On Monday night, June 8, the Council once again brought up the matter of Mayor Carlo DeMaria’s legal fees to attorneys such as Atty. John Pappalardo.
The Council brought up the matter to see if DeMaria would be willing to hand over the legal bills he incurred.
Instead, Mayor DeMaria appeared at the online meeting and indicated that the longer the Council continues to tarnish his reputation regarding these legal fees – especially insinuating they are being used for some criminal matte – the more his attorney will bill the City. He also said the entire situation has opened up some councilors and one local newsletter – the Everett Leader Herald – to impending lawsuits for defamation.
It was characterized in an exchange with Councilor Fred Capone – who has been pushing for the mayor to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the legal bill request.
“There’s absolutely no way the City of Everett should pay this legal fee,” said Capone. “You chose your attorney. That’s your legal bill.”
DeMaria said, “It’s not my legal bill councilor. You continue to bring this up. It is definitely a political move. You will get the invoices for the City government to pay and you can sign them.”
Capone said, “If you think I’m going to voluntarily pay your legal bills for you, you’re out of your mind.
“I’m not out of my mind and I take offense to that,” DeMaria said. “My family and I have taken a lot of abuse to bring this casino to this community. There have been endless things done to try to kibosh it and it’s gone on far too long…You work with the Leader Herald and others to tarnish my reputation. As people continue to tarnish my and the City’s reputation lawyers will represent the City. We are right now getting ready to file lots of (litigation) with lots of entities.”
When Councilor Gerly Adrien asked what that meant, and if residents should be worried, the mayor said it would not be residents, but others should worry.
“Residents can say what they’d like to say; they have the ability to do that,” he said. “We’ve had publications or other elected official posting things in social media and corroborating and making false statements – they should be very concerned and I’ll leave it at that.”
“All the invoices you asked for are ‘conversations with client,’ ‘conversations with other attorneys,’ or ‘reviewing materials,’” he said. “It’s basically reviewing the Leader Herald every week and all the social media posts that some elected officials post tarnishing my and the City’s name. That’s what you would see and all you would see.”
Councilor Michael McLaughlin had been silent on the issue for several months, saying he preferred to wait until the mayor came to explain the situation. He did say he was appalled that the City would be footing the legal bills from the February meeting.
Said McLaughlin, “I don’t think the City of Everett should be paying $1.
Said the Mayor, “The more you continue to talk about it on the Council calendar and questioning me (on it), the more people will represent me.”
Prior to the vote on the matter – which basically ended it out in a 10-0 vote – Capone took a point of privilege to say paying the mayor’s bills was not going to happen.
“I want to say this body never asked Attorney Pappalardo to come to that meeting,” he said.
“Because (the mayor) brought representation with him, it’s his own personal expense,” he continued. “The only thing that has lingered here is a very specific question that Attorney Pappalardo said he would follow up on and he never did…This body never asked Pappalardo to come before us. That was a personal expense. This Council is not going to pay legal expenses to enhance someone’s political future.”
Prior to the heated discourse, the mayor read a letter that explained over six years ago, another firm represented him when the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and the federal government were investigating persons involved with the sale of the casino land to Wynn Resorts.
Because he was the mayor, he was called in for one interview. Prior to that interview, since he had done nothing wrong, it was advised he sign a proffer agreement to protect himself and the City.
“Your involvement was limited to one day,” read the letter. “You were not a target of the investigation. In fact, if you were a target, the government wouldn’t have entered into a proffer agreement.”
Another letter detailed a complaint to the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) that was logged one day after Pappalardo addressed the Council in February.
“We have written notification from OCPF no investigation is warranted and expanses made from campaign accounts are consistent with the Campaign Finance Law,” read the second letter from Greenberg and Traurig.
As to the fact that the matter still continued to be characterized in an allegedly defamatory way at the Council and in one local newsletter, the letter stated legal action was being prepared.
“We are reviewing legal alternatives and action for you to review,” the letter concluded.