Police: Kristal asked officer to target businessman

Bobby B’s owner calls the Tisbury select board member a ‘bully.’

Select board member Jeff Kristal and Elio Silva had a dispute about this sign outside Bobby B's. -George Brennan

A member of the Tisbury select board was accused of using his office in an attempt to target a Main Street business owner, according to a police report obtained by The Times through a public records request.

Jeff Kristal, who was recently elected the board’s chair, reportedly approached Traffic Officer Sam Koohy on July 30, 2020, and asked him to “f______ write parking tickets in front of [Bobby B’s],” a report written by Police Chief Mark Saloio states.

According to Saloio’s report, Kristal approached him the day before, and alerted the chief to a verbal disagreement he had with Elio Silva, the owner of Bobby B’s at 22 Main St. Kristal allegedly told Saloio the dispute was over 15-minute parking signs on Main Street. 

Throughout the report, Saloio spells Kristal’s name incorrectly. The Times is putting the correct spelling in brackets when quoting from the chief’s report.

“[Kristal] stated that Elio told him ‘f___ the town of Tisbury’ and ‘f___ the Tisbury Police,” the report states. “[Kristal] stated that Elio remarked he had parked his car there for six hours, specifically to see if he would be issued a parking ticket, and he wasn’t issued a ticket. [Kristal] then stated he wanted the police to ticket Elio’s vehicle, which he reported as a ‘Tesla’ with ‘Vineyard Grocer’ markings on the side of it.”

Kristal allegedly told the chief he would email other town entities and have them look into Bobby B’s. “I informed [Kristal] that he may not want to put those types of instructions in writing via email,” Saloio wrote.

According to the report, the following day, Kristal approached Koohy and made his demand about writing parking tickets outside Bobby B’s. “Koohy stated [Kristal] told him to go after the owner of the business and to ticket his customers,” the report states. Koohy went on to inform

Saloio that he was disturbed by Kristal’s comments, and that he had previously had a similar type of conflict with him when he worked for a Vineyard Haven business. 

“Subsequently, I obtained a written statement from Koohy pertaining to his allegations,” Saloio wrote. “I also met with [town administrator Jay] Grande and advised him of this information, noting that it was a possible ethics violation. Grande did not indicate any type of clear plan or direction concerning this information. He referred me to meet with [Kristal] directly.”

Reached by phone, Silva said he’s not surprised about the allegations against Kristal. He remembered several confrontations with Kristal, whom he described as a “bully.”

Silva denies making the comments about the town and police. “I did tell [Kristal] to f___ himself,” Silva said. “He tried to bully me. He’s trying to tell me how to run my business, and I run my business.”

Silva said the disputes with Kristal have been over the outdoor seating in front of Bobby B’s and the 15-minute parking spaces. He said Kristal has pushed for longer times for parking, Silva thinks to help the Mansion House Inn. “He does what he can to benefit the Mansion House because they’re buddies,” Silva said.

This is not the first time Kristal has been accused of using his position to benefit the hotel. When it was uncovered that the Mansion House had been illegally pumping as much as 25,000 gallons of groundwater per day into the town’s wastewater treatment plant, former select board member Melinda Loberg told The Times Kristal asked that it be kept quiet to give the hotel time to fix the issue.

Kristal has not responded to phone messages or an email over two days. An attempt to talk to him at his business, Crocker House Inn, on Tuesday and Wednesday was also unsuccessful. A young woman who answered the door Wednesday said she would check Kristal’s availability, and then returned to say he would not come to the door. It’s been months since Kristal has responded to any inquiry from The Times.

Town administrator Jay Grande returned from vacation Wednesday morning, but was also unavailable. He did not return a call seeking comment.

Last August, just two weeks after his run-in with Kristal, Silva was blocked by the select board from getting his common victualer’s license at Vineyard Grocer. During that meeting, Kristal made a motion to approve the license, and then surprised his colleagues by voting no. He pointed to fire safety as his reason. Select board member Larry Gomez then joined in, saying it was a way to “prove a point” to Silva.

The issue over the common victualer’s license dragged on for months because Silva couldn’t get a final inspection done for his alarm system. At the time, Silva pointed out that the verbal altercation with Kristal was at play in how the board was handling his situation, but he didn’t know the levels Kristal allegedly went to to single him out.

“I know Jeff is a sleazebag, but asking the police to target me?” Silva said. “Other people have come to me and said they’ve also been bullied by Kristal. He’ll bully just about anybody.”

As for Koohy, Silva said he was appreciative that the traffic officer stepped forward and told the chief about Kristal’s demand. “It’s very disturbing,” Silva said of Kristal. “He always tries to use his public office for his own agenda.”

