BETHEL — A dispute at a local eatery ended when the town’s code enforcement officer punched a local developer in the face, Town Manager Jim Doar said Thursday.

Code Enforcement Officer Robert Folsom was confronted by contractor Rick Savage as they were eating breakfast Thursday morning at the Crossroads Diner & Deli on Route 2, Doar said. He said it remained unclear which of the two started the incident and that the men’s stories did not agree.

The diner’s owner, Frank Del Duca, confirmed Thursday that there was an altercation at his restaurant. He said the matter had been turned over to the Bethel Police Department.

Doar said he spoke with Folsom, who confirmed he threw a punch but said he was acting in self-defense. Savage told the town manager he was walking away from the incident when Folsom attacked him, Doar said.

Doar said Savage may have confronted Folsom over the town’s scrutiny of Savage’s development and contracting business. He and his brother Ron do an exceptional amount of work in Bethel and have a lot of interaction with the code enforcement officer, Doar said.

“I don’t think it’s that they are being treated any differently than anybody else; it’s just that they do an awful lot more work than others,” he said.

Folsom is expected to return to work on Monday.

“I don’t know that any disciplinary action is warranted yet, but at this point I would be wrong to say yes or no,” Doar said.

He said the police report on the incident was forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office in Paris. It will be up to the DA’s office to determine whether any criminal charges are brought against either man.

In 2007, Savage was charged with criminal threatening after an incident at the Bethel Town Office when Savage got into a heated argument with former Town Manager Scott Cole. Savage raised his voice and shook 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.

And on Dec. 15,
Savage agreed
to a deal in which charges of 
disorderly conduct-offensive words or gestures were filed in 11th District Court for one year, with
the agreement that he engage in no further criminal conduct during that year and
have no conduct with Wendy Blair.

Attempts to reach Savage and Folsom for comment were unsuccessful Thursday.

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