Walsh claims he can’t grab texts, LOL
The Boston Globe and Mike Beaudet, a longtime investigative reporter for Fox 25 and journalism professor at Northeastern University, made multiple and separate requests for texts between Walsh and his chief of staff Daniel Koh. Beaudet made his initial request with his students back in March for all texts and emails containing the word “Olympics.” Sorry, said the administration, no such communications exist. Weird, given the Olympic bid was sucking all the oxygen out of the news hole for months before.
So Beaudet broadened his request to include all Walsh texts over the course of a month. The Globe also submitted its own requests. Both were told the city didn’t have the “technical capacity” to produce the requested records. But, as you can see by the first two paragraphs of today’s Download, it doesn’t take a genius to snap a screen grab of a text and send it electronically or print it out.
It’s noteworthy that the administration released a series of emails back in March showing many aides engaging in conversations with Boston 2024 about the bid. But, just as notably, there was not one paragraph to or from the mayor in the 45-page release about the elephant in the room.
Yet Walsh constantly proclaims his interaction via text with other officials in the administration and around the country.
It’s hard to imagine each and every text between Walsh and Koh, who the mayor had no relationship with prior to hiring him last year, were of the “Hey, Danny, watcha doin’? LOL” variety. It’s also difficult to fathom the technological limitations of an administration overseen by Koh, who comes from a technology background, having worked as chief of staff at the Internet-only Huffington Post, which requires immersion in all manner of high tech. Koh’s hiring was touted as a key in bringing City Hall into the new millennium after two decades of Tom Menino, who forbid voicemail for years.
And even though Oggeri proclaimed to the Globe that Walsh has been “open and transparent in every aspect of his work,” this isn’t the first time the administration has been slow in responding to or outright denying requests for documents that are public records everywhere else and have even been here. After a while, it becomes a situation of “Who you gonna believe, us or your lying eyes?”
Perhaps Walsh, a diehard New England Patriots fan, is trying to emulate Tom Brady by just saying “no” to requests for his texts. But, unlike Brady, who was under no legal obligation to produce his texts for the NFL’s hired guns, there’s a little state statute called the Public Records Law that doesn’t give Walsh such an easy out. It does, however, make it a potential exercise in futility.
Both the Globe and Beaudet have filed appeals with Secretary of State William Galvin but, given the way the Public Records Law is working right now, it may be a long slog. And for Walsh, unlike Brady, there is no penalty to pay.
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