When an expensive gift by Catholic Memorial High School of three professional style basketball nets and stanchions apparently hijacked with one of them ending up in the mayor’s driveway and two more in front of a friend’s home, we are left to wonder aloud, again and again.
What is going on?
Does it matter that the mayor appears to have taken a gift for himself and for his friend?
Does anyone care?
Do the folks at Catholic Memorial care?
We are led to understand they do care.
Were the nets and stanchions given to the mayor and his friend or were they donated by Catholic Memorial to the city. It is one or the other but not both.
The mayor insists privately that the Leader Herald is attempting to smear him, that “everything is legal.”
But is it legal for the mayor to accept such a gift when it was intended for the city?
I guess the mayor was trying to create a bit of wonder and question among his neighbors about the NBA basketball net and stanchion that showed up at his home on Abbott Avenue about three weeks ago.
The piece, one of three donated to the city of Everett by an official at Catholic Memorial High School, found its new home in the unlikeliest of places – in the mayor’s front driveway.
The piece is valued online at about $10,000.
On the same day the mayor received the basketball net and stanchion, a dear friend of his received the other two given as presents to the city of Everett.
That represented a gift of about $20,000.
They are now standing in front of the mayor’s friend’s home on the North Shore. I told the person who received them that I would not reveal who he is because he is not a municipal employee like Jerry Navarro, the mayor’s chief supporter and cheerleader at city hall (who we call the “Paperboy” because he steals the Leader Herald for the boss).
As a municipal employee, Navarro is bound by the state’s conflict of interest statute, Chapter 268A because he is the one who received the basketball nets and stanchions from the official at Catholic Memorial High School on the strict and uncompromising conditions from him that they were being donated to the city of Everett – not to the mayor and a friend of his who lives on the North Shore.
To take these pieces and then to give them, one to the mayor and two to his friend, constitutes a violation of Chapter 268A.
In other words, the mayor cannot accept such a gift from his head cheerleader and the head cheerleader cannot dole out the gifts to the city as presents to the mayor and his friend. It is stunningly clear but simple violation of the ethics laws he is bound by as a city employee.
The mayor can’t accept the donated basketball net and stanchion and take possession of it by putting it in his front driveway because it is worth too much money.
Three professional level basketball nets and stanchions donated by Catholic Memorial High School to the city of Everett have found their way into the mayor’s driveway and to a friend’s driveway, with no explanation, yet, coming from the mayor.
“He is upset and disturbed by this,” a source told the Leader Herald regarding the Catholic Memorial official who made the donation in behalf of the high school to the city.
The three Under Armour professional level nets and stanchions are advertised on the Internet and Amazon.com for about $12,000 new. The donated pieces have barely been used. They are in pristine condition.
Their estimated value is about $30,000.
Under Chapter 268A of the Massachusetts General Laws, the mayor and his aide, Jerry Navarro, who took the pieces from Catholic Memorial for the city, are liable under that statute if it is proven the basketball nets and stanchions now in private use were intended for public use in the city of Everett.
“The Catholic Memorial official who made the donation to the city of Everett will stand by his word,” said the source.
“These were for the city specifically, not for the mayor and his friend,” he added.