GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Fishing Industry Stories

September 26, 2012

Ciullas sell Loop land

Fish auction leasee buys auction property, Capt. Carlo's

Ending a 45-year epoch of entrepreneurial struggle on the waterfront, the Ciulla family has sold its holdings at 27 and 37 Harbor Loop for $4.1 million, according to documents at the Essex County Registry of Deeds.

The seller was Star Realty Management LLC, which descended from the original shoreside business, Star Fisheries, built painstakingly on the site beginning in 1967 by the late Carlo Ciaramitaro and his son-in-law, Augustus “Gus” Ciulla, who died last November.

The buyer, Kristensen Realty LLC, is owned by Kristian Kristensen, whose dogfish business, Zeus Packing Co., had been a tenant of the Ciullas’ Gloucester Seafood Display Auction, at 37 Harbor Loop, which fought a decade-long battle with federal fisheries law enforcers before winning a Cabinet-level apology and limited reparations in May 2011.

But the victory was Pyrrhic, leaving the family exhausted financially and emotionally from defending itself against what a special judicial master wrote was a “siege mentality” that gripped the agents and litigators and led to a litany of extra legal actions aimed at laying the auction low.

Kristensen purchased the assets of the auction house business last September during a flurry of legal activity, including a filing by the Ciullas for bankruptcy protection and an ill-fated suit by fishermen that alleged price skimming at their auction.

“We went as far as we could as long as we could,” said Larry Ciulla, president of the auction, said at the time of the sale of the business. “We wanted to make sure the auction remains in the community.”

The family was unavailable for comment Tuesday. The Ciullas had taken mortgages of $2.1 million in 2004 and $400,000 in 2001, according to Registry of Deeds documents.

Changing the name to the Cape Ann Seafood Exchange, Kristensen has continued to operate the auction business, which in November, two months after the sale, faced direct competition from the Canastra brothers, Richie and Raymond, who last November opened Gloucester and Boston branches of BASE, the region’s largest fish auction. The Canastras’ main auction house is in their hometown, New Bedford.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Fishing Industry Stories

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
Comments Tracker
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success