Published in the August 24, 2016 edition


LYNNFIELD — Last week, the selectmen voted to foreclose on the Perley Burrill property, 906 Salem St., for owner Joseph Pedoto’s failure to pay back taxes owed to the town.

Selectmen Chairman Phil Crawford noted Bank of America agreed to release Perley Burrill’s first mortgage last year. He said the second mortgagee, Global Partners, was working with the third mortgagee, developer Michael Merullo and Pedoto to turn the property over to Merullo.

Merullo recently presented a four-lot subdivision plan to the Planning Board, which Crawford said was “very well received” by the property’s neighbors. Crawford noted the Perley Burrill site needs to be cleaned up before it can be redeveloped and subdivided.

Crawford said the town hit a “stumbling block” this summer because Global Partners and Pedoto “could not come to a final agreement.”

“They told me to give them another month,” said Crawford. “And they have told me that three months in a row. I think we are at a point where we have to look at our alternative solutions in order to protect the town.”

Crawford proposed authorizing tax title attorney James Coppola to foreclose on the property for Pedoto’s failure to pay back taxes to the town. Tax Collector Christine O’Sullivan informed the Villager Pedoto owes the town $242,317.75 in back taxes.

According to Crawford, the Brownfields Act allows cities and towns to foreclose on properties for non-payment of taxes while ensuring the town is not liable for any environmental clean up costs.

“By doing this, we would get the tax title and put the property up for sale,” said Crawford. “We know we have someone who wants to buy it. It would be the same process we are trying to do now but instead of getting it from the second mortgagee, (Merullo) would have to get it through the town.”

Crawford said the process would take five to eight weeks to “remove all mortgages from the property.”

Selectman Dick Dalton expressed his support for Crawford’s proposal.

“I think it’s the appropriate thing to do at this time,” said Dalton.

After a discussion, Crawford and Dalton both voted to authorize the town to foreclose on the property. Selectman Chris Barrett abstained from voting on the matter because his property abuts the Perley Burrill property. Barrett also sat in the audience and remained silent during the discussion.

In a phone interview with the Villager last week, Crawford said he informed Pedoto and Global Partners about the selectmen’s vote. After the mortgages are removed from the property, Crawford said the town will put out request for proposals (RFP) and the site will be sold on the open market.