Falls police have no comment.
Neither does Pine Avenue Business Association Executive Director Mary Jo Zacher.
Former PABA Board of Directors member Dr. Mark Del Monte didn’t return phone calls from a reporter, while city officials say they’re not going to get in the middle of a squabble over flower pots.
Still, Zacher and PABA have filed a criminal complaint against Del Monte over what now appears to be six missing cast iron flower urns.
According to the complaint, made Wednesday by Zacher, PABA received 40 cast iron urns to decorate Pine Avenue in late 2007. The urns were paid for by the city’s Department of Community Development, using federal funding.
The urns were stored in the winter of 2007-08 at the city’s public works garage and then placed on Pine Avenue in spring 2008. In October, instead of taking the urns back to the public works garage, Del Monte, who was then the head of PABA’s Beautification Committee, suggested they be stored at a warehouse he owns in the 1400 block of Pine Avenue.
The urns were moved to Del Monte’s warehouse in October, but the Falls chiropractor left the PABA board in December and he reportedly demanded the urns be removed from his building.
In her statement to police, Zacher said the association “made several attempts to remove the urns from the warehouse, but due to the weather, it was not feasible to do so.”
In January, Zacher told police, she saw two of the urns outside of DiCamillo’s bakery on Pine Avenue and asked workers there where the pots had come from.
“They told me they got them from the Como,” Zacher told police.
When Zacher questioned employees at the Como on where the urns came from, they told her they got them from “Dr. Mark (Del Monte).” Zacher told police she called Del Monte and told him he could not give the urns to people.
The PABA exec then said Del Monte told her she was “too (expletive) stupid to take care of it, so he was” and that he “was giving away the urns.”
Zacher said she and the city’s Department of Community Development both advised Del Monte that he could not give the urns away.
Del Monte reportedly responded in a letter to Mayor Paul Dyster on March 11, writing that he “had made numerous attempts to get the association to pick up the urns, but they have not.” Del Monte wrote that he “was going to consider the (urns) abandoned and give them away.”
Dyster said Thursday that he could not recall receiving the March 11 letter from Del Monte, but Community Development Director Ron Antonucci said he told PABA, in a letter to its president Gerry Genova, “that PABA was responsible for the urns and if any are missing, PABA is responsible for replacing them.”
“Our relationship is with PABA,” Dyster said. “And we would hold PABA responsible for the urns.”
Zacher said city public works employees went to Del Monte’s warehouse “last week” and picked up 25 urns that were still there. She said she had located nine other urns at “various places,” leaving six still missing.
Reached by phone Thursday night, Zacher said she had “no comment” on the police report or the missing urns. Repeated calls to Del Monte’s cell phone were not returned.
Falls police Superintendent John Chella also had no comment on whether police would investigate the missing urns.
With the arrival of spring-like weather, Antonucci indicated the matter needed to be resolved.
“PABA is responsible for the planting of the urns and their proper placement on Pine Avenue and replacing any unaccounted for urns,” Antonucci said. “The bottom line for us is we want the urns placed on Pine Avenue and the missing ones replaced, if there are any missing.”
Falls police have no comment.