Grand jury issues indictments against five Massport ‘cab starters’

A Suffolk County grand jury handed up a 53-count bribery indictment of five Massachusetts Port Authority employees who allegedly accepted bribes from cab drivers in exchange for better spaces in line at the Boston Logan International Airport taxi queue, prosecutors said today.

Kenneth Clement, 67, of Attleboro; Michael Garvey, 51, of Melrose; Vadim Mkrtychev, 38, of West Roxbury; James Mulrey, 45, of Canton; and Donald Potis, 47, of Medford face charges of accepting a bribe as a public employee and soliciting or accepting an unlawful gratuity as a public employee, the Suffolk County district attorney’s office said in a statement.

“We have a duty to protect the right of businesses to operate on a level playing field, without their being forced to pay a bribe or engage in any other illicit activity for that right,” State Police Superintendent Colonel Timothy P. Alben said in the statement.

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State Police arrested the five men Feb. 12, after multiple cab drivers told investigators that the men, known as “cab starters,” regularly took money, as well as cigarettes, scratch tickets, and other items in exchange for favoritism in the cab queue, the statement said.

The defendants will be arraigned May 24 in Suffolk Superior Court. More indictments are possible as additional evidence is gathered, the statement said.