City Council may admonish one of its own

  • Jim Contois

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 10/27/2022 8:39:12 PM
Modified: 10/27/2022 8:38:58 PM

CLAREMONT — The City Council will hold a hearing at its Nov. 9 meeting on the conduct of councilor Jim Contois and may consider removing him from office.

At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Contois was accused by the owner of the Ford dealership on Charlestown Road of attempting to have the police chief rescind a no-trespass order issued last week.

But Contois contends he was on a public right-of-way and should not have been subject to the order.

“I have to rescind the order,” dealership owner Christian Gomes told the council. “It can’t be done by the chief of police. This should not be brushed under the rug. In my opinion, he (Contois) should resign. You can’t be an activist and an impartial member of the council.”

Contois became involved in a dispute with Gomes last week that led to Gomes seeking to have police to issue a no-trespass order against him.

Gomes alleges Contois was trespassing on his property when he called police. Contois was not charged with trespassing and has denied Gomes’ allegations.

Gomes told the council that he was informed by a member of the police department that Contois called Chief Brent Wilmot in an effort to have the no-trespass order lifted. Gomes characterized Contois’ action an “abuse of power.”

Gomes recently received a permit from New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Wetlands Bureau to dredge a wetland area on his property for construction of a second dealership.

The Claremont Conservation Commission, of which Contois is a member, opposed the permit. After it was issued, Contois appealed the decision, not in his capacity as a commission or city council but as a private citizen.

Contois said earlier this week that he was taking pictures of the property for his appeal while standing on the shoulder of the road when he was approached by Gomes. He said they argued over whether he was on the dealership property.

Gomes told him to get off his property, and Contois responding by stating he was in the right-of-way on the road shoulder, not Gomes’ property.

Police were called to the scene, and Gomes later had the no-trespass order issued, Contois said in a phone interview on Monday.

At Wednesday’s council meeting, after Gomes spoke, councilor Andrew O’Hearne asked for a hearing at the Nov. 9 meeting under the city charter rules regarding removal of a councilor.

“I’m a little perturbed at the accusations and want to hear both sides,” O’Hearne said.

Contois did not respond to Gomes’s statement but on Thursday explained why he called Wilmot.

Contois, who called Gomes’ statements “inflammatory and mostly lies,” said Gomes is wrong about where his property line starts.

He said a surveyor has told him the dealership’s property begins 33 feet from the centerline of Charlestown Road, which moves it off the paved section.

“(Gomes) knows that because there is a property pin at the corner of Lane Ridge Road and Charlestown Road,” Contois said. “I asked the police chief to remove the no-trespassing order because of that fact. They have erroneous information.”

According to the charter, the elected body, on a specific charge and after due notice and hearing, may remove the mayor, assistant mayor or one of its members for cause, which can include “misconduct in office.”

“If he does not resign and the council does not take action, I will make it known the city of Claremont is not a place to do business,” Gomes said. “This is harassment.”

A message left for Wilmot Thursday was not immediately returned.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at

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