RUMFORD — Rumford police have charged a Connecticut native who’s been renting out rooms to guests seeking lodging at the Hotel Harris with three counts of theft by deception and three counts of deceptive business practices.

Acting Police Chief Daniel Garbarini said in a news statement that James F. Adinolfi, 29, of Rumford was charged Monday. The misdemeanor criminal counts that could lead to fines and jail time.

The criminal summons came one day after a Sun Journal story detailed complaints by would-be guests who called Adinolfi’s operations in the historical building a scam and questioned why authorities allowed him to carry on.

The police press release said the charges followed two separate complaints of fraud and theft filed in October and December about Adinolfi’s business practices.

There have also been complaints about him to the Consumer Protection Division of the state Attorney General’s Office, the press release said. Rumford police have worked with the state unit on the case.

Adinolfi, who could not be reached Wednesday, is slated to appear in court Feb. 11 in Rumford.

He said Tuesday, though, that the police are out to get him.

“I’m getting bullied and harassed by the police and former town administrators,” Adinolfi said.

“I think I’ve been treated unfairly,” he said, adding that while he has “no criminal record,” he’s been stopped frequently by Rumford police since he first arrived in town in 2017.

Adinolfi said he never did anything to deserve so much police scrutiny. It’s so bad, he said, that he’s even been harassed online by officers.

“I’m definitely scared” of them, Adinolfi said. “I don’t know why I’m getting picked on.”

Under state law, theft by deception punishes people who obtain or exercise “control over the property of another as a result of deception with intent to deprive the other person of the property.”

Maine law says that someone is guilty of deceptive business practices “if, in the course of engaging in a business, occupation or profession, he intentionally” does such things as using a false weight for a product or delivering less of a quantity than he represents to a buyer.

In Adinolfi’s case, it appears he is charged with making “a false statement of material fact in any advertisement” or advertising something “as part of a scheme or plan with the intent not to sell or provide the advertised property or services.”
The theft by deception charge is categorized as a Class E offense, which is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The deceptive business practice charge is a Class D offense, punishable by up to 364 days in behind bars and a $2,000 fine.

Though Adinolfi could not be reached Wednesday, he strongly denied doing anything wrong in interviews last month and on Tuesday.

Adinolfi said Tuesday that under the name Jadin Hotels he leased rooms from the company that owns the Hotel Harris building on Hartford Street that he in turn rented them out to people seeking short-term lodging, advertising their availability on a variety of online sites such as Hotels.com and Airbnb.

Dan Botwinik, a co-owner of the building, declined to comment Wednesday on the charges or where things stand with Adinolfi. He said last week that Adinolfi’s lease ends in February and would not be extended.

Adinolfi said Tuesday he was sorry to see that the owner planned to pull the plug on Jadin Hotels’ operation at the Hotel Harris. He said he had done a lot to fix up the hallway and rooms he uses there.

“I’m the only one that’s remodeled anything there,” Adinolfi said. “My behavior has been nothing but excellent.”

Most of the historic hotel consists of low-income housing.

In addition to the rooms that Adinolfi rents out at the Hotel Harris, his Jadin Hotels also operates High Street Suites in a house owned by Seth Carey, a friend who ran unsuccessfully for district attorney last year. It is also eyeing a new location for Airbnb rentals on Maine Avenue.

[email protected]

filed under: