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Tutunjian's empire

 

Behind the veil of a taxi company

After she was run over by a Boston Cab taxi at Logan Airport in 2003, Elizabeth Rideout had to sue several of Edward J. Tutunjian's taxi companies to get coverage for her medical treatment, including seven operations and eight months in the hospital. Tutunjian's corporate structure makes it difficult for accident victims to pursue his assets.

In this case, Superior Court Judge Janet L. Sanders agreed to freeze $5 million in Tutunjian's assets. Sanders found it likely that if the case went to trial, a jury would award Rideout at least that much and hold Tutunjian's larger business empire accountable for the accident -- a legal concept known as "piercing the corporate veil." Tutunjian later reached an out-of-court settlement with Rideout for $1.5 million, according to documents revealed in another case.

 

A taxi magnate describes his rise

Boston cabbies are suing taxi owners for allegedly denying them fair wages and benefits. In a sworn deposition in the case in February, Boston Cab owner Edward J. Tutunjian described his origins in the taxi business. He went on to say that taxi drivers are independent businessmen. They pay him about $100 to lease a taxi for a 12-hour shift. Tutunjian said he doesn’t get involved in how much money they make and refused to say whether drivers can make less in a shift than they paid him.

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