City Solicitor Mejia details probe to city councilors
By Josh Resnek
City Solicitor Colleen Mejia said she was bound by attorney client privilege requirements and that she was unable to reveal who and or what city departments exactly are being investigated by the US Attorney’s office.
She said the ongoing probe into racism, discrimination and retaliation by the city and its elected and appointed officials is apparently ongoing and that the city has apparently satisfied the information production aspect of the probe.
A copy of the billing information for Greenberg Traurig, the attorneys representing the city, reveals about $500,000 in legal billings through November.
Greenberg Traurig also represents Mayor Carlo DeMaria personally and has done so for a number of years.
The details of the Greenberg Traurig billings were heavily redacted to maintain lawyer client privilege, Mejia told the councilors.
“There is confidential information with respect to individuals. Confidential information that cannot be divulged,” she added.
Mejia detailed how tens of thousands of pages of information had been turned over to the US attorney’s office.
“The production of documents is complete,” she added in response to a question from Councilor Darren Costa.
The legal billings are printed in this week’s Leader Herald.
They reveal, among other details, that between June 1, 2022 and June 9, a span of 8 days, invoices totaling $20,222 were run-up by Attorney A. J. Pappalardo for 21.8 hours of work on the redacted materials.
Total invoices run up through November totaled approximately $440,000 so far for the probe.
Mejia was not inclined to refer to the government’s action as an investigation. She called it an inquiry or a probe.
“This is an inquiry not an investigation. We produced documents from hard drives, from e-mail servers. I was responsible for documents from my department and human resources. Different access with different department heads was required. Communications between multiple offices at city hall and with outside attorneys was required. I don’t what e-mails have been sent to the government,” she added
Mejia gave some details about the inquiry.
She said the government was apparently looking for a pattern of behavior for the city as a whole.
Costa asked if the city could be reimbursed for the legal expenses by its insurance company.
“At the probe level, the insurance company will not cover the city. If this goes to an investigation or a case requiring interviewing, there could be coverage moving forward.”