BOSTON — David Delgizzi, known across Outer Cape Cod as an absentee landlord who rents his rundown properties at substantial rates while ignoring tax bills for years on end, is having a tough month.
Delgizzi, who lives in a $2-million house in Weston with his wife, Carolyn, is now dodging federal authorities who are pursuing him for over $2 million in delinquent income taxes. He has missed several hearings at U.S. District Court and now, if he doesn’t turn over his income tax records to the court by Feb. 15, he will likely be found in contempt.
At the same time, Delgizzi owes Truro a total of $505,744 in overdue real estate and personal property taxes. According to Caitlin Gelatt, Truro’s tax collector and assistant treasurer, all five properties owned by Delgizzi are in tax title, with liens on their deeds.
Towns have the option of taking ownership of properties with delinquent taxes through the state Land Court. Gelatt said the town hasn’t historically done that, but with amounts growing this high, “It is something we’re considering.”
Unpaid in Truro
Delgizzi owes $222,947 on 101 Shore Road, where he has a dozen rental apartments in two buildings. He owes $103,756 on 4 Moses Way, where he also has apartments, $87,983 on 18 Priest Road, and another $41,521 on an undeveloped lot at 20 Priest Road. He also owes $49,535 on the former Truro Motor Inn, which the town finally shut down after a long court battle.
Delgizzi’s property at 18 Priest Road has been a nightmare for the neighborhood and the town for decades. In 1993, town officials condemned the house for violations of the building and health codes. The house continued to deteriorate, prompting complaints from neighbors who said the asbestos shingles were breaking apart and releasing asbestos into the air.
Building Commissioner Rich Stevens sent a certified letter to Delgizzi regarding the building’s condition in December 2021.
Stevens then sent an email to Barbara Carboni, the town’s planner and land use counsel, on Jan. 18, 2022 saying the house needed to be demolished. “It is totally unrepairable as the roof, walls and floors are all collapsing in on themselves,” Stevens wrote. The plywood covering windows and doors had in some cases blown off. Under state law, towns can demolish buildings that are a danger to public health if the owner is unresponsive.
Delgizzi did remove the asbestos shingles after the regional office of the state Dept. of Environmental Protection became involved. But the building itself remains in its deteriorated state with trees growing inside.
“The last correspondence was related to the abatement of the asbestos located on the property and the hazard posed by that,” Stevens told the Independent in an email this week. “Mr. Delgizzi complied with that order, and that hazard, which was my main concern, no longer exists. The property is private property and is posted No Trespassing.
“I cannot speculate as to why Mr. Delgizzi did not go further with demolition of the remaining structure other than there may be some zoning issues once removed,” Stevens said.
Delgizzi’s tax delinquency is growing in other towns, too. In Eastham he is $20,000 in arrears on property taxes, and in Brewster he is more than $40,000 in arrears.
In Trouble With the IRS
Delgizzi wound up in U.S. District Court for ignoring several directives from the Internal Revenue Service to provide tax documents for 2022 so the agency could add what was owed to Delgizzi’s growing tab.
The IRS won’t provide information about delinquent taxes, but based on a lien placed on the deeds of Delgizzi’s properties in April, he owes a little over $2 million in federal income taxes, covering a six-year span from 2012 through 2017.
The state has its own lien for $382,034 in unpaid personal taxes and meals taxes, again spanning several years.
The U.S. District Court so far has had no more success at getting compliance from Delgizzi than the IRS did. Delgizzi failed to show up for a Nov. 6 show cause hearing to explain why he has ignored IRS directives. On the day of the hearing, he notified the court clerk that he had a family emergency and had to travel unexpectedly.
The judge continued the hearing to Dec. 13 but urged Delgizzi to settle the issue with IRS officials prior to that, which didn’t happen.
On Dec. 13, Delgizzi again failed to show up, instead submitting a motion asking for another short continuance so he could gather all the documents being requested. In the motion, Delgizzi said his daughter, who lives in Ohio, was sick and required his care. He also had limited access to email, he said.
Magistrate Judge Jennifer Boal granted a continuance to Jan. 31 but warned she would not be inclined to continue the case any further.
On the morning of the Jan. 31 hearing, Delgizzi contacted the court clerk to say he couldn’t come in person and asked to attend via Zoom, a request the judge granted. But that arrangement proved to be difficult, according to the court clerk’s notes. Delgizzi was unable to connect online, so it was decided the hearing would be held by phone.
According to the clerk’s notes, Delgizzi then “indicated to the clerk that he could not call in, but that he agreed to produce the requested documents by Feb. 15, 2024.”
If Delgizzi does not produce the documents by Feb. 15, Judge Magistrate Boal will recommend that presiding Judge Patti Saris order Delgizzi to obey a summons to a Feb. 22 hearing “upon pain of a finding of contempt of court.”
According to Truro attorney Michael Fee, a judge may find a litigant in contempt for failing to comply with an order from the court. If the judge determines that the litigant ignored the order willfully and without excuse, the court can impose sanctions. Sanctions, said Fee in an email, are usually daily monetary penalties designed to force compliance, but in a case like Delgizzi’s, where a litigant fails to show up, the court can issue an arrest warrant.
It wouldn’t be the first time Delgizzi was placed in police custody and brought to court. He was arrested in December 2015 on a warrant issued by the U.S. District Court for failing to attend similar hearings on delinquent taxes. He was brought to the court, where he promised a judge he would attend a hearing the following day. That time, Delgizzi did show up and satisfied information requests from the IRS.
At the time, he owed about $400,000 in federal taxes and $253,000 in state taxes. The agencies removed the liens on his deeds, but whether Delgizzi paid in full or set up payment plans could not be determined from court documents.