HAVERHILL — The City Council shut down one of Haverhill's two taxi companies for at least two weeks last night for a mysterious reason that was discussed in a secret meeting for almost 30 minutes.
"The evidence established a pattern that was so egregious that I'm compelled to deny the license due to the police recommendation," Councilor Michael Hart said after the council emerged from the closed-door session to vote in public.
Councilors were considering Dean Manemanus' application to renew his license for American Transportation Taxi Service.
"No clear law has been violated, but there's an established level of behavior," Councilor John Michitson said. "If we approve this license, we lose all credibility."
Last night's private meeting, known as an executive session, was the first time the council met outside public view in at least a decade.
Police Chief Alan DeNaro recommended the council deny Manemanus' taxi license for reasons outlined in a police memo that the city has refused to make public.
Instead of denying the license, however, the council voted 7-2 to postpone action for two weeks to give Manemanus an opportunity to resolve his dispute with police over how he has been running the business. Manemanus is not allowed to operate his cabs until the council resolves the matter one way or the other.
Councilors William Ryan and Mary Ellen Daly O'Brien said they wanted to reject the application last night.
Manemanus contacted The Eagle-Tribune before the meeting and said police were trying to shut him down because they have a vendetta against him. He also said he would provide the newspaper with a copy of the police memo that lays out the department's case against him.
But at the meeting, he refused a reporter's request for the document and declined to comment at all. His attorney, Paul Magliocchetti, said he does not believe police have a vendetta against his client.