Kristal calls report ‘irresponsible’

In a statement, Tisbury select board member says he strives for ‘equitable playing field.’

Select board member Jeff Kristal, shown here in a 2018 meeting, responded to a Times story. -Gabrielle Mannino

Tisbury select board chair Jeff Kristal has responded to police allegations he targeted a local businessman with a written statement calling The Times’ story “irresponsible.”

The response from Kristal came via email from town administrator Jay Grande, even though The Times reached out to Kristal as much as 24 hours prior to publishing the story by phone, email, and even showing up at the door of Crocker House Inn, where Kristal lives and works.

“Recently I spoke at this past town meeting about how we have become divisive on certain issues, be it the school, a town employee’s actions, or simply designating parking spots for pickup or takeout orders on Main Street. I believe in working through issues with a positive and informed attitude. I also believe that most appreciate that I am forthright in my positions and transparent, I am not wishy-washy, and have never been a fence sitter,” Kristal’s statement reads in part. “I strive to create an equitable playing field for everyone. I know that sometimes an individual might be considered a good person or well-liked in the community, and while I do not necessarily disagree, I have an obligation not to overlook any facet of local government. This includes life safety codes, parking regulations, or illicit connections to the wastewater system. Likewise, I don’t think telling town staff or departments to enforce established laws, rules, and regulations is targeting anyone, irrespective of who the individual might be. I believe the allegations by the paper are irresponsible.”

The story detailed a report written by Tisbury Police Chief Mark Saloio about his investigation, which was initially prompted by Kristal. According to the report, which was released July 5 after a public records request, Kristal approached Saloio on July 29, 2020, to report a verbal altercation with Elio Silva, owner of Bobby B’s, a takeout restaurant at 22 Main St. Kristal alleged that Silva made profane comments about the town and police, which Silva has denied in an interview with The Times.

The following day, July 30, 2020, Kristal allegedly approached a traffic officer and in profanity-laced comments told him to target Silva and Bobby B’s customers with tickets, according to Saloio’s report. Saloio met with Kristal, and told him not to approach staff directly and instead to bring any traffic complaints to him as chief.

In an interview with The Times, Silva said he was unaware that Kristal had attempted to have him targeted, but he wasn’t surprised. He called Kristal a “bully.”

The story has prompted dozens of comments from readers, some of them recounting their own interactions with Kristal they also described as bullying behavior.

“I have been a resident of the Island for many years. As a resident of Tisbury, I care deeply about our community, the people that live and work here, and I am extremely honored to serve the residents of the town of Tisbury,” Kristal’s statement reads. “I enjoy helping people, working through issues to get solutions, and giving back to the community that has given so much to me. I take my role as an elected official seriously. I do my homework, and I do more than just show up at meetings. I put in time to represent the town of Tisbury 24/7. I meet with year-round residents, summer residents, business people, taxpayers, and nontaxpayers all the time, and listen to their concerns at any time of day and night.”

The Times has attempted to ask Kristal questions on multiple occasions since one of his former colleagues, Melinda Loberg, alleged that Kristal attempted to keep quiet the issue of illegal pumping of groundwater from the Mansion House into the town’s wastewater treatment plant. He hasn’t returned calls, texts, or emails.

“Concerns that mean little to someone living off-Island but is what gives us the quality of life we enjoy here on-Island,” Kristal’s statement continues. “Parking issues, speeding concerns, blight, noise, and how to navigate the red tape of a permitting process. I make no excuses for being proactive and speaking directly, and have always been respectful and empathetic. I am goal-oriented, and will push to see that things get done. I have tried to improve the safety and quality of life we enjoy here in our community.”

Kristal concludes, “I respect the process in which my jurisdiction, duties, and responsibilities fall. I do not believe my view varies very much from others that have been elected or appointed that are committed to public service.”

The statement comes just two days after the board held a special meeting to appoint Christopher Habekost as interim police chief, a move that hastened Saloio’s departure. Saloio had announced his retirement effective Nov. 5.

