WOBURN - A Delaware-based bank reportedly owns a Garfield Avenue residence at the center of a pending public nuisance hearing before the City Council.
Late last week, a city native who grew up in the two-family home at 52 Garfield Ave. insisted that his deceased father, the late Charles F. Connors, had no involvement in the business arrangements that reportedly led to the property's occupation by problem tenants and alleged squatters.
Though the Woburn assessor's office still lists Connors as the homeowner, his family members have recently contacted The Daily Times to defend their late relative, who passed away in 2007.
"He was a hard-working, innocent person who served in World War II and paid his bills his whole life. He had nothing to do with the current state of the property," said Connors' son, who asked not to be identified by name.
Records filed with the South Middlesex Registry of Deeds office show that Delaware's Wilmington Savings Fund Society took ownership of the two-family house earlier this summer. Officially, the foreclosure proceedings were initiated at least a year earlier by several commercial entities and banks.
As recently reported, Ward 2 Alderman Richard Gately, whose South End district includes the 9,583 square foot parcel by Green Street, is ready to declare the Garfield Avenue house a public nuisance after trying for years to address reoccurring issues at the property.
Last month, Gately advised his colleagues that police and fire officials have been repeatedly called to the Green Street area neighborhood after fielding complaints from abutters about public safety issues like bonfires and a myriad of other disturbances.
"I'm still looking for police reports and a fire department communication about the number of times they've had to go up there to put bonfires out," Gately explained. "There's trouble down there. And this building has been on our radar before."
A very successful engineer, the elder Connors, whose family has deep Woburn roots, apparently moved out of the home to live with relatives in Reading in 2005, when he fell ill.
According to Connors' son, his childhood home became the subject of extended foreclosure proceedings after his father passed away in 2007, and several banks have taken possession and passed along ownership of the dwelling since.
"The bank has owned it for a long time and done nothing with it. The mortgage was in foreclosure and has been sold three of four time in the past 12 years," the relative insisted.
A lifelong Woburnite, the elder Connors was a Woburn High graduate who later enlisted in the US Army during World War II. According to relatives, the father-of-three was a successful semiconductor engineer who worked at several area firms, including Transitron in Wakefield and Woburn's Alpha Industries.
As his 2007 obituary noted, the city native's skills were so sought after, industry executives managed to convince him to continue working into his mid-seventies.
Last month, Gately alleged that the issues around the Garfield Avenue residence began prior to the bank foreclosure and appear to be linked to Connors' daughter, Charlene, and her partner, Peter DeGennaro.
Back in 2010, DeGennaro, once a respected Wilmington area home contractor, was convicted along with Charlene Connors for fraud charges in connection with a scheme to steal roughly $100,000 from would-be business clients.
According to news stories published in the Tewksbury Town Crier, a sister publication of The Daily Times Chronicle, DeGennaro was sentenced to serve a four-to-six year prison sentence back in 2010 for accepting payments for houses that he never built.
As relatives have clarified, that court case, as well as all future troubles regarding their childhood home on Garfield Avenue, all transpired after Charles F. Connors' passed away in 2007. At no point did authorities ever allege that the elder Connors' had anything to do with the Wilmington area fraud case.