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A Civil Action

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

14 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

The coverup continues to this day!

There is an incredible story which this book scarcely touches on. Ken Grant, a former Grace employee and who worked as a safety & environmental professional for them when he was suddenly fired just prior to this book coming out, has been rejected by most every major co...
There is an incredible story which this book scarcely touches on. Ken Grant, a former Grace employee and who worked as a safety & environmental professional for them when he was suddenly fired just prior to this book coming out, has been rejected by most every major company in New England since this book came out. Grant is a child survivor of the epidemic and abandoned orphan who has been subject to massive attack on many fronts. In the 1980s,Grant acted to protect Woburn citizens from a small firm which dumped toxic chemicals in the back lot. Since this book, he has been made homeless for years, chronically unemployable, and subject to sadistic pretense job interviews, in which the interviewer begins the interview,jumps to his views on Woburn, then refuses him the job. The man has been driven into bankruptcy,homelessness, endured more than a decade without health insurance and been consistently harassed on a major scale financially. Short of outright murder, almost every conceivable attempt has been made to destroy the man. Why? for being a child survivor without his knowledge?

posted by Anonymous on February 25, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Now what you do not know part II

Has the medical establishment been concealing the survival of Frenette's boy as proof of the long term viability of bone marrow transplants as an accepted insurable procedure? Was Frenette's boy given experimental treatment then set adrift in the state child care system...
Has the medical establishment been concealing the survival of Frenette's boy as proof of the long term viability of bone marrow transplants as an accepted insurable procedure? Was Frenette's boy given experimental treatment then set adrift in the state child care system in anonymity and left to die given the most optimistic forecasts of the day but survived,only to be an embarassment to all? Was Frenette's son impostered beginning in 1980,with such imposter designed to cause her real son nothing but pain? When Harr's book came out, Her son was tossed about by Grace Construction under suspicious circumstances and then maneuvered into work with subtle DoD supplier corporate links back to Grace. While at Chomerics(owned by Grace and a DoD contractor) in Woburn, her son was pulled into Hr and threatened by Adrienne McGowan, a senior HR rep, that they would be blackballed in Grace if they did not take a specific position and made good on the threat for another 6 years. After her son was tossed from Grace, they worked as a temp with Hewlett Packard( of whom Chomerics was a supplier).While at HP, Don Getchell, a manager, threatened her son with " you'll be flipping burgers at McDonald's" if he did not take a position with a 45% pay cut(unheard of in the experience of other temps).And while at HP her son was repeatedly ridiculed as being responsible for what was going on in the Bulger case and the controversy surrounding Harr's book being made into a movie. As her son looked for employment, elements at Grace and Hewlett Packard destroyed his references with area staffing agencies.Beginning in 1980 and up until the late 1990s, Frenette's son was befriended by caretakers and later as friends and coworkers in an effort to monitor his whereabouts,activities, and to cause ongoing harm of nearly every kind? Why was her son befriended by an Italian-Irish man with ties to Jan Schlictmann in Newburyport,Massachusetts and then blasted by the same man on behalf of Grace when Harr's book came out?

posted by 3690365 on May 31, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2000

    Some little known factoids....

    Woburn was quite a hub-- there were trips back and forth by kids to Cuba.Medicine and the space and defense programs thrived in the area.A Nike missile base existed at the site occupied by a local private university in Burlington,Mass which also introduced a first time radiology program. Choate hospital had an on premises biochemist and an ongoing bionics program and Congressman F. Bradford Morse of the Council on Foreign Relations was actively involved in NATO and the space program.Many citizens of Woburn were seen by prominent Boston hospitals and there was a sharp increase in perceptual motor dysfunction among children and adults. Many people had to go on welfare to be able to get treatment for cancer and interestingly there is a sharp increase in the welfare medical budget while at the same time those records cannot be seen by outside auditors,sparking local outcry.What seems apparent here is that the epidemic first arose and was dealt with quietly perhaps to avoid panicking people until a precise cause could be determined.And the shifting movement of contaminant laden water in underground aquifers might have made it very difficult to pinpoint where the source came from.Something people do not realize is that EPA and local Environmental agencies are often times lax in their enforcement unless prodded by citizens to do something. EPA and local agencies seem to be most aggressive in their enforcement when their budgets are reduced.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2000

