By Robert Slager/ [email protected], Wareham Bulletin
Mary Jane Pillsbury sat with stone-faced defiance Tuesday night, waving off her inquisitor with a dismissive sweep of her hand before a single question had been asked.
"I have no comment," said the selectwomen, her voice dropping to a low grumble.
But there was a question that needed to be asked, a question that needed to be answered. Last week the Wareham Bulletin broke a story describing how Pillsbury apparently committed an ethical violation while she engaged in battle with a business competitor several years ago. STF Enterprises of Brockton is now suing the selectwoman and her husband for $1 million in damages, claiming Pillsbury used her political influence to prevent its company from opening up a self-storage facility in Wareham.
The case will go to trail at Plymouth Superior Court in July.
According to her own attorney, Pillsbury paid for an appeal for some abutters following a zoning board decision that would have allowed STF Enterprises to construct a 68,000 square-foot facility at 3128 Cranberry Highway. Charles and Mary Jane Pillsbury own Community Mini Storage of Wareham Inc., located at 2370 Cranberry Highway.
Two others members of the board of selectmen - Bruce Sauvageau and Brenda Eckstrom - suggested that Pillsbury, who also serves as library director, step down as selectwomen until the matter has been resolved.
They got their answer during Tuesday's selectmen meeting.
"My presence here tonight should give you your answer," Pillsbury told the Wareham Bulletin.
It did. Unfortunately, it was the wrong one...
Read the rest of this Wareham Bulletin editorial calling for her resignation here, and comment below
STF Enterprises suing Pillsbury
$1 million suit alleges she is trying to block competition
By Joao Ferreira, Standard-Times staff writer
Mary Jane Pillsbury is being sued for $1 million for allegedly trying to block competition with her self-storage business.
Mrs. Pillsbury, a Wareham selectman, is president of Community Mini Storage at 2370 Cranberry Highway. Her husband, Charles, is the treasurer.
The Zoning Board of Appeals last year gave STF Enterprises Inc. of Brockton a variance and special permit to build a 68,000-square-foot storage facility at 3138 Cranberry Highway.
But a group of neighbors decided to appeal the board's decision in Superior Court.
A suit filed by STF in Superior Court on March 4 alleges that the Pillsburys offered to pay the attorney fees on that appeal.
"We're claiming that the Pillsburys and Community Mini Storage have unfairly and improperly interfered with our right to develop that land," said Robert Kraus, attorney for STF. "Our concern is that we've been wronged. We'd like to have these issues redressed."
Mrs. Pillsbury said she hasn't paid any fees for the abutters but believes that if she did, it would be legal. She also said that any attempt to connect the case to her position as a public figure is groundless.
"I in no way used my office of selectman for anything to do with my business or my husband's business," she said. "This whole situation really can't be linked to me being a public official"...
Read this Standard-Times story about the suit here.