SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

March 9, 2013

Man cuffed while in court

Officials discover warrants on harassment, threats

BY JULIE MANGANIS
STAFF WRITER

---- — SALEM — A North Shore businessman who’s run afoul of everyone from the Sheriff’s Department to the register of deeds, a local judge, the attorney general’s office, and even the Internal Revenue Service — not to mention consumers — is in yet more trouble.

George Davekos, 60, who is originally from Marblehead but whose actual address is unclear, was taken into custody yesterday inside Salem District Court, where officials had just discovered he was wanted on multiple warrants, including charges of harassment, threats and larceny.

Marblehead police filed some of the charges following an incident in January, in which a resident reported Davekos was calling and threatening her over a bill for services that she says were neither performed nor requested.

That’s a modus operandi that may be familiar to other customers of Davekos, including an 89-year-old Danvers woman who last year reported to police that Davekos, who runs a business called “Landscapes by George,” had threatened to burn her house down unless she paid him for lawnmowing she had never requested.

Davekos was due in court yesterday in connection with the 2012 case and showed up late, meaning he had to wait until the rest of the cases were called before the clerk got back to his. In the clerk’s office, Davekos was visibly angry, uttering a series of expletives after an employee told him he would have to wait in the courtroom until his case was called.

Meanwhile, probation officers had found warrants for Davekos’ arrest, issued in January and February by Lynn District Court.

When his case was called again, Davekos, now addressing a judge, spoke in a softer tone as he tried to convince him that the warrants were some sort of misunderstanding.

“I was under the impression they were supposed to dismiss it,” he told Judge Michael Lauranzano.

But the warrants were marked “hold for court,” and Marblehead police were so interested in the case they showed up at the courthouse, in case they would be allowed to take Davekos into their custody.

Instead, Lauranzano ordered Davekos into the custody of the Sheriff’s Department, which will be responsible for bringing Davekos to Lynn District Court, where Marblehead cases are heard.

Davekos has faced similar threats charges in other communities.

In 2008, Davekos, who had been advertising a business called Poop Patrol, offering yard cleanups, was admonished by a Salem judge after he hired a constable to seize the vehicles of at least two local women who were refusing to pay bills of several hundred dollars for services they didn’t request.

The judge found that Davekos and the constable had illegally seized the cars, including a BMW, which were worth many times the amount he claimed he was owed.

In 2001, he was found guilty of running down a sheriff’s deputy who was trying to serve him with court papers.

His family’s oil business, which has gone under various names including Astrofuel, has also run afoul of state regulators, who obtained a consent decree in 2004 after the company stopped honoring fixed-price oil contracts.

Davekos is not currently listed in any ownership documents for the oil business, but he has operated oil trucks with the company’s name and uses the same address on Roberts Road in Marblehead that is also used by the oil business. In 2003, he was driving an oil truck owned by that business when he crashed into a Beverly fire hydrant and, police said, fled the scene.

In 2010 the oil business was again sued by the attorney general and later entered a settlement after Essex Register of Deeds John O’Brien discovered a pattern of improper mechanics liens being filed against dozens of North Shore homeowners who had refused to pay for oil deliveries they say they had tried to cancel.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.