    More questions than answers

    Boston Edison approved a parcel of land for use in Woburn in the 1960s. In the early 1960s the first signs that an epidemic was underway emerged and many families went on welfare to be able to get treatment for their kids or themselves. In the ensuing years, a corresponding increase in medical expenditures via the Woburn Dept of Welfare coupled with the fact that this was one of the few agencies in the city which was not subject to auditing lends one to believe that the increasing medical costs were linked to rising signs of an epidemic. Curiously, Woburn was also home of Choate Hospital which was involved in Bionics and had Spacelabs patient monitoring equipment as well as an on premise biochemist. Arthur Veno was the administrator of that hospital. As an epidemic grew, Woburn had some serious medical research going on. A question that comes to mind is why did the city officials refuse MDC water when they were facing a drought and contaminated wells? Was city management trying to stop the spread of tainted water to other communities?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2000

    A Civil Action

    Nestled in archives of local Massachusetts newspapers is the story of a city in chaos, with public works and leather union employees clashing with their respective management teams. Middlesex county was a Democrat stronghold during the time the Kennedy was at its peak of power. The Mass crime commission was fighting organized crime, major projects were underway (Rte 128, NASA, DHHS Radiology lab, Apollo, Voyager)and the epidemic began. It is evident that an economic civil war between the military and space supporters was underway, Military represented war and space represented peace. Missing from local archives are key pieces of the scenario that was taking place as these kids were stricken with leukemia. The missing pieces consist of some microfilm portions of articles being excluded from the microfilm process but not in a random manner.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2000

    A case still unsolved

    In the early 1960s, JFK was actively involved in seeking to put a NASA space center in Woburn at a time when the military and space programs were competing for federal funds. The Woburn epidemic first appeared in the early to mid 1960s and local officials quietly dealt with the problem. A small group of local citizens under attorney Michael Gatta filed a $100,000 lawsuit against the city due to questionable water quality.Until May,1979 the wells stayed open and though the NASA deal fell through, land deals were made for industrial parks to fill the economic gap caused by the failed NASA deal.Locally, political forces loyal to the space program on one end and to the Boston Navy Yard on the other end may have been bucking heads, as the committee for the Navy yard chairman and the chairman of the Nasa for woburn committee resided in woburn at the same time. Middlesex County was a booming space area, with Avco in Wlmington working on the Voyager program and RCA in Bedford working on Apollo. In addition companies like Raytheon, General Foods, GTE,Monsanto,Merrimack Chemical,Perini Corp, Limbach Co.,Crystal Steel, Akeson sand & gravel,Borden, General aluminum and many others provided work for the citizens of Woburn and surrounding communities. The head of the navy yard committee was himself president of Trans-Sonic Corp. Woburn is a complex case not easily solved and perhaps solved only with the voluntary joining together of parties involved with chemical dumping to resolve the problem in a non-blame environment. At the time the epidemic first cropped up, dumping was legal, for the EPA did not exist yet, but perhaps the Slichter Act, an outgrowth of mob-busting activities during a carmen's union strike, provided a way to stop it but was not used. The Slichter Act provided the state authority to shut down any municpal operation or business that jeopardized public safety and was established in the late 1940s. And in the 1970s the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was passed to hold companies more accountable for chemical handling.This Act provided chemical handling safeguards but to the object of many, for in TSCA's standards, a great deal of chemical testing using animals is involved, causing a a moral dilemma. Woburn relied on well water affected by underground aquifers that caused water (polluted or otherwise) to move around and made tracking to one specific source extremely difficult. Some unanswered questions about the Woburn case are:1) Why did the Aufiero kid suddenly die on the way to the hospital? 2)Why were the wells kept open for nearly 20 years if there was concern about their safety? 3) How many were affected by the water but that have not or will not come forward? 4) Is Woburn just one example of what has now become a polluted planet?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2012

