Turner out of prison, volunteering in Dot

August 5, 2013
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Former City Councilor Chuck Turner is back in Boston after serving prison time for bribery and is volunteering at a nonprofit in Dorchester, he told the Gazette last week.

Turner, who is living under home confinement and volunteering at the Black Community Information Center (BCIC), said he is getting involved in community organizing on social and economic issues, but that he will stay out of the mayoral campaigns, despite knowing many of the candidates.

“I’ve been out of town. It’s appropriate to just sit back and watch the action,” said Turner, who had been in a West Virginia federal prison since 2011.

He added that organizing around economic and political “self-determination” for African-Americans and working-class whites is more important than mayoral politics.

“In Boston, there’s two Bostons,” he said. “The glamorous, glitzy Boston we have people running for mayor to represent, and then the underside,” where many people can’t get work and housing is increasingly unaffordable.

“If the people of the other Boston aren’t organized, it doesn’t matter who’s mayor,” Turner said, adding that powerful corporations will keep the future mayor “captive” to their interests instead.

Turner, who formerly represented parts of Egleston Square and Parkside in Jamaica Plain, was convicted in 2009 of taking a $1,000 cash bribe from an FBI informant and lying to investigators about it. He has maintained his innocence.

Turner said he expects to be out of home confinement, though still under probation, late this fall. He said that supporters can contact him through BCIC, an African-American cultural and social service organization, at 617-427-2522.