In his meeting with Saloio, Kristal denied making those comments to Koohy, and alleged that the traffic officer had a previous run-in with him while he was a manager for a Vineyard Haven business that Kristal said hired illegal workers. “I told [Kristal] that I specifically had Koohy submit a written statement, sworn under the pains and penalties of perjury, because I understood the potential seriousness of his allegations, and Koohy did so without hesitation,” Saloio wrote.

Saloio concluded his report stating that he didn’t think anything formal should be done about Kristal’s actions. “I merely wanted to make him aware of the allegations, and ask him to please refrain from approaching my staff member directly pertaining to any parking concerns he may have,” the report states.

It’s notable that Saloio’s own relationship with the town soured, and he was only offered a last-ditch one-year contract from the select board. He has decided to retire instead.

After The Times issued the public records request for the incident involving Kristal and the traffic officer, the select board scheduled a special meeting for July 7 to consider Chris Habekost as interim chief of police, despite Saloio’s original intention to remain chief through Nov. 6.




July 29, 2020: Jeff Kristal reports a verbal altercation with Elio Silva, owner of Bobby B’s, to Police Chief Mark Saloio.

July 30, 2020: Traffic Officer Sam Koohy reports to Saloio that Kristal approached him and told him to target Silva and Bobby B’s patrons for tickets.

Unspecified date: Saloio meets with Kristal to discuss the allegation by Koohy.

August 11, 2020: Silva’s other business, Vineyard Grocer, is on the select board agenda for consideration of a common victualer’s license. Kristal makes a motion to approve, but then votes no, and his fellow board members also vote no. 

June 28, 2021: The Times requests the police report about an elected official interfering with the duties of a traffic officer under public records law.

July 2, 2021: The Tisbury select board schedules a special meeting for July 7, with the appointment of Chris Habekost as interim chief the only item on the agenda.

July 6, 2021: The town releases the report involving Kristal.



  1. BLOCKBUSTER reporting! Well done, Times.

    Could it be that Tisbury town government, administration, and police department are split into warring factions?

    Who’s on whose side? Will further allegations of directing TPD to harass businesses and citizens be revealed? WHO on TPD participated in such a campaign, if true?

    Kudos to Sam for reporting this, and a tip o’ the cap to Saloio for following through. Shows integrity, and could reveal the underlying cause of Saloio’s inability to rein in rogue members of TPD.

    If this proves true, this should be enough to break Tisbury’s small town tyranny, finally PROVE the alleged corruption of the Tisbury Police Department, and force the immediate resignation of Kristal and any other potentially tainted BoS/town admin bad actors.
    If true, the Tonton Macoutes of TPD should be taken into receivership by the Commonwealth, without delay.

    Hmmmm… Has anyone at TPD formed a cozy bond w town government? Sure doesn’t seem to be Saloio. Who might it be?

    KEEP GOING, Times.

    NAMES, please.

  2. How is any of this serving the town. It’s getting worse by the day in Vineyard Haven. Lacking a true leader for sure.

  3. I think The Chief of Police should take formal action against Kristal. He isn’t above the law like he seems to think he is! Action must be taken! He IS a bully and has been for a long time. And he seems to have negative influence over the Tisbury Selectmen which cannot and should not be tolerated! Hope to have more comments about this situation.

  4. Oh my, police commissioner kristal seems to be in trouble… ignite the rat signal! It looks like he has bitten off too much cheese and has cut off the blood flow to his brain.
    Or perhaps this is just the way he has behaved since he became a member of the community. His position as a ‘leader’ now comes into serious question when he randomly attacks those who disagree with him. Perhaps he is also a part of the ongoing issues plaguing the police department, in this case it appears as though he has attempted to usurp the authority of the already inept police leadership corps. It makes one wonder if he’s willing to use parking tickets to attack individuals, in this case the whole island because everyone at some point goes to Elio’s, how many times has he demanded the police department take away parking tickets from him, his family, and his friends.
    It appears as to me that Kristal is just what everyone has characterized him as, a cruel malcontent and a bullying simpleton just like his chief of police Saloio.
    Clean up your act Tisbury, get rid of him and his stool pigeon the Grande!

  5. August 11, 2020: Silva’s other business, Vineyard Grocer, is on the select board agenda for consideration of a common victualer’s license. Kristal makes a motion to approve, but then votes no, and his fellow board members also vote no.

