By Adam Reilly
Dec. 1, 2010
BOSTON — 10-year-City Councilor Chuck Turner says he wants to get back at the 11 councilors who voted to expel him Wednesday afternoon.
Last month, Turner was convicted on federal charges related to his alleged acceptance of a $1,000 bribe from an individual who turned out to be acting on a request from the FBI. Turner had hoped his colleagues would wait until his January sentencing to determine his political fate — but he actually helped draft the regulations that required them to schedule an immediate vote.
In a fiery press conference on City Hall Plaza, Turner vowed to campaign against every councilor who voted for his expulsion in the next elections. He also accused the council's Irish members of dishonoring the memory of James Michael Curley -- the legendary Boston mayor who finished his job despite a federal prison sentence.
"James Michael Curley is watching us at this very moment and he is ashamed, ashamed of his descendents who didn't have the courage to stand up and say, 'This is the kind of persecution that our beloved James Michael went through," Turner said.
"James Michael, forgive them, they know not what they do."
Several of Turner's colleagues expressed deep regret at voting him out. Councilor Ayanna Pressley cried openly before casting her vote to expel Turner. "This is an awful day," Pressley said, "I am heartsick at what has come to pass."
Speaking Thursday, City Council President Mike Ross said it was a difficult vote for him because of his professional relationship with Turner. When Ross joined the council, he said, Turner had already been working in Boston city politics for over 20 years. "To be in a position where I'm presiding over the city council for removal of (Turner), it was a very sad day."
But, Ross added, the 11-1 vote left no doubts. "It was also a convincing decision," Ross said.
The only councilor to vote in Turner's favor was Mattapan's Charles Yancey.
The enigmatic and popular politician represented Roxbury since 2010. Turner is the only member of the City Council to ever have been re-elected while facing federal charges, as he was in 2008. The vote marks the first time the council has voted to expel one of its own.
The Emily Rooney Show: City Council President Mike Ross On The Turner Conviction
Adam Reilly: Turner Sealed His Own Conviction
AFTER TURNER CONVICTION, CITY COUNCIL MOVES FORWARD