    Can there be al ink between government coverup, water pollution,

    Can there be al ink between government coverup, water pollution, local tragedy , the Whitey Bulger case and an unwanted kid(s)?
    In 1993-94, Ken Grant of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, now a Home Depot employee, wrote a book entitled "The Wanderer" ,detailing his experiences as an abandoned and abused boy bouncing around in state child care. He wrote the book not as an expose but to help society as a whole understand better the plight of unwanted youth. In 1995 the book was made into a movie script by Ken at the request of some friends of Marty Bauer( who were his foster parents at one time). owner of United Talent Agency in Beverly Hills,California. Over the ne3xt 2 years the fate of the script and book remain a mystery but it has been speculated that an option was purchased on the script and this knowledge kept from Ken.Following the script and unpublished manuscript going to Hollywood, a massive discrediting and harassment campaign began against Ken to discredit his claims of how kids are treated when unwanted in America. This even involved a New Hampshire campaign organizer for Obama.It is said govermnet personnel began a massive discrediting campaign over embarassment by America in its treatment of the unwanted. Ken became a major target simply for trying to help enlighten others on strengths and weaknesses in the system and by highlighting individuals who shine despite a system which often ties their hands. A few years after the book and script began circulating,Ken was accused of causing the massive fallout in the Whitey Bulger case which has taken place. In his book and script names of people were changed to retain the subsistence of the story while protecting privacy of those involved. Ken was invited by Dr. John Calicchia of Bridgewater State college to discuss portions of his unpublished manuscript to graduate students after a portion of the manuscript was given to the students prior to the lecture ( it appears Ken might not know what was actually passed out to the students beforehand).
    So why would Ken be associated with the Whitey Bulger case? Why would Ken be invited to lecture students then suddenly become persona non grata? Why would a Democratic campaign manager in New Hampshire with ties to Jeanne Shaheen,Mike Dukakis,Jimmy Carter,Obama, Gary Hart Pinkerton Academy and many more be involved in a discrediting campaign against someone who simply tried to tell the world that unwanted kids need their help and love? Here is a guy who, without family support of any kind spent 18 years going to college nights working 70-105 hours per week to get a degree, who by age 20 had paid $30,000 in rent and who posed little financial burden from age16 onward.Here is a guy who was forced to break granite boulders 5 feet tall and with a 10-15 foot circumference with a sledgehammer 10-14 hours per day in the hot summer sun at a hard labor camp sponsored by the Dept. of Social Services because he simply had no family to go and nowhere else to place him. Here is a guy who at age 16 was assessed by state subcontractors and recommended for college immediately who 'fell between the cracks'. And this is what happened to someone who tried to make a difference.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Were citizens poisoned to coverup somehing huge?

