By James Mitchell
In the ongoing defamation lawsuit filed by Mayor Carlo DeMaria, Jr. against Sergio Cornelio, the Everett Leader Herald newspaper, and its owners Matthew Philbin and Andrew Philbin, Sr., it was their co-defendant, corrupt reporter, Joshua Resnek, who, during his fifth deposition by the mayor’s attorneys on Sept. 21, would apologize for his years of writing lies and fabrications in order to hurt and embarrass the mayor.
Resnek was asked about a Jan. 27, 2019, email to his boss, Matthew Philbin, where he boasts that his scandalous writing was the “honest voice” in the city, living to see the day where the mayor is “arrested, indicted and convicted.” Resnek was provided exhibits of emails between himself, Philbin and David O’Connor, the Everett Public Schools Communications Coordinator and former Leader Herald employee, showing he enjoyed being cruel to the mayor with his stories and editorials. When asked if he wrote articles calling for the mayor’s indictment and arrest, Resnek replied he did, but asked to finish on his answer.
“The factual allegations you’ve just leveled at me, okay, for printing or making statements about the Mayor, I regret. I regret. I’m embarrassed by some of it, and I apologize to the mayor for it,” stated Resnek.
“You apologized now after you’ve been sued for defamation; correct?” asked Atty. Jeffrey Robbins.
“I had two years to think about it,” Resnek replied.
“You apologized to us now after there’s been an attachment issued on your house by a judge; correct?” Resnek attempted to dismiss his years of vitriolic stories and editorials towards the mayor by claiming that all his email banter to Philbin and his friends was all just hubris.
Calling his relationship with the double-dipping O’Connor as “intimate,” Resnek was shown a Feb. 2019 email where O’Connor, who was working for the newspaper at the time he was employed by the City of Everett, offers up a cartoon idea that would depict a “super enlarged mayor” as a bloated and sickly caricature. Resnek replied to O’Connor, “The cartoon would be gorgeous but too cruel or maybe not cruel enough!”
“Yes, sir,” replied Resnek, confirming his own words in the email thread.
Atty. Robbins offered the defendant countless examples of his braggadocio repartee with many of his friends, including Russel Pergament, the failed Boston Metro newspaper publisher.
Resnek was concerned with the fact that the newspaper’s liability and slander insurance policy might not cover the ongoing defamation lawsuit.
The attorney also asked him why he represented himself in the emails as owner of the newspaper.
In a Jan. 15, 2023, email, Resnek asks, “Russel, do you have any advice? Because of the lawsuit that is open against my partner and I, our first ever and the only one in 7 years of ownership of the Everett Leader Herald, and for me during 40 years of doing this shit, Utica Insurance refused to renew our policy.”
Resnek stated that his “partner” didn’t want to go without insurance as the policy holder, Utica Insurance Company, had filed with the court to have their responsibility for coverage removed due to Resnek’s testimony in the lawsuit. Resnek admitted that he and Philbin were discussing the issue in 2022.
Atty. Robbins presented Resnek with a copy of his Answer to the Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint and Jury Demand, which stated that he was the sole author and editor of all the content that appears in the Leader Herald specifically involving Mayor DeMaria. When asked if it was the case that he submitted all articles prepublication to Philbin for review, Resnek stated, “nearly all of them” and if Philbin frequently provided comments to him for approval; Resnek responded, “Yes, sir.”
When he was asked if Philbin often gave him instructions on what to publish, Resnek replied “very rarely” but admitted that his boss provided direction to what he was writing from “time to time.” Unfortunately for the admitted fabricator, he would once again be proven wrong by his own emails and past testimony. In one exhibit after the other, Resnek was shown examples where he submitted stories only to be instructed by Philbin to edit an article.
“You sent Mr. Philbin a draft of an article, correct?” asked Robbins in one example. “And he writes back to you, ‘Are you serious???? Take it out.’ Do you see that?” – pointing out the email exchange on the exhibit.
“Yes,” he replied.
Philbin continues his instructions to his corrupt reporter, stating,” Gotta do a couple rewrites, and go over a few things. But Fred is out. In print or online.”
Resnek then replies to Philbin, ““Got it. No Fred online or in print my man. Just let me know what you want edited and we will be set. F**k Carlo. F**k him good. That front page is killer.”
“That’s what you wrote?” asked the attorney.
