August 19, 2008
ATKINSON, N.H. — An outspoken critic of selectmen and the Police Department reached a breaking point over the weekend when his car was vandalized.
“My focus now is just fixing up my house and getting out of town,” Mark Acciard said yesterday.
Acciard said he awoke Sunday morning to find every panel of his 2006 Chrysler 300 keyed with messages about his $3 million civil lawsuit against the town and three officials, as well as references to his continuing feud with police Chief Philip Consentino. The vandalism took place during the night.
“No $” and “3m no way” are scratched into the trunk, Acciard said. “Leave the chief alone” runs down the roof and onto the hood of the car, he said. “Move” is keyed into the hood and the driver’s door, he said.
The key marks are scratched deeper than the paint, leaving messages in white on the black sedan, he said.
Acciard, a former Budget Committee member, has long tangled with Consentino, trading accusations and lawsuits as far back as 2004.
In January, Acciard filed a $3 million lawsuit against the town, Consentino, Moderator Frank Polito and former Selectman Jack Sapia for incidents he said occurred at selectmen’s meetings over a three-year period. Acciard claims he was defamed during some of those meetings. A trial has been scheduled for June.
The town often is divided between Consentino supporters and detractors, with Acciard among the more vocal opponents of the longtime chief. The two often have clashed publicly. Acciard has made numerous conflict-of-interest complaints against both selectmen and the police chief.
But the vandalism to Acciard’s car is the first physical evidence that points to the high degree of animosity between the two factions in town.
Consentino appeared to be surprised to hear references to him were scratched into Acciard’s car.
“I haven’t heard any of that,” Consentino said yesterday. “The officer out there said he could see ‘no way’ and ‘no money.’ I haven’t seen the car.”
Officer Vincent Scarvaglieri responded to Acciard’s home at 6 Christine Drive on Sunday morning and took photos of the car, Consentino said. Because of glare from the sun, the pictures didn’t come out clearly, he said.
Consentino did say Scarvaglieri wrote in his report that every panel of the car, including the roof, was damaged. But Scarvaglieri wrote that the language wasn’t clear and he could only make out two phrases, “no way” and “no money,” Consentino said.
Acciard said he does not believe Consentino was involved in the damage to his car, but he would like New Hampshire State Police to handle the investigation because references to the chief were part of the vandalism. Acciard said he told Scarvaglieri he wanted state police called in.
But Consentino said yesterday his department will handle the case.
“If he wants to go to state police and have them come down, it’s his prerogative,” Consentino said.
Acciard said he asked selectmen last week for some extra police patrols in his neighborhood because his house was getting egged every couple of months, including recently.
Consentino said officers already check Acciard’s house once or twice a shift for vandalism because of the complaint. The extra patrols started just over a week ago, he said, and during that time there has been lots of egging on Christine Drive, Walker Road and Meditation Lane.
Consentino said his department has put in extra effort and Acciard was getting more attention than others in town. But he did agree the vandalism to Acciard’s car was much worse than the egging.
“I’d say that someone has a personal vendetta against him,” Consentino said. “He probably has a couple ideas of who it could be, but I can tell you it’s not any of those people.”
As of yesterday, Acciard hadn’t called state police. He had made several phone calls to his insurance company to see if it would pay for the damage.