    Since 1995,a man has been monitored continuously since Bulger became a fugitive. This largely took place in the workplace, as the man has been employable only with companies which have federal contracts. In 1997 the man was invited to an interview at ABA personnel in Haverhill,Massachusetts where the interviewer pumped him for information about the Woburn Massachusetts cancer epidemic as well as knowledge of Whitey. About the same time he was interviewed at an office suite in Cummings Park,Woburn in which the interviewer said he represented an"undisclosed company with ties to the space program in Switzerland". The man was invited to White Mountain Pines software in Nashua, New Hampshire and photographed while waiting in the reception area for an interview which never materialized. A short time later, the same man began receiving hateful messages in Yahoo chat across his computer screen only. White Mountain Pines software made "CUCME" software which would have permitted this hateful messaging. The man was called several times into Raytheon, lucrativ e jobs dangled before him, only to be blown off. One such offer involved an interviewer with NSA-logo items all over his office in Burlington,Massachusetts.While working at NEC computers in Boxborough,Mass. the man was befriended by a man who 'coincidentally' lived in the same town 35 miles away. The new befriender,"Mr. Allen"after a short introductory friendship,began indicating he was watching the man work out at the gym, do business at Market Basket supermarket, knew every video the man rented, and constantly followed him wherever he went while denying that he was gay or bisexual. Mr. Allen constantly followed the man and requested at every opportunity access to his apartment. When Mr. Allen was called at home, automatic callbacks to the calling phone were made, as if being monitored by a third party.Much of this happened in Lawrence, Massachusetts where the FBI is said to have had an office with a Lowell,Ma. phone number. Also in Lawrence, the man was maneuvered into working at a satellite location with 10 others at a time when allegedly 10 witnesses were being sequestered to be used against Bulger. The man was also dragged to promising interviews with Cerulean in Marlboro, Mass. only to be blown off completely. Eventually the man was steered to Home Depot, where he was surrounded by management and non-management employees alike who frequently lied about their actual names and aggressively undermined the man's work to make him look bad.In addition, individuals emplaced into his life before Whitey went on the lam began interfering with phone communications by calling from phone lines or phones with COMSEC designations, essentially impounding phone records and allowing those agencies to manipulate incoming calls to prevent other employment,etc.The man was also steered, thanks to phone manipulation,into living situations where the landlords could monitor him as well as inspect his personal belongings and habits.One such landlord was a major campaign driver for Obama in New Hampshire who had changed their name in 2008.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Now what you do not know...

    There is so much which has not been told in this book and in the media about the history of the area. JFK had approved the polluted area in Woburn for what was to become NASA's Houston Space center in texas after his death. Boston Edison had also approved the land for development. Carl Roessler,President of Trans-Sonic in Burlington,Massachusetts, may have provided the valves to DoD which were installed backwards in the USS Thresher perhaps by workmen who had transferred from the Boston Navy Yard to the Portsmouth Navy yard shortly before the Thresher went down. Roessler headed up the "Save our Shipyard" committee and lived in Woburn, as did Mayor Gilgun( who had a brother who was a judge) who headed up the "NASA for Woburn" committee. Both committees,situated in Woburn, may have been vying for federal funds with those funds being perceived as being taken from the defense budget to shore up the space budget.North of Woburn is Wilmington,which was home for the Voyager program at AVCO. In Bedford RCA worked on Apollo while a NIKE missile base bordered Woburn/Burlington. Lowell,Massachusetts was home to subterranean Apollo R&D.The U.S. army is said to have buried uranium in North Woburn as well as recovered machined radioactive parts being recovered in North Woburn at about the same time the Dept of Health and Human Services established a radiology lab underground on the border of Woburn/Winchester,Mass. All about the time JFK was approving Woburn as a NASA site. Did Boston Navy yard workers transfer to Portsmouth to sabotage the Thresher and put it on the hot list for closure by McNamara instead of the Boston Navy yard? Did navy yard workers see budget cuts in their bases as going to a fledging space program? Was Harr's book an attempt to conceal a much much bigger story for Woburn and the USA? Judge Cullen of the Woburn District court is alleged to have been involved in early handling of the child leukemia cases in Woburn and perhaps even the first suits brought by Woburn citizens in an attempt to determine what was happening with the water supply by Attorney Michael Gatta,Evelyn Frenette and others (most who were persecuted to the end following such suit). What did James Duffy of the Woburn Public Works Dept know and why was he transferred to the federal building in Boston for an undisclosed job while his son bought a house from former FBI agent Thomas Driscoll, right next to the Barbas family of Woburn, owners of the locally owned supermarket and whose son was a Cryovac employee? Why did Evelyn Frenette's youngest son, a cripple and who is said to have been given experimental bone marrow transplant in upstate New York in isolation, have their medical records disappear when Harr's book came out? Was Judge Cullen related by marriage to Dennis Condon, of Whitey Bulger case fame, and did a relative of Condon's blackball Frenette's youngest boy from getting Division of Unemployment funding for further education though fully qualified for it? Was a Condon relative responsible for cornering Frenette's boy into a student loan unnecessarily and later to use this as leverage to financially ruin the man? Was Frenette's boy badgered at Northeastern University, where R. Robert Popeo and Special Agent Morris of the FBI (Whitey Bulger case) were affiliated? Have players in the Bulger case followed and badgered Frenette's boy into New Hampshire?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2010

    True story well written...

