RAYNHAM (CBS) – A Raynham man who had been involved in ongoing disputes with the town and neighboring Taunton, is now accused of stealing electricity.
Raynham Police say problems with 49-year-old Michael O’Donnell date back to April of 2011, when a court ordered him to clean up his property on Titicut Road.
Six months later, O’Donnell was held in contempt for not doing so.
in Raynham with Fraudulent use of electricity and Defacing Property after a recent investigation conducted by Raynham detectives, the Town of Raynham building inspector, health agent, and Taunton Municipal Lighting Plant authorities.
A month later, that charge was followed by a fire in the building on the property.
As a result of the fire and a number of documented electrical and fire code violations, the power was cut and the house was condemned.
O’Donnell had another run-in with the town over debris on the property that led to further inspections.
Last week, during an inspection of the property, town and electric company officials discovered that electricity was illegally being diverted to the O’Donnell’s property.
He’s charged with fraudulent use of electricity and defacing property.
O’Donnell owns the Star Theatre building next to Taunton City Hall, and has been in a long dispute with the city over the property.
O’Donnell has never been publicly named as a suspect in the unsolved 2010 arson fire that destroyed City Hall.
However, immediately following the fire, sources noted his ongoing feud with the city and pointed out that he was in the building when the fire broke out.
The city has yet to repair the damage to city hall. On Thursday, Taunton’s mayor put the price tag as high as $12 million. He said he hoped a casino in the city could help pay for the costs.