The Manchester code enforcement file on Theo's restaurant contains letters and emails showing owner Joseph Kelly Levasseur and city officials were at odds over repairs that needed to be done to reopen after a fire at 102 Elm St. on Dec. 29, 2010.
In a letter to Levasseur March 9, 2011, Code Enforcement Officer Jim Tierney said the building had been deemed unsafe since the fire. "Therefore, any certificate of occupancy for the building has been revoked," Tierney wrote.
Tierney sent another letter April 27, 2011, after Theo's reopened, telling Levasseur he was illegally occupying the building, ordering him to cease and desist "until such time as said certificate of occupancy is issued." Theo's remained opened.
Planning and Community Development Director Leon LaFreniere said he only recently saw the letters. No action was taken to either close the restaurant or update the file to show it was operating legally, LaFreniere said, because people get busy with new projects, and there is "no tickler" in the manual system to remind them to review past files to make sure they are accurate and up to date.
He did say Tierney made errors in the first letter and should have said Theo's certificate of occupancy was suspended, not revoked.
On April 19, 2011, Levasseur sent an email to Max Sink, deputy director of building regulations, calling him a "bully." That was a month after Sink gave the verbal OK to let Theo's reopen.
"And as I told you 20 times,'' the email says, "the permit for the make-up air system has been pulled and a check for $15,000 was written to purchase it. When it gets here, I will send you a picture.
"Have a nice day and when you get your check on Friday say a small thank you to all of us Manchester taxpayers for your job, great salary and awesome benefits," Levasseur wrote. He was not an alderman at the time, but ran again and was seated as alderman-at-large in 2012.
Sink responded by email on the same day, saying he was sorry Levasseur felt bullied, but there were issues that remained to be resolved, but Levasseur and his agents had refused to respond.
"Instead, you installed a trailer sign without a permit and opened your doors to the public without a certificate of occupancy, both of which are violations of the law," Sink wrote, adding he was turning the matter over to a "code enforcement officer whom I'm sure you'll be hearing from shortly."
LaFreniere said on Friday that Sink told him he was mistaken in that email, but declined comment when asked whether Tierney or Sink would be disciplined.
"That's a personnel matter," LaFreniere said.
LaFreniere said he was concerned that there was "inconsistent" information in the code enforcement and building department files.
"I'm concerned about what's been revealed in the files and want to make sure it doesn't happen again," LaFreniere said.