Try not to let the recent after-hours arrest at City Hall of the coordinator of the totally on-the-level Boston Task Force on Reparations destroy your faith in the integrity of this vitally important grift, er, restorative justice initiative.
Surely there must be some mistake here!
How dare the cops assume that a distinguished scholar like George Washington Williams IV “appeared to be under the influence of some narcotic” just because he got into a scuffle with the local constabulary late at night in an abandoned upper-floor office.
The world-renowned “social demographer,” who has beaten numerous minor raps over the years, has since been fired by The Man, in this case Mayor Michelle Wu.
That’s the bad news. The good news is, there are plenty of good candidates of color ready, willing and desperate to pick up the burden of this vitally important mission.
Two names immediately come to mind: Rachael Rollins and Monica Cannon-Grant.
Those two are certainly experts on reparations. Until recently, both had been grabbing the no-heavy-lifting big bucks from Mister Charlie practically forever, while simultaneously getting one slobbering wet kiss after another in print from all the rich suburban white ladies who dither for the Boston Globe and Boston Magazine.
But you know, didn’t you feel just a bit nostalgic the other day when you read the headline about Mr. Reparations getting lugged:
“HANDCUFFED IN CITY HALL”
Ah, the good old days. Once upon a time, “reparations” at City Hall was considered a private endeavor, one shakedown, one shady flim-flam at a time. You could aim for the stars and steal a disability pension, or settle for lifting a mere three-digit license plate.
Anything was considered fair game for sticky fingers, as long as it wasn’t nailed down.
The only unwritten rule was that you had to try to be inconspicuous about it. That’s what George Washington Williams IV couldn’t seem to figure out. His most significant faux pas was hanging out in the building after 5 p.m. – do you know how suspicious that looks?
More than 40 years ago, then-Mayor Kevin White once mused on the greatest physical danger faced by anyone inside Boston City Hall.
“It’s standing in front of one of the elevators on the first floor at 4:58,” he’d say, putting his hands up in front of his face as if to protect himself. “You could be trampled to death by all my people stampeding out of the building!”
In the aftermath of the COVID scam, just coming to work, period, is a red flag, anywhere. And yet this bum thought he could get away with basically living in the Hall, not to mention burning what the cops diplomatically called “sage” in the deserted offices where he was flopping.
For future reference for all aspiring hacks out there, the rule is that it’s okay to set up your scores in public places. (But be careful about “memorializing” your plans in texts or on phones, am I right Rachael?). But to commit the actual crime, you leave the building. It’s just common sense.
Mayor White had a budget director from Brighton named Billy McNeill – Squawker was his nickname. Squawker decided to “take a fall” and go out on disability. He claimed he slipped on a patch of ice.
The only problem was, he said the patch of ice was inside City Hall. Squawker went to prison.
Remember John M. Lynch, a career City Hall payroll patriot. Vacationed briefly at Club Fed in 2020 after taking bribes from a real-estate developer.
The G-men showed the traditional candid-camera photos in court. But Lynch was grabbing the cash as he leaned into a car, outside, not at City Hall. The photos were perfect – natural lighting is always the best.
For another example, Sen. Dianne Wilkerson did not stuff the Benjamins into her bra at the State House. No, she walked down to No. 9 Park where she also enjoyed a free meal on the undercover fed.
Likewise, City Councilor Chuck “Superfly” Turner took his “preacher’s handshake” at what he termed his “district office” in Roxbury.
The point is, you don’t transact business in your own office. Not monkey business, anyway. I mean, if you really want to do it right, you have a bagman. That’s what Hunter Biden is, or was, for the Big Guy. It’s all spelled out right there on his laptop.
Way back, there was a city councilor from East Boston named Jim Coffey. His moniker was, “I’ll Take a Buck.” But not at City Hall.
When Rep. Julius Ansell, whose heart belonged to Ward 14, was elected to the state Senate in a special election in 1965, he publicly announced in his victory speech: “The price is going up!”
So you can be public about what you are. When Whitey Bulger owned the South Boston Liquor Mart, during election season the local statesmen vied to have their signs up in his front window. It was the imprimatur of… something.
If Whitey liked ya, pal, that meant ya could get the job done.
I know a guy from Ward 18 who lives in Florida now. He told me once about how he got the hack job he’d always dreamed of after the 1979 mayor’s fight. Kevin had put him on at the Boston Retirement Board. He was “working” for Louise Day Hicks in her dotage.
“I never could believe I’d finally gotten to City Hall,” he told me once. “But then, one day a bunch of FBI agents barged in. They had a search warrant and they took all of our files, dragged everything out of the office.” He paused to smile, as he recalled the magic moment. “That was when I knew, I’d made it.”
He had arrived. And now George Washington Williams IV has departed.
Sic transit Gloria mundi….