Town Manager Neil Harrington’s Angry Rant, Attacks ‘Citizens for Change’, Tomaselli Sisters, Valley Patriot … and Free Speech


Town Manager Neil Harrington

Salisbury Town Manager Neil Harrington addressed our Valley Patriot story in last months edition called “The 80 Million Lie”

“I wanted to read the following because I think it is important; and I think members of the board received an email from me last Friday that deals with the subject that I am going to mention next and that is, I want to bring to the attention of the public the existence of an article recently printed in a publication called The Valley Patriot, which I understand has been circulated among certain Salisbury residents by an organization called the Salisbury Beach Citizens for Change.

The article concerns the Tomaselli sisters who have waged an unsuccessful legal battle against the town for over ten years over the issue of a sewer betterment which they never paid for the property that they bought several years ago on North End Boulevard.

This article in the Valley Patriot portrays the Tomasellis as innocent victims of some sort of conspiracy by the town that will soon result in the loss of their property for non payment of taxes. I would like the public to know that this article is replete with inaccuracies, false statements and outrageous charges against the town, printed as gospel without even the courtesy of a phone call having been made in advance to me or any other official of this town from The Valley Patriot to check on the accuracy of the Tomaselli’s claims.

The most outrageous charge in the article is that the federally mandated sewer project at the beach which took place more than 20 years ago was completely paid for, they are stating, through state and federal grants and that the town issued fake betterments charges to beach residents to pay for the local share of the project for which the Tomasellis claim, did not exist.

And they claimed in the article that when they filed their initial court case against the town, the town in retribution filed in land court to take away their property; they also claim that the town has lied in Land Court, the Appellate Tax Board, the Appeals Court, and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

They claim the entire court system is incompetent and that they are innocent victims.

I want the citizens of Salisbury to know that these claims are false and slanderous. That the Tomasellis haven’t paid a cent to the town in property taxes in over a decade which is the real reason the town has moved to take their property.

They have cost the taxpayers of this town tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

They owe the town more than ¼ of a million dollars.

And have lost every single court case they have filed against the town over the years.

I wrote a response to the Valley Patriot article on the publication’s website but I am not confident that many Salisbury residents will see it because I don’t think that many people in town read The Valley Patriot.

That is why I am making this public statement at this time.

I am calling on the Salisbury Beach Citizens for Change to repudiate this article and for citizens of this town to disassociate themselves with this organization if they do not do so.

The people of Salisbury need to know that their local government will not be intimidated by this ongoing campaign of lies by the Tomasellis and their allies but will continue to fight to represent the hardworking taxpayers of this town against the efforts of a small group of self interested zealots who are trying to mislead them.

I think it was important, Mr. Chairman, that the public understands what this article is all about and that the town government vehemently denies all these charges as they are simply not true. I will not stand by as the people, such as the Salisbury Beach Citizens for Change, attempt to mislead people about what has been going on with the Tomasellis and their court cases against the town over all these years.

Henry Richenburg: I appreciate that Mr Harrington. Questions, comments from the Board?

Freeman Condon: I am in complete agreement. Well said, well read. It is very disconcerting; it’s very disappointing and is not unexpected from the Tomasellis but it is kind of unexpected from a group like the Salisbury Beach Citizens for Change who promote themselves for being so proactive and so concerned about the community, so I think you did a good job with it.

Donald Beaulieu: I agree wholeheartedly with the response.

Fred Knowles: The response was strong, and I think it had to be stated.

Ed Hunt: They went through the process and the outcome has not been favorable for them. What more can be said.

Richenburg: I am in total agreement with everyone and the selectmen with what they said. This has gone on too long. Hopefully we will get to the end of this and get through it. It is very painful but its also very painful to think of the untruths that are coming out and I say thank you to Mr. Harrington for stepping up and for reading this tonight and for responding to the article.

Freeman Condon: If I may one of the most significant things that Mr. Harrington pointed out is the cost it has been to the people who live in Salisbury to the taxpayers here it has cost us a fortune to put up with this and it is virtually frivolous.

Henry Richenburg: Thank you again Mr. Harrington.

Harrington: You’re welcome.