Judge orders lawyer to pay up for free heat
Long-time Cambridge lawyer Paul Gargano is appealing a recent court ruling alleging he stole $67,000 worth of heat from his building at 4 Canal Park.
Last month, a Middlesex Superior Court Judge ruled that Gargano — who owns 5,000 square feet of commercial space in the Thomas Graves Landing building along with 166 condominiums — never paid for his own share of gas heat from 1996 to 2004, by tapping into the residential line.
In her ruling, Judge Nancy Holtz concluded that in December 1995, Gargano approached the condo association asking to switch his unit from electric to gas heat, with the condition that he install a separate meter and pay for it on his own.
But that was reportedly never done. It took years for the association to realize that fellow unit owners were subsidizing his energy consumption.
“That cost was, in turn, made part of the common expenses passed along to Gargano’s fellow unit owners [who pay for electric heat],” Holtz wrote, adding that Gargano was aware of the situation.
As a result of the alleged nine years of unbilled energy, Holtz ordered Gargano to pay $67,380 in gas assessments, $88,500 in fines and $75,000 in attorney’s fees.
Gargano told the Chronicle that he plans to appeal the judge’s decision, which he said is inconsistent and unfair compared with a prior ruling from a different judge in 2006.