BY JOSH RESNEK
I guess the mayor was trying to create a bit of wonder and question among his neighbors about the NBA basketball net and stanchion that showed up at his home on Abbott Avenue about three weeks ago.
The piece, one of three donated to the city of Everett by an official at Catholic Memorial High School, found its new home in the unlikeliest of places – in the mayor’s front driveway.
The piece is valued online at about $10,000.
On the same day the mayor received the basketball net and stanchion, a dear friend of his received the other two given as presents to the city of Everett.
That represented a gift of about $20,000.
They are now standing in front of the mayor’s friend’s home on the North Shore. I told the person who received them that I would not reveal who he is because he is not a municipal employee like Jerry Navarro, the mayor’s chief supporter and cheerleader at city hall (who we call the “Paperboy” because he steals the Leader Herald for the boss).
As a municipal employee, Navarro is bound by the state’s conflict of interest statute, Chapter 268A because he is the one who received the basketball nets and stanchions from the official at Catholic Memorial High School on the strict and uncompromising conditions from him that they were being donated to the city of Everett – not to the mayor and a friend of his who lives on the North Shore.
To take these pieces and then to give them, one to the mayor and two to his friend, constitutes a violation of Chapter 268A.
In other words, the mayor cannot accept such a gift from his head cheerleader and the head cheerleader cannot dole out the gifts to the city as presents to the mayor and his friend. It is stunningly clear but simple violation of the ethics laws he is bound by as a city employee.
The mayor can’t accept the donated basketball net and stanchion and take possession of it by putting it in his front driveway because it is worth too much money.
By law, the mayor can only accept presents worth $50 or less without contacting the State Ethics Commission.
In this instance, even if he contacted the commission, he still can’t accept or buy the piece because the city would have to put it out to public bid to allow others to buy it at the market rate – which is closer to $10,000 than the $50 allowed as a donation to the mayor.
Navarro is not allowed by the law to be giving out presents donated to the city to the mayor and to his friend.
Can’t happen – but it has – or so it appears.
Maybe the mayor paid for the pieces?
According to the official at Catholic Memorial, the pieceswere donated.
No money exchanged hands.
At least this is what the official has told a friend in Everett at least three times.
So, what can we all assume from this transaction?
Did the mayor receive a donated gift to the city of Everett from the official at Catholic Memorial and take it as his own? Maybe Navarro paid for them?
That’s about as likely as a snowstorm in July. Even if he did, under Chapter 268A, he, as a municipal employee, is not al- lowed to accept such gifts as his own much less than to pay for them and then to give them away – one to the mayor and two others to the mayor’s friend.
It can’t happen but it appears to have happened in Everett. What are Everett residents to make of this?
Did the mayor forget he can’t receive such a donated piece to place in his driveway?
That might have happened.
Is the mayor prepared to pay for it now?
That is a possibility except that he is not allowed to buy it.
That would be a conflict of interest – the mayor buying a donated piece for his front driveway from the city.
I have heard from several people that the mayor had the piece delivered to his driveway, and then a light placed on a pole by the Electrical Department last week to illuminate it for night- time use.
Maybe he’s starting a basketball league for local children?
Perhaps the whole thing was intended as a surprise for Everett kids who want to play basketball in the mayor’s front driveway, and then perhaps take a swim in his grand pool that abuts the cemetery behind the house?
It could be part of his anti-racism effort to allow black and brown kids to play on what is arguably the most expensive professional style basketball net and stanchion in the city.
That must be it.
The mayor would never accept something he hasn’t paid for, or would he? Might he do this? Has he? Only he and Navarro know but the Catholic Memorial official, a man of sterling integrity also knows – that is – that these pieces were donated to the city, not to the mayor and certainly not to Navarro, and certainly not given to the city for Navarro to give away two of them worth $20,000 to the mayor’s friend.
Maybe the mayor and Navarro will determine that the official at Catholic Memorial is lying, that he was in fact paid for the three pieces and kept the money for himself?
In a thousand years such a theft like this by this giant of a man from Everett would never occur.
So, the mayor has a problem. The Paperboy has a problem – three problems.
I cannot imagine the lengths to which these two are going to create a proper story about a simple ethical mistake.
As for the fellow on the North Shore who accepted the other two pieces – well – he’s not a public official. He’s not bound by Chapter 268A. I told him I didn’t need to rat on him because I suspected strongly the mayor and the Paperboy would do that for me. Besides, he’s the only one of the trio who has done nothing wrong.
What a thing!
Whether the mayor paid for it or not, whether he considers it the city’s or not, the basketball net and stanchion in front of his home should not be there under any circumstances.
The ancient Romans had a Latin expression: ex post facto. That’s “after the fact.”
What we learn in the days to come from the mayor and the Paperboy is ex post facto.
The story they are likely making up will cause more harm to their reputations than accepting as their own, donations made to the city for the city’s kids.