Why Did Salisbury Refuse to Cash $15K Check from Tomaselli Sisters?

Copy of check made out to the Town of Salisbury from the Tomaselli’s A note stating “not to be cashed” was written on bottom and it was never returned to them. The Tomaselli’s say they were escorted out of town hall by police on another occasion for trying to give the town another check for more than $700.

By: Tom Duggan – December, 2013

tomaselliIn the ongoing battle between the Town of Salisbury and the Tomaselli sisters over the Town’s efforts to take their property, Town Manager Neil Harrington recently attacked the Tomaselli sisters at a Board of Selectmen Meeting saying that the sisters are trying to get out of paying their taxes, and hadn’t paid their taxes in more than a decade.

In response to a Valley Patriot story about the town’s actions last September, Harrington said:

“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.”

What Harrington didn’t tell the taxpayers was that in 2002 the Tomaselli sisters met with prior town manager Tim McInerney.

McInerney agreed that the town made many errors in the case, and both parties agreed that the balance would be paid in full pending the Department of Revenue removing the interest.

The Tomaselli sisters had purchased their property after the Salisbury sewer project in 1991. The Salisbury sewer project began in 1982 and was completed in 1989.

The Tomaselli sisters tried to pay the balance of their taxes in full (in 2002), but town officials refused to cash their check. This resulted in the sisters accruing more interest on their debt to the town, and ballooning up their payments due.

The sisters handed over a check in the amount of $15,492.04 to bring them current, allowing them to obtain their restaurant licenses to reopen Mangia … a Café-Restaurant on the property in dispute.

In total, from 1991 to the present, the Tomaselli sisters show receipts that they have paid the Town of Salisbury more than $58,700.85 since they purchased their property.

Videotapes of board of selectmen meetings dating back to May 10, 2004, show that Town Manager Neil Harrington stated he had the Tomaselli’s uncashed $15,492.04 check in a folder in his office.

On the videotape, Selectman Henry Richenburg said, “if the Tomasellis have been wrongfully charged, then we should go back on that.”

Selectman Tony Papoulias said “it is not right for these people to go through this year after year… there is something wrong here.”

Selectman Hunt said at the time, “if it isn’t right it should be fixed.”

The Valley Patriot first started poring over documents on this case back in 2011, and after two years of researching documents, wrote our first story in September of this year.

The following month, Town Manager Neil Harrington spoke about our story “The $80 Million Lie”, showing he had full knowledge of our reporting, but as of the day we went to print (December 9th), Harrington has never provided The Valley Patriot with any documents showing any of our reporting was “wrong” or “incorrect”.

Since Harrington is a loyal reader of The Valley Patriot, our editors continue to encourage Town Manager Harrington to provide documents to us showing the entire cost of the sewer project and any other documents he feels would tell a more complete story.

As of December 10, 2013, the morning this paper went to print, The Valley Patriot has yet to receive any documents from Neil Harrington or anyone from the town.

Previous stories on The Salisbury Controversy