Disorderly housing hearing set for July 23

Anthony Numberg and Betty Numberg are owners of an apartment house at 3 Fowler Street in Bridgton, where numerous police calls have taken place. A hearing has been set for Wednesday, July 23, at 6 p.m. in the Selectmen’s Room of the Bridgton Municipal Complex to determine whether the Numbergs are in violation of the town’s Disorderly Housing Ordinance.

Anthony Numberg and Betty Numberg are owners of an apartment house at 3 Fowler Street in Bridgton, where numerous police calls have taken place. A hearing has been set for Wednesday, July 23, at 6 p.m. in the Selectmen’s Room of the Bridgton Municipal Complex to determine whether the Numbergs are in violation of the town’s Disorderly Housing Ordinance.

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

The battle lines were drawn in the sand Tuesday as Bridgton Selectmen set a hearing date on a Disorderly Housing Ordinance violation at 3 Fowler Street. The hearing will be held by selectmen at 6 p.m., Wednesday, July 23, in the Selectmen’s Room of the Bridgton Municipal Complex.

The owners of the apartment building, Betty and Anthony Numberg, sat in the audience as Police Chief Kevin Schofield told the board he had compiled a list of six verified and founded police calls to the property over a 12-day period in June. The ordinance requires only three such calls within 60 days as sufficient grounds for a violation.

After the board set the hearing date, Betty Numberg fought back, asking whether the hearing would confine its discussion to only the six documented calls. “Or, are people going to be embellishing on past incidents” in which neighbors called police to complain that her tenants were being disorderly, she said.

She was told that only the six incidents would be discussed. She told the board that the female tenant involved in the complaints of fighting, screaming and loud music was moving.

“She’s been evicted,” Betty Numberg said of the tenant. Then she asked the board how she would go about setting up a separate hearing to deal with “false complaints, going on and on and on with these two neighbors.” She asked, “What is my recourse as an owner about calls that are unfounded?”

New Town Manager Bob Peabody told her she should make her request in writing, and the selectmen would consider it.

In a memo to the board, Schofield listed the following calls for service, which police were later able to verify as legitimate complaints:

• June 11 — 8:10 a.m. A man and woman were yelling and arguing.

• June 16 — 11:23 p.m. People were fighting, then left the building. Police verified the fight had taken place when they caught up to the people involved.

• June 23 — 12:32 p.m. A man and a woman were engaged in a verbal argument.

• June 23 — 6:34 p.m. Intoxicated people were being loud and wrestling in the back yard. Office Matt McCormick gave them a warning on a criminal charge of disorderly conduct.

• June 23 — 7:16 p.m. An intoxicated man was yelling at people. Officer McCormick gave him a warning.

• June 23 — 8:38 p.m. An arrest was made after a call for a disturbance came in.

Several other people at Tuesday’s meeting accompanied the Numbergs, and Betty Numberg said one of them was the woman she was evicting.

The hearing on June 23 will be an evidentiary hearing, in which Schofield will testify first, then the Numbergs, then witnesses. Chairman Bernie King said the meeting might need to be held downstairs, depending on how many people attend.

The board chose a separate meeting date for the hearing instead of a regular selectmen’s meeting.

“It may get lengthy,” said Selectman Doug Taft. Selectman Ken Murphy said any resident who has had correspondence with the town about the situation at 3 Fowler Street should be notified personally about the hearing. Peabody said neighbors would be notified.

Former Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz cautioned the board not to have any communication with any of the parties involved until the hearing.

In his memo, Schofield said Anthony Numberg was sent a letter about the six calls in 12 days, and said Numberg had talked about the issue with Officers Brad Gaumont and Phil Jones.

Schofield said a neighbor of 3 Fowler Street told him Numberg had spoken with at least some tenants about the incidents.

“If this is, in fact, the case, it has not helped decrease the calls for service or disorderly behavior located at this address,” Schofield wrote. He wrote that his investigation into the matter “should establish a violation of the Disorderly Housing Ordinance.”

Schofield’s letter to Numberg was not the first time he has sent a letter. However, it does mark the first time selectmen have decided to follow up his letter with a hearing, as the ordinance allows.

Neighbors of 3 Fowler Street say tenant behavior at the building has been a problem for years, and weekly police logs indicate a high number of police calls to the address.

 

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