Prime Fitness Gym owner David Blondin has racked up thousands of dollars in fines, had his electricity and water shut off, and had the town of Oxford change the locks on his business because he refuses to continue to have his business shut down by the government. The woman who is choosing to enforce these non-existent laws while simultaneously allowing black lives matter protests and large crowds at Home Depot, Market Basket, and Walmart, is Town Manager Jennifer Callahan.
Callahan was chosen by the Board of Selectmen to be Town Manager in August of 2018. At the time she lived in Sutton, but she made it clear when she was hired that she was aware of the residency requirement in the town’s bylaws.
The Sutton native told selectmen during her interview that she was aware of the residency requirement that comes with the town manager’s position and was fine with it.
According to the Town of Oxford’s website Mrs. Callahan had 8 months from the day of her appointment (August 1, 2018) to “take up residence” in Oxford.
By April 1, 2019, she must not only have purchased property in Oxford, but made it her primary residence.
According to the Worcester County Registry of Deeds Mrs. Callahan still owns her house in Sutton, and purchased a home at 3 Wheelock Street in Oxford on September 27, 2019 – nearly 6 months after the deadline.
The house she purchased was 1,800 square feet but cost only $135K because it was in dire need of renovation, and certainly was not move in ready.
The mortgage she took out on the home was for $250K, because they anticipated doing a lot of work on it before moving in. However, the town requires residence, not ownership of the home. Additionally, Callahan got a declaration of homestead on the house, which according to the Secretary of State’s website is only for a “person’s principal residence.”
Is Jennifer Callahan’s principal residence in Oxford or in Sutton? The fact that she hasn’t sold her home in Sutton would seem to indicate that she still lives there. As would the fact that there is currently zero electricity usage at her 3 Wheelock Street home.
The house is clearly not habitable at the moment.
Jennifer Callahan is fining David Blondin for not abiding by an arbitrary lockdown order while Oxford and other towns across the state allowed massive gatherings for black lives matter protests. Oxford has a Walmart, Market Basket, and Home Depot that allow hundreds of people inside at a time. Yet David Blondin never has more than 30 people in his gym with appropriate social distancing, but Callahan still has made the choice to destroy his livelihood, and everything he’s built, while she continues to collect a six figure salary.
However, the laws do not apply to Jennifer Callahan. She does not live in Oxford, nearly two years after being hired as the Town Manager. Apparently taxpaying business owners who pay her salary are the only people in Oxford who have to obey non-existent laws that nobody voted on, while the people who enforce these edicts are allowed to flagrantly disregard actual laws written by the town.
TB Daily News reached out to State Senator Ryan Fattman, who defeated Callahan when he first ran for office in 2010, for comment on the ongoing situation at Prime Fitness. He made it clear that he stands behind David Blondin.
What we are witnessing should never have come this far, let alone happened. It’s exactly the reason why I’ve called for accelerating the reopening Massachusetts economy. Gyms should have been open by now. Most gym owners or managers I’ve spoken to have reorganized floor plans, moved machinery six feet apart, and put together cleaning, hygiene and capacity plans to keep their patrons safe while allowing them to improve their own health and nutrition. We have to remember, this is America; the land of the free and home of the brave. Give people the facts and treat them like the free people we fought to become, especially as Covid-19 cases continue to tumble. This isn’t a monolithic conversation about gyms. I know families who haven’t seen their loved ones living in group homes or assisted living facilities in weeks, schools dealing with incredibly onerous regulations, and restaurant owners on the brink. It goes on and on. People trusted their Government to try to bend the curve and not overwhelm hospitals. Now it’s time for the Government to return that faith to the people. Trust people to run their business and conduct their lives in a safe and responsible way. Americans always rise to the challenge.
Mrs. Callahan did not respond to several attempted to contact her for comment.
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