By MAUREEN DOHERTY
LYNNFIELD — A full nine days after the final deadline had passed to avoid a contempt of court charge, Perley Burrill property owner Joseph Pedoto still had not applied for a permit with the town to remove five underground fuel storage tanks from his property.
“The 30 days within which the owner of the property was suppose to, by court order, make application for a permit to remove the oil tanks on the property has come and gone. He did not pull an application,” Town Administrator Bill Gustus reported to the selectmen on Monday night.
The permanent default judgment against Pedoto, who is the trustee of the Little Joe Realty Trust, was approved by Essex Superior Court Judge Paul D. Wilson on Aug.14.
Subsequently, since Pedoto was not present at that hearing but instead represented by an attorney, Town Counsel Tom Mullen took an extra step on behalf of the town of having Pedoto served the court documents in hand by a sheriff’s deputy, which occurred on Aug. 20.
These papers informed Pedoto that he was to apply for a permit with the Lynnfield Fire Department to have the tanks removed within 30 days. He would then have another 60 days to actually remove them at an estimated cost of $45,000. The Fire Department sought to have the single-walled tanks removed back in 2011 after they were no longer in use.
“Attorney Mullen is in the process of filing a request for criminal contempt against the landowner for failing to obey a direct court order,” Gustus added.
Considering there had been no good faith attempt by Pedoto to communicate with the town on this matter, Selectman Chairman Dave Nelson made a motion that “the Board of Selectmen authorize town counsel Tom Mullen to go to court and proceed with the court order and get this moving this along.”
Selectman Phil Crawford agreed and it passed 2-0. Selectman Tom Terranova recused himself from the meeting during this discussion due to a previously disclosed business relationship with Pedoto prior to being elected to the board.
“I would expect that he will file that motion before the end of this week,” Gustus said, adding that he “cannot possibly predict” when the court would schedule a hearing.