Alum Arrested on Corruption Charges

Charles H. “Chuck” Turner ’62, a member of the Boston City Council, was arrested on Friday morning on charges of corruption and lying to federal agents, according to a statement from the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Turner, a Kirkland House alumnus, is accused of accepting a $1000 payment in August 2007 from a person looking to obtain a liquor license for a proposed club in Roxbury called “Dejavu”. The meeting was caught on hidden video, according to an affidavit filed by FBI Special Agent Krista L. Corr.

In addition, Turner allegedly denied accepting the payment when questioned about it on Oct. 28 this year. During the interrogation, Turner allegedly commented on how widespread corruption was among politicians.

“If you took out all corrupt politicians, you’d take out 90 percent and you’d be left with us 10 percent,” he said, according to the affidavit.

Turner was arraigned on Friday and released on a $50,000 bond the same day, according to news reports. He is due to appear before the court in December for a probable cause hearing.

Turner faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for attempted extortion under color of official rights, and up to 5 years and $250,000 for making false statements to federal agents.

“People have a right to expect integrity from their elected officials, and breaches of the public trust are not to be taken lightly,” the office of E. Denise Simmons, the mayor of Cambridge, said in a statement. “The Mayor shall not pass any judgment on this matter until all the facts have come to light.”

Turner is the second Massachusetts public official arrested on corruption charges related to the proposed “Dejavu” club. State Senator Dianne Wilkerson was arrested on Oct. 28 for allegedly accepting bribes exceeding $20,000 in return for her introducing legislation in the State Senate.

First elected to the Boston City Council in 1999, Turner is currently in his fifth two-year term as a councilor for District 7, which includes Roxbury, Lower Roxbury and parts of Dorchester, Fenway, and the South End.

After graduating from Harvard, Turner served as a community organizer and a civil rights activist for over 40 years, according to the Boston city government’s Web site.

Turner could not be reached for comment yesterday, and his voice mail message says that his “office is temporarily closed”.

—Staff writer Michal Labik can be reached at