"The town has accused me of the lawsuit. The lawsuit wasn't Bob Emery's lawsuit," Emery insists. (Emery often speaks in third-person narration, acting as his own character witness in a sales-pitch tone that is meant to convey confidence, but hints, instead, at scars from two years of small-town public scorn.)

"The only role Bob Emery is playing in this is, I am nothing more than a landlord," Emery says, defending his own profit motive. "If the individuals that say they hate me now, knew the inner workings of what this company does and how they operate, I don't believe there's a man, woman, or child that would have said no to the business opportunity."

Many Warren residents are just as skeptical of Emery's motives as a small-town businessman as they are of the corporate behemoth CRC.

On a Facebook page called "No Methadone in Warren," there is a photograph of four men standing in the rain at the intersection in front of Emery's business with looks of casual determination. One man holds a cup of coffee in one hand and a sign in the other reading, "CRC-Bob Emery/God Hates/Greedy Money/Weasels/Who Push/Legalized/Synthetic Heroin."

"Ever since then it's just been crazy," Emery's son, Robert says of the picketing of his father's business. "Everybody in the town of Warren pretty much hates my dad now. We've gone from a successful business to there's pretty much nobody that comes here now because of the whole clinic thing. I feel kind of responsible for the whole thing."

Emery says he has been "crucified" by his community for his relationship with CRC. His children, also area residents, and his businesses have been hurt. Two-thirds of his employees quit because of the controversy, Emery says. But he was still willing to purchase and rent property to the company. He has a stubborn blue-collar work ethic and says he was raised to finish what he starts.

Bain_Meeting_main
The town’s Planning Board has become a hotbed of conflict

HEIGHTENING CONFLICT

Clinging to the convenience of that relationship, CRC proposed a new clinic location: a portion of the warehouse on Route 1 that houses most of Emery's businesses, from used-car sales to portable toilets.

Terry Walsh and his wife (also named Terry), live just one sharp left and one right turn from the proposed clinic location. "Our objection to it is the location that they're proposing," Walsh says. "It's a business that generates a great deal of traffic. It's in a residential part of town. The school bus stops there. It's just not a very good place for something like this."

Walsh has "become reconciled" to CRC's claimed ADA-backed rights, but says, "They are using the ADA as a threat against the town: Either give us this permit to locate our clinic here or we'll sue you. That's not fair for a company like this to be able to hold a town hostage, you know."

Warren residents and town officials were not happy with that proposed location either, but the threat of the ADA suit left the town with local zoning ordinances as their only defense. And so began a series of countless Warren Planning Board meetings.

Originally held at the town office, a building that Emery's own construction company remodeled, the meeting location was later moved to the Warren Community School to accommodate the high turn-out.

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