May 4, 2016 9:32 AM

Contractor alleges he was assaulted by Portsmouth building inspector

PORTSMOUTH — A local contractor has filed a police complaint alleging he was assaulted by the building inspector last month, while city officials are now planning a meeting to ease tensions between inspectors and those working in the building trades. reported the alleged assault occurred during an April 6 meeting between a group of contractors and city officials to talk about problems with new inspections managers. Police describe it as an "active case" and say witnesses will be interviewed. Several witnesses told the Portsmouth Herald after the meeting that tempers flared, F-bombs were dropped and the contractor was assaulted by Robert Marsilia, the chief building inspector.

Marsilia did not return the Herald's message seeking his comment on Tuesday, but Deputy City Manager David Allen said last month, and again on Tuesday, that there was no assault. Allen previously said that debate became heated and "people were talking over people," while Marsilia and the unidentified contractor got up and stood chest-to-chest, before Allen positioned himself between the two.

Allen on Tuesday said he did not witness any contact between the building inspector and the contractor, but said there were "aggressive conversations."

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