Corrupt Mayor Willie Walker: A Colorful and Controversial Figure
- on Nov 19, 2023
Mayor Willie Walker
A Prohibition-era dandy who stuffed his pockets with bribes and proved to be a superb civic manager, mayor willy walker was one of the most colorful rogues in New York City history. He got a degree from Yale and worked as a university editor, a researcher for Life Books and a theater photographer.
Mayor Walker was a dedicated public servant who helped many youths in southwest Atlanta. He founded a recreation center that had numerous teams and programs for children, teens and adults. In the early days, he used to pick up kids from their homes and schools in his yellow station wagon. His efforts eventually led to the city building a new two-story center with facilities for all ages.
He is known for his Joe Gunther series of novels, which have been published in hardback, paperback and ebooks. He is also a businessman who has worked in the governor’s office, as well as a law enforcement officer, Newfane constable twice and a ski patrol volunteer.
He also has a strong commitment to transparency and honesty. For example, when things were bad at Prologis, he and his CFO did a great job of showing everyone how bad the situation was. This was very effective and made a huge difference in company morale.
A flamboyant personality, Walker was a popular host of CJRM’s morning show, Walker’s Wigwam. He also starred in community theatre, winning best actor at the Saskatchewan Regional Drama Festival five years running. He was a member of the Canadian Broadcasters Association and the Lions Club International Foundation Melvin Jones Fellow for dedicated humanitarian service.
He was a strong supporter of amateur sports, particularly boxing. He is credited with legalizing the sport in New York City, and was honored by the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He also sponsored a law to ensure the safety of professional wrestlers.
He was married twice and had four children. He died at his home in Oxford on 11 August 1966. His estate was valued at PS34,328. He left his property to his wife and two daughters, but the bulk of it was invested in his employer, Benfield & Loxley. The firm was involved in many of the main new buildings around Oxford at this time, including Headington School, Churchill Hospital and the main new university libraries: the Radcliffe Science Library, the New Bodleian Library and Nuffield College.
Walker worked as a volunteer for several of Tammy Baldwin’s congressional campaigns before running for the city council. She also worked for Mayors Innovation Project, a group “among American mayors committed to high-road policy and governance.”
During her time on the council, she led the community through once-in-a-generation crises. She has been called a tireless advocate for the city’s most vulnerable residents.
She is a champion for affordable housing and has fought for equitable distribution of low- and middle-income housing, co-ops and condos. She has pushed for policies to prevent the gentrification of Urbancrest that has priced out longtime residents.
Walker also serves on the board of directors for the Greater Ohio Alliance, a national organization that promotes regional cooperation among metropolitan areas with shared concerns and interests. She is also a member of the Duke Program in American Grand Strategy.
When historians look back upon this community’s philanthropic and political leaders there will inevitably be one name that rises above all others. It is the name of Willie Walker.
In a time when politics and government were highly charged with issues of racial segregation, the patronage system, and the power of unions, he took a stand against these systems by advocating for more open, public debate of city policy. He also helped bring about the 1972 Shakman ruling that limited politically motivated firings of city and county workers.
Last week, Mayor Willy Walker publicly threatened the impeachment of Ward III Alderman Don Romines during a City Council meeting. The mayor’s resolution accuses the council member of engaging in collusion and corruption within the body. He ticked off incidents and alleged that five employees who recently left the council payroll cited Romines as their reason. The mayor’s accusations were met with skepticism by his fellow council members and the motion to impeach the alderman was defeated.