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The Boston Globe OnlineBoston.com Boston Globe Online / Easy Pass

House candidate helped by Big Dig ties

Lobbyist held Feb. fund-raiser

By Raphael Lewis, and Sean P. Murphy, Globe Staff, 04/17/2003
   
 THE SERIES

PART ONE
Bechtel's mistakes drive up cost overruns, and company profits.

Graphics
Bechtel's fee overruns
Map of major conflicts
History of the contract
Contract modifications
Cross section of roadway
Construction cost overruns


PART TWO
State officials overlook and excuse Bechtel's mistakes for a decade.

Graphic
Cost recoveries initiated


PART THREE
Powerfull allies help protect Bechtel and its bottom line.

 FOLLOW-UPS

This series has generated strong response from the state, the public, and Globe columnists.
More Globe coverage

 GLOBE DEFENSE OF SERIES

On Feb. 20, 2003, Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff issued a document disputing the findings of the "Easy Pass" series. Globe editor Martin Baron responded with a defense of the Globe's reporting.
Read Bechtel's statement
Read the Globe's statement

 PHOTO GALLERY

Building a reputation
Bechtel has never shied away from big construction projects, but worldwide achievements are accompanied by controversy.
See past Bechtel projects

 FROM THE ARCHIVES

2001
Review cites flaws at Big Dig
Cerasoli charges Big Dig coverup
$1.4b overrun known in '99
Firm rejects call to offset costs
'99 memos warned of tunnel leaks

2002
Officials disclose more defects
Lawsuit raises Big Dig questions
State to reopen deal with Bechtel
Big Dig hires quality manager
US knew of hidden expenses
Big Dig overrun just plain big
SEC probers to target Big Dig
Big Dig review to target overruns
Turnpike, firm set deal on leak cost

2003
Contracts to be reviewed

 RELATED LINKS

Central Artery/Tunnel Project
www.bigdig.com

Bechtel
www.bechtel.com

Parsons Brinckerhoff
www.pbworld.com

State Inspector General reports
On the history of the Central Artery/Tunnel project's finances:
www.state.ma.us/ig/publ/cat01ex.htm
On the Central Artery/Tunnel project's attempts to recover money for mistakes:
www.state.ma.us/ig/publ/catcrex.htm

About "Scheme Z" bridge design
libraries.mit.edu/rotch/artery/

State oversight of the Big Dig
www.state.ma.us/catocc/

Mass. Turnpike Authority
www.massturnpike.com

The Artery Business Committee
www.arterybusiness.com

 ONLINE CHAT

On February 11, 2003, Globe reporter Raphael Lewis chatted with Boston.com readers about the Bechtel series.
Transcript of chat

 CONTACT THE GLOBE

Any tips? Let us know.
Phone: 617-929-3379
E-mail: bigdigtips@globe.com

 MORE BOSTON.COM COVERAGE


Beyond the Big Dig   What happens to the ribbon of land being created by the depression of the Central Artery? A joint effort between The Boston Globe, MIT, and WCVB-TV explores.
A special report


Progress updates on the Big Dig. Info
 


A handful of influential Big Dig consultants, contractors, and lobbyists have lined up behind a Braintree Democrat who's seeking to capture a seat in the state Legislature vacated by the chairman of the powerful Joint Transportation Committee.

The backers include Garrett Trierweiler, a State House lobbyist for the Big Dig's private-sector managers, Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff. Trierweiler threw a fund-raiser for the candidate, Joseph Driscoll, on Feb. 27, netting $850.

Some of those Big Dig lobbyists and consultants then showed up at Driscoll's March 12 fund-raiser in Holbrook, bringing the cash infusion total from Big Dig interests to at least $1,650.

Driscoll's Republican opponent in the race, Matthew Sisk, has accused Driscoll of being "cozy" with Big Dig power brokers and those working for the project's private-sector managers, Bechtel/ Parsons Brinckerhoff.

"Joe Driscoll has a cozy relationship with people who are politically wired" at the Big Dig, Sisk said.

Driscoll, who worked from 1993 to 1998 as the chief of staff to former Transportation Committee head Joseph C. Sullivan before becoming a prosecutor, said he is not beholden in any way to Bechtel/ Parsons, or any Big Dig interest.

The topic is a sensitive one on Beacon Hill, where Governor Mitt Romney and Democratic lawmakers are seeking to recoup money lost to mistakes by Big Dig managers and contractors. Bechtel/Parsons has been accused by the state inspector general and state auditor of failing to control costs.

Driscoll said the affiliations of his backers have nothing to do with his desire to protect the public from waste and mismanagement.

"I worked in the [state attorney general's] Medicaid fraud unit," he said. "I have a proven record of fighting waste in government."

Still, Driscoll's ties to lobbyists for Bechtel/Parsons mirror those of Sullivan. The Globe reported in February that Sullivan, who departed the House earlier this year to run the state's Lottery Commission, sought political advice from a Bechtel/Parsons lobbyist.

The lobbyist, Andrew Paven, set up a meeting between Sullivan and a local pollster to help Sullivan decide whether to run for lieutenant governor. Soon afterward, Sullivan wrote legislation to expand the Turnpike Authority's board, a bill that effectively marginalized outspoken critics of Bechtel/Parsons. Sullivan denied being influenced in any way by his relationship with the lobbyist.

Driscoll's Big Dig backers include James F. O'Leary, who is a part owner of Trierweiler's lobbying firm, Massachusetts Bay Associates and a former MBTA general manager. O'Leary also owns Alternate Concepts Inc., a consulting firm whose clients include Parsons Brinckerhoff. Driscoll's campaign paid Alternate Concepts $50.93 for the reception, records show.

Other Driscoll contributors included Big Dig mega-contractor Jay Cashman; Christine Keville, who owns Keville Enterprises, which works with Bechtel/Parsons; Sean O'Neill, the Big Dig's public-relations chief; Patrick Huntington, president of Massachusetts Bay Associates; and James McGrail, who resigned as Turnpike Authority general counsel in 2000, when controversy erupted about costly overruns in the Central Artery project.

Driscoll says Sisk's allegations of coziness provide a convenient way for the Republican to distract voters from Sisk's status as "a consummate Beacon Hill insider" who worked as an aide in the administrations of Paul Cellucci and Jane Swift.

Driscoll said he is a childhood friend of O'Neill, the Big Dig's spokesman, and that he is a close personal friend of Trierweiler. Asked how they met, Driscoll said he was introduced by former Republican legislative aide Benjamin Schuler -- another contributor.

"Anyone who runs a campaign knows the hardest part of running is asking for contributions," said Driscoll, who worked for four years as a prosecutor in Norfolk County and the state attorney general's office after leaving the State House. "I'm proud of the time I spent there [in the State House]. People who know me know I make my decisions based on what's best for the community, not special interests."

Asked if he would be reluctant to pursue Bechtel/Parsons, given the financial boost the firms' lobbyists and consultants have given his campaign, Driscoll said, "I always think about what a decision does for the district first." He also said that, if elected, he might not seek a seat on the Transportation Committee. "I'm not sure at this point in time that it's the essential committee for me to be on," Driscoll said. Raphael Lewis can be reached at rlewis@globe.com, Sean P. Murphy at smurphy@globe.com.

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