There is a new twist when it comes to issues at the city of Boston's Zoning Board of Appeal. Earlier this month, city hall worker John Lynch pleaded guilty to taking a bribe from a developer to help sway a ZBA member to vote favorably on one of the developer's projects. Days after the guilty plea, a zoning board member named Craig Galvin abruptly resigned. WGBH Radio’s Arun Rath spoke with WGBH News reporter Isaiah Thompson about his reporting on the story. This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Arun Rath: So to be clear off the bat, we do not have evidence that Galvin was the Zoning Board member whose vote was influenced by Lynch, right?

Isaiah Thompson: That's right. I mean, the evidence came out in an indictment of John Lynch. He pleaded guilty to the charges in that indictment, but the indictment did not name either the developer trying to influence the board via Lynch or the board member that the indictment said Lynch was trying to sway.

Read more: Ex-Boston Zoning Board Member Galvin Approved Relief For Properties He Later Helped Sell

Rath: Now your reporting doesn't necessarily connect dots — we don't what to jump ahead of things — but it adds a new twist to this, because you found that Galvin was also brokering the sale of properties that had come before the Zoning Board?

Thompson: Yeah, that's right. And I have to give credit where it's due. One of my colleagues at WBUR first reported that aside from the allegations in that indictment, John Lynch, the gentleman who was charged and pleaded guilty, had separately been before the Zoning Board himself. He was trying to get permission to build a second condo unit at his home. And Galvin had voted with the rest of the board to approve that. Galvin later became the listed broker for the sale of that property.

In my reporting, I found numerous other examples of cases where properties had come before the Zoning Board of Appeals seeking zoning variances — In other words, permission to build or do that which would otherwise be illegal, like convert a two-family to a three-family, or chop a building into condo units. They had received that zoning variance from the board, including Galvin’s vote, and then Galvin, who is a private real estate broker, had gone on to be the listing agent for some of those properties when they were sold later.

Rath: Can you give us an example of one of these properties that was before him and then later he was listed as a broker for?

Thompson: One of the examples I wrote about was two parcels on Kimball Street in Dorchester, where the applicant had first gotten a zoning variance in 2015 but then came back before the board in 2017 to get an extension of that permission. And the permission would let them convert a two-family into a three-unit condominium and then also build a new three-family home next to it. They were given that permission, that extension, by the board's vote, including Galvin’s vote. Well, in October 2018 — just over a year later — those properties went for sale with Galvin representing the properties. In fact, they were listed on The Galvin Group's website. Five of the six units sold for about $2.2 million. That's multiple times what those properties had been worth before they got that important zoning variance.

Rath: Can you help us understand where the ethical line is? Say if he doesn't actually own these properties, they come before him as a Zoning Board member, but then once they get the Board's approval, he jumps right on it. Does that cross legal or ethical lines?

Thompson: Yeah, it's an interesting and complicated question. I should reiterate Mr. Galvin hasn't been accused of any wrongdoing, and I didn't find evidence that there has been any ethics violation as spelled out in the state ethics laws. The state ethics laws are very strict, but they all regulate what are called public actions. So that could be a vote or any action taken by a public official. They regulate public actions and when there is a conflict of interest when a public official takes a public action.

But if the interest in this case, presumably a commission on the sale of these properties, comes after that public action, that vote, it's really not so clear if there is a technical violation of ethics, or any violation. Further complicating this whole thing is that the Zoning Board members are appointed by Mayor Marty Walsh, but he's sort of restricted to appointing nominees that are chosen by outside parties. Craig Galvin sits in a seat that is reserved for the real estate community. So, there's no inherent conflict in the fact that he is a real estate broker. In fact, that's part of his qualification for that seat. On the other hand, he is taking part in votes on properties that can drastically affect the sales value of that property, and to have the same public official then benefiting from the outcome of those decisions at least seems to pose questions about how the ZBA is run and maybe what the rules should be, if there aren't strict rules in place around that.