RUMFORD — Police have charged a Connecticut native who has been renting rooms at the Hotel Harris with three counts of theft by deception and three counts of deceptive business practices.

Acting Police Chief Daniel Garbarini said in a news statement that James F. Adinolfi, 29, of Rumford was charged Monday. The misdemeanor criminal counts could lead to fines and jail time.

“I am definitely a victim of a political war,” Adinolfi said Wednesday. He declined to say more on the advice of his attorney.

The criminal summons came one day after a Sun Journal story detailed complaints by would-be guests who called Adinolfi’s operations in the historical building a scam and questioned why authorities allowed him to carry on.

The police statement said the charges followed two complaints of fraud and theft filed in October and December about Adinolfi’s business practices.

There have also been complaints about him made to the Consumer Protection Division of the state Attorney General’s Office, the statement said. Rumford police have worked with the state unit on the case.

Adinolfi is slated to appear Feb. 11 in district court in Rumford.

Though Adinolfi had only a little to say Wednesday, he talked more extensively a day earlier about how he thought the police are out to get him.

“I’m getting bullied and harassed by the police and former town administrators,” Adinolfi said.

“I think I’ve been treated unfairly,” he said, adding that while he has “no criminal record,” he’s been stopped frequently by Rumford police since he first arrived in town in 2017.

Adinolfi said he never did anything to deserve so much police scrutiny. It’s so bad, he said, that he’s even been harassed online by officers.

“I’m definitely scared” of them, Adinolfi said. “I don’t know why I’m getting picked on.”

Under state law, theft by deception is defined as obtaining or exercising “control over the property of another as a result of deception with intent to deprive the other person of the property.”

Maine law says a person is guilty of deceptive business practices “if, in the course of engaging in a business, occupation or profession, he intentionally” does such things as using a false weight for a product or delivering less of a quantity than he represents to a buyer.

In Adinolfi’s case, it appears he is charged with making “a false statement of material fact in any advertisement” or advertising something “as part of a scheme or plan with the intent not to sell or provide the advertised property or services.”
The theft by deception charge is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The deceptive business practice charge is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Adinolfi strongly denied doing anything wrong in interviews last month and on Tuesday.

Adinolfi said Tuesday that under the name Jadin Hotels he leased rooms from the company that owns the four-story Hotel Harris at 25 Hartford St., in turn renting them to people seeking short-term lodging and advertising their availability on online sites such as Hotels.com and Airbnb.

Dan Botwinik, a co-owner of the 1906 building, declined to comment Wednesday on the charges or where things stand with Adinolfi. He said last week that Adinolfi’s lease ends in February and would not be extended.

Adinolfi said Tuesday he was sorry to see that the owner planned to pull the plug on Jadin Hotels’ operation at Hotel Harris. He said he had done a lot to fix up the hallway and rooms he uses there.

“I’m the only one that’s remodeled anything there,” Adinolfi said. “My behavior has been nothing but excellent.”

Most of the historic hotel consists of low-income housing.

In addition to the rooms that Adinolfi rents at Hotel Harris, his Jadin Hotels also operates High Street Suites in a house owned by Seth Carey, a friend who ran unsuccessfully for district attorney last year. It is also eyeing a new location for Airbnb rentals on Maine Avenue.

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Bruce Farrin of the Rumford Falls Times contributed to this report.

James F. Adinolfi, owner and marketing director of Jadin Hotels, in the lobby of the Hotel Harris in Rumford. Adinolfi handles marketing for the three rooms in the building at 25 Hartford St., which he says he rents to guests. (Rumford Falls Times photo by Marianne Hutchinson)