Troubled Boston Local’s School Ordered to Vacate Rent-Free Lot

The Mass. Port Auth. Bd. has ordered Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters Local 25 to vacate a prime waterfront lot in East Boston they use rent free for a profitable truck driver training school, an arrangement federal investigators have eyed in connection with their racketeering probe of Local 25’s indicted-president George W. Cashman. In a letter sent to union bosses on May 17, MPAB Chief Development Officer Lowell L. Richards III said the development of Pier One in Eastie is expected to begin in earnest next year and the developers want all occupants off the property. “I am notifying you that Local 25 must move the Driving School and vacate Pier One and its backlands by Dec. 31, 2002, approximately eight months from now,”  Richards wrote to officials at the Charlestown-based union.

In 2001, federal investigators reportedly subpoenaed records regarding the rent-free sweetheart deal with MPAB. Cashman was a member of the MPAB board of directors until his indictment in Jan. 2002 on 179 counts of fraud and embezzling. Local 25 has been using the property to operate a truck-driving school, where union instructors trained MPAB workers and potential Local 25 members. MPAB claimed the vacate order was due to the upcoming development and unrelated to either the rent-free deal or Cashman’s departure from the board.

According to reports in the Boston Herald, drivers from other non-MPAB employers, including utilities, regularly pay for instruction at the school even though the Local 25 is not certified, as required by the Registry of Motor Vehicles if they train drivers from outside their local. The school had been run by Sean O’Brien, a ex-member of Local 25’s “movie crew” that is a focus of the racketeering probe. O’Brien was recently named a business agent for Local 25. O’Brien is the son of Cashman confidant William O’Brien, a movie crew transportation coordinator whose Medford home was raided by investigators in 2001. Allegedly, in the raid confiscated more than $50,000 in cash stuffed in envelopes. [Boston Herald 5/17/02]