PORT RICHEY — Port Richey’s mayor and his girlfriend were arrested Thursday on charges that they battered one another during an argument at their home, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said.
Dale Massad, 67, and his live-in girlfriend, Caj Annette Joseph, 57, were arguing when he grabbed her with both hands and shoved her into the home office, deputies said. Witnesses at the home told deputies they heard a "loud thump" before the couple exited the office. Joseph had a small scratch on the back of her neck and left arm, the mayor’s arrest report said.
At a separate point during the argument, Massad tried to walk away, deputies said. Joseph then punched the mayor in the back, her arrest report said.
Both were arrested at about 5:30 p.m. and taken to the Land O’Lakes Detention Center. Massad faces a charge of misdemeanor domestic battery. Joseph faces a felony charge of battery on a person older than 65.
Massad was freed from the Pasco County jail Friday after posting $500 bail. Joseph remained in jail, held in lieu of $500 bail.
This is not the first time the authorities have dealt with Joseph and Massad, who also served as a Port Richey city councilman three times from 2000-08.
In 2009, Massad reported to police that a friend had stolen a gun from his pickup in his garage. That friend later used the gun to commit suicide, news reports said.
Police arrested Joseph on a charge of misdemeanor battery in May 2016 after she and another woman, Jodie Cunningham, were accused of getting into an altercation at Massad’s home.
In July 2017, police arrested Joseph at Massad’s home, accusing her of punching him and hitting him with a vehicle door.
That year, Massad was cited by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, accused of harvesting snook out of season.
Thursday’s arrest appears to be Massad’s first in Pasco County, according to jail records. Joseph has been arrested 14 times since 2011, county records show. The most recent charges were for felony battery, burglary and violating probation.