, Gloucester, MA

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June 6, 2008

Gloucester: Activist Goldin faces extortion charges

Stevan Goldin, an environmental activist who has become expert at slowing — if not stopping — development projects big and small from Gloucester to Boston, has been charged with extortion of developers following a lengthy police investigation.

A criminal complaint was issued Wednesday by District Court Clerk Margaret Daly Crateau, based on the report of Gloucester Detective Steve Mizzoni, which identified two developers — Jay McNiff and Sam Park — as having been subjected to demands for money from Goldin.

Police prosecutor Jack Jenkins was expected today to serve Goldin with the complaint, which sets July 1 as the date of arraignment. The maximum penalty for a conviction under the state extortion law is five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

The complaint lists his address as 14 Hodkins St. in the city's Riverdale section, which is the home of Grace Schrafft, a legal ally of Goldin's and a frequent member of his 10-citizen appeals groups.

The Times could not reach Goldin or Schrafft, who was believed to be out of town. The phone number given for Goldin in the complaint rings "no longer in service." He did not return messages left at a cell phone number for him given to the Times.

McNiff gave the police a sworn affidavit that Goldin asked him for $375,000 as the price "for not appealing" to block or delay a newly-filed residential development at the end of Whittemore Street on riverfront property formerly known as the Cape Ann Anchor & Forge.

McNiff declined to be interviewed. But his affidavit describes a series of recent discussions with Goldin, who is quoted as saying, "I'm looking for $375,000 in value for not appealing your Chapter 91 (river access) application." According to McNiff, Goldin added that the amount was nonnegotiable, and reminded McNiff, "I can tie you up for a long time on your project."

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