BOSTON (CBS) – When Boston Mayor Marty Walsh first heard that the Wall Street Journal was reporting serious discontent within the United States Olympic Committee over the progress of Boston’s bid for the 2024 summer games, “it was concerning, it was upsetting,” he told WBZ-TV Wednesday.
Actually, according to sources close to the mayor, he was furious.
The Journal’s claim that the USOC was quietly reaching out to San Francisco and Los Angeles – cities that lost out to Boston in the U.S. bid selection process – as possible backups should the Boston plan implode is just the latest in a string of embarrassments, including a USOC gag order on any future city-worker criticism of the games (which Walsh had to have removed) and a raft of fancy salaries paid to politically-connected Boston 2024 consultants (which Walsh insisted be made public).
“We’re assured that there’s a commitment to the Boston bid and that the unnamed source in the article today was not from the USOC, so I take them at their word for that,” Walsh told us.
But he’s apparently done taking Olympic boosters at their word for anything else, announcing Wednesday in a move first reported by WBZ that he’ll establish an Office of Olympic Accountability where his hand-picked analysts will double-check every planning and budgetary claim – with the $750,000 tab for their work paid for by Boston 2024.
Did Walsh think that was needed when this whole process started?
“In the very beginning, probably not,” he says. “I knew we needed some accountability, but as this process has gone on, with everything that’s happened in the last several weeks and months here, we really need to focus on the bid.”
And if that new office should turn up misstatements or other funny business?
“We’ll be out of this bid just like that. I mean if we don’t feel this is good for the City of Boston and doesn’t do the right thing that we want to do, and we’re gonna be left holding the financial obligation 20 years down the road, we will not be part of this bid.”