A Suffolk County judge on Thursday afternoon ordered Shipyard Quarters Marina to stop attempts to evict boat owners just a few hours short of the deadline set on notices posted around the marina earlier in the week.
On Wednesday, Suffolk County Judge Elizabeth Fahey extended a temporary restraining order against marina owner Martin Oliner forcing him to meet most of the conditions set forward by the attorney general’s office, including that he hire a professional engineer within five days of the order.
The court document also maintains that boat owners have until the end of boating season on Oct. 31 to remove their vessels, unless the section where they are docked is deemed immediately unsafe by the engineer.
After learning that Oliner planned to move forward with evictions despite the temporary restraining order, the state attorney general’s office filed an emergency motion on Thursday, which the judge granted Thursday afternoon.
See the full press release from the attorney general’s office below:
Judge Orders Owner of Shipyard Quarters Marina to Halt Planned Eviction, Take Immediate Action to Ensure Public Safety
BOSTON—The owner of Shipyard
Quarters Marina in Charlestown has been ordered by a judge to halt any attempt
to evict boats and to take immediate steps to ensure the structural integrity
of the severely dilapidated facility that has become a public safety and
environmental concern for local residents and boat owners, Attorney General
Martha Coakley announced today.
“Shipyard Quarters Marina continues to suffer from serious structural problems placing the public at risk,” AG Coakley said. “This latest action is another example of this owner dodging his responsibility to correct this dangerous situation for boat owners and the general public. Our primary concern is for the safety of the boat owners and we continue to explore all legal options. We’re also working with Mayor Menino’s Office and the MassDEP to provide services for them.”
“The owner of Shipyard Quarters Marina has continued to demonstrate complete disregard for the safety of the residents of Charlestown,” Mayor Thomas M. Menino said. “For more than a year, we have urged him to take responsibility for this property and make the necessary repairs. I look forward to working with the Attorney General’s Office to restore the marina and bring some justice for the residents who have suffered from the irresponsible actions of Mr. Oliner.”
“One year ago, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection ordered the owner of Shipyard Quarters Marina to fix the safety issues at this property,” said MassDEP Commissioner Ken Kimmell. “The owner has failed to comply. We appreciate the Attorney General’s intervention and look forward to this longstanding problem being remedied. We will closely review the engineering submissions that are required by the court order to ensure that this facility becomes safe for its users and the public.”
A lawsuit and request for a preliminary injunction against marina owner Martin Oliner of Lawrence, N.Y., Shipyard Quarters Marina, L.L.C., and LDA Pier 9, L.L.C., were filed together in Suffolk Superior Court on Aug. 1. According to the complaint, Oliner was appointed as the trustee of the Shipyard Marina Trust and Shipyard Quarters in August 2005. He is now the sole manager of Shipyard Quarters Marina, LLC and LDA Pier 9, LLC, which are also named as defendants in the Commonwealth’s complaint.
Last week, Judge Elizabeth Fahey issued a temporary restraining order (TRO), requiring the defendants to hire an engineer to assess the structural integrity of the marina. The order also effectively froze the financial assets of Oliner and his two companies.
Pending the inspections, the TRO required Oliner to make safe, if possible, a portion of the marina sufficient to accommodate remaining vessels until the end of the season. On Tuesday, however, Oliner gave boat owners 48 hours to vacate the marina. At a Wednesday hearing, the AG’s Office alleged that Oliner violated the terms of the TRO by issuing the eviction notices and requested that Oliner give owners a reasonable amount of time to locate alternative accommodations if an inspection reveals that no portion of the marina may be made safe. The AG’s Office also requested that Oliner pay their relocation costs and fully refund license fees paid for use of the marina facilities for the remainder of the season.
Judge Fahey extended the TRO indefinitely on Thursday. Despite the order, the AG’s office learned that Oliner intended to move forward with evictions, and lock owners out early Friday morning. In response, the AG’s office filed an emergency motion Thursday to halt those evictions. That motion was granted Thursday afternoon pending the outcome of another hearing which has been scheduled for Monday.
The court order postpones the use of the facility after Oct. 31 until renovations have been completed and continues the freeze on the financial assets of Oliner and his two companies.
The preliminary injunction filed would require regular inspections of the marina as work is performed and for the engineer to certify which sections of the marina are safe for vessels currently docked.
The complaint also seeks to fine Oliner $25,000 for every day that the marina’s condition violated state law, which could total millions of dollars.
The lawsuit follows inspections of the marina by MassDEP over the last year, which discovered numerous safety hazards at the marina including broken and nonexistent pilings as well as corroded electrical systems.
According to the complaint, the marina comprises piers 6 and 8 of the Charlestown Navy Yard and the section of the Harborwalk that runs on and between the two Piers. The complaint alleges that on pier 6 numerous “finger floats” and “vessel slips” used for docking boats are either twisted or missing pieces of their deck and were generally unsafe for use. On pier 8, the complaint alleges that many of the steel pilings that hold the docks in place are rusted through and that some of those pilings have already collapsed due to deterioration.
Furthermore, wooden beams and pilings that support pier 8 have allegedly suffered significant deterioration and are rotting, creating a serious safety hazard for the general public.
Representatives of the AG’s Office in collaboration with the City of Boston and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) continue to assist boat owners. Those with concerns are encouraged to call Mayor Menino’s 24-hour hotline with questions at 617-635-4500.
Assistant Attorney General Seth Schofield of AG Coakley’s Environmental Protection Division is handling this case.