The king of no-show will apparently now have to show up at a Chelsea courthouse, as Revere fire officials filed a criminal complaint in Chelsea District Court on Tuesday against Everett State Rep. Steve ‘Stat’ Smith in the ongoing saga over his illegal apartments on Yeamans Street.
After Smith allegedly dragged his feet for a month in bringing the Yeamans Street buildings up to code, Fire Chief Gene Doherty told the Journal that he finally came in with his attorney last Thursday to straighten things out.
After a heated argument with that attorney, former Everett City Solicitor Robert Jordan, it was agreed that a new fire system would be put in and numerous changes were to be made.
On Friday, apparently, Smith took out a permit in the Revere Building Department, and was under strict orders to bring in plans on Monday.
And guess what happened?
“They didn’t show up again on Monday and we haven’t heard from him,” said Doherty. “So, we are actually in the process today (Tuesday) of filing a criminal complaint in Chelsea District Court for not following through and complying with the orders of the Fire Department.”
Doherty said that Smith was not very easy to work with, and contrary to statements Smith made in last week’s news story, he wasn’t going along with their recommendations.
“At our meeting on Thursday, he and his lawyer were trying to contest everything and after arguing about it and getting pretty heated, his lawyer did research the matter and found out we were entirely correct in our requirements,” said Doherty.
Smith also contended last week that his apartments were not totally illegal, but Revere Building officials begged to differ this week.
“I do beg to differ with him,” said Revere Building Inspector Ben DeChristoforo. “He was in violation of the number of units in the building. He had illegal units as far as I was concerned. It did not appear to be a boarding house and apartments were surprisingly well put together and probably well thought out on his end. It didn’t appear like it was something that just happened. It was a bold move on his part to try to do something like this.”
Last week, Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo issued public statements about his frustrations with Smith and how he planned to hold the state rep to a higher standard in this process. He was appalled that Smith was dragging his feet.
“My administration has taken the issue of illegal apartments and illegal rooming houses very seriously. Every week the Department of Inspectional Services receives numerous reports regarding these types of issues that impact our resident’s quality of life,” said Rizzo this week. “Every case, regardless on who may be in violation, is treated in the same manner. Taking these matters seriously, and handling them swiftly and effectively will lead to better and stronger neighborhoods.”
In late May, on a routine response by the Fire Department, Smith was found to have 24 apartments in a complex only approved for 12 apartments. Revere officials contend that Smith had 12 illegal units in the two buildings and had numerous building and fire code violations. It was one of the worst situations Revere inspectors had run across. Since that time, Revere inspectors have apparently struggled to get Smith to comply with their orders, though Smith told the Independent last week that he is doing everything asked of him.
Doherty said that after the Revere mayor’s public frustrations and Smith’s ongoing delay tactics, he had no choice but to take the matter to the courts.
“He agrees with everything we’re saying at the time, and then just does nothing,” said Doherty. “That’s how he handles everything we’ve done with him. He’s the best at confusing, delaying and confusing again.”