Council again questions fees
By Josh Resnek
With the mayor away, his paid lawyers came to play…before the city council Monday night.
Assistant City Solicitors Keith Slattery and Matt Lattanzi, representing the mayor but making the case they are representing the council, attempted to persuade the council the mayor’s excessive personal legal expenses are not for any criminal actions but rather, are being made to assure the mayor of his political future.
“What the heck does that mean?” Councilor Mike Marchese said Tuesday morning.
Councilor Fred Capone echoed Marchese’s concerns.
“We are no closer to knowing what the mayor is paying these legal bills for than we were last week. There must be clarity on this issue – and transparency, said Capone.
Capone has said he is running for mayor in the next go around.
He sounded like a smart lawyer Monday night.
In the end, the council voted 6-4 to order the mayor to appear sometime at the end of March to explain the legal fees, again.
In this vote, the council showed its ability to challenge the mayor, whereas last year such a vote against the mayor would not have been possible.
Even more notable is that former mayor and Councilor at Large John Hanlon voted with the new majority.
The vote was achieved without those of Councilor at Large Wayne Matewsky, who again shilled for the mayor as he did at the previous council meeting.
Matewsky tried to make the case that the mayor’s legal expenses are business between his lawyer and himself. He spoke about attorney client privilege, satisfied not to know what the mayor is spending between $6000-$10000 a month to retain A. John Pappalardo, the former US Attorney and criminal attorney for Greenberg Traurig LLC.
Pappalardo delivered a stern informational to the council last week when he spoke instead of the mayor at a council meeting to discuss the legal fees. The mayor is paying the legal from his campain account.
Councilor Jimmy Tri Le declined to vote on the measure, showing his inclinations and a reluctance to vote against the mayor’s wishes, responding in kind to pressures put apparently put upon him to conform.
“The mayor’s solicitors tried to tell us that the mayor is paying all this money to a criminal lawyer who is being paid to enhance his political career. Do they think we are idiots. Yes they do,” Marchese complained.
“All we want is transparency. The assistant city solicitors told us nothing. Their appearance was a joke – and no one understands that better than them as they are required to do the mayor’s bidding. What’s worse, they fall over themselves to do his bidding when he says jump. What kind of lawyers do that?” he asked.