    I got no dog in this fight but would like to clarify the above statement: To move a motion to a vote it does not matter if it is to approve or deny a motion, once the motion is moved then it can be voted on. This is not usual in committee meetings or town meetings it is procedure. Unfortunately what is the MV Times is doing is spinning it to promote a narrative. It is unnecessary and leads to the question the rest of the story, why is it so hard for media just to report the facts without spin?

  6. We must begin the process of reviewing dealings in which Mr Kristal was a key actor either as a front man or behind the scenes actor in town business. Let’s start at Veterans Memorial Park, where indeed much needed infrastructure work is being performed yet the playing fields are not being improved or kept up. Why improve a public park towards the purpose of rental to private interests at public expense. If the improvements were to make the playing fields which the public wants and needs for their common enjoyment was the focus of the current improvements than public good would be served, not so much at this time. Sad

  7. In light of the serious nature of these allegations, perhaps Mr. Kristal should tender his resignation from the Board of Selection, and ANY OTHER TISBURY BODY ON WHICH HE SERVES, effective immediately, TODAY.

  8. There it is. Mr. Kristal did not like the turds I uncovered in the sandbox at the Wastewater during my brief time there, and managed my removal. The grounds were “failure to uphold the standards of a department head”. This is the same timeframe as the suits against TPD, collapse of the culvert on LCR, a burial at cemetery in the wrong plot, and the sinking of two town boats. Low bar, I’d say.
    Mr. Silva was getting put through the ringer at the same time Mansion House was getting kid glove treatment. That did not sit well with me, among other things I and others were seeing. My probation was extended under dubious pretext related to the pandemic. When Ms. Loberg was not re-elected, the appointing authority, BOS, was bypassed and I was immediately let go. Mr. Rogers was on record of no knowledge of my release. Before I left, I was only allowed to communicate (email, phone) outside my department with permission from head of DPW, who was filtering content at the behest of Mr. Kristal. Chief Saloio got a better deal than I for crossing up the commissar of Tisbury. Mr. Cutrer, beware, as well as Mr. Gomez. As for ex-employees of Tisbury, your brief tenures here will always be perceived, in some quarters, as a reflection on your competence. Just move on, it doesn’t matter.

  9. There used to be a time when I would log on to the http://www.mvtimes.com website, with the usual apprehension yet another scandal will drop associated with that cabal of corruption, the BOS and the TPD, but generally relieved the Constitution has been followed.
    Well today the cabal has served up yet another fresh-baked corrupt scandal, that supports the claim neither the BOS or the TPD are fit to serve.
    How soon will this corrupt matter be referred to the Cape and Islands DA office for prosecution?
    How soon will Kristal do the right thing, resign and lawyer-up for the coming prosecution, for the abuse of his office?
    How soon will Brian’s idea to dissolve and regionalize the TPD get its just due?
    Elio has invested more over the decades in making Tisbury a prosperous, thriving, well fed town than just about anyone (you are very close, JB. haha!)
    Oh to be an attorney in Tisbury now. No ambulance chasing required. Just set up a folding table outside the TPD, and watch the line form.

    • Mr Kozak Please tell us the exact nature of Kristals crime that demands a prosecution. The Selectmen have every right to tell the Police, who are their subordinates, to enforce the laws against improper parking. You may feel its selective targeting but it is perfectly appropriate. I dont if Kristal like Elio and vice versa and I dont care, but citizens telling others to obey the law is proper and citizens telling the police of an infraction is ok too.

      • Ye, demanding that your subordinate enforce parking regulations at your place of business is a ‘crime’. It is the small town who do you know kind of crime.

  10. So proud of my hometown newspaper for doing the kind of muckrakering usually found only in well funded big city papers. While most local weeklies print mostly all-the-news-that’s-fit-to-eat, the MVTimes investigates wrongdoing by the powerful — and the community is better for it. Thank you George and Rich. Sam too for doing the right thing!

  11. Thank you MV Times. Thank you Mr. Silva for speaking out. I’ve been in this position myself with Mr. Kristal and I am a Main Street business owner. I’ve seen first hand he protects his buddies and bullies people. He must go.

    • yes, Sarah, you are one among many. When I had a business on Main Street for 6 years, Mr. Kristal did everything possible to sabotage any initiative that wasn’t his own idea. When he was president of the TBA, he would offer his support, and then on the same day, sabotage me in front of the selectmen and the police chief. This was when we were trying to get Music on Main Street. He has done other things, that were treacherous, to my daughter, and my husband had to have a conversation with a police officer to give him a warning to stop the harassment. I don’t know when he became such a buddy to the Mansion House, because he hated the Goldsteins and made that very clear to me when Susie was kind enough to host a meeting of the merchants at the hotel. So I say to anyone who thinks they can get along with him, BEWARE. I hope that after all these years he gets what he deserves, banishment from public office.

