|Judge rejects effort to keep Big Dig
By Sean P. Murphy, Globe Staff, 4/11/2003
A state court judge, citing an ''immense'' public
interest in scrutinizing the hundreds of millions of dollars
paid to the Big Dig's private sector managers, yesterday
rejected the manager's request for a court order keeping
billing records secret.
Yet release of the records was delayed as lawyers involved
in the case said Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff indicated that it
may appeal the ruling before the State Appeals Court today.
If an appeal fails, then piles of federal financial audits
of Bechtel/Parsons will be released late this afternoon by the
Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, which oversees the Big Dig.
Superior Court Judge Allen van Gestel, after hearing
arguments on state public records law, issued a ruling denying
Bechtel/Parsons an immediate order keeping the records out of
Van Gestel pointed out that the records are sought by the
state Senate's Post Audit Committee, which last week conducted
two days of hearings into Bechtel/Parsons' performance on the
Big Dig. The hearings were the first step in the state's
promise to get whatever refund may be due the state from
Bechtel/Parsons for mistakes.
''The public interest is immense,'' van Gestel wrote. ''A
committee of the Legislature is seeking the documents in its
oversight capacity. ''
After citing the $14.625 billion project as ''one of the
largest public works projects ever undertaken,'' van Gestel
noted that, under Bechtel/Parsons's management, the project is
''billions of dollars over budget.''
The firm declined comment yesterday.
This story ran on page B5 of the Boston
Globe on 4/11/2003.
Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.