Walsh’s friends with benefits

The Boston Globe on Sunday continued its fascinating look at people who are profiting from their friendship with Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, with an inside look at two political players who advise the mayor for free and then use that access to win lucrative clients.

The story documented how Michael Goldman and Matthew O’Neil, who together run the O’Neil/Goldman Group, have parlayed their close ties to the mayor into a lucrative business representing clients before the administration. Using emails obtained under the state’s Public Records Law, the story shows how Goldman bounces back and forth between working within the Walsh administration and lobbying it for clients.

There’s even a suggestion that Goldman’s work on behalf of the mayor might qualify him as a municipal employee, a designation that would bar him from taking money to represent clients before the city. Goldman insisted he advises Walsh only on political matters, while O’Neill said he is just a friend of the mayor.

The mayor angrily rejected any suggestion of a conflict. “Should people be penalized for their relationship with the mayor of Boston? I don’t think that’s fair,” he said.

Globe columnist Adrian Walker on Monday said it was painful to watch the mayor whine. Walker said former mayor Thomas Menino faced similar allegations, and responded to them much more realistically than Walsh. “He is alarmingly tone deaf when it comes to charges of political impropriety by people around him,” Walker said of Walsh. “It doesn’t serve the city well, and it doesn’t serve him.”

The Goldman-O’Neil report follows on the heels of a story in early January on Sean O’Donovan, a nobody at Boston City Hall until Walsh became mayor and appointed Eugene O’Flaherty as the city’s corporation counsel. O’Flaherty was a childhood buddy and former law partner of O’Donovan. The rise of O’Flaherty within the Walsh administration coincided with a rapid rise in business for O’Donovan at City Hall.

–BRUCE MOHL

 

BEACON HILL

A Patriot Ledger editorial says lawyer-lawmakers on Beacon Hill should be required to identify their clients.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Crime dropped 11 percent in Brockton last year. (The Enterprise)

A Children’s Aquarium and Exploration Center opens March 5 in Fall River. (Herald News)

Latino leaders in Salem say behind-the-scenes efforts to address harassment at the voting booth went nowhere. (Salem News)

CASINOS

Even as Massachusetts casinos are struggling to get built, plans for a new casino in Tiverton, RI, are moving forward. (Standard-Times)

ELECTIONS

Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders 50-42 in a Massachusetts poll by Suffolk University. (Boston Globe) A WBZ-UMass poll has it as a statistical tie, with Clinton’s three-point lead within the margin of error.

Frank Bruni asks: How would voters respond if Donald Trump was Donna Trump? (New York Times) Trump wavers on disavowing David Duke. (New York Times)

With Trump poised to win the Massachusetts Republican primary, Peter Ubertaccio says he can’t envision a worse time for Gov. Charlie Baker to try to push the party in a more moderate direction. (WGBH)

A fight over charter school expansion increasingly looks like it is headed for the ballot, despite efforts by four senators to find common ground. (Boston Globe)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt sits down with the Globe and doesn’t say much, other than that the company plans to be a civic player when it moves to Boston, focusing on education and community health.

The union representing Stop & Shop workers votes to authorize a strike against the company. (Telegram & Gazette)

EDUCATION

The Boston Public Schools have about $40 million in no-bid strategic partnership contracts. (Boston Herald)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

George Zachos, the head of the Medicaid fraud division at the attorney general’s office, is taking the job of executive director of the Board of Registration in Medicine. (MetroWest Daily News)

TRANSPORTATION

The MBTA reiterates that any surplus at the end of the fiscal year will go for pay-as-you-go capital projects . (Boston Globe)

This is awkward. The T posts a $145,000-a-year job for someone to improve the customer experience with public transit but then pulls the listing after a reporter inquired about the job . (Boston Herald)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

A pair of Berkshire County leaders say the benefits of the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline are not fully being considered. (Berkshire Eagle)

Many small gas leaks across Massachusetts add up to big environmental problems for Massachusetts. (WBUR)

Fred Zalcman of SunEdison says the solar industry in Massachusetts is supportive of reducing state incentives. (CommonWealth)

Colleen Quinn of ChargePoint offers a blueprint for opening electric car charging stations across Massachusetts. (CommonWealth)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

A Boston Globe editorial urges the Legislature to embrace the House version of a bill that would completely eliminate driver’s license suspensions for those who have served their drug sentences.

ICYMI: Federal authorities raided one of the state’s largest fishing wholesalers, arresting owner Carlos Rafael on charges of conspiracy and falsifying records. (Standard-Times)

MEDIA

Spotlight, the movie about the Globe Spotlight Team’s investigation of pedophile priests, wins the best picture Oscar. (Boston Globe) One of Pope Francis’s top advisors admits the church’s response to abuse allegations was scandalous. (Time)

Win McCormack, a liberal activist and publisher, buys The New Republic. (Huffington Post)

The Quincy police department denied two requests by the Patriot Ledger for public records involving a police lieutenant who has been suspended for double-dipping with details.