Secret IG Report Demanding Repayment Received By Mayor?
By Josh Resnek
Mayor Carlo DeMaria has allegedly received a finding from the Inspector General’s Office demanding repayment of $180,000 in longevity payments issued to him by the city and which he should not have accepted, according to a variety of sources claiming to have knowledge of the communication.
However, an official confirmation of the IG’s apparent finding cannot be officially confirmed by the Leader Herald, or others following the story, because of state law that demands that such investigations remain secret – at least until such time as the IG’s office determines legal remedies needed to adjudicate the overpayments are necessary.
A spokesperson for the Inspector General’s Office told the Leader Herald late Tuesday afternoon he could neither confirm nor deny the allegations regarding the issue of the longevity payments made to the mayor.
Sources claim the mayor has allegedly been ordered to pay back the longevity payments with interest and that fines have apparently been imposed on several Everett city officials who apparently collaborated on the overpayments.
Mayor DeMaria refused to accept the longevity payment this year after an uproar by residents speaking out in public that the payments had been left out of the Everett city budget and were undeserved.
He had accepted payments of $40,000 a year for four years until 2022.
His refusal to accept this year’s payment, which would have been $50,000, led his opponents to believe the mayor had allegedly been told by his criminal attorney that to accept the payment might lead to legal action against him.
Also, former councilor and Attorney Fred Capone has publicly claimed for more than a year that the mayor’s acceptance of the payments was “fraud” and “theft,” a claim heatedly denied by the mayor.
The mayor said the payments were a matter of “interpretation” made by lawyers and Everett city councilors.
He apparently felt there was no questioning a $40,000 a year longevity payment when it should have been $1500.
He further claimed some months back during a heated exchange with the city council that he never conferred with the city’s Chief Financial Officer Eric Demas or the city solicitor on the matter.
City Solicitor Colleen Mejia defended the payment of the bloated longevity payments to the mayor as did Demas during question and answer appearances before the city council.
The city council finally stripped the mayor of the $40,000 a year longevity payment recently and reduced it as well to $1,700 a year.
Neither the mayor nor the city solicitor responded to efforts by the Leader Herald to gain a response from them on the matter.