Case against Lawrence mayor's Massachusetts piers presented

Lawrence Mayor Martin Oliner in an undated photo. Lawrence Mayor Martin Oliner in an undated photo. Photo Credit: Herald Community Newspapers

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The Massachusetts attorney general's office presented its case Wednesday to force Lawrence Village Mayor Martin Oliner and his companies to fix two decrepit piers they own on Boston's waterfront, while boat owners were given an order to vacate the marina by Thursday.

Suffolk Superior Court Justice Elizabeth M. Fahey heard arguments but did not make a decision, a spokesman for the attorney general's office said. Wednesday's hearing included about 20 angry boat owners docked at Oliner's Shipyard Quarters Marina, who received two-day notices to find new places to keep their vessels.

"Now they are finally putting the screws to him, now he's, like, 'I'm kicking everybody out,' " said boat owner Ann Trollinger, 47, a nurse practitioner at Massachusetts General Hospital .

Attempts to reach Oliner, his attorney Nicholas Carter of Boston, and George A. Hall, the attorney for the companies Oliner manages, were not successful.

Attorney General Martha Coakley filed a request for a temporary injunction on Aug. 1 asking that Oliner and the companies be ordered to take steps immediately to repair Pier 6 and Pier 8 at the Charlestown Navy Yard, which city and state officials say are in a dangerous state of disrepair.

"We are all anxiously awaiting the judge's ruling, so that Mr. Oliner can begin as soon as possible to make the marina safe for all," said Boston Conservation Commission member Vivien Li. "Right now, it is a public safety issue."

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Last week, the judge issued a court order preventing Oliner from selling the piers. The temporary order also required Oliner to hire an engineer to inspect the piers and provide a report.

Oliner, 66, an attorney who was elected mayor of Lawrence in 2010, has said he is working on plans to replace the marina at a cost of up to $5 million. To do that, Oliner needs a permit from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the city's Conservation Commission, which voted in December to issue an enforcement order that could carry a fine of as much as $25,000 per day if approved by Superior Court.

After the commission found his application last month to be "deficient," Oliner submitted a revised application last week, but commission officials also determined it to be inadequate. The next filing deadline is Wednesday.

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A letter posted Tuesday on all boats docked at the piers stated the marina was closed "due to circumstances beyond its control." Owners have until 5 p.m. Thursday to remove their property from the premises. Dockage fees will be prorated and refunded "promptly," according to the letter.

Trollinger, who has lived on a 43-foot Hatteras yacht in the marina for a year, said she paid $7,000 to rent the slip for six months until October. She said it would cost about $3,000 to haul and store her boat for the winter on top of finding a place to live.

"There are no other marinas that have live-aboards," Trollinger said. "He basically made about 60 people homeless."

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