In a Friday afternoon telephone interview, Grande shed little additional light on the subject. Grande had previously been consulted by Saloio on the parking matter, but he allegedly told the chief to talk with Kristal directly, according to Saloio’s report. Grande told The Times he was unaware of any ethics inquiry into Kristal. 

“My sense — it in all likelihood did not rise to the level of an ethics violation,” Grande said. He indicated the town clerk would be among the town officials the commonwealth would inform if one was afoot. Town clerk Hillary Conklin couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Asked how the town itself might investigate an elected official such as a board chair, Grande said, “That’s a good question. I would have to consult with town counsel on that.”

Asked why he conveyed Kristal’s statement as opposed to Kristal doing it himself, Grande said, “He forwarded it to me to submit it to The MV Times.”

Grande was asked why he had not initiated an inquiry himself, based on the possibility of intimidation or a coercive act: “I don’t think it rose to that level, based on my conversation with Chief Saloio. If it did, I assure you, Chief Saloio would have followed through.”

Grande also said human resources coordinator Pam Bennett would have informed him of something meriting such an inquiry. Bennett couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. 


Reporter Rich Saltzberg contributed to this story. Story updated to include comments from Grande.


  1. Jeff Kristal is a bully who is only out to serve his best interests, and the best interests of those that will benefit him. He needs to go.

  2. Hang in there Mr Kristal. You are a Selectmen and have the absolute right to speak to anyone on the police force and suggest they enforce the laws. Would it be better to go to the Chief?–Yes but those folks all work for you and are accountable to you indirectly. Dont let them bully you for being aggressive in doing your job. First they said illegal, then some said chain of command and finally someone said simply unethical. No one can adequately describe what the fuss is all about.

    • Andrew perhaps next time Jeff will answer the door and not hide from the press. As if he did in a timely fashion none of this may of been put in print. If you are open an honest like Jeff said he is then no need not to answer your door.

    • ANDY– I can adequately describe what the fuss is all about.
      An elected official personally targeting an individual citizen, and bringing the power of his office to bear upon that citizen.
      Let me add to the list you cite above–
      Abuse of power..

  3. Please, Kristal was so disrespectful to my family and I that his mocking, unnecessary comment calling out to us after he rejected our plan for a screened in porch has become a shorthand to us for that kind of bully behavior from officials with power. “Enjoy your deck!” Enjoy yours, JK. And please save the town the aggravation and resign.

  4. I detect a typical bully response ” it’s irresponsible “fake news”” to report a story that is unflattering to the bully.
    But Mr. Kristal is missing an important piece of deflection tactics– he needs to directly try to defame Mr. Silva.
    A bit difficult, as Mr. Silva is a responsible, well liked business man who has been doing a great job of providing services to the Vineyard for years.
    But, trump managed to convince somewhat educated people that Dr Fauci is an idiot.
    Perhaps Andy can give some advice to Mr. Kristal about how to spin this one.
    But he seems to be trying pretty hard– he is at least using some of the right words–
    “I believe in working through issues.”
    ” I am forthright in my positions and transparent,”
    ” I also believe that most appreciate that I am forthright”
    ” I am not wishy washy ”
    “an equitable playing field for everyone.”
    “I make no excuses”

    Kristal’s rhetoric is much more P.C than the bully we voted out of office in November, but somewhat along the same lines..
    An apology might help..

      • Ms Scott, exactly how have you determined that Dr Fauci is much worse than an idiot? Are you an anti-vaxer specifically regarding the covid vaccine, even though you recognize the damages from Fox News?

        • No, because Fauci has been wrong on everything and loves to appear on tv shows and give misdirection and many people here on MV worship at his feet. Double masking while vaccinated is laughable and that is only one of his many goofs.

          • ENGELMAN, there is a big difference between respect and worship of a person. You seem unaware that people don’t worship Dr Fauci. The religious right, however, worships Trump as a Chosen One, but excuses his unethical, immoral, unchristian, anti-democracy, and inept behavior as “human”. Ignorance of how science works and how scientific data are collected, especially in a situation of a novel coronavirus, (along with issues with reality and facts), can lead to mocking what one simply doesn’t understand because it upsets what they have worshipped as their “truth”. Throughout history, religious fanatics have especially ridiculed knowledge science-based reality as factual knowledge expanded. Some people couldn’t let go of the growing proof that the earth was not flat nor was it the center of the universe. I’m afraid it is your comment that is laughable. “Wrong on everything” when it comes to coronavirus is more suitable to every single one of your posts on the matter since the beginning of the pandemic.

