In a 1998 Globe interview, Connolly confirmed that Lundbohm had told him that Bulger and Flemmi had seized the store, but Connolly said he didn’t take action because the Rakeses “did not want to get wired up and they did not want to be witnesses. How do you make a case like that?”
A day after Connolly was warned about the shakedown, Rakes said Bulger paid him a visit and warned him that he’d better tell Lundbohm to “back off.”
“I was more scared then than I ever was,” said Rakes. “I figured he had a pipeline right to the FBI.”
After Rakes lied to the grand jury in 1991, Bulger confronted him on his way home from the courthouse and revealed that he knew everything that had happened in the secret, closed-door proceeding, Rakes said.
“He had a piece of paper in front of him and he had all of the questions that the prosecutor had asked me,” said Rakes. “I said, `Thank God I went in there and lied like crazy or I’d be dead by now.’ “
Connolly was charged in 1999 with protecting Bulger and Flemmi from prosecution in the Rakes case and leaking information that caused his gangster informants to kill three potential witnesses against them.
Bulger became a fugitive after his January 1995 racketeering indictment, but Rakes said the gangster slipped back into town twice that year to scare him—once pulling up to him on a South Boston street and shouting from the passenger seat, “I’m watching you.”
After his September 1995 grand jury appearance, Rakes, a track inspector for the MBTA, said he panicked when he saw Weeks standing on the platform at the Red Line’s Broadway station and fled down the tracks, brushing the third rail. Rakes said he was hospitalized for several days following the accident.
The Rakeses were divorced in 1990. Rakes declared personal bankruptcy in 1993 and again last year and faces a number of angry creditors who say he scammed them on property deals. Rakes says all of his financial and personal troubles stem from the extortion.
What Rakes said he wants now, besides money, is his liquor store back. Now called Columbia Wine & Spirits, it was closed recently. Federal prosecutors have asked a judge to order the property forfeited to the government.
“I would like everything back the way it was,” said Rakes. “But that’s not real.”