    It is sad to realize that things like this can really happen to innocent people. But it is also nice to know that good things can also happen.
    Good book to read if you are into live courtroom dramas.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2006

    Skull and Crossbones

    This is interesting but somehow empty. Was a child of a major player in the Whitey Bulger case set up as an employee at WR Grace perhaps as leverage against Bulger?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2007

    Much being covered up here?

    Did a craft crash in Woburn in the 1960s, President Kennedy knew of it and wanted to announce it but was killed by the national security establishment because he could not be allowed to divulge it? Was the phenomenon of all the phones going down in Washington D.C. a salute to his courage by that same establishment? Was the plight of children and families in this case somewhat obscured by these broader events and has the FBI or other federal agencies such as the Secret Service been involved in keeping things quiet?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2000

    An untold part of the story

    In 1995 Ken Grant worked for Wr Grace in its Cambridge,Mass facility as a safety/environment guy and a few months after this book came out he was 'laid off'. it turns out that Grant was one of the kids affected by the pollution and as a result of this book became chronically unemployable or being given poor job opportunities.His medical records began disappearing and it was evident that a character assassination plan was underway.Grant grew up as a ward of the state of Mass.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2000

    How many more were affected?

    The book does a good job of bringing up the issue of the human cost of corporate irresponsibility and environmental pollution. Perhaps a sequel, if done, will bring to light how one of the childhood survivors of the epidemic later went on to serve as a safety & environmental person with wr grace but was canned by the company shortly after this book came out and has been unemployable since. Grace is a well known benefactor to the republican party and has strong ties to the education and insurance sectors. From my own personal experience, i know of environmental and safety government employees who refuse to act even when complaints are made against environmental abusers. One has to wonder if politics has a heavy role in environmental matters or if the companies that profit from cleaning up the pollution have a vested interest in perpetuating the problem.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2000

    A Civil Action

    This is a good book but it downplays some of the more sinister elements of the story, like the private investigators allegedly called on to intimidate witnesses, or the extreme retaliation brought on by Al Love as he tried to do the right thing and come forward with information about a threat to thousands of people. The book also does not address those individuals within the community and within Grace and Beatrice who tried to stop the pollution then and up to the present day. Also, what of the other companies involved and people who knew what was going on? And what of the limited role the EPA had in this? Was Woburn an experiment or was national security invoked in the handling of this situation? And what of the ill fortune that seems to befall anyone who has tried to discover the truth, including a former safety and environmental guy who worked for one of the principals in this case and tried to do a diligent job because of the Woburn epidemic but was let go?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 16, 2013

    This is an intriguing story. Long before this,however, a group o

    This is an intriguing story. Long before this,however, a group of Woburn residents under Atty Michael Gatta brought an action about the water. And in 1994-95, a man who was a crippled, orphaned boy wrote a book manuscript and movie script entitled "The Wanderer" which was forwarded by former foster parents to United Talent Agency to the owner, Marty Bauer. It appears that the federal government brought heat on to UTA and the foster parents disinherited the man even though specific names were changed to protect the identities of those involved. I worked with the man a long time ago and know how he has worked without any support all of his life and the many years of volunteering,etc. he performed. The man apparently was one of the victims and did not know it when he wrote his movie script at the request of UTA. His name is Kenny Grant.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2009

    Important Creative Nonfiction Piece

    Thoughtful, yet gripping, writing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2002

    A Civil Action

    One reads this book and wonders if something major has been covered up here involving a major money situation. Did Grace contract for developing a software program that has been used by the government and was a child of Whitey Bulger chosen as the fall guy in its eventual misuse? Did Whitey have a child that was sick perhaps because of the Woburn water and the government made a deal to have the kid treated among other things in exchange for Whitey's services? If this was the case, when Whitey was viewed as a gangster, could the kid have taken it from various law enforcement and government types then when Whitey was revealed the child got it from organized crime types or vice versa?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2002