            Here’s who you and Ms Scott are okay with mocking and deciding is “much worse than an idiot”.

        • Ms Scott, you failed to answer a direct question. How do you call a leading epidemiologist “worse than an idiot”? The only people who think such a thing are anti-vaxers, Trump supporters, and right wing religious cults that don’t have a relationship with either science or truth. After your rants last week about required vaccines for Howes House staff, and now this week, with such scorn for the expert doctor who has advised 7 Presidents on national health matters including epidemics, but who you call “worse than an idiot”, you certainly make yourself sound like an anti-vaccine person. Your anger last week about vaccination requirements for HH staff makes sense now. And it certainly is all connected, since you decided to make the statement about “Tony Fauci” in this thread. The truth always becomes apparent, you know.

  5. Am I understanding this correctly?

    Jeff gets upset because a business owner parks his car on Main Street for six hours without a ticket. He tells the police dept to enforce parking rules, and he’s called a bully for it?

    Why are we upset about Jeff asking for the laws to be enforced? Isn’t it ideal for the limited parking available for all the shops on the street can be shared by everyone.

    • Your short story is incomplete.
      A smart Selectman would not directly bring a concern of a competitors parking directly to the police.
      Jeff Kristal is a damn dumb Selectman.

      • I think the right answer is to handle this officially, not personally.
        Put the issue of nonenforcement of parking rules on Main Street on the selectmen’s agenda.

        Most likely the selectmen could send a letter to the police chief with a request to enforce all parking rules and report back to the select board.

        I don’t think it is appropriate for a selectman to take it on himself to give orders to a member of the TPD. A police officer can’t walk into Town Hall and give orders to Ms. Kral.

        BTW, why do people keep bringing up Trump up in these and other threads about local issues??

        • People bring up Trump and his Big Lie and his millions of other lies (that many islanders believe) because everything is connected. For instance, Ms Scott, your statement about Dr Fauci being “much worse than an idiot” in this thread, brings a greater understanding to another thread when you angrily would not agree that a vaccine mandate for staff at Howes House is in the best interest of the community’s health. You sing the same tune as Tucker Carlson RE vaccine mandates.

          • Ms Scott, yes, I’m on the topic of you calling Dr Fauci “worse than an idiot” in this thread, and how connected it is to you being against vaccine requirements for Howes House staff last week. Fortunately, you don’t get to dictate what I write in my comments.

          • JMD: Your constant off-topic fight picking with me (and others) is becoming offensive harassment. I feel that your comments should be moderated.

          • Ms Scott, everyone’s comments here are already moderated. You made a public (off-topic) statement here that “Tony Fauci is much worse than an idiot” and when I ask you about such an outrageously wrong statement, you whine that I’m harassing you? Sounds to me that you’ve let slip an anti-vaxer approach to covid but now wish I hadn’t noticed or asked you for a follow up. I also even provided a link which should convince any thinking person that Dr Fauci is far from idiotic. Why not explain yourself? Why do you object to Dr Fauci? Why do you object to required vaccines for those who work around our vulnerable elderly? Why comment here if you don’t want people to think about and respond to what you’re saying?

  6. So let me get this straight, the adult town selectmen gets in an argument with a business owner. The business owner goes about his business and the selectman runs straight down to the police Department and tattles on the business owner, and adds the caveat that the business owner said something negative about the police. This is clearly an attempt to goad the police into ‘action’. This also shows a rather disturbing side of the adult selectman, he didn’t win his argument so he’s going to tattle-tale… extremely childish behavior.
    Then we need to look at the idea of Kristells transparency. Where is this transparency? The statement he released was through the Grande… no transparency there.
    Above that we have Kristell hiding in his house, refusing to speak with several mild mannered reporters. Having young hired help stating he won’t come to the door. More lack of transparency. So much for 24/7 availability, don’t make any more of a mockery of the situation. I’m sure when the press catches up to Kristell, he won’t, he will take the 5th and run home.
    Essentially the town is being ‘lead’ by a large, childish bully who hasn’t got his way.
    Kristell needs to resign before he is prosecuted and let the town recover from his self placating, self serving non-sense. As always he protests far too loudly for one who is innocent.

