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Judge postpones decision on Lawrence mayor's Boston piers

Lawrence Mayor Martin Oliner in an undated photo.

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

A Massachusetts judge Wednesday postponed a decision about whether to order Lawrence Mayor Martin Oliner to repair two damaged piers his companies own on Boston's waterfront.

Oliner is the sole manager of two companies that own a pair of piers at the Charlestown Navy Yard, piers that city and state officials say are in a dangerous state of disrepair. The Massachusetts attorney general on Aug. 1 filed a request for an injunction to order the piers to be fixed.

Suffolk Superior Court Justice Elizabeth M. Fahey heard arguments from both sides in the case Wednesday, and will bring the case back on Aug. 14, a spokesman for the attorney general's office said. The possibility of a temporary order to force the work to begin was also discussed, the spokesman said.

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

The attorney general's request for the injunction referred to the piers -- collectively called Shipyard Quarters Marina -- as "dangerous" and "a serious, ongoing threat to vessels and users at the marina, the public, and safe navigation in Boston Harbor."

Oliner has said he is working on plans to completely replace the marina, which he said will cost up to $5 million.

Vivien Li, president of the Boston Harbor Association, said the damaged piers are "a public safety issue" that must be dealt with.

"The key thing is to be sure the work is done as soon as possible," Li said. "It's clear that something needs to be done immediately."

The Massachusetts attorney general's office has also filed a lawsuit seeking more than $10 million in civil penalties from Oliner and the two companies for violating the state's Waterways Act.

Oliner, 66, was elected mayor of Lawrence in 2010. He is also a private attorney who works mostly in tax law.

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