  12. I think you folks are barking up the wrong tree. It is not wrong for someone/anyone to complain when cars are illegally parked(if that is true) and it is not wrong for a citizen, any citizen to go to the police and ask the police for the proper application of the law for an infraction. Kristal may be a Selectmen but he has just as much right to ask the cops to do their job as anyone else. This issue is going nowhere. Lets wait and see.

    • I am impressed by your ability to always be wrong on a variety of subjects. Kudos to you for your obtuseness.

      • Making excuses for the most blatantly unethical behavior is how the religious right functions.

    • Andrew– we can always count on you to defend a bully.
      MGL chapter 90 section 16 a states that no vehicle may remain idle for more than 5 minutes unless refrigerated ect. Parking laws also state that any vehicle that is parked and unoccupied must have the motor off. Look around on main st and notice the police ignore those laws. ..
      As a private citizen , I have asked both the police, the parking cop, and one selectmen to enforce those laws.
      Guess how far I got…?
      Of course I didn’t swear at someone and bully them.
      Is that how I should approach it Andy ? Should I just walk into the police dept. and swear at them to enforce the freaking laws ? Would that make Tisbury great again ?

      • You are making my point Keller. You have asked and it hasn’t happened but because you asked, you thought it was your right to do so.

        • Let me see if I can explain it Andrew. Every citizen has an absolute right to ASK any municipal employee or elected official to do something. There is no DIRECT recourse should nothing be done except to go to a higher authority or vote them out.

          When you become an elected official, you give up a lot of rights people take for granted. One of those rights is TELLING/ASKING a municipal employee or other appointed or elected official to do something. In this case, there is very little recourse an employee can pursue. Selectpersons are their ultimate boss and there are ramifications to one’s actions.

          I’ve seen to many times situations like this occur (Dave Thompson for one) where people that are elected have no real experience managing people and have no idea how the chain of command works. In this case Mr. Kristal should have respected the chain of command and went to the Chief with his request as the chain works both ways, up and down.

          By not doing this Mr. Kristal has abused his authority, disregarded the chain of command and acted like a power-hungry bully.
          Until an elected official respect and understand their role, inappropriate situations will continue to occur.

          • Mr Alosso you agree that Kristal could say something but he should use the chain of command. You are agreeing with me but obsessed with chain of command. Everyone on this post is against his saying anything and are not concerned about chain of command in the least. As for your chain of command argument its fine in theory but you are saying that Biden can never say anything to the undersecretary of Defense but only to the actual Secretary of Defense and that is silly.

        • Andy– you and Mr Alosso are making my point. You are making it with a somewhat incomprehensible point about my right as a private citizen to make a request that certain laws be enforced. You seem to be trying to denigrate or belittle me ( not uncommon for you ) for a reasonable request to the authorities in my town. And yes– I do have the right to request these things. They have a right to ignore my request– That’s how it works in America, Perhaps if I wasn’t a “struggling mediocre carpenter” I could pony up a few hundred thousand dollars and pay a bunch of lawyers to force the town to enforce these important environmental laws..
          But I won’t do that. You do inspire me however to get in touch with organizations that will sue the town to enforce these laws.
          Mr Alosso makes my point by mentioning the importance of proper chain of command protocols. I know them well, as I am a veteran.
          The point here is that I did not go to the police and request that they single out someone that I didn’t like. I asked them to enforce a law across the board. Blind justice , I think they call it– equitably applied, I am also not an elected official who’s primary responsibility is to protect the interest of ALL citizens.
          This is clearly an abuse of power.

          • I agree that the police should enforce the 5-minute idle law, both on Main Street and in the SSA Parking lot.
            People just ignore this, and fumes pour out of their vehicles fouling the air others breathe.

            While I’m at it, have we have that general discussion of noise in Tisbury yet? Did I miss it?

            I object to people cruising along Main Street with their car boom boxes blaring. Vineyard Haven is not Nantasket. Some adolescent people imagine they are cool dudes to blast strangers with their musical preferences. A lot more people are indulging themselves in this antisocial behavior. In fact it is TACKY, it is noise pollution and is not fair to other visitors and to residents and business owners who exert themselves to create a pleasant street atmosphere for all.

            Please, TPD, put a sign at the entrance to Main Street that informs drivers and others that the town has a noise ordinance in place, and those who play their car boom boxes at high volume will be ticketed. This is a class resort, or trying to be—not Coney Island!

