Council Delays Street Vote Pending Airing of Condo Complaints

Failed Bank President, Builder Must Wait for Hearing

A proposal before the Haverhill City Council to accept two private streets at a condominium development as public ways is on hold for at least two more weeks.

Councilors last night postponed a public hearing on the acceptance of Magnavista and Perspective Drives, which both would connect to a city sewer system near Gile Street and require taxpayers pay for future maintenance and repair costs. Haverhill City Council Vice President Robert Scatamacchia told WHAV he will wait for more information before voting, as conditions are being placed by the Haverhill Planning and Engineering departments.

"I know there were several complaints over the course of time by some of the condo owners there. I think it's probably a better idea to wait before we make any judgements on whether or not that's a good idea or not," said City Council Vice President Robert H. Scatamacchia.

The public way request is coming from developer Magnum Partners LLC manager John H. Pearson Jr., a former bank president with the failed Butler Bank, Lowell. Pearson was banned from banking in 2011 and fined by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for his role in that bank's failure.

Stephen J. Doherty, of Haverhill, is listed as a member of Magnum Partners. He is also manager of SJCD Realty Investment Group LLC, associated with the troubled 172-unit condominium project behind Bradford College. Brady Sullivan Properties, Manchester, N.H., later took over the property.

The Massachusetts secretary of state listed SJCD as a manager of Bradford V Development, Bradford College developer.

In 2004, Merrimack Towers LLC was created and then managed by Pearson. It received Haverhill City Council and Zoning Board of Appeals permission in 2006 to construct 183 multi-family housing units at the former Ornsteen Heel manufacturing site on Railroad Avenue. The city took possession of the property earlier.

During a city council hearing Aug. 22, 2006, Doherty testified in favor of the Merrimack Towers’ bid.

When the project did not commence the city began looking for a new developer last year. Merrimack Towers LLC was dissolved in 2009.

Acceptance of the Magnavista and Perspective Drives requires taxpayers to pay all future maintenance and repair costs, including utility work and snow plowing.