, Newburyport, MA

Local News

May 16, 2014

Neighborhood dispute boils over into court

NEWBURYPORT — The former owner of Caldwell Corner’s gas station, charged with threatening to run a neighbor off the road during a January dispute, avoided a six month stay in jail yesterday after a Newburyport District Court judge ruled that while the new charge violated terms of his probation, it didn’t warrant jail time.

Instead, Judge Mary McCabe ordered to extend Robert A. Germinara’s probation another six months with the condition that he avoid all reasonable contact with his alleged victim and workers inside Phil and Sons Auto repair business. His probation was scheduled to end July 28, but now will be extended until Jan. 16, 2015.

Germinara, 47, of Ashland Street, was arraigned in March on two counts of threatening to commit a crime, assault and threat to a business following the January incident. According to a Newburyport police report, Germinara became incensed when a small amount of snow was plowed from in front of Phil and Sons Auto repair and dumped on his adjacent property.

In July 2012, Germinara also avoided significant jail time after reaching a plea deal with Essex County prosecutors for threatening to kill another man, assault and reckless operation of a motor vehicle. Germinara, who formerly owned a now-defunct bio-fuel business within the city, was sentenced to six months in jail with all but 15 days suspended until July 28.

The January charges stemmed from the snow plow incident which lead to a heated discussion between the plow driver and Germinara. During the discussion, Germinara allegedly threatened to drive the plow truck operator off the road and beat him up. Police also allege he threatened a female owner of the business, saying he would run her out of business and that she shouldn’t leave the building empty at night, according to court records.

The confrontation, according to police officer Nora Duggan, was the culmination of a longtime disagreement over parking at the tip of Ashland Street as it connects to Merrimac Street. For months, Germinara had complained of cars parking in front of his home, many of which were conducting business at the nearby auto repair shop. According to the police report, the City Council had agreed to issue residential parking stickers for that area, but that at the time of the alleged incident, the vote had yet to be recorded.

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