Parents chafe at Romney security
Guards block lot at child program
Mitt Romney’s penchant for security is causing campaign troubles again.
The former Massachusetts governor is basing his 2012 Republican presidential campaign in rented space at 585 Commercial St., the former Roche Bobois showroom that also served as his 2008 campaign headquarters.
Yet between the two campaigns, its parking lot has become a favorite drop-off spot for parents of North End children participating in a summer tennis and literacy program on a tennis court on the other side of the lot.
The Romney campaign has responded by placing security guards and a barricade across the parking lot entrance, forcing the parents to use a turning lane on a public street. They are not happy about the change.
“It’s a very unsafe situation for the children and a very unneighborly, unkind thing for the Romney campaign to be doing,’’ one wrote today on the website UniversalHub.com, which first reported the controversy.
The posting included a photo showing two beefy, sunglasses-wearing men in suits manning the barricade.
One guard explained to a parent that a campaign worker’s car had been hit by someone who did not stop.
The Romney camp initially told the Globe that it was not enforcing the ban and that a resolution was the responsibility of building management.
It also said that the lot was used by other tenants and that it occupied only about half of the parking spaces. The others were reserved for the Zipcar auto rental service, the campaign said.
“We are aware of the issue and are hopeful that the building management company can reach an accommodation with the organizers of the tennis program at the adjacent court,’’ said spokeswoman Andrea Saul.
The Globe subsequently requested comment from Newmark Knight Frank, the building manager.
But slightly later, the Romney campaign changed its story. It acknowledged that the two guards are employees of a private security firm hired by the Romney staff to secure the building. But a campaign spokeswoman said the guards were not routinely outside the building.
Romney, a former business executive, is known to favor tight security. While governor from 2003 to 2007, he came and went from his State House office via a public elevator that was locked for his personal use.
Several of his former aides were known to wear Secret Service-style earpieces, lapel pins, and identification resembling a law enforcement badge.
One resigned from Romney’s first campaign in July 2007 after he was accused of impersonating an officer in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
The New Hampshire attorney general closed her case after finding no evidence that the worker, Jay Garrity, had used a law enforcement database to check a license plate, as he allegedly told a New York Times reporter who he felt had been trailing Romney’s caravan too closely.
The Massachusetts charges were ultimately dropped, too, after authorities found no evidence to link Garrity to a phone call he allegedly placed to a Wilmington plumber by someone identifying himself as “Trooper Garrity.’’