This week the Blue Suit and Josh Resnek discuss Councilor Al Lattanzi suing the city in Small Claims Court to recover $4500 he claims the city owes him for services rendered in the form of equipment rented from his business.
It is a lively discussion which touches many bases, as the Blue Suit tends to do when going over city matters with Resnek about which he claims to have knowledge.
Obviously, Resnek knows the Blue Suit is connected. They talk all the time. They share secrets. They argue. They fight. They break bread together. They are close friends.
Being the close friend of a cloth Blue Suit is not an easy thing. Most cloth suits do not live and breath and certainly don’t have spirited discussions about politics.
But then, this is Everett, Blue Suit territory. The Blue Suit knows of what he speaks.
“What is this small claims lawsuit Al Lattanzi has filed?” Resnek asked the Blue Suit Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s about the city allegedly owing him money,” Josh, that’s what it’s about.
“I think Al is pissed that he hasn’t been paid for equipment he provided which he claims the city used. He wants his money. That’s all, Josh. He wants to be paid. Do you have a problem with that?” the Blue Suit asked me.
“No. No problem at all,” I replied.
“Then what is the problem, Josh? Please tell me. Don’t be shy.”
“Well, it’s like this. Unless I am mistaken, Al Lattanzi is a councilor. He gets something like $20,000 a year. His wife is something or other in the mayor’s office and probably makes three times that amount or more. Then there is Al’s lawyer son. The kid knows what he’s doing but he makes close to $100,000 a year. Then there’s the hardware store that does business with the city which Al runs. In other words, the Lattanzi’s are taking in quite a sum of money from the city,” I added.
“Is there something wrong with that?” The Blue Suit asked.
“I didn’t say there was anything wrong with that. I just think that Al ought to withdraw the small claims court suit seeking $4500 from the city.”
“Why should he do that?” asked the Blue Suit.
“Because he, his son, his wife and his business are taking in so much money from the city that there should come a point where $4500 just shouldn’t matter. If it was me I’d let it go and move on. I don’t think it looks good to others who don’t get such favorable treatment that someone who does should benefit all the time. Maybe he should forget the $4500 and chalk it up to giving back to the city,” I suggested.
“Are you nuts? Have you lost your mind? You think Al should let the $4500 go so he’ll look better in public?” the Blue Suit asked.
“Yes I do,” I answered.
“It just doesn’t look good in an election year to be suing the city for $4500 when his family is taking in so much money from the city. And don’t get me wrong, the Lattanzis are all working for their salaries,” I said.
“I just think that sometimes people are what my father used call “penny smart and buck foolish.” But then, some people can’t let go of the power money has over them,” I said.
“You’re right about that, Josh,” the Blue Suit replied. “$4500 is a lot of money – don’t you think?” he added to me. “Not really. Not when your family is taking in the kind of money the Lattanzi’s have coming in from the city from year to year. Al could write off the $4500 and probably be better off than the bill getting paid,” I said.
“You might be right about that,” the Blue Suit said to me.
“I know, Al,” the Blue Suit said. “He’d rather have his money than give it back to the city in the form of a write-off.”
“Yeah. You’re probably right about that,” I replied to the Blue Suit.
The Blue Suit thought for moment.
“You know you might be right about people getting ready to vote in the ward contest taking it the wrong way about Al suing the city to get his bill paid. Many voters might not like that,” the Blue Suit said to me. “That’s exactly what I was thinking,” I replied.
“If I were Peter Pietrantonio, I’d make a fuss out of this,” I added. “You don’t see Pietrantonio taking the city to court to get a bill paid. I just don’t think it’s right. Al should have been able to resolve this issue without court.”
The Blue Suit thought about what I said.
“You think this is an issue that can hurt him?” he asked me. “Yes I do,” I answered.
“Then I’m going to call him and tell him to drop the suit in small claims court,” the Blue Suit replied.
“Will Al listen to you?” I asked.
“He always does,” the Blue Suit answered with a smile.