It was the third time police were dispatched to La Plaza Del Sol on August 5 and this time, a man was wielding a machete, court documents state.
From her driveway across the street, Rebecca Oakley live-streamed the group that gathered outside as police vehicles rolled up to the motel on Route 130 in response to the situation.
The video—which Ms. Oakley broadcast in The Mashpee Message, a Mashpee-centric Facebook group with nearly 6,000 members—was one of several she has posted to the group in recent months showing police and emergency vehicles responding to incidents at the motel.
The incident that night stood out to Ms. Oakley, she said, but was just one among the many disturbances that she says occur at all hours of the day at the motel located across the street from her house, where she lives with her husband and five children.
Problems with La Plaza Del Sol date back years, Ms. Oakley said, stating that she has lived across from the motel most of her life. Since the motel changed ownership in 2015, though, she said her troubles have grown.
On Monday, September 9, Ms. Oakley came before the Mashpee Board of Selectmen to air her grievances and to call on the town to do something about La Plaza Del Sol, which she described as a nuisance and a danger.
“This place has brought nothing but havoc,” Ms. Oakley told the selectmen. “Its unsafe, it’s out of control.”
“I don’t understand how a business can be allowed to have all of this craziness go on and affect so many people in a residential neighborhood,” she said.
The chair of the board of selectmen, Andrew R. Gottlieb, told Ms. Oakley that the selectmen’s “ability to regulate is based on compliance with codes” but that the board will “make a serious effort to determine whether there is compliance or not.”
Town manager Rodney Collins stated that he had spoken to the police chief, the fire chief, the health agent, and the building inspector “to determine whether or not there were any violations of any code, any bylaw, any law or any other provision.”
Each told him that, to their knowledge, there were no violations, he stated.
In an interview, Robert Bono, the owner of the hotel and a candidate for selectman in October’s special election, stated “I am probably the most regulated business in Mashpee because of her complaints.”
Mr. Bono said multiple town agencies—including the police department, the board of health, the fire department, and the building department—have told him that his business is up to code.
Of Ms. Oakley, Mr. Bono stated, “I say she’s full of crap.”
He said Ms. Oakley and her relatives lodge meritless complaints against the motel on a regular basis.
In one instance, he claimed, Ms. Oakley called the authorities saying that roof work Mr. Bono was having done began at 7 or 8 AM, causing a disturbance during the morning hours. Mr. Bono said the work did not begin until 9 AM.
He also accused her of claiming that two or three people had died of drug overdoses at the motel, which Mr. Bono said is not true.
“It’s harassment. I’m going to file charges on her if she doesn’t stop,” Mr. Bono said.
At the selectmen’s meeting Monday, Ms. Oakley sifted through 56 pages of logs she had requested from police which document their activities at La Plaza Del Sol dating back until January 1, 2017.
She read what she found in those logs to the selectmen: “Unattended death, sex offender registry, domestic violence, noise violation, suspicious persons, warrant services, drug overdoses, restraining orders, auto theft, a lot of health and well being checks, threats, verbal threats.”
A review of those logs by the Enterprise found multiple instances of sex offender registration, domestic disturbances, suspicious vehicles and activity, health and well being checks, noise complaints, restraining order services, and verbal threats.
In 2017, there was one log of a suspected drug overdose and one unattended death.
In 2019, there was one log of a drug overdose.
Arrests were made by police on five occasions at the motel in 2019, according to the documents.
Those arrests included the man with the machete—who pleaded guilty on Tuesday to two charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon—and the arrest of a sex offender who was allegedly in posession of child pornography and who police say failed to register in Mashpee, court documents indicate.
The logs also show a constant police presence at La Plaza Del Sol with officers making “directed patrols” on a daily basis to monitor the area.
Mr. Bono said that he allows the police to use the motel driveway to make those daily patrols.
“I want the police to be there anytime they want,” Mr. Bono said.
He stated that the motel has a rule for guests: “If the police are called, they’re gone,” he said.
La Plaza Del Sol operates under an agreement with the town which allows some of the guests to stay for extended periods of time.
Because of that, Mr. Bono said, if he tries to evict anyone who has stayed longer than 90 days, he has to go through eviction court—which can be a lengthy process.
He stated that the motel has evicted and thrown out no less than 20 to 30 individuals.
At the selectmen’s meeting Monday, Ms. Oakley stated, “I’m totally happy with what the police department does, I have no problem with them at all.”
The Mashpee Police Department declined to comment for this article.
In an interview, Ms. Oakley said that one of her main troubles with the motel is that, being right next door, “my children are witnessing so much nonsense constantly.”
She said that lights, sirens, shouting, and other disturbances wake members of her household at odd hours of the night.
Her family used to spend a lot of time sitting on the front porch, she said. They would drink coffee on the porch in the mornings or cocktails in the evenings. However, due to the disturbances from across the street they don’t do that very often anymore, she stated.
She has also updated the security cameras on her house, she said, so that she can keep an eye on the house when her children—whose ages range from 12 to 25—are home alone.
Knowing that other parents will not allow their children over to her house to play due to her home’s proximity to La Plaza Del Sol is especially disheartening, she said.
“It’s just an awful feeling knowing that because of a business that’s there people don’t want to come to my home,” she said.
Mr. Bono said that since taking over La Plaza Del Sol in 2015, he has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to “beautify” the motel. He also stated that every complaint that the motel receives is investigated.
“Check with the town,” he said, “they will tell you whether they have any problems—they don’t.”
“I am going above and beyond because I am running for selectman,” said Mr. Bono, who is a candidate in the October 1 election for an open seat on the board. “I don’t want anyone to say anything.”
Ms. Oakley stated at the selectmen’s meeting, “I personally know for a fact, that the occupancy in some of the units are not being held to the agreement” that La Plaza Del Sol has with the town.
Mr. Bono, who was not at the selectmen’s meeting, denied that the motel has violated the agreement with the town in any way.
Mr. Gottlieb stated that “because there are a lot of service calls, that doesn’t put us in the position to be able to restrict anyone’s operations.” He stated, however, that it is “a fair ask” to see whether the motel is in compliance with codes and agreements.
After returning from the selectmen’s meeting Monday, Ms. Oakley said there was a police cruiser and an ambulance at the motel.
Asked if she had ever considered moving, she stated, “Absolutely not.”
“This is my family home,” she said, “this is where I plan on being the rest of my life.”
Besides, she said, with what goes on across the street, “Who on earth would by my house for what it’s worth?”