to distract the public. Hopefully Trump's US Attorney, Andrew Lelling is just getting started.

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The developers. Not. One. Word.

This perfectly illustrates one big problem with the police milieu in the USA - they almost always side with the interests of the rich and powerful - corrupt pols may have some power but it is derived from the money powers that own and control this place and its police state enforcers.

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Marty is my neighbor. His house his hardly a mansion. Craig Galvin had nothing to do with the sale. (Actually, an upstanding woman from Lower Mills was the agent). Maybe he and his girlfriend saved their money, sold both of their homes and bought the house in Lower Mills together.

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Shouldn't the city also take the properties of the criminal developers (pardon the redundancy) for housing for the poor? And prohibit them from owning property in Boston for life?

Oh right, that would be socialism. Silly me.

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Voting closed 14

Criminally acquired property - especially where drug dealing and RICO violations are concerned - may be confiscated. If a developer acquired profits due to criminal activities then those profits should be confiscated.

If the development was already sold that raises a different question. Whether it is fair to the people who bought portions of the development.

But if the developer has not resold the property (even if it is ready to be listed with a broker) then take it. I agree this could be a fantastic way to increase the quantity of affordable properties.

Belonging to government it would be easier to impose covenants such as restricting the profit that resellers could make. Or requiring buyers to reside in the property for a minimum number of years.

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That’s Communism you are suggesting.

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If you must do it, at least learn your theory beforehand.

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It is very difficult when you compare two cases but it helps to look at the facts.

One case has an elected official
He lied
He was set up, may not have been a systematic situation
$1000

One case was a city employee
He did not lie
He was not set up, was part of a larger system
$50,000

I can see why a court would be less lenient to someone who lies to the court and who was elected to their office. This is why it is hard to say he should get a judgement that is 50 times longer. The initial set up looks worse for Turner. The more you dig though the worse it gets for the employee in question. He may not deserve 50 times the judgement but he clearly was part of a much wider net and took much larger sums and looks like he did a lot more advocacy for his money. We also do not know how many other times he has done this.

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