The facts about David Magadini
To the editor:
I have been reading the articles regarding David Magadini and now a letter from him on October 17th. I cannot allow this incorrect statement of facts to stand.
Here are the facts: My wife, Susan Freniere, and I purchase a rental property at 10 Parley St. when we moved to Great Barrington in 2000. After our first tenants moved out in 2004, we advertised the house for rent. Mr. Magadini called Susan and she showed him the house and talked to him about his situation. He explained that although he owned a house on Christian Hill Road that it was inconvenient in winter since he did not drive.
Susan had a big heart and she was very interested in helping Mr. Magadini. She worked with him and his attorney/trustee to agree on terms for renting our house. The lease had no minimum term. We explained to him about our plan to renovate the house in 2006 for our residence after our son left for college in 2007. We agreed to several of his specific terms: two cats, a bird and a 45-day notice for terminating the lease. Susan spoke to his trustee at length about the trust and understood that there was plenty of money to pay our rent and utilities.
After Mr. Magadini had lived in our house for about a year, we visited him there to deliver the required 45-day written notice that we were terminating his lease. There was no issue of non-payment; the trustee paid the rent every month (even during the eviction process). We simply wanted to take possession so we could begin renovations so we could move in.
Mr. Magadini refused to leave so we began the process of evicting him (not for non-payment of rent). He offered many reasons for not leaving (my favorite was that he was the caretaker for the State Cat of Massachusetts and therefore exempt from eviction). After numerous court appearances over many months and $5,000 in legal fees we finally were given an eviction notice. The police department came to our house and persuaded Mr. Magadini to leave.
We asked him to hire someone to remove his belongings and he refused. We engaged a firm to remove his belongings and we paid to store them for the period required by law (I recall 90 days but it may have been longer). We called his trustee and told him where we had sent the belongings. We sent a registered letter to the trustee. We saw Mr. Magadini in town, and we handed him the letter. I know he did not contact the removal company because a few days before the holding period was ending, we were notified that the goods were being disposed of unless someone made arrangements. Susan called the trustee and was told that Mr. Magadini had not authorized him to collect the belongings. I assume the items were disposed of according to the law. We received no proceeds. There was no cart.
Once we gained possession of the house, we discovered that the house was completely trashed. For example, there were cat feces and urine throughout all rooms; all flooring was ruined, both carpet and hardwood. We engaged a contractor and spent the next year renovating the house. We moved there in May 2007. We lived there until Susan died in November 2008. I have recently sold the house and moved to Philadelphia.
In addition, in 2007 Mr. Magadini followed Susan into the Mahaiwe lobby and began shouting in her face and threatening her for “taking his house.” She reported that he was so close that her face was covered with his spittle. I was not there (probably a good thing) but several bystanders dragged him out of the lobby. She was so shaken that we went to court to get a restraining order preventing him from talking to us.
I know that many feel sympathy for Mr. Magadini. So do I, but he is homeless by choice; he has a trust fund to pay his expenses and he owns a vacant house in Great Barrington. I was told by the water department that he refused to pay his water bill because water “should be free.”.They cut off his water and the Health Department condemned the house.
Mr. Magadini’s version of the matter is simply not correct.
These are facts. I have the original lease document. I have the court filings. I have the legal bills. I have the contractor’s bills for the floors. It was not complicated; he was evicted because we legally terminated his lease and he would not leave.
Jack L. Musgrove
The writer is a former member of the Great Barrington Planning Board.