Updated Jan. 14
Donaroma’s Nursery and Landscaping Services, owned by Edgartown select board chair Michael Donaroma, in the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Business Park may be facing eviction.
During the Thursday afternoon airport commission meeting, airport director Geoff Freeman shared the various issues they have had with Donaroma’s Nursery and Landscaping. Multiple tenants had issues, such as business requirement negligence, inactivity, or a lack of insurance. Airport property manager Kevin Brennan had to work over several years to get things in order, according to Freeman.
“We do have one tenant that has consistently not provided us insurance on his property. That is Donaroma’s Nursery and Landscaping Services. We have been reaching out to the company on an expired insurance in July 2022,” Freeman said. “We reached out in September, November, December.”
A default letter was sent on Dec. 12, and as of Thursday there has been no response, according to Freeman. “We still have an outstanding issue of some of the company’s materials on airport property, not on his lease property,” Freeman continued. “A significant part of it has been addressed to some degree after several calls, where he was on a property that has since then been leased to somebody else.”
However, Brennan said there is still “lots of debris and material on what has been staked out as airport property.” According to Brennan, a notice of default was sent in April 2021, and cleanup began but has since stopped.
Freeman said while the airport tries to work with its tenants and understands change cannot happen instantly, “in situations like this where it’s gone too far,” working with legal counsel for an eviction if lease requirements were not being followed would be the next step.
Not enforcing the lease could potentially have a “domino effect” with other tenants, Freeman said. Donaroma has also been directly approached about the issue. “The frustrating thing is it’s time-consuming for Kevin and the airport to be going after a simple document that can be addressed within minutes,” Freeman said.
Commissioner Jack Ensor asked when a request for proposal (RFP) can be issued, although the situation is not at that stage yet. Freeman said getting more legal counsel is the approach to take at this time. “This is not something that we, obviously, do all the time, and we want to make sure that we are doing the right thing,” Freeman said.
Freeman said he did not want to go into further details at this time, since Donaroma was not present to speak for himself. “We have the basic information. Maybe we should wait and see [what] the process is with our legal group, and get an update next month,” commission chair Bob Rosenbaum said. “Hopefully, this will get resolved [to] everybody’s satisfaction.”
Donaroma was not immediately available for comment.
In other news, the commission unanimously approved signing an American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant agreement with Dukes County. The airport is looking at replacing its control tower and planning a terminal upgrade feasibility study.
The commission plans to look into creating a scholarship fund in the name of Doug West, who passed away in December. West was the husband of MV Times proofreader and private pilot Irene Ziebarth.
The commission approved Oct. 13 executive session minutes in a 5-0 vote. However, the commission voted not to release them publicly yet. Ensor abstained because he had not had a chance to read them. The executive session was held “to discuss [strategy] with respect to litigation regarding PFAS” with individuals relevant to the issue, including Tetra Tech vice president Ron Myrick, and the legal team from Boston-based law firm Anderson & Kreiger.
A previous version of this story misidentified Doug West as a private pilot. Irene Ziebarth is the private pilot.