  7. Why is kristal still a selectman? The town government is mired in suspicions of malfeasance. Another hint of thuggery should demand his expulsion

  8. I see Kristal has employed the old “Make Tisbury Great Again” (MTGA) defense, taking credit for the “quality of life” we enjoy in Tisbury.
    I may have missed this, in between those self-serving declarations of “irresponsible”, I did not see “untruthful” at all.
    With Kristals statement serving as a confirmation of all the allegations, where do we go from here?
    Grande, grousing about his Florida vacation interrupted by these headlines, is defending the indefensible. Should anyone be surprised?
    The embarrassment of this whole matter during the 350th anniversary of Tisbury, will earn all of them an interesting place in history. Only the MV Times, who courageously and tenaciously pursued this matter of public interest, will be remembered favorably.
    The whole BOS, Saloio, Grande, Kristal’s apologists and sycophants (Engleman, Gallas, et al) will have achieved nothing but a black stain on this 350th year.

  9. I didn’t hear any kind of denial, just an attack for reporting it. Bullies gonna bully.

  10. George, If you keep digging into this and reporting `ALL` the other questionable issues involving Tisbury’s selectman and the other VH departments actions I will definitely pay the yearly online subscription fee and very possibly get involved as I did several years ago when we had major / serious Tisbury issues.
    Although the Gazette is `free` online they are way to bias and they have a special censorship department that works full time.

    Jeff, we have public records laws / requests, don`t force us flood the selectman’s office with the requests.
    You have me on your speed dial lets get this all open and squared away our town and us taxpayers have suffered enough and I am getting broke & pi$$ed!
    **Remember Sawyer**!

    • Sarah, voted out only is the easy way out got them. They should also be personally sued if legally necessary and possible.
      Other personal from our town have sued us. Thing is our town has to somehow collect from the people who were the reason VH lost all those lawsuits.
      To my knowledge all insurance policies go up when claims are paid and if the premiums go up that comes out of our pockets in taxes if that works like all my insurance company`s work ~ my home, car etc.

    • Agreed. We may demand his resignation until we’re blue in the face, but no way to budge him until next year’s election.

      “I’m not Jeff Kristal” isn’t enough.
      We need a candidate on an ANTI-CORRUPTION platform, with a SIGNED PLEDGE to veto extension of Grande, veto ALL NEW HIRES OR APPOINTMENTS AT TISBURY POLICE, and clean up DPW.
      I will, WE will, knock on doors for such a candidate, get emails & spread info outside the supermarket, & wave signs & honk like crazy at 5 Corners.
      And we will SWARM on Election Day.
      Need a ride?

      Pack your ****, pigs.

  11. Donnie, your explanation is inadequate. An elected official may bring the power of his or her office upon a citizen if that citizen is breaking the law. There is no abuse of power–NONE. Would it be an abuse of power for Kristal to ask the police to arrest a man who spray painted his INN with graffiti?

  12. Andy– I would agree with you if he had ever requested the police enforce an apparently unenforced law against anyone else.
    Lets pretend I was a police officer, and I saw your car idling while you were in church, and I saw 4 of my friends cars idling while they were in the puff and pass pot paraphernalia shop.
    If I decided to only give a ticket to you, and let my friends slide, you might not think that was very “equitable”.

    • Donnie so its equity in enforcing the law that bothers you? You dont like selective enforcement. He didnt see anyone else breaking the law on parking spots , he saw only Silva. You logic is getting weaker all the time. Sometimes people break the law and get away with it. Does that mean we shouldnt enforce if just a few get indicted?

  13. Corruption is a two edged blade. If you benefit from the corruption, that’s one thing, but there is always the other side, the people who suffer from corruption. Those above that support Kystal are mostly the benefactors of a bulling corrupt politician, or are blind to what has been happening.

