Mayor Walsh says he was blindsided by Grand Prix cancellation (Update)

UPDATE Added video of Mayor Martin J. Walsh talking to reporters about the cancelled GP below.

Democrat Mayor Martin J. Walsh was clueless
Democrat Mayor Martin J. Walsh was clueless


Mayor Martin J. Walsh said he was “kind of surprised" by Friday’s announcement by promoters of the Boston Grand Prix that it was canceling the Labor Day road race in the Seaport District, and said he will look for answers internally as to what happened.

"I found out by the press, I wasn’t expecting to find out that way," Walsh said today in his first public comments on the cancellation. "Certainly I was the biggest advocate for IndyCar of anyone in this whole thing … I want to see if there was a breakdown on our part. There certainly were some questions unanswered on IndyCar’s part that we were asking for Friday."

Walsh said he was still sorting through what led to Friday night’s announcement.

Sources told the Herald race promoters pulled the plug after city and state officials demanded they come up with promised financial commitments.

The CEO of the local IndyCar group, John Casey, told investors in an email that “relations between BGP and the city and state has deteriorated to the point where I feel we cannot run a successful race."

Casey told the Herald he felt like he “got out of an abusive relationship" when the race was canceled and that there was a breakdown of trust.

Sources close to the Walsh administration have said promoters were not telling the truth about reaching agreements with other agencies and landowners to build the course.

Walsh called new flood plain maps, which introduced state Department of Environmental Protection into the web of jurisdictions in play, “a curve ball".

He brushed off the suggestion that the meltdown makes the city less attractive for big events.

"No, not all, we’ve pulled off a lot of big things," he said. "I mean, General Electric coming to Boston is probably one of the biggest things the city’s pulled off in 100 years. Verizon coming to the city of Boston and fiber optically doing the whole city over is another thing hasn’t been done in a long time. I wouldn’t put those in the same category (as IndyCar)." Jack Encarnacao/Boston Herald

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