BETHEL — A local land developer is charged with making threats toward Town Manager James Doar this week, Oxford County Sheriff's Department Cpl. Brian Landis said.
Rick A. Savage Sr., 48, of 1321 Intervale Road was arrested outside the Town Office at about 9 p.m. Monday on charges of terrorizing, disorderly conduct and refusing to submit to arrest or detention, Landis said.
Doar and selectmen asked the Sheriff's Department to be present at the meeting, which was attended by Savage, Landis said.
The sheriff's corporal said Savage and another man got into a verbal confrontation outside the Town Office on Main Street over an issue involving the town's sign ordinance. Landis said he and Deputy Matthew Noyes broke it up and Savage was arrested "because of his words and actions."
The terrorizing charge was "for making threats toward the town manager," Landis said.
Doar said Wednesday that Savage and his brother, Ron Savage, were at the meeting to submit a petition to the Board of Selectmen to repeal the town's sign ordinance.
The confrontation happened outside, after Ron and Rick Savage spoke to selectmen. Doar said it happened outdoors and he heard swearing but didn't know who, aside from Savage, was involved in the argument.
Doar said he asked for Sheriff's Department's presence after recent threats from Rick Savage. He said the developer had recently harassed the town clerk and sent someone to Doar's home over a petition to remove the town's sign ordinance.
He said Rick Savage had spoken to the Ordinance Review Committee about changes he proposed to the town's sign ordinance. “It was not a bad proposal,” Doar said. However, the committee opted not to move forward with Savage's idea, instead recommending an ad-hoc committee to look specifically at the ordinance.
Savage didn't like that, Doar said, and petitioned to eliminate the sign ordinance. However, he missed the May 9 deadline to get his petition on Monday's meeting agenda.
Doar said Rick Savage called the town clerk at home and yelled and swore at her.
After that, Doar said, Savage sent someone to Doar's house with a copy of the petition. He said the evening visit was “completely inappropriate and a little unnerving.”
Doar said he was looking into getting a protection order against Savage, as former Town Manager Scott Cole did in 2007.
In 2007, Savage was charged with criminal threatening after an incident at the Bethel Town Office when Savage got into a heated argument, raising his voice and shaking his fists at Cole. The court filed the charge for a year, providing Savage had no contact with Cole outside public meetings until May 5, 2008. That case was heard in Oxford County Superior Court in Paris.
In 2009, Savage and Code Enforcement Officer Robert Folsom got in an argument at the Crossroads Diner & Deli on Route 2, during which Folsom punched Savage in the face. No charges were filed against either of the men in that incident.
Following his arrest Monday night, Savage was booked at the Oxford County Jail in Paris and released on $1,500 unsecured bail Tuesday afternoon, according to jail records. He is scheduled to appear in 11th District Court in Rumford at 8:30 a.m. July 3, according to jail records.
Ron Savage referred questions to the Savages' attorney, who did not return requests for comment Wednesday.
An investigation into the incident is continuing, Landis said.