The mayor revealed Monday evening that the city is now paying legal bills generated by A. John Pappalardo, of the law firm Greenburg Traurig, who the mayor hired to protect his political future and to defend the city against mischaracterizations about the mayor allegedly appearing in the local press and those uttered by city councilors and other individuals.
This news, coming at a time when the city is in need of money to meet the demands of a budget coming up that cannot be met, was met with amazement by several councilors, among them Councilors Fred Capone, Mike McLaughlin and Gerly Adrien.
Capone and McLaughlin said without equivocation that they would not sign off on paying Pappalardo’s bills, especially the bill for his appearance before the board several months back.
He came at the mayor’s request.
“You should pay him. I won’t pay him a cent,” said Capone. McLaughlin agreed.
“The city shouldn’t pay $1 to Pappalardo,” he said.
The mayor has already paid Pappalardo more than $100,000 in campaign money from his personal campaign account.
The mayor said the residents and voters here are allowed to speak against him but that the newspapers, and especially the Leader Herald, had no such right and that Pappalardo would shortly be suing elected public officials, newspapers, and social media sites.
No one has libeled the mayor.
Everyone in this city, including the newspapers, are protected by the First Amendment to report on the mayor and the job he is doing, whatever run-ins with the law he has experienced, and to make the on merit effort to keep him acting within the laws and true to his oath.
The city should not be paying the mayor’s legal fees in these matters.