As the deadline for the submission of Boston’s Olympic bid gets closer, there has been more media attention to the secrecy of the process by which the bid has been negotiated. Notably, there has been an absence of City Council hearings or community forums. The negotiations have been entirely closed to the public.
This is rather ironic given that the Boston 2024 website states as one of its principles “We will do our due diligence in an open, honest, and transparent manner.”
One thing that is public about the Olympic bid is the names of those on the Executive Bid Committee. Let’s take a look.
First up are the College and University Engagement Committee Co-Chairs:
- Robert Caret, President of University of Massachusetts
- Katie Lapp, Executive Vice President of Harvard University
- Gloria Larson, President of Bentley University
- Israel Ruiz, Executive Vice President of MIT
Harvard is in Cambridge, not Boston. Bentley is in Waltham, not Boston. MIT is in Cambridge, not Boston. Only U Mass has a presence in Boston. Cambridge, especially, and Waltham, probably, would likely be affected by hosting the Olympics–and not just because of the price tag. But they are, nevertheless, not Boston, the city burdened with hosting responsibilities.
Then we have the Government and Community Outreach Committee Co-Chairs:
- Former U.S. Senator William “Mo” Cowan, Senior Vice President and COO at ML Strategies
- William F. Coyne, Esq.
- Massachusetts Senator Eileen Donoghue
“Government and community outreach” basically means lobbying. ML Strategies is a lobbying firm owned by Mintz Levin.William Coyne is an estate planner and business litigator who has also done lobbying work for Raytheon, Altria (the parent company of Philip Morris), and the American Chemistry Council, among others. And Senator Eileen Donoghue is from Lowell, not Boston. In Progressive Massachusetts’s legislative scorecard, she voted against the progressive position 2/3 of the time. She is also the only elected official of the three, i.e., the only one with any degree of democratic accountability.
Then we have the Innovation and Technology Committee Co-chairs:
- Jay Hooley, CEO of State Street Corporation
- Juliette Kayyem, Professor at Harvard Kennedy School and CEO of JNK Solutions Group
- Jeff Leiden, CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals
- Bill Teuber, Vice Chairman of EMC
Why is there an “Innovation and Technology” committee? Beats me. State Street Corporation is a financial services holding company. It’s not really doing any innovation or technological advancement (unless as an investor). Kayyem’s background is in “homeland security,” not “innovation, and JNK Solutions Group does not seem to exist anywhere on the Internet besides the Boston 2024 page. What a pharmaceutical company has to do with the Olympics–other than perhaps in the realm of sports medicine–is beyond me. EMC is a data storage company.
We then have the Public Relations and Marketing Committee Co-chairs:
- Karen Kaplan, Chairman and CEO of Hill Holliday
- Doug Rubin, Founding Partner of Northwind Strategies
Hill Holliday is an advertising firm,and Kaplan has done work for Bank of America, Cadillac, Capella University, Celgene, Chili’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Johnson & Johnson, John Hancock, LG Home Appliances USA, Liberty Mutual, Major League Baseball, Merrell, Merrill Lynch, Novartis, Olympic Paints and Stains, (RED), Smucker’s, Supercuts, TJX, and Verizon Wireless. Most of us probably already know Northwind from its political work (Deval Patrick, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Kennedy, Martha Coakley), but it also has a corporate wing. It does not list clients online, except for Sam Adams SunGen Mark Andover (which are provided as case studies)–although he has done work for the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, and Uber according to lobbying disclosures.
Next are the Olympics and Paralympic Movement Committee Co-Chairs:
- Cheri Blauwet, MD, Sports Medicine Physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Spaulding Rehabilitation Network (Paralympic Athlete)
- Ralph Cox, Founding Member and Principal of Redgate Real Estate Advisors (1980 U.S. Hockey Team)
- Bob Reynolds, President and CEO of Putnam Investments (Trustee, US Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation)
The purpose of this committee is not clear to me, nor is the expertise of a real estate advisor or the CEO of an investment management firm.
Next are the Fundraising and Finance Committee Co-Chairs:
- Roger Crandall, President and CEO of Mass Mutual Financial Group
- Steve Pagliuca, Managing Director at Bain Capital and Co-Owner of the Boston Celtics
I think the purpose of this committee is rather self-explanatory, as is the nature of those chosen to serve on it.
Next are the Master Planning Committee Co-Chairs:
- Tom Alperin, President of National Development
- David Manfredi, Founder and Principal of Elkus-Manfredi Architects
A real estate developer and an architect, as one would expect.
And the Legal Committee Chair is R. Robert Popeo, Chairman of Mintz Levin, a white collar criminal defense attorney.
Among the “principles” on the Boston 2024 site is “We will only bid if we have support from our city, state, and federal government; our business community; and our venue communities.” However, I do not see a single community organization represented.
Another listed “principle” is “We will prioritize diversity in the people we engage, the decisions we make, and the work that we do, including diversity of ethnicity, economic circumstance, age, gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation.” The names in the Executive Committee do not seem to live up to this principles, most flagrantly failing in the realm of diversity “economic circumstance.”