Judge freezes assets of city’s taxi king

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A state judge froze the assets of Boston’s largest taxi fleet owner Thursday, ruling that cabdrivers have a “reasonable likelihood” of winning a class-action lawsuit that accuses Edward J. Tutunjian and two smaller fleet owners of wrongly treating cabbies as independent contractors instead of as employees, costing drivers hundreds of millions in unpaid wages.

Tutunjian owns Boston Cab, by far the largest fleet in Boston.

His corporations own 372 taxi medallions — one in five of the city’s 1,825 — each with a market value of about $600,000.

His business empire is worth about a quarter billion dollars.

His business practices were the focus of a Spotlight Team report this spring.

In a statement, Tutunjian’s firm denounced the ruling.

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