The Greenport tea shop owner who was arrested last Tuesday after she allegedly struck the owner of neighboring Butta’ Cakes bakery in the face released a statement to The Suffolk Times this week saying she was provoked by the cupcake purveyor.
“I did hit Marc LaMaina after he got in my face saying, “Hit me, go on, hit me,” said 55-year-old Jenette Holloway, co-owner of Greenport Tea Company on Main Street.
Mr. Lamaina, 31, told police after the incident that Ms. Holloway was upset with him because he was hanging “For Rent” signs in the windows of her business. His 70-year-old mother owns the building that houses both stores.
“At the time we were arguing, but not about the signs, which I had no objection to,” Ms. Holloway said in her statement. “I had said I would give him my key to show the premises if necessary to prospective buyers or renters. Greenport Tea Company is moving to new premises on Front Street and our landlady Judy Macquira has been aware of that for a few months.”
Ms. Holloway said her security deposit is adequate to cover the last month’s rent, and that she has a new tenant lined up to take over the space in January.
When asked about her statements, Mr. LaMaina said that only Ms. Halloway “knows the reason why she attacked me.”
“I actually said, ‘I can’t believe you just hit me!'” after she began repeatedly punching him outside his cupcake shop, Mr. LaMaina said, while denying he was egging her on to hit him. “This was after [she and her business partner] had been trying to provoke me to do something to them, so they could have a legal reason to break their lease.
“They were saying things to me you wouldn’t say to your worst enemy.”
As for what he said were seven blows to his head, Mr. LaMain said he couldn’t really block the shots, mainly because he was protecting his groin area.
“She just went ape sh– on me,” he said. “And it’s not like I can fight back.”
He said that as of Saturday, neither he nor his mother had received any written statement saying Greenport Tea Company is looking to break its lease — and that there is no signed lease or security deposit on hand from any incoming tenant.
“As for their security deposit, it’s for $1,600 from seven years ago,” he added. “Their rent is $1,900. And on a commercial lease the security deposit does not cover any rent. It’s for security purposes only. But [the tea shop owners] never took the time to research the legalities of any of this so they wouldn’t understand.”
Mr. LaMaina said he had a knot on the side of his head and scratches on the back of his neck after the incident.
“There was like two or three witnesses on the street,” he added, though he said police did not interview them. “She admitted to everything.”
Ms. Holloway was charged with harassment, a violation, and released on cash bail.
Mr. LaMaina said he was confident the truth would come out in the courts.
“Before two weeks ago, I would say I thought we were friends,” he said. “This is all so tragic.”