City’s lawyers tell no secrets

By Josh Resnek

Lawyers representing the city during the government’s Title VII probe have informed the city council that they are bound

by lawyer client privilege and cannot speak to specifics or give exact details about the ongoing US Attorney’s Office/Justice Department probe.

At Monday’s city council meeting a request from the city for$ 250,000 to meet current legal billings was asked to be increased to $350,000 to cover the costs of the probe.

Councilor Stephanie Smith ordered that the appropriation measure before the council be held in committee, a move approved by the city council.

In relation to questions asked about the probe and billing practices by Councilors Smith and Darren Costa, Attorneys John Pappalardo and Linda Ricci of Greenberg Traurig, the international law firm representing the city, wrote to the council in a letter dated April 5, 2023, that to protect the integrity of their representation and of the internal review they are conducting, that they were required to maintain the details of the inquiry as confidential.

“This practice is consistent with the practice of outside counsel engaged in sensitive matters such as internal reviews initiated by a government inquiry or investigation,” they instructed the council.

“Confidentiality protects the City, the subjects of the inquiry, and the participants in the inquiry from gossip, speculation, and potential retaliation and helps to ensure the integrity of the inquiry,” they added.

Several councilors had been seeking insight into the parameters of the federal probe. Councilors Darren Costa and Stephanie Smith had been hoping for details to fill in the blanks about a process that has so far cost the city more than $750,000 in legal expenses paid to Greenberg Traurig.

“The work undertaken by Greenberg Traurig involves a review of the City’s activities as well as interactions with the Department of Justice concerning actions by the City that may potentially constitute violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability as well as retaliation,” they wrote.

“We expect that we will share a report of our findings with you at the conclusion of the inquiry,” Pappalardo and Ricci added.

They said they were zealously protecting the City’s interests and “look forward to resolving this matter as quickly as possible.

Leave a Reply