Boston Globe columnist Adrian Walker unleashes a high, hard one today destroying any pretense that Boston city councilor Chuck Turner and former state senator Dianne Wilkerson were set up by racists at the FBI.
Walker has a page-one interview with Ron Wilburn, better known as “Cooperating Witness,” the guy who lured Wilkerson and Turner into posing for those can’t-get-enough photos of them taking cash, allegedly in return for their help in getting Wilburn a liquor license for a bar he was trying to open.
Wilburn is not a racist FBI agent. Nor is he in trouble himself. Rather, he is a well-known, 69-year-old African-American businessman and longtime Wilkerson supporter who tells Walker that he’d had enough, and that he expects more city officials will be arrested before this is over.
I’d say he’d be in a position to know, wouldn’t you? After all, he knows who smiled for the camera. This excerpt from Walker’s piece is priceless:
“People do things,” Wilburn said. “There are decisions, there are choices, and there are consequences.” Asked if he was surprised that public officials would allegedly take money to help push a liquor license, he responded quickly. “Hell, no,” and let out a hearty laugh….
“You’re dealing with favoritism, cronyism, classism, and if you don’t have the right connections it’s very difficult to make things happen,” Wilburn said. “The average person that works hard and has a plan to get a license, it’s very hard for them to move through that system. And you find out if you have the right people pushing the buttons, things can happen fast.”
So much for Turner’s media-bashing performance yesterday outside City Hall.
Wilburn does say that the FBI remains its usual bumbling self. For one thing, he says he never told the FBI that he was tired of being shaken down by Wilkerson, as the FBI claims in its affidavit (PDF). For another, he’s upset that the FBI gave him so little cover that his identity quickly became known.
But, he adds, “I was not forced or coerced.”
And now Wilburn finds himself at the center of the biggest corruption scandal Massachusetts has seen in several decades.