Councilors outraged, vow it won’t happen
BY JOSH RESNEK
The city of Everett is now paying the mayor’s legal bills and the mayor said the time is not too far away from a wide variety of people and entities being sued for mischaracterizations about him and the city by the lawyer the city is paying.
“Elected public officials and local publications should be concerned and social media, too,” the mayor admonished the council during a Zoom meeting held Monday night which was broadcast live on the City of Everett’s Facebook site.
The mayor said the council’s repeated efforts to have him explain the legal payments made to Attorney A. John Pappalardo, the former US Attorney now associated with Greenburg Traurig and specializing in white collar crime and criminal matters, and to his lawyer before hiring Pappalardo, were continuing intrusions into his privacy and an effort to ruin his reputation and that of the city.
The mayor read two letters from Pappalardo, indicating that the highly respected criminal attorney was not representing the mayor on a criminal matter and that he had dropped his rate for the city.
Pappalardo is now charging the city $750 an hour, down 55% from his hourly rate of $1,500 an hour. Pappalardo did not indicate why he had dropped his hourly rate.
Two councilors expressed their amazement and incredulity to the mayor, who spoke with his eyes mostly closed during his remarks.
“If you think the city will pay voluntarily your lawyer’s legal fees you are out of your mind,” Councilor Fred Capone said to the mayor. He thought the mayor’s reasoning was ridiculous.
“I will not vote to pay your lawyer 1 cent,” Capone added. “There is no reason the city should be paying your bill,” he repeated to the mayor.
McLaughlin made similar remarks, and he expressed amazement at the mayor’s effrontery.
“The city shouldn’t pay $1 to Pappalardo ,“ McLaughlin told the mayor and his colleagues.
“We didn’t ask him to come here to speak with us. You did,” he said to the mayor.
“So you should pay him,” he said. “Not the city.”
Pappalardo, who is a partner at Greenburg Traurig, an international law firm, appeared before the city council some months back to explain why the mayor had paid him more than $100,000 for what many people perceived as legal fees for criminal representation during the past two years.
He came at the mayor’s request, not at the request of the council.
“All we asked for were your invoices for legal expenses,”Capone said to the mayor.
The mayor complained that Capone and his colleagues were grandstanding.
“I went to the wall to bring the casino here. Every week the Leader Herald and others are working to ruin my reputation,” the mayor replied.
“Pappalardo is now being paid by the city,” he added.
“I hope you all have a nice night.”