    Cloak and Dagger

    Wr Grace is said to have worked on a chemical software program to help track chemicals that might have been used in a secret study by Omnitech International and later put to practical tests by Fleet Bank. Given the Board of Grace? What kind of company is it?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2001

    Black Ops

    Did this case involve government officials and did some of the alleged deceased children not die but in fact were given treatment by the government in return for loss of identity and lifelong government service?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2001

    Divorcing Parents

    If you want to know the untold horrors of this case, take the case of Pete (name changed): Pete is alleged to have been put in state care outside of New England. When moved to New England, Pete is said to have been put in foster care in the area the principal FBI agents in this case lived in and that one or more agents were aware of the child. Pete did not havea mother or father to speak of. After a series of abusive placements, around the time Whitey signed on as an informant, 1975, a former government official stepped in to oversee care of the child. Treatment of the child improved tremendously but many bad placements still took place. Eventually the child, now a teenager, had to run away from a Massachusetts-sponsored hard labor camp for troubled teens that Pete had been placed in because he was homeless. After that, things got much better for Pete. William Bulger,Whitey's brother, had sponsored one of the first pieces child abuse legislation in Massachusetts' history. For nearly a decade Pete struggled along and went to work for a division of a company listed in Jonathan Harr's book 'A Civil Action'. Having bounced around and not been familiar with the history of the case, Pete knew little about that company. Pete had lived in the Woburn area and remembered being in and out of area hospitals and appearing in court on a number of occasions as a young child. He also remembered a violent place in Woburn, with people throwing rocks through the windows,paint on the back door, and constant harassment by neighbors. Not long after coming to the company, on the way home late one night from a second job, Pete was hit and run by a man well known to police in the area and car nearly totalled. Nothing ever happened to the man. A few years later Pete was called into a meeting with an alleged government official and warned about his financial struggles. Pete had no one to help him. Later there was evidence that the company was involved in a study project for a firm called Omnitech International, with many major corporate clients. A couple years later Pete was featured in a local paper in his struggles to find his father who he had never known. When Pete went to the local court to see about the times he appeared as a child, he was not even allowed into the room to see a judge for no reason. Fire and police records had been destroyed from those days. Later, Pete learned that thousands of pages of court records used in the case discussed by Harr had been destroyed for no specified reason. Pete had found one man alleged to be his father but this was said to be negative. It was suggested later that the man was alleged to be a longtime friend of Whitey Bulger. Not long after the article, Whitey fled the area. Pete suddenly lost his job and came under attacks at a subsequent contract job for being involved with Harr's book and movie project. Threatening phone calls, car tampering, being followed by strange men all ensued. When Pete contacted the FBI, they were hostile. The state police did not want to get involved and correspondence with the Justice Department appeared to have been leaked to some of the very people doing the harassing. The company Pete now worked at had business ties to the company mentioned in Harr's book and like them, was said to be a client of Omnitech. Pete was humiliated constantly and blamed for both fallout in the Bulger case and Harr's release of the book. Some coworkers made innuendos that their working group was actually a government operation and Pete was alternately harassed about being supportive of one or another gubernatorial candidates in Mass. When Pete sent certified letters to Robert Redford and Jan Schlichtmann,involved with Harr's book, the return receipts never came back nor did the Post Office express an interest in tracking them. For 2-3 years Pete was the subject of many threats for being involved with Harr's book, of which he had known nothing before its release. Concerned about

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2001

    A complex, unresolved case

    This is an interesting book in that Grace Co., a figurehead in the Reagan administration in the form of the Grace Commission to identify government waste, obviously had strong Republican leanings including support for Lloyd Bentsen. Disney makes the movie. Walt Disney was a strong supporter of Richard Nixon. Yet Robert Redford, a staunch environmentalist, directs the film.

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