FRAMINGHAM – The City of Framingham today, September 24, issued a $500 fine to Cotton Candy Party Decorations for violating the Commonwealth’s large gathering order in August.
The $500 fine comes two days after SOURCE published a report on police responding three times to parties in the basement of 615 Concord Street at night in August.
The last incident was on August 22, in which the police report noted more than 250 individuals, most not wearing face coverings, drinking alcohol, listening to a DJ, with security on-site for a party.
SOURCE published about the parties on September 22, after receiving documents from the City of Framingham requested through the Freedom of Information Act. The documents came from the Framingham Police Department and the Framingham Health Department.
“Upon learning of the incidents, we are issuing a citation to the operator of the business space who rented from the property owner,” said Framingham Health Director Sam Wong to the news media outlet this afternoon, September 24.
The City issued a $500 fine today, September 24 for the August 22 party, which the news outlet made public on September 22.
“The Framingham Department of Public Health recently learned of large gatherings inside the business space rented by you at 615 Concord Street, Framingham MA. During a gathering held on August 7, Framingham police observed 75 people inside 615 Concord Street inside the space rented by your business. During another gathering held on August 22, Framingham police observed approximately 250 individuals, none of which were wearing face coverings inside the same space at 615 Concord Street,” wrote Derek Kwok, a Framingham Public Health Inspector, in a certified letter to Cotton Candy Party Decorations owner Mauro Desouza today, September 24.
Yesterday, City of Framingham Building Commissioner Michael Tusino sent a letter to the owner of the building at 615 Concord Street and Cotton Candy Party Decoration, to state that the after-hours parties with alcohol in the basement of the building violate the City of Framingham’s Zoning ordinance and the state’s building codes.
The letter by the City’s Building Commissioner was issued on Wednesday, September 23, one day after the SOURCE reported about the after-hour parties with security, alcohol, and a DJ in the basement of 615 Concord Street, located across the street from the Framingham District Courthouse.
“Due to a departmental and citizen inquiry, on September 23 ,2020 al the above referenced property. It has been determined that violations of the City of Framingham Zoning Ordinance and Massachusetts State Building Code, as most recently amended, exists on your property,” wrote Tusino to building owner Anthony Gagliardi of Wayland and to Cotton Candy Party Decorations.
The state is still in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic, and the Governor issued an order in August that limited the number of individuals for indoor gatherings to a maximum of 25 people in a single enclosed area, and those that were not related to each other were required to wear a face covering.
In late August, Framingham was named one of the high-risk communities for the coronavirus by the state. Framingham is one of the 6 communities with a high-risk of transmission of the virus that the state is providing assistance.
“On August 7, 2020, Governor Baker signed Covid-19 Order No. 46 which restricts gatherings held on private properties. … Based on the police record from August 22, a gathering of approximately 250 individuals who were not wearing face coverings is in violation of Covid-19 Order No. 46. Attached with this letter is a $500 fine. Failure to comply with the requirements below may result in further enforcement actions, including additional fines and legal proceedings. The Framingham Department of Public Health strongly discourages organizing any gathering. If you choose to hold a
private event on your property, you are required to comply with the Governor Order,” wrote Kwok in his certified letter to the owner of Cotton Candy Party Decorations today.
SOURCE reached out to the City’s Fire Chief Wednesday morning about a fire code violation and if the Fire Department was aware of these parties prior to the news outlet’s report.
“I was not, and to my knowledge, nor was anyone in the Fire Department aware, of the basement of 615 Concord St being rented out for parties,” said Chief Dutcher in an email to SOURCE.
“In general, the Fire Department can only issue orders and fines for Fire Code or Fire Laws violations when witnessed first-hand,” said Framingham Fire Chief Dutcher. “The enforcement powers of the fire department come imminent danger. Since the issues of safety/overcrowding are not actively occurring, we cannot enforce, therefore retroactively issuing fines is not likely.”
SOURCE called the owner of Cotton Candy Party Decorations Mauro Desouza of Cotton Candy Productions on September 22. He said he was in Florida and did not wish to make a statement on Tuesday. He said he would call back the news outlet on Monday.
SOURCE reached out to the owner of the property at 615 Concord Street but has not been able to reach him.
Click here to read the report on the after-hours parties in the basement of the office building at 615 Concord Street.
Framingham High-Risk For COVID-19
Earlier this month, the said the cities of Chelsea, Lawrence, Revere, Everett, Lynn, and Framingham were “dangerously high-levels of transmission for the coronavirus.” The State said it would provide help to these half dozen communities to lower the number of cases and the rate of positive cases.
On Wednesday, all six communities were still listed as high-risk communities on the state list. But five of the six communities showed the number of cases per day and the percentage of positive cases was lower than the week before.
The one community that was higher was the City of Framingham.
SOURCE reached out to Mayor Yvonne Spicer for comment in regards to these after-hour parties and what the City was doing to help stop the spread of the virus on Wednesday morning. As of 6 p.m. on Thursday, no response from the Mayor or her spokesperson.