“Yes,” replied Resnek.
In another glaring example of Philbin’s control over the editing and content, Resnek is shown a Feb. 17, 2020, email exchange where he writes to Philbin – in all capital letters – “MATT, THIS HAS BEEN REDONE AS YOU REQUESTED.”
Resnek would also receive instructions from Philbin’s former vice president of operations, Elena Vega; in a June 23, 2020, email exchange, Philbin states, “Lose the piece about the city clerk – I don’t want that in.”
“Ms. Vega sends it to you, and she says to you, Josh, Matt said lose the piece about the city clerk, right?”
“Yes,” Resnek answered.
In another example of Philbin and Resnek’s ongoing narrative of attacking the mayor, Philbin instructed Resnek not to publish anything that places the mayor in a good light. In an Aug. 17, 2020, email, Philbin emails Resnek, “I wouldn’t run this. Makes Carlo look good. He’s trying to save the City money.”
Resnek replies, “Try this on for size. Why didn’t I think of this earlier? The mayor will go wild.”
“That’s what you write back to Mr. Philbin on Aug. 17, 2020, am I right?” asked the attorney.
“It appears that way, yes,” said Resnek.
Philbin now offers what is termed “Red Line Revisions” to Resnek, which appear to be unconditional instructions by Philbin to his reporter. In a Sept. 22, 2020, email exchange, with the subject “Re: Red Line Revisions,” Philbin writes, “In looking at the budget, take out the last 3 lines. Also, take out the speculation line about Capone being a possible candidate for mayor.”
“And then he suggests what should be in the article, correct?” inquired Robbins.
“Sure,” Resnek replied.
Resnek wrote back to Philbin, “Good points. Will make those changes, additions and subtractions as suggested to highlight Capone’s competence, et cetera.”
“Do you see that?” the attorney asked Resnek.
“Yes, I do,” he said.
In an Oct. 13, 2020, email exchange, Resnek writes to Philbin, “Subject: Forward: Proof – all the pages, “This is what it looks like. We are now checking for grammar and spelling mistakes, like the first line of The EYE, et cetera. Sergio’s name has been removed. Systemic has been removed. The editorial has been replaced and whatever else you wanted has been done.”
“That’s what you write to Mr. Philbin, correct?” asked the attorney.
“Yes, sir,” replied Resnek.
It’s clear that Resnek’s and Philbin’s own words indicate that the articles – admittedly filled with lies and fabrications – were co-edited between the two. Leading up to the 2021 election, Philbin would turn up the heat with the Corey Street land deal where Resnek claims the mayor extorted City Clerk Sergio Cornelio, a defendant in the lawsuit, the mayor’s legal partner in the land deal, in order to hurt the mayor’s chances for reelection – at any cost.
Resnek, when asked if he had any remorse or thoughts about the effect his articles published over a period of four years would have on the mayor’s wife and family. “Do you apologize to his family?” asked Atty. Robbins.
“Yes,” replied Resnek.
“For the hurt that you caused them?” asked Robbins.
“I don’t know what hurt – what hurt I caused his family,” he replied.
“You know you did hurt them, don’t you?”
“I don’t know that,” replied Resnek.
Since the lawsuit was filed against Resnek and the Philbins in 2021, the two have been crushed in depositions by their own emails and texts which underscored their actions through their printed lies – without one iota of remorse. When the recent judgment by the court was issued to attach their property, including Resnek’s Lynn home, only then has the corrupt reporter offered any apology to the mayor and his family. And in spite of that, Resnek still pretends that his motif operandi was all hyperbole and “hubris.” That is hardly the truth. Only when faced with the reality of losing his home did he make his empty apology.
Resnek would never know what it’s like to be a target as a politician in a small community – with a target on his back. He only knows that if the money’s good he’ll write whatever he’s told – no matter how dishonest or unethical – it’s Resnek’s history.
As he stated a second time in this latest deposition, Resnek whimpered an apology and an excuse, as if he’s talking to his “Blue Suit” character: “This has gone on for two years. Like I said, I’ve had a lot of time to think. I’ve published the paper for two years since this, and it’s like a different world for me. I’m not losing my head. I haven’t gone overboard. I didn’t lose my moral compass in the last two years. I got too personal. I apologize for it. I regret it. I apologize to the mayor for it.”