LYNN — Mayor Thomas M. McGee has condemned the anti-Semitic and racist graffiti and symbolism that was found throughout the inside of a proposed recreational marijuana store in the city Monday afternoon.
Jordan Avery, an African American who is converting to Judaism, was notified of the break-in and vandalism by the Boston Street building’s owner, Julius Sokol, who is Jewish.
“I am appalled and disgusted by the racist and anti-Semitic act that took place in the city of Lynn this week,” said McGee in a statement. “While these type of incidents sadly continue to occur in today’s society, they should not serve as a reflection of the people of our community who honor this city’s proud history of welcoming and celebrating those of many faiths and cultural traditions.
“I condemn this abhorrent behavior and the cowards who are responsible,” the mayor said.
Avery, owner of Massachusetts Green Retail, said seeing the anti-Semitic language and racist symbolism throughout the storefront, the most graphic being a knife that was hanging from a noose at the end of the rope tied to the ceiling, left him speechless and upset.
McGee said he had complete confidence in the Lynn Police Department, which is investigating the incident, and urged people to contact authorities with any information.
“Hate does not have a home in the city of Lynn,” McGee said.
The vandalism has also been denounced by the Anti-Defamation League, a civil rights and human relations agency which was founded to stop the defamation of Jewish people.
Avery’s plans to open a cannabis business at 829 Boston St., on the Lynn/Saugus line, have been mired in controversy.
Massachusetts Green Retail received approval from the Lynn City Council in March to open, but the town of Saugus subsequently filed a lawsuit appealing the decision, arguing the town doesn’t allow recreational cannabis establishments. The suit also says part of the building and parking lot is in Saugus.
Avery said he believes the vandalism was an escalation of pushback he’s received since he was given the go-ahead for the business, saying he has received threatening calls and voicemails. But Avery also said he wouldn’t allow perceived scare tactics to prevent him from opening the store.
The pending case is in Massachusetts Law Court and a hearing on a motion to dismiss filed by the company is scheduled for next month.