WESTERLY — The proprietor of 4 Misquamicut companies has secured Licensing Board approval to open later this yr however officers say they are going to be protecting a detailed eye on his operations. In the meantime, the businessman faces a $135,000 Municipal Court docket superb associated to a lighted signal put in on the entrance of his motel.
On Thursday, the Licensing Board voted 4-1 to enter right into a consent settlement with Eugene Arganese and his Gene Properties Restricted Legal responsibility Firm as a situation for renewal of his enterprise licenses for his Sandy Shore Motel and Gino’s By the Seaside restaurant, each on Atlantic Avenue, and a car parking zone he runs on Winnapaug Street. The settlement additionally pertains to the Ocean Bar, which is on the motel premises.
Board members expressed frustration with Arganese and hesitancy to approve the settlement.
Dylan Conley, the board’s lawyer, really useful the board approve the settlement as a way to extra carefully regulate Arganese’s companies and to assist construct a report of incremental self-discipline for a businessman who has drawn the eye of city and state officers quite a few instances over the last 10 years. A vote to not renew the licenses may not survive a choose’s scrutiny, Conley stated, if Arganese appealed to Superior Court docket.
The Ocean Bar, Conley stated, was cited in September for violating a number of COVID-19 rules imposed on bars and eating places by the state. Conley additionally described elements of the dispute over the lighted signal on the entrance of the motel and stated Arganese would quickly reply to a contempt of courtroom cost associated to the signal. In November, Decide Sarah Taft-Carter ordered Arganese to take away the signal inside 30 days after upholding the Zoning Board of Evaluate’s denial of an indication allow. Arganese makes use of the signal to advertise motel room charges.
Along with the signal and failure to abide by the COVID-19 rules, unregistered autos have been discovered at Arganese’s property and he has obtained complaints about trash administration and disposal of cooking grease, Conley stated.
“The code enforcement officer has introduced to me a story with 20 separate incidents — eight throughout the previous two years,” Conley stated.
Different incidents that Conley didn’t point out embody failure to abide by an settlement with the city to limit the Ocean Bar to motel patrons and failure to acquire permits from the state earlier than establishing the outside bar.
Paul Gencarella Jr., the board member who voted towards getting into into the settlement, stated he couldn’t approve it in “good conscience.” The board has a historical past, Gencarella stated, of merely “slapping [Arganese] on the wrist.”
“It does not depart a superb style in my mouth to grant a renewal, particularly with the open courtroom dates. How may we approve it with what was introduced to us?” Gencarella stated.
William Nardone, Arganese’s lawyer for the licensing points, stated the scenario has “served as a wake-up name” for Arganese and that his shopper deliberate to pay nearer consideration to the operation of his companies. Nardone additionally defended Arganese, saying he believed most of the allegations made towards him had been anecdotal. Arganese, Nardone stated, shortly introduced the bar into compliance with the state COVID-19 rules and handed a second inspection.
“That is primarily based upon greater than a month of negotiations … that is the conclusion we’ve reached. It is a important penalty that Mr. Arganese would face for any explicit confirmed violation,” Nardone stated, referring to the consent settlement.
Underneath phrases of the settlement, Aragenese would face a 21-day license suspension for particular violations if after issuance of a discover of violation and a listening to the board decided the violations occurred and weren’t remedied inside three days of issuance of the discover. Potential violations topic to the settlement are unregistered autos, violation of zoning signal requirements, violation of trash and waste administration requirements, and failure to abide by COVID-19 rules. If the board discovered different violations occurred, Arganese could be topic to a 10-day suspension and would waive the best to enchantment the penalty.
Board member Mary Belanger stated she was reluctant to approve the settlement.
“I get the sensation that Mr. Arganese feels that he’s above the legislation — that he doesn’t must adjust to something and all people else has to so he’s in search of a move,” Belanger stated.
Daybreak Robinson, a board member, stated she would approve getting into the settlement for one purpose. “I don’t agree with the best way that he runs the enterprise. The one means I’d vote for it’s because” of the 90 workers who Nardone stated work for Arganese, she stated.
The signal dispute dates again to no less than 2009, when Arganese was cited for having an improper lighted signal. He and the city finally entered right into a court-sanctioned settlement that included a provision prohibiting Arganese from changing the signal with a brand new one. The city argues Arganese did precisely that in 2017, however Arganese claims he merely repaired the previous signal.
A listening to on a movement to search out Arganese in contempt of courtroom is scheduled for later this month earlier than a Washington County Superior Court docket choose. An identical dispute associated to the identical signal is enjoying out in Municipal Court docket. The city agreed, below its most up-to-date provide, to cut back the superb Arganese has to pay to $135,000. The city maintains the superb could be a lot bigger if it was calculated on the $500-per-day fee it says could possibly be utilized.
Louis Cappuccio, the lawyer who represents Arganese within the signal circumstances within the Superior and Municipal courts, couldn’t be reached for touch upon Friday afternoon.
Belanger, Robinson, Joseph M. Nigrelli Jr. and Licensing Board Chairman Michael Cardiff voted in favor of the consent settlement.