What will Rollins find? What will the mayor do?
By Josh Resnek
Those of us who are familiar with Mayor Carlo DeMaria’s bravado and his horse stable of highly paid and prominent or formerly prominent attorneys understand this: the mayor is not to the slightest degree afraid of US Attorney Rachel Rollins.
His attorneys will likely tell him he can slip past this problem, that they know people inside the US Attorney’s office, and that everything will be OK once they reach inside and put Rollins in her place.
They also will likely tell the mayor he needs to pony up many more hundreds of thousands of dollars for attorney’s fees if Rollin’s probe is real and is to be fought and extinguished properly.
What Rollins might be planning to do on the one hand does not scare the mayor, his supporters claim.
On the other hand, the mayor probably spent the weekend near to catatonic at the prospects of a real Federal investigation.
More than anything, the mayor does not want to and cannot afford to jeopardize his pension.
His pension and how close he comes to losing it will be the final judge of where this investigation goes.
The question is this: what is the US Attorney going to find and how is she going to handle this investigation now that she has officially announced the probe?
There are manifold possibilities.
Only Rollins knows what she has in mind. Anyone telling you she has confided about her strategy or plan of attack is a liar.
However, Rollins has shown her hand.
Her letter to the city was strident and all-inclusive about what is likely to follow. Rollins, at this early point, will find Everett a fertile territory for an investigation into racism, discrimination and retaliation. Her probe will uncover systemic, endemic, insulting and depressing examples of racism.
In fact, racism and perfunctory attention paid to it by the mayor has already been proven.
What remains to unfold is how exactly Rollins will proceed, what she will find beyond the racism, and how she will decide who should be punished and what punishments should be handed out.
Rollins will come to understand that the mayor rules the roost, calls all the shots, and presides over a racist, corrupt municipal government, but only if she wants to work hard enough to change the course of history in this city.
It is a bit like the US Attorney is starting the exploration of a savage, corrupt and ignorant municipal culture and making discoveries about how it works and how it survives along the way.
That’s for starters.
Rollins has instructed the city to produce information
from computers and cell phones and public documents and with records of proceedings.
She has implored the city to preserve records.
We would urge her not to wait too long.
The natural order of record keeping here depends on who is asking for them and the necessity to alter them or destroy them if the wrong person like Rollins is asking for them.
The missing video from the city council meeting where Gerly Adrien, the first and only Black woman elected to the city council was publicly excoriated and belittled and then asked to resign by Anthony DiPierro and others is a prime example of the city losing, erasing or misplacing important records.
It remains uncertain whether or not Rollins is going to send the FBI into city hall to remove computers and to confiscate cell phones.
What is she looking for? What will she find?
The longer she waits for due process to work, the less information there will be to rely upon.
Rollins may have given the city 30 days to comply with her order.
It remains uncertain whether or not she has spoken with the mayor or other principals considered accomplices to egregious and quite possibly, to indictable offenses for which a grand jury must first be convened.
We know this. Rollins has watched the DiPierro, Deveney, Keith Slattery hate Zoom session. She has probably watched it several times, and very likely with her Assistant US Attorneys in the civil rights division of her office.
Rollins has viewed videos and read accounts of the Everett High School student rebellion. Five hundred students protested in front of city hall chanting loudly for the mayor to resign in front of city hall recently – an event which led to DiPierro and Deveney finally resigning.
We must assume Rollins is privy to what City Clerk Sergio Cornelio revealed to the FBI and the IRS during a four hour interview at FBI head- quarters in Chelsea about six months ago with his criminal lawyer, Joe Machera.
Cornelio’s revelations must certainly petrify the mayor. Cornelio’s revelations to the FBI are not only key to civil rights prosecutions. They are also key to prosecutions for possible extortion and theft which the city clerk alleges the mayor committed in a questionable real estate deal now the subject of a Superior Court lawsuit against Cornelio and the Leader Herald.
What is the mayor to do? Some say he should resign. Others claim he will never do that.
A former councilor who knows him well told the Leader Herald last week that if the going gets tough enough for him, “he will take off.”
Whether or not he does that remains to be seen.
What is more realistic to predict is that the mayor will lawyer up again to fight the Federal investigation and its potential difficulties for him.
At the time of this writing the mayor faces a discrimination complaint filed against him by Superintendent of Schools Priya Tahiliani, two separate lawsuits alleging defamation against the city clerk and the Leader Herald, and now this investigation by the US Attorney into racism.
As many of us tend to say among ourselves when we feel bothered and badgered: “he’s got a lot on his plate.”