Tuesday, May 22, 2001
Feds eye Cashman's Massport expenses
by Jack Sullivan
Federal investigators probing alleged racketeering by local Teamster boss
George W. Cashman have subpoenaed his expense records from Massport, where
he sits on the board of directors, and are eyeing connections the agency has
with two of his associates, according to sources.
Sources said investigators are looking into public relations contracts
Massport has had with the Rendon Group, which is run by Cashman ally Rick
Rendon, as well as records regarding Mark E. Robinson, the chairman of the
board of directors. Robinson's Boston law firm, Bingham, Dana, represents
the New England Teamsters pension fund and has received more than $2.5
million in Fees since 1997.
In addition, sources said investigators will seek records regarding the
hiring of temporary workers on dockside jobs governed by the Teamsters at
the Black Falcon Terminal in South Boston. According to sources, Local 25
officials allegedly offered part-time Massport jobs to members of several
area police departments, including Revere and Chelsea, as a quid pro quo for
the rank and file to agree to Teamster representation.
``We were told when details dry up, we could get jobs driving cars off
ships,'' said one Revere police officer who opposed the contract with the
Massport spokesman Jose Juves declined to confirm if the agency had received
``It's Massport's policy not to comment concerning any requests for
information that might be received from law enforcement,'' Juves said.
Rendon, a close ally of Cashman, helped push through an ill-fated plan for a
$13 million Teamster-run soundstage on the campus of Bunker Hill Community
College with the support of former Gov. Paul Cellucci.
Cashman is a confidant of Cellucci and threw his union's support behind the
then-acting governor to help him win election in 1998. But sources said
Cashman's standing with acting Gov. Jane Swift, the only one who could force
Cashman off the board, is uncertain.
Rendon and Cashman also formed Massachusetts Organizations Vying for the
Industry of Entertainment (M.O.V.I.E.) to lobby for filmmaking in the Bay
Rendon, who is not a target of the investigation, has received several
no-bid contracts from Massport since Cashman, whose term expires in 2007,
was appointed to the board by former Gov. William Weld. Among Rendon's
contracts were a $119,000 award to film a promotional video on the Head of
the Charles Regatta and a $25,000 grant for the Rendon-organized Boston
Sports Award Dinner.
Juves said Rendon has no current contracts with Massport.
Robinson's law firm has represented the real estate division of the New
England Teamsters and Trucking Industry Pension Fund, but he has in the past
denied his relationship with Cashman helped secure the position.
Robinson declined comment and Rendon did not return a call for comment
Sources said investigators are planning to call a number of witnesses to the
grand jury, a list that may include Massport Executive Director Virginia
``Everybody's being pulled in,'' said one source.
The subpoena is the latest twist in the 22-month long federal grand jury
investigation into Teamster corruption that started with allegations of
shakedowns of movie studios and producers by union members.
The probe, run by the Inspector General's office of the Department of Labor,
has targeted Cashman and several other Local 25 members. The grand jury has
subpoenaed records from studios including Disney, Steven Spielberg's
DreamWorks, Warner Brothers and Miramax.
The movies made in Massachusetts where Teamster misdeeds allegedly occurred
include such hits as ``The Perfect Storm,'' ``Cider House Rules,'' ``Blown
Away,'' and ``Love Letters.''
Investigators have also subpoenaed records from the Massachusetts Film
Bureau and sources said the agency's director, Robin Dawson, has been
ordered to testify before the grand jury. Dawson, who was out of town
yesterday, could not be reached for comment.
According to sources, James P. Flynn, an ex-con and reputed Mob associate
who runs the union's movie crew, is a key focus of the investigation. Flynn
has allegedly forced producers to rent equipment from his company, Location
Connection, and has padded overtime and expense sheets in exchange for labor
In addition, Flynn allegedly had a rival union member beaten last summer
with Cashman's consent during the South End filming of ``What's the Worst
That Could Happen?'' because she refused to turn her snack concession over
to a Teamster, according to sources familiar with the investigation.
Investigators are also probing alleged Teamster shakedowns of such other
businesses as moving companies and freight carriers.
The Herald has reported members of the union's movie crew, who earn salaries
of $2,000 a week and more plus expenses, include convicted bank robbers and
killers, the disgraced former Middlesex sheriff and Hell's Angels. The
members are handpicked by Cashman and Flynn and are given the plum
assignments over longtime union members, sources said.
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