You Don’t Mess Around With Tom

1196439733Sometimes we can’t figure out Tom Menino. When he’s at events like a tree lighting ceremony he seems like a perfectly affable guy. But when we read the nasty stories from those who worked with the man, we’re not so sure he’s the inarticulate teddy bear we hope he is. Globe columnist Steve Bailey confirms that the Bernard Margolis saga isn’t an isolated incident of the mayor’s ability to shut somebody down. It seems our mayor has been playing more games on the golf course than the ones that involve a 9-iron.

Doug Johnson, founder and president of Johnson Golf Management, decided he wanted to run the city-owned Franklin Park golf course. So when he bid the most money for the contract, he was surprised when the city went with somebody else.

. . . [W]hen the Franklin Park contract came up for renewal in 2002 Johnson outbid the incumbent operator by $450,000 over three years. The city, however, awarded the contract to another operator, saying it provided better service. Johnson sued.

When the Hyde Park contract came up for renewal the next year, Johnson again outbid the competition. When the city awarded the contract to Johnson’s competitor, a judge ordered the city to rebid the deal. Instead, the city decided to manage both courses itself.

Johnson won his case, but he also lost.

Johnson sought more than $1 million in lost profits; this month Judge John C. Cratsley awarded Johnson the $101, ruling he had failed to make the case for lost profits.

And what does Mayor Menino have to say about this?

Said the mayor simply: “The judge acted wisely.”

Wow. He sounds like Darth Vader. And the way Bailey enthuses about his complete and total control over every aspect of the city doesn’t dispel that feeling.

Johnson, whose company operates a half-dozen Massachusetts courses, has learned what others have before him: Tom Menino is not a man to be trifled with. Are you paying attention Bernie Margolis, our soon-to-be unemployed president of the Boston Public Library?

Being Mayor for Life means never having to settle.

Unless, of course, you’re capitulating to the Boston Firefighters union. Good luck with those new guidelines!