Investigate Marty Walsh, Says Catholic Action League

Printed from:

The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts is calling for an investigation of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for what it describes as bullying tactics several years ago to get the organizers of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston to allow organizations that openly identify as homosexual to march.

C.J. Doyle, executive director of the Catholic Action League, said Walsh’s behavior then is largely similar to the behavior of two of his aides who were convicted Wednesday in federal court in Boston on extortion charges for pressuring an entertainment company putting together a festival to use union workers.

“With both the festival and the parade, the same strong arm tactics were used to accomplish the same political object. Threats were made to deny city permits if organizers refused to accede to city demands to accept in their event the campaign loyalists of Marty Walsh,” Doyle said in a written statement Wednesday, August 7, with a hyperlink included.

“In the parade case, the threats were even more extreme. Parade organizers were told that the Boston Police might not be able to secure the perimeter of the parade and protect participants from violence. With the festival, illegal pressure was furtive and implied. With the parade, it was overt and aggressive, and included the notorious episode, where, at a public venue in Boston, Marty Walsh shouted threats and obscenities at parade adjutant Phil Wuschke,” Doyle said, with hyperlink included.

The mayor’s press office, contacted Wednesday, did not immediately provide a comment.

This past June, commenting on the pro-homosexuality Pride Parade in Boston, Walsh published a tweet saying that the city does not take into account the point of view of a parade when it comes to providing city services.


That statement conflicts with how the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council described Walsh’s behavior with respect to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in a federal lawsuit three years ago. The veterans council members claimed the mayor used the power of the city government over logistical details – such as the length of the route, whether police would provide security, and even whether the city would issue a permit for the parade — to try to pressure them into accepting groups they didn’t want.

Walsh met several times with Philip Wuschke, a member of the council, in the run-up to the 2014 parade, including tense encounters.

“During the discussions with Wuschke, and while insisting that the Mayor’s LGBT groups be included in the Parade, the Mayor stated that he could cancel the Parade permit for ‘safety reasons’,” the council’s then-lawyer, Chester Darling, wrote in the amended complaint, filed August 2, 2016 in U.S. District Court in Boston.

The complaint describes a banquet on March 14, 2014 when Wuschke told the mayor that a group of veterans identifying as homosexual would not be allowed to march in the parade set for a couple of days later.

Darling described in the complaint what happened next:

Mayor Walsh then launched into a frenzied verbal attack shouting “Don’t [expletive] me over, you’d better not [expletive] me over.” He shouted the phrases several times. Wuschke responded, “Do you realize that you threatened me five times.” There were many people nearby.

Wuschke then went down to the lobby of the Boston Conference Center, and while waiting for his wife to join him he was approached again by Mayor Walsh, who was accompanied by four men. The shouting renewed until Mrs. Wuschke interrupted the exchanges. Wuschke then said to Mayor Walsh ‘That is not the way to negotiate, Mr. Mayor.”

Later that evening Mayor Walsh called Wuschke and apologized and said that he “snapped” and that “we were under a lot of pressure and that I shouldn’t have done it.” The Mayor did not march in the 2014 Parade.

Court papers do not include a response by Walsh as to the facts asserted by the parade organizers. News reports from August 2016 in The Boston Globe and in Boston Magazine include comments from a spokesman for Walsh that do not deny the facts as the veterans council presented them and even seem to accept them.

The parade organizers’ lawyer said at the time that the mayor’s behavior amounted to using his office to try to impose his will on a parade that wasn’t his or the city’s.

“The Defendant, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, has, since 2014, continuously attempted to control the content of the Plaintiffs’ annual, privately permitted St. Patrick’s Day/Evacuation Day Parade,” the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council’s lawyer wrote in the complaint in 2016.

A lawyer representing the mayor made a motion to dismiss on grounds that the parade organized failed to state a claim. A judge dismissed the case September 15, 2016.

Walsh, who grew up in Dorchester and lives there now, has a tumultuous relationship with next-door South Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Shortly after becoming mayor in 2014, Walsh tried to broker a deal to allow groups identifying as homosexual to march in the parade, something that parade organizers hadn’t allowed since winning a U.S. Supreme Court case in 1995. Parade organizers during the 1990s and after 2000 argued that promoting homosexuality goes against the point of a parade honoring St. Patrick, a Catholic bishop of the fifth century.

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that same-sex sexual attraction is “gravely disordered” and that acting on it with full knowledge and consent of the will is a serious sin.

In 2014, the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, which runs the parade, said no to Walsh, and he boycotted the parade.

John “Wacko” Hurley, the longtime leader of the parade, told The Boston Herald in a video published 10 days before the parade in March 2014 that he and the council would not let a pro-homosexuality advocacy group march because their message didn’t fit the parade.

“It’s about St. Patrick. And the evacuation of Dorchester Heights. Nothing else,” Hurley said.

Hurley said he had no problems with homosexuals, and that some regularly came into his house.

As for a pro-homosexuality group called Mass Equality that applied to march in the parade, he said:  “They’ve got an agenda we don’t want. … It’s a message they want to convey, but not us.”

In 2015, after Hurley stopped running the parade, the council allowed a pro-homosexuality group called OUTVETS to march, and again in 2016.

In 2017, the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council initially voted not to allow organizations that identify as homosexual in the parade, but eventually reversed course under intense pressure.

Hurley died in November 2015. Wuschke died in February 2018.

Nowadays, the group that runs the parade is under entirely new leadership and is going in a different direction.

In July 2018 the council hired the founder of OUTVETS to plan the parade.

Dave Falvey, commander of the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, said Wednesday the council has no interest in the Catholic Action League’s call for an investigation of the mayor.

“The South Boston Allied War Veterans Council (SBAWVC) does not support the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts in its call to open an extortion probe on the council’s behalf against the City of Boston,” Falvey said in an email message to New Boston Post. “SBAWVC is proud to be an inclusive parade and to feature LGBT organizations like OUTVETS, and thus the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts’ call is inconsistent with the values and vision of the SBAWVC for the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day / Evacuation Day Parade. Lastly, the leadership of the SBAWVC has a strong, collaborative relationship with Mayor Walsh and his team and is looking forward to continuing this relationship in support of the next parade on March 15, 2020.”