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THE DEAL BEHIND A SKYSCRAPER A PARTNER CHARGES EXTORTION
[THIRD Edition]
Boston Globe (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Boston, Mass.
Author: Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill, Globe Staff
Date: Dec 8, 1988
Start Page: 1
Section: METRO
Abstract (Document Summary)

Instead of getting the piece of State Street he had been seeking, Finnerty signed papers selling to [Harold Brown] his "interest," even though a variety of public records fail to show Finnerty ever acquiring one. And it does not appear Finnerty earned an interest in exchange for legal service. When a legal dispute occurred in May 1985 over the proposed height of the skyscraper, another lawyer, not Finnerty, emerged as having performed the chores Finnerty had been promising. In a sworn affidavit, Charles Speleotis asserted he was counsel for the developers in obtaining the "various governmental approvals concerned with the purchase of the Kilby Street Garage."

The deal between Brown and Finnerty, witnessed by McCormack, was finally reached shortly after the arrival of a new controlling partner for the project -- The Beacon Companies, headed by Norman Leventhal and Edwin Sidman. The company, partners with McCormack in the Rowes Wharf complex, had become manager of the 75 State Street venture in December 1984 in an arrangement that included buying the land Brown had assembled for the project. The new Beacon-led team transferred less than 1 percent of the project to the attorney who had handled most of the negotiations between Finnerty and Brown during 1984. Brown himself retains a 9 percent partnership interest in the building.

By July, Brown paid Finnerty the initial $500,000. In September, Finnerty demanded payment of $426,000 more, according to court papers. The demand came the same day Brown got his $28 million from Beacon and was indicted on bribery and perjury charges in connection with a federal probe of corruption in the building department at City Hall. Brown's attorneys, reviewing all of their client's affairs in preparing his defense, questioned the validity of the Finnerty deal and advised that Brown not make more payments.

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