Selectmen reject request for Main Street pawn license

May 4, 2016

Selectmen denied a license renewal request by the owner of a Main Street pawn shop Tuesday night saying the business doesn’t fit with the image town boosters want to project.

The board voted 4-1 to reject owner Dominic Cammarano’s request for a renewed pawnbroker license for Gateway Gold and Pawn, located at 294 Main St. The current license expires at the end of May. A second vote by the board rejected Cammarano's request for a renewed junk dealer's license. That decision was 3-2 with Selectmen Alan Slavin and Anthony Scarsciotti voting in opposition.

The decision upset Cammarano who contends he’s operated the business without any major incidents. On Wednesday morning, he said an appeal will be filed.

“I feel I was denied a license without merit,” he said, adding Selectmen didn’t afford him a chance to make his case. “The board’s mind was made up before the meeting. They’re taking away my livelihood for no reason.”

As a former Finance Committee member and current Wareham representative to the Upper Cape Technical School Committee, Cammarano said he gives back to the community.

Additionally, Cammarano said he often works with police who have used footage from his extensive surveillance video system for investigations.

Selectmen said the decision wasn’t personal, just business.

“It is not personally against you,” said Selectman Peter Teitelbaum “It is the location of the business. I have a responsibility to other business owners down there, and I believe [Gateway Gold and Pawn] has a negative impact.”

During his remarks, Teitelbaum alluded to Gateway Gold and Pawn’s clients lingering near the store after making transactions, without getting into specific behaviors.

“Some of the activities going on around there,” he said before pausing. “Again, this is something you don’t have control over. I don’t think this is the right location.”

Teitelbaum recommended Cammarano move Gateway Gold and Pawn, suggesting the commercial district on Cranberry Highway as a suitable location.

Tuesday night wasn’t Cammarano’s first appearance before the board.

In July, Selectmen ruled that the business could no longer pawn items after finding numerous errors in the application for a pawnbroker license. In August, Selectmen voted unanimously to reinstate the license, but some said they’d like to see the shop moved.

Cammarano argued his case to board members. Since opening the shop in 2010, he said there’s been no incidents or violations, except for the time police shut him down briefly after mistakenly believing he was operating without a license.

“My business is no different than any other business in the center of town,” Cammarano said.

Slavin agreed. As a fellow businessman he defended Cammarano’s right to operate.

“For me to sit here, and vote to put him out of business, is completely against everything I’ve worked for my whole life,” said Slavin.

During the meeting, Cammarano tried to give board members a petition signed by other Main Street business owners supporting his request.

Chair Judy Whiteside rejected the petition, saying it should have been submitted with the application.

Cammarano also began to explain plans to rebuild a structure that had burned down on the property, but was interrupted by Whiteside.

“Sir, please speak only to the license,” she said.

Aside from customer concerns, Teitelbaum said there were discrepancies in Cammarano’s application regarding the business’s address.

Following the vote, Teitelbaum said he expected Cammarano would return before the board. He offered to support a license to renew, provided the business wasn’t on Main Street.

“I encourage you to find another location that we can support and come back,” he said.