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Five Massport employees are indicted over alleged taxi bribes

A Suffolk 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 Logan International Airport taxi queue, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Kenneth Clement, 67, of Attleboro; Michael Garvey, 51, of Melrose; Vadim Mkrtychev, 38, of West Roxbury; James Mulrey, 45, of Canton; and Donald Potts, 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 district attorney’s office said in a statement.

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“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.

State Police arrested the five men on 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.

Todd Feathers can be reached at todd.feathers@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @ToddFeathers.
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