WESTBOROUGH – The Select Board has suspended the dealer’s license at Westborough Mobil at 24 East Main St.
The Select Board voted Aug. 9 to suspend the license for 30 days, meaning the owner would not be able to buy or sell used cars.
Following the period, it will be allowed to maintain its renewal status conditioned on compliance with its permits.
Select Board members voiced disappointment at what they categorized as continued violations by the station, including having more unregistered vehicles than allowed on the property.
“What I see here is a pattern of irresponsibility, and to say that [Owner Jack Azar] tries to adhere to the rules isn’t good enough. It’s his job, his responsibility as a business owner to adhere to the rules,” said Select Board member Allen Edinberg.
Azar has been operating at the Main Street location for 23 years and has a Class II sales license for used cars.
This is not the first time Westborough Mobil has been before the Select Board for alleged violations or had its license suspended, according to a 2011 Patch article.
Azar faced a complaint from the town in 2011 because there wasn’t a logbook being maintained. State law requires a used car dealership to maintain a logbook of the cars in and out.
Police say that when they inspected the station on July 6, there were seven unregistered vehicles on the property, which is one more than he is allowed.
“The vast majority, as the police department noted in their report, … are registered. They’re there being fixed because Jack runs an active repair service,” said Azar’s attorney Michael Heineman.
Heineman said there were only three vehicles unregistered when police inspected. Three of the unregistered vehicles were listed in the logbook, and police missed a fourth in the logbook, he said.
“Jack has no way of knowing if that’s an active registration or not. He doesn’t have access to the Maine database,” Heineman said.
He argued that Azar’s license wasn’t in violation. In the past, he said the Select Board and police’s position was that the station’s used car license dealt with all unregistered vehicles on the property.
‘Pattern of irresponsibility’
Among the Select Board’s comments, they argued that Maine had a publicly-accessible website to check if a vehicle is registered and insured, and it may state on the windshield or on a sticker on license plate whether the registration has expired.
Edinberg argued Azar was doing repair work to the vehicles that are sold.
“So, the repair operation is part and parcel of him being a used car dealer, and to say they’re totally separate is disingenuous,” Edinberg said.
Edinberg said in 2019 there were 54 violations.
“Some of them were so severe that his building was shut down and his operation was shut down immediately by the fire department because those violations posed an immediate threat to life and property,” Edinberg said.
At that time, the Select Board moved forward with renewing its license contingent on not finding the business out of compliance.
Recently, Edinberg drove home and saw a vehicle parked on the sidewalk on East Main Street with its hood open. He said one of the 2019 conditions was for vehicles not to be off the property and no repair work would be done outside of the catchment area.
Additionally, Edinberg described issues with other permits for hot work and flammable liquids.
“With all due respect to this business you’re running — which I’ve heard great things about the repair work [and] this is no reflection of that work — but I feel like we’re having a childlike conversation here,” said member Shelby Marshall.
She continued, “You can tell the child, ‘Don’t do it. Something is going to happen.’ Until you take the phone away, the kid doesn’t understand there are consequences to the action.”
Azar said he tries “really hard” not to let this happen. He said he has been cautious and takes his job seriously. He said sometimes he falls behind checking the registration.
“I’m sorry it did happen, but I don’t do anything on purpose,” he said.
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