TRURO — Nicholas and Angela Rose and their two children were evicted from their home at the Truro Motor Inn last week — marking the end of an intractable chapter in the battle over the property between the town and owners David and Carolyn Delgizzi.
The Rose family, who immigrated to Cape Cod in 2014 from Negril, Jamaica, have lived in a two-bedroom unit at the Motor Inn for seven years. But on July 6, Town Constable Brian Cowing showed up at their front door to inform them that they had to be out of the unit by the end of the day.
“I did not want to go like this,” Nicholas Rose told the Independent that afternoon. “I don’t know where I am going to go.”
But the Rose family had no choice. By sunset, their unit, along with the 35 other units on the property, stood empty. They were the last tenants to leave the motel in a series of court-ordered evictions that took place over the last year.
Years of Inaction
David and Carolyn Delgizzi own at least 31 other properties in Massachusetts, the majority of them on Cape Cod. In 2022 they had a combined assessed value of $14.47 million. They rent 18 of those properties year-round with a total of 86 units, according to court records.
The Delgizzis have been renting units at the Motor Inn to year-round residents since 2015 under their motel license, which they were able to renew every year until 2020. According to prior reporting in the Independent, the Inn has housed up to 50 people at a time.
In 2018, inspectors from the health, fire, and building departments conducted inspections of all 36 units. They found rooms lacking smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and as many as four occupants in units with only 185 square feet. They also found the property had two cesspools — a failed septic system under Title 5 regulations.
In 2019, the town initiated legal action against the Delgizzis, seeking injunctive relief that would require the property owners to correct violations or vacate the property. For three years, the Delgizzis refused to submit detailed plans to bring the building up to code, including permissible septic system upgrade plans, according to housing court documents.
Judge Donna Salvidio in July 2020 ordered the Delgizzis to find alternative housing for all their tenants. Her order was ignored, according to court records.
After a years-long impasse during which the owners neither fixed the property nor relocated the tenants, the Delgizzis and the town came to an agreement in February 2022. The landlords were to pay Boston-based property management company RND Consultants $76,365 to come up with a plan to relocate the remaining 20 tenants within 15 miles of the Inn.
According to court documents, the Delgizzis would be “responsible for all costs and expenses of the relocation of the occupants.”
None of that happened.
Relocating the Tenants
RND’s initial plan to find housing for Truro Motor Inn tenants on the Outer Cape quickly proved impossible.
“Based on affordable housing research, RND found that there was limited to no affordable housing units available on Cape Cod,” a status report to Judge Salvidio stated. On June 30, 2022, the court ordered RND to expand its search into Plymouth, Bristol, and Norfolk counties.
By August 2022, there were 15 tenants still living at the Inn, and only one expressed interest in moving off Cape, according to an RND status report.
“They emphasized they work on the Cape and all of their connections are on the Cape,” RND wrote of one tenant. “Tenant stated they would prefer to live in their car than live off the Cape,” the company wrote of another.
According to a memo sent to Salvidio by Truro Town Counsel Gregg Corbo, the town encouraged RND to expand its search.
“Although the town is sympathetic,” Corbo wrote, “it is the town’s position that this should not be a limiting factor.
“Allowing the residents to remain in place for such a long period of time exposes them to further risks of harm that the housing codes were designed to avoid,” Corbo wrote.
Nicholas Rose said that many of his neighbors ended up moving off Cape. “Some even went to different states,” Rose said. “They said they couldn’t find housing, so they left. Only a few of them stayed.”
The Delgizzis Don’t Pay
Janice Bergeron, president of RND Consultants, wrote to the Delgizzis’ attorney, Dina Browne, on Sept. 26, 2022, informing her that RND had stopped providing relocation services to tenants because the Delgizzis had not paid the company’s bill.
“RND bills the Delgizzis monthly,” Bergeron wrote. “In the last seven months, there has only been one other payment outside of the initial retainer, on June 29, 2022, for $14,717.45. The Delgizzis currently owe RND $37,504.76.”
On Oct. 13, Judge Salvidio agreed to terminate the Delgizzis’ contract with RND once they paid $9,504, according to court documents.
In the Delgizzis’ motion to terminate the contract, Browne wrote that “the defendants should not have to pay RND to search for housing that does not exist or that occupants do not want.” The contract “does not seem to be accomplishing anything more than increased fees for the defendants,” Browne wrote.
The Delgizzis are no strangers to unpaid bills, however. Various towns have filed at least 15 tax takings against the Delgizzis in the past 11 years, including three in Truro. David Delgizzi also failed to file personal state income taxes since 2005 and owed $373,605 for the years 2008 to 2014.
The IRS also filed a federal tax lien against David Delgizzi for $1.88 million in unpaid personal income taxes.
The Delgizzis declined to comment for this article.
‘We Are Homeless’
The Rose family has been staying at the Wellfleet Motel since they were evicted on July 6. According to Angela Rose, they have had to pay for the cost of the hotel entirely by themselves. “It is really costing us,” she said. “We cannot stay here.”
Nicholas Rose said that the Delgizzis have not helped cover the cost of their motel stay or any relocation-related expenses — which they were ordered to do by the agreement the town and the Delgizzis reached in February 2022.
According to Maggi Flanagan of the Homeless Prevention Council, which has helped several tenants at the Truro Motor Inn relocate in the past two years, none of her clients received financial help from the Delgizzis.
Angela Rose said she has already taken four days off work as a housekeeper to look for housing but can’t afford to take any more days off. “I am calling weekly rentals, looking at Craigslist, and I can’t find anything,” Angela said. “We are homeless.”
As for the Truro Motor Inn, the neglected building’s fate remains unknown.
Judge Salvidio has ordered that once all tenants are out of the property, the Delgizzis “shall terminate the utilities, and board and secure all windows and doors to the building.” Once they have done that, the town and the Delgizzis will file a stipulation of dismissal.
In a brief statement to the Independent, Truro Health Agent Emily Beebe said, “The Delgizzis needed to provide basic, safe, and sanitary conditions for their tenants, and their failure to do so for many years resulted in this situation. This was all avoidable.”