Issue is Secret Cash Scheme by Publisher to Defeat DeMaria
The Discovery Master appointed by the Middlesex Superior Court to oversee motions by Mayor Carlo DeMaria’s attorneys in the ongoing defamation lawsuit against the Everett Leader Herald newspaper, including corrupt publisher Joshua Resnek, owners Matthew Philbin and Andrew Philbin, Sr., and Everett City Clerk Sergio Cornelio, has ordered the paper to produce all financial statements pertaining to the newspaper for the years 2019, 2020 and 2021, including, “balance sheets, income records, and cash flow statements; and, in addition, Dorchester Publications shall generate and produce such financial statements through its QuickBooks program,” according to the May 25, 2023 decision. The decision also requires the paper to turn over a copy of its QuickBooks system for 2021, when Mayor DeMaria was running for reelection. The defendants have 20 days to turn over documentation to DeMaria’s attorneys.
According to the court order, the mayor’s attorneys already have “evidence about the dire financial straits of the Everett Leader Herald after 2020 which would serve to support the plaintiff’s argument that the newspaper had a financial motive to raise cash from the plaintiff’s opponents by publishing the alleged defamatory articles about him.”
The mayor’s attorneys, through depositions provided by Philbin’s employees, have demonstrated a desperate financial picture at the Leader Herald as Philbin would finance the newspaper’s operations with hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money after his father, Andrew Philbin, Sr., first purchased the newspaper from the Curnane family in 2017.
In his decision, the Discovery Master points out evidence of Resnek’s plan to sabotage the mayor’s 2021 reelection, stating, “The plaintiff’s motion is based on testimony by Mr. Resnek that the defendants perpetrated a scheme leading up to the 2021 mayoral primary and general election that involved soliciting cash donations from the plaintiff’s political opponents and their supporters in order to fund the circulation of the Everett Leader Herald that allegedly contained the false and defamatory articles which gave rise to this lawsuit. According to the plaintiff, the defendants ‘solicited and collected thousands of dollars in unreported cash’ to fund this scheme ‘as a means of generating much-needed revenue for the newspaper.’ … The cash donations would then fund the printing of the newspaper and provide for ‘door to door delivery of thousands of editions of defamatory articles to every house in Everett.’”
According to the Discovery Master, Resnek, as set forth in his emails dated from April through July 2021, along with his deposition testimony, concocted a plan to “pay for the anti-DeMaria campaign and for generating money for the newspaper.”
The court order states that there is additional evidence that Philbin and Resnek received cash donations during the 2021 election year from certain parties who opposed the mayor in order to pay for the printing and distribution leading up the November election. Resnek described in emails to Philbin that he would receive cash payments, including one text claiming to receive $20,000 in cash from certain supporters of mayoral opponent Fred Capone.
The court order requires Dorchester Publications QuickBooks program of payments, described by some newspaper employees in their testimony, showing that money was turned in, including cash payments, to the newspaper’s accounts in 2021.
Given the amount of evidence secured by the mayor’s attorneys, the Discovery Master agreed with the mayor’s attorneys’ motion, stating, “The plaintiff already has evidence about the dire financial straits of the Everett Leader Herald after 2020 which would serve to support the plaintiff’s argument that the newspaper had a financial motive to raise cash from the plaintiff’s opponents by publishing the alleged defamatory articles about him. Certain additional discovery is appropriate to provide evidence of the actual finances of the newspaper during the relevant period and to investigate whether there were, in fact, any cash donations in 2021 as the plaintiff has alleged.”
The defendants had withheld this evidence from discovery and opposed Mayor DeMaria’s motion to compel them to turn it over. The Discovery Master agreed with DeMaria, rejecting the defendants’ arguments.