Mayor’s woes are a boom, and bust, for his cadre of paid attorneys
By Josh Resnek
This newest legal entanglement concerning the mayor and the city of Everett is a sign of the times.
The mayor is certain to lawyer up, again, to defend against any possible accusations, civil or criminal now that the US Attorney has announced she is investigating Everett and the mayor, who leads the city for better or worse at a time when his management of the city and of himself has come to be seriously questioned.
The mayor tends to rely on a bevy of attorneys to speak and to act for him, to provide him insulation from the long arm of the law in the perpetual hope of remaining free of possible or likely legal entanglements.
Over the years, the mayor has enjoyed a great deal of success using lawyers as shields and as offensive weapons.
He uses lawyers the way the British employed the Hessians to fight against the Americans during the Revolutionary War. The Hessians were paid henchmen.
For many years the mayor has used Mintz Levin, the powerhouse Boston law firm that was able to bring the casino to Everett.
Mintz Levin is believed to be in the $1000+ per hour range for its formidable legal services.
The mayor is now using a very expensive and competent law-firm Saul Ewing Arnstein and Lehr to sue City Clerk Sergio Cornelio and the Leader Herald for defamation.
That firm located in Boston apparently charges $1,000 an hour for its services – which are substantial.
According to the mayor’s financials, he has already paid Ewing something in the vicinity of $50,000, which included a $20,000 retainer.
The mayor uses KP Law as an outside counsel for the city.
The mayor is apparently represented by A. John Pappalardo for criminal matters. Pappalardo is with the international law firm Greenburg-Traurig – a worldwide law firm with offices in Boston.
The mayor has paid Greenburg-Traurig hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawyers’ fees in the past six years.
Pappalardo once told the city council during an appearance to explain why he was representing the mayor that he oversees the mayor’s well-being and professional development. He claimed to have cut his hourly fee from $1200 to $750 for the mayor when asked what he charged.
The mayor has not explained exactly why he employed Greenburg-Traurig and Pappalardo. Papplardo gained his local fame as a tough criminal defense attorney as well as a former prosecutor. He headed Boston’s US Attorney’s office for a short while many years back.
In fact, the mayor’s campaign account has been consistently drained by lawyers over the years.
The mayor recently made a $16,000 payment to Saul Ewing. It is estimated recent depositions taken by Ewing will cost somewhere in the vicinity of $20,000.
The mayor’s city hall legal team is of a different breed and subset of attorneys.
It is impossible to know whether the city’s attorneys represent the city or the mayor.
Leading the city attorneys is Colleen Mejia. Mejia is a DeMaria soldier.
She has rarely if ever ruled against the mayor. She led the team that ok’d the payment of the mayor’s $40,000 a year longevity payment, which former councilor and attorney Fred Capone has called a “theft and a fraud.”
“It’s a matter of interpretation,” Mejia told the council on several occasions about the bloated longevity which she said “had to be paid.”
In the world that is Everett city government, whatever the city solicitor rules is taken as something akin to a Supreme Court decision by the city council.
Mejia is a keeper of the mayor’s secrets. She is as inside as it gets at city hall.
She had recently resigned to take a job with the Teamsters but something happened on the way to Teamster’s headquarters in Somerville.
Mejia is now back with the city – at a very fateful moment for the city solicitor who is very likely to be interviewed by the US Attorney’s office about why she failed to say a public word about Anthony DiPierro or Deanna Deveney’s racist actions during the two month long period before they resigned.
Her colleague Assistant City Solicitor Keith Slattery is another of the mayor’s lawyers.
He, too, is very likely to be questioned by the US Attorney’s office not only for his two month silence regarding DiPierro’s racist behavior but because of his participation with DiPierro in the now infamous Zoom
recording where DiPierro, Slattery and De- veney all laughed at Deveney’s description of Black people as “darkies.”
Deveney, who resigned last week, was another of the mayor’s team who is also likely to be interviewed by the US Attorney for her involvement in that Zoom fiasco.
The mayor’s chief of staff Erin Deveney did not participate in the Zoom business. However she failed to comment against DiPierro’s racist behavior, and by association, the mayor’s, for not asking DiPierro to resign during two months of protests aimed at the mayor and DiPierro and others who exhibited racist animus in public.
As the mayor’s chief of staff, as a lawyer and as the former head of the Registry of Motor Vehicles, several attorneys have indicated “she should have known better than to remain silent.”
Rounding out the city’s $600,000 a year grouping of city attorneys serving the mayor is the youngest of the group, Matt Lattanzi, the councilor Al Lattanzi’s son.
He has experienced a swift rise in the Everett city hall totem pole of power.
Lattanzi made no comments whatsoever about DiPierro’s racist behavior or about Deveney’s or about the mayor’s inaction in confronting hate and racism at Everett City Hall.
Will he be questioned and reprimanded for remaining silent?
That remains to be seen.