  14. Andy– tiny donnie jr, seems to agree with you about the “just a few” thing– and for good measure, you should not be prosecuted if you are old.

    “they’re going to charge a guy who’s 75 years old on crimes of avoiding paying taxes on a fringe benefit.”– even tinier donnie jr

    Allen Weisselberg pleaded not guilty in Manhattan Supreme Court to charges of tax fraud, conspiracy, grand larceny and falsifying business records. Prosecutors say Weisselberg and the company concocted a 15-year scheme to compensate the CFO and other Trump Organization executives “off the books.”

  15. Congratulations to all the mental midgets who help Mr. Brennan sell the paper.

  16. Since COVID closed the Katherine Cornell theater to town meetings and zoom is at large. We have been really unable to watch, in the flesh, our select board in action.

    Inplied bullng and actual bulling should be noted and brought before the town and the state governance. If there wasn’t such apathy to volunteering and participating in town government maybe those that complain could find moral superior beings to manage the idiosyncrasies of small town politics.
    This is not a note of approval or disapproval to what goes on in Tisbury. Rather its time for everyone to participate and not just use the M V Times as a soap box.

  17. Does it ever occur to any of you that you comment too frequently in the comments section, of nearly every article, about anything!?

    We all read them because it is comical to see some of your silly bantering. The comments are the best part of the MVTimes, but they do not put some of you in a good light. I’m talking to you Don, Andrew, Albert and Jackie. And a few others.

    Give it a rest. Every thought in your head does not have to be expressed publicly. Less is more.

  18. Vicki I am the only conservative on the island and you need someone to hold up the truth against the ramblings of liberals who are always wrong. I do agree with you though that I have little self restraint but its is because there are so many fooish ramblings on this post I am compelled to parry.

  19. And there you are Andrew. Again. Here are some gems that appear NOW, at this moment, on the Times site from you.

    ANDREW: “Yes but those folks all work for you [Kristal] and are accountable to you indirectly.” RESPONSE: Incorrect. No town employee works for Mr. Kristal or any other selectman, directly or indirectly. They work for the town residents/taxpayers. And police officers report to the Chief of Police, not Mr. Kristal. He is not found anywhere in their chain of command.

    ANDREW: “Who cares about a missing pistol anyway?”
    RESPONSE: People who are killed by gun violence and their families care. And most everyone else too, as it is reasonable to care who has the glocks.

    ANDREW: “Entire cities were defaced and burned down and shops looted last year and some of it continues and you folks are concerned about one sign.”
    RESPONSE: People are not concerned about the MVBLM sign, as it is just a symbol. They are concerned about the hate that was spewed in the act of defacing that sign. People are also concerned about the violent insurrection that occurred on January 6 against our Capitol, a symbol of our democracy, but I suspect you are not. Just a guess.

    Again, give it a rest. We get it, you are a right wing Fox news watcher. Good for you. I doubt that other conservatives on the island have appointed you to speak for them, and I suspect many of them find your defense of the conservative point of view embarrassing. You are hereby relieved of duty. Go to the beach.

    • Vicki, if my comments annoy you to this point where you’re going to contribute your views so straight-forwardly, you’ll hear no excuses or complaints from me. You’re a breath of fresh air, in my view. Hope you’ll stick around and write more.

  20. Ms Divoll, I am afraid we disagree. Kristal is in the chain of command. He chose the Police Chief. The Chief of Police reports to the Selectmen. If Kristal is not in the chain of command why would anyone object to his going to the police and asking them to ticket? Yes missing guns is an issue but this particular gun was handed around by police and was in no danger to fall into the hands of the criminal class. As for the BLM sign, yes it was defaced but symbolism is not more important than substance and racism and hate provided the destruction of many of our cities last year and I consider that more important than a BLM sign. This post was not about Jan 6. I am not speaking for other conservatives just for myself. Do you object to free speech on these pages. Is it thoughtful of you to label me a right wing Fox news watcher? I have never indicted you on anything. As for democracy, I value it more than most having escaped from Communism and being a refugee and displaced person for 19 years.

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