Repair shop shut down for code violations

January 22, 2010
By

John Ruch

Mike’s Service Center at 626 Centre St. was shut down by city inspectors on Jan. 7 for operating without permits and having abandoned cars, a leaking oil tank and “illegal” propane heaters, according to city officials.

Stamatos Property, the local landlord, was fined a total of $1,150 by the city’s Inspectional Services Department (ISD), according to ISD spokesperson Lisa Timberlake.

“It looks like more than what it is,” Christ Stamatos of Stamatos Property told the Gazette the day of the shutdown. Last week, he said that most of the permits are now in order and the business might reopen as soon as this week.

Colleen Keller of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services said she asked for an inspection of the service center, at the corner of Centre and St. John Street, after a JP resident complained about a dozen abandoned cars. She took the complaint to JP’s Problem Properties Committee, a joint program involving the local E-13 Police Station, ISD, elected officials and residents. ISD inspectors, police officers and Boston Fire Department (BFD) officials were on the scene less than 24 hours later.

“I think the system worked,” Keller said.

Besides many cars that appeared to be unregistered, inspectors also found the other problems, including “several fire code violations,” according to BFD spokesperson Steve MacDonald. City officials ordered a total shutdown, including having NSTAR cut the electricity to the building. The service center has gasoline pumps, but they no longer function.

“When you’re dealing with flammable liquids, you don’t want to mess around,” Keller said. Noting the service center’s location on Jamaica Plain’s main street, Keller added, “It should be an example business.”

Stamatos told the Gazette that the violations were a “couple of minor issues” that the family would work with the business to resolve. He said he cannot remember the name of the man who operates the service center. It is unclear who “Mike” is.

The only business that the Gazette could find registered with the state at that address is Pondside Gas & Car Care Center, Inc. That business was organized by the Stamatos family in 2005 with Christ Stamatos as treasurer and registered agent. The last annual report for the business available in state records is from 2006.

Pondside Gas & Car Care Center is registered at 619 Centre St., which was the former headquarters of the Stamatos family’s real estate business until an arson fire in 2006. That building is still under reconstruction, while the Stamatos’s Century 21 Pondside Realty has relocated to 660 Centre St.

Another service station that operated in the same building under a different owner and landlord was shut down twice in 2003 by city inspectors for similar violations. The Stamatos family took over the property shortly after that in an effort to fix it up.