Tinseltown Takes Turn Tattling On Teamsters
Fearful Hollywood heavies testify before fed grand jury
by Jack Sullivan
Friday, January 12, 2001
The grand jury investigation of alleged corruption by Teamster Local 25 officials, including president George W. Cashman, has been heating up as a parade of Hollywood filmmakers have testified in recent weeks, sources said yesterday.
``There's been a steady stream in from (Los Angeles) every week,'' said one source familiar with the investigation.
But some industry officials are fearful of cooperating with federal investigators, according to the source.
``These people in LA are scared of these guys (Teamsters),'' said the source.
It is unclear which film producers have testified so far, but sources said yesterday a number of made-in-the-Bay State movies including ``Good Will Hunting,'' ``Cider House Rules,'' ``The Good Son,'' and ``Blown Away'' are ``on the radar screen'' of investigators.
In addition, the Herald has learned the Justice Department has put a halt to union and state investigations of Local 25 officials, worried that the probes could undercut the ongoing grand jury.
The separate probes by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and retired Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Robert A. Barton were launched despite fierce opposition from investigators, according to sources.
``(Prosecutors) put the thumb on them because (the probes) had the potential to compromise witnesses and taint evidence,'' said one source familiar with the 18-month federal investigation.
Investigators from the federal Department of Labor began probing allegations that Local 25 members routinely forced producers to rent equipment from them, placed unneeded crew members on sets and padded overtime sheets in exchange for labor peace during filming.
According to sources and records, favored members, many with criminal backgrounds, were routinely placed in the plum jobs that pay $2,000 a week and more.
Among those targeted in the probe is James Flynn, an ex-con with reputed ties to organized crime who is Local 25's chief transportation coordinator. Investigators raided Flynn's Weymouth home in June searching for evidence. Flynn allegedly forced producers to rent equipment from his company Location Connection.
The grand jury is also looking at producers being forced to give acting spots to some Teamsters, including Flynn who has appeared in ``Good Will Hunting'' and ``The Perfect Storm.''
``The acting thing has become a big deal,'' said one source.
In addition, records from Local 25 were subpoenaed in the probe and sources have told the Herald that investigators are targeting payoffs and forced hiring in the furniture moving industry.
Investigators are also probing possible drug dealings on movie sets as well as intimidation of rival union members who buck Local 25 demands. The Herald reported in October that a woman who received the snack truck concession on the South End shooting of ``What's The Worst That Could Happen?'' was allegedly beaten after refusing to turn the contract over to Flynn and another member of the transportation crew, Robert Martini.
According to sources, the attack was allegedly OK'd by Cashman, a confidant of Gov. Paul Cellucci and a member of the Massport board of directors. But after the woman complained to police, Local 25 officials smoothed things over by firing Bartley Small, her alleged attacker, and promising her future movie contracts.
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