Update, 5:00 p.m.: Organizers of the Boston 2024 Olympic bid are denying claims that their new chairman, Steve Pagliuca, recently offered a job to their fiercest critic, economist Andrew Zimbalist.

Boston 2024 denies that a job offer ever took place.

"Mr. Zimbalist was never offered a job period and his claim is completely false,” said Chief Operating Officer Erin Murphy, in a statement.

Murphy says Pagliuca did reach out to Zimbalist, among others, to solicit his opinion. But she says Boston 2024 was only interested in “volunteer feedback” as part of “a full review of the benefits and risks of hosting the Olympic Games.”

Zimbalist, one of the leading opponents of Boston’s Olympic bid, told Boston Public Radio Tuesday he was shocked when Pagliuca recently called and tried to recruit him.

"I received a phone call about three weeks ago right after Mr. Pagliuca had been appointed as the chair of Boston 2024," Zimbalist said. "I couldn’t believe my ears."

Zimbalist says Pagliuca said he’d read his book and wanted him to work as a paid consultant for Boston 2024 and serve on the executive committee.

"I, of course, said, 'Thanks a lot, but I’m not going to do that, because I think it’s a thankless task and it’s going to fail,'" he said. "You’ve misidentified all the necessary components of doing this the right way."

Zimbalist, a Smith College economics professor, has written extensively about the historic financial pitfalls of the Olympics. He calls Pagliuca well-intentioned and committed to the city of Boston but he wonders if this was just another public relations effort that flopped.

“The real point is to take one of Boston 2024 effort’s arch critics and bring me over to their side and then he can say to the rest of the state, when he presents in a few weeks the final ideas about the venues and financing, he can say, look, even Andy Zimbalist is convinced we’re on the right track right now,” Zimbalist said.

The controversy comes at yet another crossroad in the rocky history of the bid as Boston 2024 approaches an end of the month deadline to provide details of a revised bid to Governor Banker.

— Anne Mostue


Original post: Andrew Zimbalist, one of the most vocal critics of bringing the Olympic Games to Boston in 2024, was offered a job on the Boston 2024 committee by Steve Pagliuca, Zimbalist said on Boston Public Radio Tuesday. 

Pagliuca called him three weeks ago, shortly after replacing John Fish as chairman of the committee, Zimbalist said.

"This is a phone call from Steve Pagliuca who said, 'Andy, I just read your book, "Circus Maximus," I think it's a terrific book, and I think it gives us a roadmap to show how we can do this right in Boston,'" Zimbalist said.

"He said, 'I'd like you to work for me. I want you to consult for us and be on our executive committee,'" Zimbalist continued. "I said, 'Thanks a lot, but I'm not going to do that, because I think it's a thankless task and it's going to fail.'"

Zimbalist is a professor at Smith College and author of the book, " Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble of Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup.