FinCom calls for Swan Boats audit
The Boston Finance Commission is calling for an audit of Swan Boats Inc., the family-run ferry service in the Public Garden that says it earned $1.4 million between 2008 and 2010 and paid the city rent of just $62,000.
The Boston Herald reports that FinCom Executive Director Matthew Cahill sent a report to Mayor Thomas Menino criticizing the city’s Parks Department for letting Swan Boats owner Lyn Paget fail to document receipts and expenses or provide a full audit of the business. “I just want to make sure the taxpayers are being fairly compensated,” Cahill said.
Cahill is following up on a story in CommonWealth magazine last summer. The report detailed the Swan Boats’ shaky financial reporting and noted that customer payments for tickets and souvenirs were being tossed in a drawer. The CommonWealth story quoted Cahill as saying: ”How much are they making off of those swan boats is the question and how much is the city losing?”
The Swan Boats are a Boston institution, dating back 135 years. Cahill says it’s time the city received fair compensation for the monopoly it grants the Swan Boats. Either that, he says, or the city should consider building its own Swan Boats and running the business itself.
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