I wrote this letter to the Boston Globe Letter to the Editor December 15, 2016 with the hope that it would be published. I am continually dismayed by the City of Boston’s neglect for these invisible workers.
When will the City and the BPD do the right thing? Let me tell you this, and I can say it with certainty, if a cab driver was convicted of a felon, or had a pending criminal court case, they would be forced to turn in their hackney license and would be denied the right to work as a cab driver.
The City of Boston is saying if you have money and you have power you don’t have to follow the rules. The BPD Hackney Rule 403 clearly states that if a medallion owner is deemed unsuitable to own a Boston medallion then that medallion will be revoked. Eddy Tutunjian is a convicted felon. He was convicted of wage theft, tax evasion and other federal crimes, so why should he be getting such a light sentence and why should he be allowed to keep his 362 medallions earning income off of the very workers he exploited and stole from?
Here is my letter and what I think of Eddy Tutunjian
Boston Taxi mogul Eddy Tutunjian got off easy. (“Owner of cab firm to serve 18 months”, December 14, 2016 Boston Globe, Metro). He not only scammed the federal government for 30 years, he scammed Judge Woodlock. Outrageously, Defense Attorney Andrew Good described his client as “not an evil person … not motivated by greed” – just “misguided”.
Evil people do evil deeds. If not for the Globe Spotlight 2013 series “Driving to the Edge” on Boston’s taxi industry, Tutunjian would still be doing business as usual: getting rich stealing from immigrant workers and defrauding government. I worked closely with the Spotlight Team that exposed the graft and corruption that was Eddy Tutunjian. As someone closely familiar with Boston’s taxi industry and its continuing corruption, I know “Mr. Eddy”, as his cabbies called him, was not merely “misguided”: he absolutely was “motivated by greed”.
Wealth extracted from impoverished immigrants struggling in sharecropper jobs financed real estate, parking lots, garages, Chilean vineyards. Judge Woodlock can have no idea of what these drivers endure – how they’re robbed, demoralized, exploited by this guy who made millions off their backs. Where is the justice here? The Feds got restitution. What did the drivers get? Commissioner Evans is right to revoke Tutunjian’s 362 medallions. Justice can be restored by distributing medallions to drivers he exploited. Eddy Tutunjian is a crook and deserves jail, not a halfway house doing short time while multi-millions at the bank await his release.
Founder and Representative of the USW Boston Taxi Drivers Association, 2007-2016