EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

September 17, 2013

Tewksbury Motel owner who beat feds' forfeiture attempt to speak at Tea Party meeting

NORTH ANDOVER — A Tewksbury motel owner who successfully fought the federal government’s attempt to seize his business and a recently elected state representative will be among the speakers at tomorrow night’s meeting of the Merrimack Valley Tea Party.

Russ Caswell and his wife have owned the Motel Caswell Route 38 in Tewksbury since the 1950s. Four years ago, the federal government, acting under the civil forfeiture law, which allows the taking of property where drug crimes occur, tried to seize the motel.

The government said drug-related crimes had taken place at the motel, but Caswell said he always cooperated with the police. With help from the Institute for Justice, the Cawells prevailed at a four-day trial and the government dropped its attempt to take their property.

State Rep. Leah Cole, R-Peabody, won a special election in April. She defeated the Democratic nominee and an independent candidate. Peabody, the home of the late Congressman Nicholas Mavroules and former state Senate Majority Leader Fred Berry, seldom votes for Republican candidates.

Members of a group that seeks to repeal the recently enacted computer software tax as well as the measure that automatically raises gasoline taxes are expected to attend.

The Tea Party will meet from 7 to 9 at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2104, 32 Park St.

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