By JOSH RESNEK
For the past twelve years, Mayor Carlo DeMaria has weathered every storm that has swirled around him.
He has shown an uncanny ability to sidestep every controversy and to come out of crisis still on top.
“He will be the mayor forever,” Jerry Navarra, one of his chief supporters and the head of the city’s DPW has repeatedly said of his boss and his hero.
He may be right or this time he may be wrong.
Since former councilor Fred Capone came close to toppling the mayor in the November election – the mayor won by 210 votes – the political climate has dramatically changed in the city.
Never before has the mayor’s house of cards seemed closer to toppling than it has during the past few months.
What has come to pass among voters here is this: for every DeMaria supporter out there in the neighborhoods, there is now a DeMaria adversary.
Because Everett residents and voters are growing tired or antsy of the same old thing over and over.
The mayor’s apparent effort to enrich himself, best shown in the hidden longevity payment scheme that Capone has called fraud and theft, gave him a $40,000 a year payment instead of the $2,500 he was supposed to receive.
The mayor has called that payment a matter for interpretation.
His city solicitor Colleen Mejia and his Chief Financial officer Eric Demas have agreed to this repeatedly.
If the interpretation was correct for the past five years when the mayor received an extra $180,000 in pay, then why didn’t he take it this year?
Many Capone supporters believe the mayor was told by his attorneys that if he took the payment this year, he might potentially be in a world of trouble.
To his great dismay, the mayor declined to take the payment. Capone says he owes the $180,000 to the city’s taxpayers. The recent racism charges, and the mayor’s failure to act immediately about them, have caused a palpable rise in political energy organized against the mayor.
It has also caused a Federal probe into racism, discrimination, and retaliation in Everett by US Attorney Rachael Rollins. In fact, the city is due to hand over a bevy of documents to the US Attorney’s office at the end of this week with the caveat that nothing be removed, deleted, or hidden.
The superintendent of school’s complaint against the mayor for racism and sexism is another stumbling block for DeMaria. What, if anything, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination is going to do is one thing.
It leaves the mayor needing to defend himself before the MCAD and later against a possible lawsuit that the superintendent might well launch against the mayor and the city.
Then there is the video camera in the ceiling imbroglio.
In March, an electronic sweep of the school superintendent’s office revealed a video camera hidden in the ceiling. That camera was removed by the FBI presumably for investigation.
The mayor said recently he knew about the video camera, that it was put in years ago.
What exactly did he know and for how long was he aware of the video camera’s presence?
Then there is the mayor’s lawsuit for defamation against the City Clerk Sergio Cornelio regarding an alleged Corey Street real estate deal he claims he shared with Cornelio now winding its way through the Superior Court.
The mayor has also sued the Leader Herald for defa- mation and that case also is winding its way through the Superior Court.
The mayor’s legal plate is full.
His political plate, well, that appears safe, unless…the Federal probe is shown to have teeth.
If that probe turns into an investigation or prosecu- tion, all bets are off about where the mayor will be in six months.
Otherwise, it’s business as usual at Everett City Hall.