Adrien complains about being mistreated by President DiFlorio
BY JOSH RESNEK
Councilor at Large Gerly Adrien and Council President Rosa DiFlorio traded barbs with one another Monday night in a rare example of a newcomer challenging the rule of the old order at city hall.
At times, the exchanges between Adrien and DiFlorio got heated, and by some accounts, ugly, between the two who are essentially rivals.
Adrien is the newcomer on the block.
DiFlorio represents the old line.
Most of the city councilors sat quietly with little to nothing to say as the two councilors went at it. It was one of those ironic moments when the future clashed with the vestiges of the past, when Adrien’s voice could not be silenced by DiFlorio – with none of their colleagues standing up for either of them.
The fireworks began when Adrien sensed that DiFlorio was growing short tempered with her many council motions questioning police standards and skirting the many issues arising from the protests about racism and police brutality and violence all over the nation and of their relationship to Everett for the largely minority population residing in the city.
DiFlorio, several times, tried to cut short Adrien’s comments.
She appeared visibly bothered by Adrien’s effrontery at asking so many questions with so many motions, many of which DiFlorio seemed disturbed about.
It all didn’t seem to matter very much until Adrien explained her position once again about questioning about what is happening in the public schools – only to be told by DiFlorio that she should basically be minding her own business and pay attention to council business.
The mayor sought to head off the council’s desire to question him about why and exactly how much he is spending for a noted criminal lawyer’s representation at a contentious and sometimes chaotic meeting of the city council Monday night.
Using a ruse to have the council addressed by his lawyer, A. John Pappalardo, the mayor avoided speaking to the council about the issue nor did he allow himself to be questioned by the council about the disbursements from his campaign account to Pappalardo’s law firm, Greenberg and Traurig.
Instead, the mayor imposed on the council and demanded it to hear from his attorney, and the council did just that – despite a meeting scheduled on March 9 for the mayor to answer questions about the legal representation and its reasons.
Pappalardo shed little light as to why the mayor has been paying his law firm $6,000 – $10,000 a month for the past two years, and large amounts to other lawyers before that, except to say, “the mayor has done nothing wrong.”
Pappalardo said the mayor hasn’t been arrested, indicted or convicted of a crime. He isn’t under criminal investigation according to his reasoned judgment.
“He’s done nothing wrong,” he said again and again. “That is absolutely unequivocal,” he added.
He spoke with a strong, stern voice. He has the persona of a seasoned prison warden when pontificating to the city councilors about his client’s purity which was akin to a lecture given to prison guards by the prison warden while at the same time ridiculing questions about the mayor’s honesty.
He described the government proffer the mayor signed with the US Attorney’s office in 2013 the cause for a medal rather than for concern. He said the mayor was one of 55 local people investigated by the FBI who agreed to sign agreements to give information to the government. “ Innocent people talk with the FBI. Those who have something to hide don’t,” Pappalardo said several times.
The city council has asked the mayor and or his city solicitor and his purchasing agent to provide the city government with some proof that he has in fact negotiated the sale of the former Pope John High School property for $10.5 million.
It is one thing to take the mayor at his word as the council did two weeks ago when it appropriated the money for the mayor to use without an agreement in hand.
It is another thing for the mayor to provide evidence that the deal really exists.