Thursday, January 08, 2009

Tracking down the money at Winthrop Square Garage

A couple years ago Sam Yoon and Mayor Menino made some sort of back room agreement with the BRA about the "excess" money from the Winthrop Square parking garage going to the BHA.

I have been asking the Mayor and Councilor Yoon for information about the agreement and how much money has come from the BRA and what the terms of the agreements are. Of course, I have not received any hard information from anyone.

Does it seem right to say to the public that we don't have any money, when we don't know where all our money streams are coming from?

So, today I made a public records request and we will see what we find.

Dear Jessica,

Under the freedom of information act I would like to request the following documents related to the Winthrop Square garage:

1) Copy of the contract with the parking operator
2) Copies of all payments made from the BRA to the City of Boston for parking revenue in the last 3 years
3) Copy of any contract between the City of Boston and the BRA regarding the Winthrop Square Garage.

Thank you for your timely reply.

Kevin McCrea
South End News

1 comment:

Curtis Ellis said...


Speaking on behalf of Councilor Sam Yoon, I commend your efforts to promote greater transparency and acountability in Boston city government.

After our discussion I wanted to thank you for reaching out to Councilor Yoon for information about the winthrop Square situation.
He shares your concerns about the revenues from this property being properly allocated, which is why he brought the subject up with the mayor, and why the mayor and the BRA officials subsequently met with Councilor Yoon to discuss the situation.
Sam distributed a memo on those discussions. We provided it to you (as requested) before you wrote this post on your blog.
I wouldn't want your loyal readers to get the wrong impresion and think so I am reproducing the memo we provided you here in the comment section.
As we discussed, Councilor Yoon's has subsequently requested further information in an attempt to "track down the money at Winthrop Square."
Again, please keep up your efforts to open up government to the citizens.

Curtis EllisCommunications Director
Office of Councilor at Large Sam Yoon

***text of Memo***

To: Michael Kineavy, Mayor’s Office
Harry Collings, BRA
Paul McCann, BRA

From: Sam Yoon, City Council

CC: Maureen Feeney, Council President
Molly Dunford, Mayor’s Liaison to City Council

Re: Winthrop Square

Date: May 7, 2007

Thanks for meeting with me in my office last Tuesday, May 1, 2007. I thought it was a productive conversation.

I wanted, for future reference, to memorialize some of the key parts of our conversation.

 I agreed to withhold the filing of my resolution regarding the disposition of Winthrop Square, pending the outcomes listed below.

 We all agreed, in concept, with the notion of having all excess revenue from the operations of the Winthrop Square garage be earmarked for security at BHA properties.

 We all agreed, in concept, with the notion of having all excess revenue from the sale of the Winthrop Square garage be earmarked for capital improvements at BHA properties.

 We also agreed on the need for transparency on the part of the BRA in its handling of the Winthrop Square transaction. This included the establishment of a lock box for receipts, segregated accounting, and regular financial reports to the City Council.

I acknowledged the need for some discretion in discussing, with a wider audience, the specific use of the funds we were contemplating.

I do hope to communicate with you regularly about the status of the transaction in question. In the meantime, it is my intention to withhold the resolution absent a written response from the BRA regarding the details within 2 weeks.

On behalf of myself and the rest of the City Council, thanks very much.