Carlo DeMaria, Jr. vs. Everett Leader-Herald, Sergio Cornelio, Joshua Resnek, Matthew Philbin and Andrew Philbin, Sr.
Attorneys from the law firm of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP representing Mayor Carlo DeMaria have won approval from the Middlesex Superior Court Judge Sarah Weyland Ellis on Aug. 18, 2022 to allow the expansion of the lawsuit against the owner and reporter of the Everett Leader-Herald newspaper, including city clerk Sergio Cornelio and Andrew Philbin, Sr.
In the introduction of the first amended complaint, attorney cited newspaper report and manager Joshua Resnek’s testimony established an “extraordinarily blatant conspiracy by Mathew Philbin, Andrew Philbin, Sr., Mr. Resnek and Dorchester Publications to defame Plaintiff Mayor Carlo DeMaria, Jr. by continuously publishing knowingly false articles asserting as “fact” that he had solicited and taken “payoffs” and “kickbacks” and committed “extortion” of other public officials.”
The original complaint, which focused solely on Sept. 8 and Sept. 15, 2021 articles and Facebook postings, has now opened up to include thousands of texts, emails and phone communications as well as going back as far as 2017 when Philbin first purchased the newspaper and hired Resnek as his “publisher”.
The complaint also points to the motive behind Philbin and Resnek’s articles; to remove DeMaria from the mayor’s office in order to further Philbin’s business and financial interests in Everett including “contracts denied, favorable treatment to real estate interests they desired, and the right to taxpayer money used to purchase advertising in his newspaper.”
According to the complaint, Resnek and the defendants knew that their stories were “fiction” and “fabrication” after admitting as such in Resnek’s three depositions.
The complaint points to Resnek’s admissions under oath of, that he, on behalf of the Leader-Herald Defendants:
- “made up” and fabricated defamatory articles about Mr. DeMaria accusing him of criminal conduct knowing that they had no basis in fact and were, indeed, “fiction” and “BS;”
- fabricated derogatory quotes about the Mayor which they falsely attributed to individuals who never said these things;
- testified falsely, under oath, over and over again about the existence of contemporaneous “notes” that, in fact, never existed at the time the articles about 43 Corey Street were published, but were instead manufactured after this lawsuit was filed and after the defendants knew they had been requested to turn over notes of any conversations that supported these articles, committing a fraud on this Court, the public and Mr. DeMaria;
- then spoliated those manufactured “notes” by repeatedly altering them on multiple occasions after the fact in order to make it appear that they were authentic evidence, thereby committing a further fraud upon the Court; and
- attempted to “pressure” an individual whom they knew was suffering from “dramatic” mental health problems into making statements that they hoped would harm Mr. DeMaria’s reputation.
The complaint highlighted Matthew Philbin’s role in the newspaper’s weekly attack on the mayor.
“Indeed, Defendant Matthew Philbin not only directed and controlled the newspaper, but these false stories were sent to Philbin-owned businesses to be reviewed, approved, and edited to conform with the Philbins’ interests before they were published. It is, indeed, the Leader Herald Defendants that, as the sworn admissions and documents show, constituted and constitute a corrupt enterprise.”
The complaint further states that that the defendants not only committed “a remarkable fraud on this Court and the judicial process, but on the election process itself.”
“The admissions on record and contemporaneous communications that this Court ordered the Leader Herald Defendants to produce establish that they, at a minimum, committed a fraud on the people of Everett, Massachusetts, by publishing story after story that they knew were fiction, fraudulent and fabrications or, as Mr. Resnek actually admitted, “BS,” and that they did so because they regarded Mr. DeMaria, the Mayor of Everett, as unwilling to subsidize the Philbins’ business interests in Everett with taxpayer money, and other forms of favorable treatment at public expense,” according to the complaint.
As an example, the attorneys cite Resnek’s admission that they, the Defendants, published defamatory stories in order to retaliate against the Mayor for his unwillingness to pay taxpayer monies to the Philbin insurance company for an insurance contract with the City, and for what they believed to be DeMaria’s unfavorable regulation of rooming houses and other housing units in Everett.
During the 2021 election year, just before the primary, when DeMaria was running against Fred Capone and Gurley Adrian, Resnek admitted under oath that the newspaper planned to “drop bombs” on Mayor DeMaria by writing false and damaging articles accusing him of criminal conduct “of which they knew he was innocent,” in order to tilt the election and remove a mayor “that they believed was adverse to their financial interests,” according to the complaint.
Resnek also admitted to coordinating with DeMaria’s political adversaries “every day” about his plan to publish damaging articles about the mayor in advance of the primary and to ensure the opponent’s “message” was reflected in the scurrilous articles.
The “Wordsmith of Church St.”, in a further attempt to defame the mayor through his relationship with Boston Globe reporter Andrea Estes, hoped to have Estes pressure Sergio Cornelio, DeMaria’s partner in the Corey St. land deal which Resnek and Philbin tried to establish as corrupt through their articles, into coerce Cornelio into supporting Resnek’s false articles.
Estes was told by Resnek to pressure Cornelio as he “was suffering from severe mental health issues and was therefore susceptible to coercion by them,” according to the complaint.
Estes offered to give Resnek “credit” for helping her publish the articles.
On one occasion, Estes asked Resnek for proof of the mayor’s “payoff” from the Corey St. deal by the Everett Co-operative Bank which Resnek claimed made up a “Pocket LLC” to aid the mayor’s “criminal” activity. Resnek, as his custom, offered nothing to the Globe reporter despite her press deadline.
The complaint continues with numerous examples of the defendants’ longstanding hostility toward DeMaria, from the 1990’s as an Alderman when he butted heads with the Philbins’ over their rooming house issues to when Philbin began publishing the newspaper in 2017.
Resnek would sum up his work and relationship with the Leader-Herald when he proclaimed in an email to a colleague; “Each week, 52 times a year, I invent the Leader Herald…the mayor is my enemy…It takes me two days away from important writing every week to create this (expletive).”
It’s hard to argue against his proclamation.
In another example of the defendants’ reckless and defamatory articles, Resnek publishes in March 24, 2022 claiming the mayor and others wrote racists emails and texts about the Irish, establishing the city as racist on many occasions, without any proof.
With the headline, “Irish Humiliated in Racist E-Mail and Text Threads Shared by the Mayor, Others,” Resnek wrote: “The coming to light of anti-Irish expression of hate, Internet messages shared by the holder of the highest office in the city with others… ‘(Expletive) Irish Clowns’ is how the mayor … describe a prominent Everett Irish family in one such exchange.”
The problem was, both Resnek and Philbin knew that the text in question didn’t belong to the mayor, but Greg Antonelli, owner of GTA Landscaping and Construction, an individual with whom Resnek himself had developed a relationship.
According to the complaint, the defendants knowingly published the article despite being in possession of the actual text message which proved it wasn’t sent by the mayor but by Antonelli.
Antonelli invoked the Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself when deposed in this case about his communications with Resnek.
“Not only did Mr. Resnek falsely attribute this text to Mr. DeMaria, he concealed Mr. Antonelli’s identity as the actual author of the text as well as the fact that Mr. Antonelli was referring to the Philbins, Mr. Resnek’s self-described “partners.”
In an ironic twist, Resnek, in the current election year, is publishing stories for the challenger in a state representative race. Given that his candidate has no experience as a community leader or held an elected office, Resnek has decided to fabricate more lies in another desperate attempt to unseat a popular incumbent.
“Mr. DeMaria demands a trial by jury on all counts so triable,” states the complaint.
Resnek will be once again be deposed on Sept. 1st.