Manchester loses in scrap dealer crackdown
MANCHESTER — The city is appealing a judge’s ruling against a Manchester ordinance requiring scrap metal dealers to share detailed sales records with a private company and pay a 50-cent charge for every transaction.
The scrap metal amendments are included in city regulations on pawn brokers and other second-hand resalers. The stringent requirements have been contested since they went into effect in August 2012.
Prolerized New England LLC filed a lawsuit against the city, saying the ordinance and stringent amendments that followed are superseded by state law.
Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Brown agreed in a ruling April 25, declining a city motion to dismiss.
The city last month filed its intent to appeal.
“State statute regulates scrap dealers pretty specifically,” attorney Donald Crandlemier said Tuesday.
Crandlemire is representing Prolerized, a subsidiary of Oregon-based Schnitzer Steel Industries Inc.
Schnitzer is also parent company to B. Royner and Co., one of three scrap metal dealers licensed by the city.
Deputy City Solicitor Peter Chiesa would not comment on the city’s motion to appeal to the state Supreme Court, saying the matter was still pending litigation.
Alderman Phil Greazzo said he opposed the regulations from the start.
“I’m very surprised the other ‘second-hand’ dealers in the city didn’t also file suit,” Greazzo said after reviewing Brown’s decision Tuesday. “Given this ruling, I wouldn’t be surprised if they now come forward and challenge it as well.”
Crandlemire said the challenge to city ordinance was based on several grounds, including the mandate that scrap dealers set up accounts with LeadsOnline Inc., a Texas-based company hired to help the city form a database to curtail the theft and resale of scrap stolen from construction sites, vacant homes or elsewhere.
Crandlemire said his client is willing to work with the city, but objected to being told it had to work through another company and pay thousands in additional fees, as well as turn over information for every transaction — including the seller’s vehicle make, model, color and registration number.
According to the lawsuit, Prolerized felt it was being required to upload confidential information to a company the Manchester Police Department and city had selected.
“I didn’t believe the city could force a business to enter into a contract with another,” said Greazzo, chairman of the aldermanic Committee on Administration and Information Systems. “I also had a problem forcing them to provide private business and personal information to a website not owned and operated by the MPD, pay for an unwanted service they were forced to contract, and the accumulated amount of money and time it would cost the business themselves to pay an outside entity for something that is essentially the responsibility of the MPD.”