CONCORD — A labor department hearing for a short-lived Swanzey business was cut short Thursday morning when police officers arrested the company’s owner.
Just 45 minutes into the hearing, a division of the N.H. State Police that covers the state office park removed Angelo Nastovski, owner of BetterBone Inc., from the N.H. Department of Labor headquarters in handcuffs.
Nastovski, 57, of Swanzey was arrested as a fugitive from justice on an outstanding warrant from Massachusetts, according to a news release from the N.H. State Police Campus Police Unit Thursday night.
The warrant was issued after Nastovski failed to appear for an arraignment in Plymouth (Mass.) District Court on Nov. 26, 2018, according to a court clerk.
He was scheduled to be arraigned on three felony charges stemming from an alleged incident May 4, 2018, the clerk said: one count of larceny over $1,200 and two counts of larceny over $1,200 by false pretense.
No one from the Marshfield (Mass.) Police Department, which police said initiated the warrant, was available for comment Thursday.
Nastovski was taken Thursday to the Merrimack County jail and scheduled to be arraigned Friday in 6th Circuit Court District Division in Concord, the news release said.
During the brief hearing in Concord Thursday, which was intended to address the labor department’s allegations of back wages owed by BetterBone, Nastovski said his company is no longer at the Homestead Woolen Mills Complex in Swanzey.
Nastovski announced last summer he was moving his company, BetterBone, a manufacturer of edible dog chews, into the complex. He said he established the business in Ilion, N.Y., though The Sentinel has found no evidence of this.
He promised to hire more than 224 people by December, and a job fair at the mill complex in October drew at least 150 applicants.
At the end of October, the labor department initiated an inspection of BetterBone Inc. and its employees, sparked by complaints from people who said they had worked at the company.
The report, finalized Jan. 8, cited the company for 25 labor law violations and alleged BetterBone owed more than $28,000 in back wages to three people who worked without pay for several weeks. Nastovski, however, maintained that he never hired anyone. He told The Sentinel in a January email that it would be “quite simple” to prove the people in the report were not employed by BetterBone.
He also wrote that “our attorneys are confident we will prevail.”
Nastovski represented himself in what little of the hearing transpired Thursday morning. The proceedings covered only the basics of the inspection and the final report.
Nastovski’s arrest further delays a resolution between BetterBone and the labor department, according to Deputy Commissioner Rudolph W. Ogden 3rd. The police matter took precedence Thursday morning, he said, but BetterBone’s alleged wrongdoings will still need to be settled at some point.