As the Massachusetts Port Authority’s chief executive, Tom Glynn has to preside over his share of meetings — and the occasional groundbreaking or ribbon-cutting.
Glynn is a seasoned administrator, with tenures at the MBTA and Partners HealthCare before leading Massport. Sometimes, those responsibilities require a bit of entertaining, too.
Witness Glynn’s efforts to stall for time as he waited for Governor Charlie Baker to arrive at the groundbreaking last week for the $550 million Omni hotel project in the Seaport. Glynn got the proceedings going a little before the advertised 10 a.m. start time, but the governor wasn’t there yet. Glynn clearly wanted Baker to kick things off.
After giving introductions and thank-yous, Glynn peered out and asked, “Does anybody see a tall guy here?” At one point, he threatened to read his doctoral dissertation. (Glynn has a PhD in social policy from Brandeis University.) It’s interesting, he promised with a straight face.
Then, Glynn was interrupted by a loud jet flying overhead. “I knew as soon as I got up here, I was going to hear about airplane noise,” he joked. A few moments later: “Is there anybody I haven’t recognized who would like to be recognized?”
Baker’s black SUV then rolled up outside the tent, but Glynn got word the governor would still be a minute or two. So he let Mayor Marty Walsh step to the podium instead.
Just as Walsh began his remarks, Baker bounded up. The two buddies shared a good laugh, but Walsh wasn’t about to give up his newly earned lead position.
During Baker’s remarks, the wind sent a Massport flag flying to the ground behind him. Baker didn’t miss a beat to rib the emcee: “Message delivered, Tom.”
2 ports and a storm
How much room is there in Greater Boston for restaurants with the word “Porto” in their names? The owners of Porto, in the Back Bay, and Porto Maltese, in Brookline, may soon find out.
A lawyer for Ring Road Restaurant Group, which operates Porto, a restaurant co-owned by the James Beard Award-winning chef Jody Adams, recently sent Porto Maltese manager Zachary Ostrer a cease-and-desist letter, insisting Ostrer change the name of the new Brookline restaurant.
The lawyer for Porto Maltese, Andrew Tine, refused. His client has registered the name Porto Maltese with the Patent and Trademark Office, he said, and has used it in some capacity dating back to 2007 (though the Brookline restaurant opened just this year). Porto, he said, means “harbor” and is commonly used in the names of seafood and Italian restaurants. He pointed to Café Porto Bello in South Boston as one example.
But Eric Papachristos, Adams’s business partner at Porto, says Adams reached out to Porto Maltese’s owners last fall, prior to the restaurant’s opening, to warn them there could be confusion — particularly because both restaurants serve Mediterranean seafood. (The Porto in the Back Bay opened in 2016.)
Papachristos says he’s heard from a few customers who have wondered if the two places are connected. He says he might consider taking legal action if the confusion increases, but he’s not making any more moves right now.
“We’re in the business of hospitality; we’re not in the business of filing lawsuits,” Papachristos says. “I just want to cook a really good fish.”
The largesse will do
It was time to celebrate a milestone for Fish & Richardson. The firm, which specializes in intellectual property law, was marking its 140th anniversary, tracing itself back to when its founder, patent lawyer Frederick Fish, was admitted to the bar.
But instead of throwing a big party, Fish & Richardson tried something else. It decided to donate $50,000 to civil legal aid organizations across the country — $140 for each of its 350 attorneys. In Massachusetts, Northeast Legal Aid got $10,500, the largest donation, reflecting the fact the Boston office is Fish & Richardson’s biggest. (Many of Fish & Richardson’s lawyers volunteer for the group.)
Sure, there were cakes and informal gatherings after the big day arrived. But president Peter Devlin said it never crossed his mind to hold a blowout bash. “It was a feel-good moment for all of us, particularly in Boston, where we started,” he says. “We wanted to give back to our communities. Frederick Fish was known for that.”
The fight gets hotter
The firefight between CBS chief executive Les Moonves and vice chair Shari Redstone has retired Boston banker Chad Gifford in the crossfire.
Redstone, through the Norwood-based National Amusements Inc. theater chain, owns a controlling stake in both CBS and Viacom and had been working to merge the two. But the talks have descended into a bitter fight in a Delaware court as Redstone’s company and CBS management wage war over control of CBS.
The majority of CBS’s board, including independent directors such as Gifford, voted two weeks ago to dilute NAI’s controlling stake. NAI sued on Tuesday, asking a court to invalidate the vote.
The suit details a May 1 meeting between Moonves and Redstone to address merger issues. One was Viacom CEO Bob Bakish’s place in the new company. The other: whether Gifford would be on the board. Moonves wanted Gifford, a former Bank of America chairman who is well respected in Boston business circles, to stay. Redstone said she was uncomfortable with him sticking around.
Redstone claims Gifford acted in a bullying manner on two occasions in 2016 and 2017, including by “grabbing her face and directing her to listen to him,” according to NAI’s latest lawsuit. It doesn’t mention a location; sources close to both companies cite the 2017 Super Bowl in Houston. A source close to CBS said Gifford was recovering from knee surgery and used a cane at the time, and the encounter happened in front of thousands of people.
CBS denied the allegations and said Redstone’s issue with Gifford is that he always operated in the best interest of all CBS shareholders, adding “it is unfortunate and revealing that NAI has resorted to meritless personal attacks that are plainly motivated by their disagreement.”