Two Boston City Hall officials were convicted of conspiring to extort organizers of the 2014 edition of Boston Calling, CBS Boston reports. Director of tourism Kenneth Brissette and chief of intergovernmental affairs Timothy Sullivan were convicted of Hobbs Act conspiracy; Brissette was also found guilty of Hobbs Act extortion, a charge Sullivan was acquitted on. They each face up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
More from CBS Boston:
The men bullied the organizers of the 2014 Boston Calling festival into hiring members of a stagehands union to please Walsh, a former union leader with close ties to organized labor, prosecutors said during the jury trial.
Lawyers for the mayoral aides argued that their clients were simply asking concert promoters to consider hiring unionized workers in order to avoid a potentially embarrassing union protest, complete with a large inflatable rat.
Officials from festival organizers Crash Line testified at trial they feared they would not get the necessary city permits if they didn’t comply with Brissette and Sullivan’s request to hire union stagehands.
Crash Line ultimately hired nine union members and secured the necessary permits.
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh issued a statement about the decision to Boston Globe:
I am surprised and disappointed. I have made clear from the beginning that there is only one way to do things in my administration and that is the right way. I have always believed that their hearts were in the right place. We have taken several measures at the City of Boston to ensure that every employee has the right tools and training to perform at the highest ethical standards, which has always been my expectation.