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Inspector Accused of Assault

Thursday, June 23, 2016

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City building codes allegedly got personal at a meeting in Portsmouth, NH, leading to the city’s chief building inspector’s arrest on simple assault.

The Portsmouth Herald reported Monday (June 20) that Robert Marsilia, 61, was arrested and charged on May 31 in the April altercation, which took place behind closed doors at a meeting between inspectors and a group of contractors. Some contractors in the area have reportedly been unhappy with Marsilia’s tenure as inspector.

7 Witnesses

According to reports, there were seven witnesses to the altercation, and four have said that they saw Marsilia push or shake contractor David Osterhoudt.

The three other witnesses told police that they witnessed an argument or confrontation, but couldn’t confirm physical contact between the two.

The meeting came after area contractors complained, according to the Herald, that inspections have become too lengthy and expensive since Marsilia took over the building inspection department in May 2014. Previously, Marsilia was an inspector in Lowell, MA.

Cost Complaints

Some contractors told the Herald they had to pass permit costs along to property owners, raising project costs.

Before the meeting, a commissioner from the city’s Historic District Commission told the paper, "I think this could be explaining the slowdown that is happening in construction—that a lot of contractors are, quite frankly, I'll come out and say it, a lot of contractors are making the decision to not even get a building permit, that they're just going to do something, because it's easier."

'Tempers Flared'

When the group of contractors met with Marsilia and other officials, witnesses told the paper, “tempers flared, F-bombs were dropped” and Marsilia and Osterhoudt ended up chest-to-chest.

Then-Deputy City Manager David Allen told the Herald that “aggressive conversations” took place.

Police reportedly weren’t involved at the time, but Osterhoudt later filed a complaint.

Marsilia was arrested May 31 and released on $250 bail. A trial in the misdemeanor matter is set for Aug. 2.


Tagged categories: Building codes; Contractors; Government; Inspection; Laws and litigation

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