Judge dismisses case as developer finishes cleaning
The city’s criminal case against developer Joseph Perroncello has been dismissed, attorney Joseph Amoroso confirmed Monday.
When the case ended Dec. 21, Amoroso asked Judge Sabita Singh to compel Perroncello to pay back the city’s court costs, the lawyer said, but the judge declined. The reason cited, Amoroso said, was the “magnitude” of the work Perroncello had to do to bring his construction site at Yerxa Road and Rindge Avenue into compliance with city code after six years of complaints from neighbors.
“It was a lot of earth moved and removed,” Amoroso said, summing up Singh’s decision.
The last pile of dirt was removed that morning, before court, said a North Cambridge resident who has watched the situation over the years.
Perroncello has declared bankruptcy and his property — a renter-occupied building at 45-47 Yerxa Road and two buildings under construction where the property wraps around in an ell to Rindge — is up for auction Jan. 27.
The Yerxa Road building was rented without legal permission and, with the granted temporary certificate of occupancy long since lapsed, remains illegally occupied at last check. The city’s Office of Inspectional Services was unable to confirm that. Its records room closes at 5 p.m. daily, although City Hall is open for another three hours on Mondays.
In late March, a court magistrate gave the developer 30 days to clear the debris cluttering the site and resolve the issue of the illegal tenants. Even a month later there was no certificate of occupancy, but the fact a temporary one was on the way from the city was considered satisfactory. As a result, Perroncello was ordered to court June 1 only on the charge he had still failed to clean adequately.
Nearly seven months later, the site is clean enough to satisfy the judge.
Because he is involved with neither the bankruptcy or auction, Amoroso could not say how those matters were progressing. The auction has been delayed twice since its original Sept. 15 date, but each time the delays have come at the last moment.
In the bankruptcy filed Nov. 3, Everett attorney Richard A. Mestone says Perroncello has estimated liabilities of between $10 million and $50 million and fewer than 50 creditors, but assets of between $50 million and $100 million. His home, a Beacon Street mansion in Boston, has a total assessed value of $5 million. But he owes the city $600,000 in real estate taxes.
Perroncello owes Cambridge $157,957 in real estate taxes.
In arguing against forcing Perroncello to pay the city’s court costs, a neighbor said that Mestone — representing the developer in Middlesex District Court as well as in federal bankruptcy court — called it “punishing Joe twice.”
This post was updated May 24, 2011, to correct that Judge Sabita Singh heard the case, not Judge Michele Hogan.