AUGUSTA — The city of Hallowell has sued a downtown business owner to seek cleanup of junk around and atop his building and fines for leaving it there.

The civil lawsuit against Robert Dale, filed Monday in Augusta District Court, says Brass & Friends, his antique shop at 152 and 154 Water St., is an unlicensed junkyard and violates a city solid waste ordinance. The first court hearing in the case is set for July 15.

It’s only the latest go-round between the city and Dale, who has been cited for numerous problems in Hallowell dating back to the 1990s and recently has run into trouble at his other antique store in Fairfield. His property sticks out in Hallowell’s busy downtown because of its appearance and the gargoyles that sit atop the building.

“There’s been concerns from citizens for years about the safety and structure of the building and the appearance of the building,” Mayor Mark Walker said.

Hallowell took Dale to court in 2009 after it said he violated an agreement to tear down crumbling buildings on Second Street. He eventually cleared the property, but it cost the city $75,000 in legal fees. Fairfield got a court judgment in December forcing him to pay nearly $30,000 in penalties and other fees after he was ordered to clear debris and fix code violations at his U.S. Route 201 store.

The latest Hallowell case could leave him paying more. State law allows for a judge to assess daily fines — a minimum of $100 and a maximum of $2,500 — for the violations Dale is accused of, and the city first notified him of the potential solid waste violation on Aug. 20. However, Walker said the city just wants to see the property cleaned up and have legal costs covered.


The August letter from the city to Dale said there was scrap lumber, metal, old furniture, bricks and appliances on Dale’s roof, decks and behind the property along Front Street. A cellphone number for Dale wasn’t functioning Thursday. Walter McKee, who has represented Dale in the Fairfield case, said he wasn’t representing him in the Hallowell matter.

Walker said Dale has taken initial steps to clean up since August, including boarding up a window facing Water Street and taking some outside junk away. Still, City Manager Michael Starn has said Dale “has been extremely difficult” throughout the process with calls going unanswered and certified mail refused, so Walker said the lawsuit “had to be done” to achieve the city’s goals.

Michael Shepherd — 370-7652

[email protected]

Twitter: @mikeshepherdme

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