  13. I’ve known Elio for almost 40 years. I cannot ever recall him cursing. Even when upset he’s always been level headed and focused. I’ve known Sam since he moved to the island and respect his judgement. Good job mv times for bringing issues to the public.

  14. Corruption has been the rule with Kristal since he started in politics. Some of us have benefited, others get the shaft. I hope someone keeps an eye on this situation.

  15. I wonder who authorized that 15 minute parking sign on a traffic cone. was that legally put there ? We still have illegally placed stop signs at the top of main street just past Owen park.
    Just because they have been there for a while doesn’t mean they are not illegal.

    • The 15-minute parking spots were approved by the select board and have been installed (if you can call a sign on an orange cone installed) by the town’s DPW. They are intended for people picking up takeout at the Main Street restaurants that offer takeout.

      • George– Thanks for the info. But I wonder about the rationale as to the placement of this “take out parking only”. There are numerous restaurants around town that offer take out, I doubt that one would be able to park in one of these spaces and get to Mikado or the waterside market, stand in line during the summer, pay for everything and be back at their vehicle in 15 minutes. Me thinks this is favoring one specific business, that some certain selectman seems to have some special connection to ..

  16. Does anyone really believe for a second that the people who are parked in front of a particular store are actually in that particular store ? I don’t know about the rest of you, but I generally do not circle the block 5 or 6 times to find a space directly in front of the store I want to go in.

  17. It is rather ironic to see one of the voices here be critical of the MV Times in reporting this important matter of public interest make this statement, “why is it so hard for the media to just report the story without the spin?”, when this same writer is on record as attending the Capitol Riot of Jan 6th, in support of The Big Lie?
    I guess by this standard, Kristal was “mostly” in compliance with the ethical requirements of his elected position?

  18. Elio Silva is one of the hardest-working and most upstanding businessman in Vineyard Haven. We are lucky to have him. Shame on Jeff Kristal.

    • Agree with you Tom. Yes, Elio is so hardworking. He also is very public spirited, doing much for the community unsung, like transporting produce for the food bank at no charge. Strikes me as not only unethical for Kristol to go after a community hero like Elio, but just plain stupid. Elio’s got a lot of the community on his side. Kristol? Not so much. Except aybe the Mansion House.

  19. VERY interesting timing for filing notice of the Selectmen meeting, just under the wire for Open Meetings law (“All perfectly legal, of course” 😉 and a very revealing agenda, with the sole purpose of coronating ‘Acting Chief’ I, Claudius, thereby giving Saloio the bum’s rush.

    He’s got a suit. At this point, who in Tisbury DOESN’T have a suit against the town and the Tisbury Police Department?!
    How much will taxpayers have to pay to settle yet MORE Inside-the-TPD-clubhouse political maneuvering? Let alone paying out for the civil rights horrors these idiots regularly subject citizens to on the streets?!

    What is the NAME of Tisbury’s INSURER?

    This MUST end. We need the Commonwealth, if not the US Justice Dept, in here investigating exactly WHAT is going on with the Town of Tisbury & the Tisbury Police. TPD is a vipers nest. They don’t need a Lieutenant, they need middle management GUTTED. There are perhaps a small handful of regular patrol officers who may be permitted to stay on, but majority of TPD staff does NOT pass Go & collect $200. Buh-BYE.

    While that’s happening, perhaps motivated citizens could voice their concerns to Tisbury’s INSURER, once the Times prints that NAME.

    We’re not taking this. We can and will show them that the anvil breaks the hammer, every time, and that the thug mentality of key players on the Board of Selectmen, Town Administration, and Tisbury Police Department will not be tolerated, and will produce dire consequences, in the Tisbury citizens’ practice of Democracy.


    Get the BROOM.

  20. Kristal is a bully. We need to purge this pernicious influence from our town. And does he now have a police chief who will do his bidding? He and the rest of his cohorts on the Board should be recalled. We don’t want a “strong man” and his cronies to be in charge of our town.

  21. I’m thinking about how the excessively vowel-ed Saloio could have misspelled “Kristal”?

    That, and how some absurd comments, making excuses for unethical conduct, remind me of how Trump bragged that he passed his “difficult” dementia test by remembering his made-up, narcissistic choice of words– in order, no less, for which he got extra points: PERSON, WOMAN, MAN, CAMERA, TV. Maybe the MV Times can institute a similar test one must pass before posting garbled garbage here.

  22. Just my quick personal opinion..
    You know Jeff dam sure wont immediately resign and I understand he is up next for re-election.
    I believe he won by a very close 30 something votes last time so for one to initiate a recall / no confidence petition which some VH citizens have experience with a recall would be totally senseless.

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