Dateline Tewksbury, Massachusetts. Conservative columnist George Will jumped feet-first into a local dispute now gone viral – a lawsuit entitled United States of America v. 434 Main Street, Tewksbury, Massachusetts. We Tewksbury folk – and now lots of others – know that address belongs to the Motel Caswell. With a history of drug deals and domestics well-documented by law enforcement, the feds are looking to seize the motel – for what they estimate is a $1.5 million value – and split the booty of forfeiture with the local police department - maybe giving the TPD up to 80%. Will has the action in his teeth and tears apart the feds and the locals for what he calls abuse of the owners rights. He allows that this seizure would be criminal! Read his column here at the Washington Post.com.
I’ll admit that seizure of property where the owner hasn’t been charged with crimes seems unusual – to some it’s shocking. On the other hand, I do know that after years of placing clients in need of temporary housing at the very affordable Motel Caswell, a well-regarded regional agency finally stopped the placements – fearing for the safety of these vulnerable client-families. So I was very interested to read a piece in this week’s edition of the Tewksbury Town Crier – one of the Town’s two weeklies. Editor Jayne Miller reminds readers of a Crier story that she wrote back in 2009 about the Caswell problems and the extensive investigation done by both the locals and the feds. Miller takes issue with George Will’s attack on the Tewksbury Police department as only interested in the spoils of a sale and his charges of persecution by two goverment law enforcement agencies. She’s not thrilled either by his description of the Merrimack Valley as so downtrodden – past its good days – that the “Caswell” is what it can support. Whatever the consequences are for the Caswell, the local police department and the town – it’s a thorny issue for some and a slam dunk in the eyes of others. Miller’s editorial can be read here. Read a November, 2011 Town Crier article here about the law enforcement findings.
The Tewksbury Patch is also covering the story. Read the Patch October, 2011 here at tewksburypatch.com.