Resnek bragged that he was inflicting a “Holocaust” on the mayor
Honesty wasn’t his best policy
Everett Public Schools employee David O’Connor, current communications coordinator for Supt. of Schools Priya Tahiliani and former Supt. Frederick Forestiere, presented his sworn testimony on May 5, 2023 in the ongoing defamation lawsuit filed by Mayor Carlo DeMaria, Jr. against the Everett Leader Herald newspaper, owner Matthew Philbin, corrupt publisher Joshua Resnek, Andrew Philbin, Sr., and Sergio Cornelio.
O’Connor, who admitted to working for both the newspaper as a pagenizer from 2017 to 2019 and for the Everett school department, a clear ethics violation, admitted under oath that he never disclosed his “arrangement” with the State Ethics Commission or the city solicitor before or while being paid approximately $300 per week as an employee of the Leader Herald all the while working for the Everett Public Schools, beginning as a clerk/typist under Supt. Forestiere.
O’Connor, represented by Atty. Robert Galvin for the Everett School Committee, was asked by the mayor’s attorney, Jeffrey Robbins, if he considered himself a double agent while working for the school dept. and the newspaper as he was working on the clock, accepting money from the City and the Leader Herald, while sending emails to Resnek about the superintendent.
“Do you think that was honest?” asked the attorney.
“No,” admitted O’Connor.
O’Connor admitted that he was in constant contact with Resnek providing inside information about the superintendent while working for both.
In a Jan. 3, 2019 email to Resnek while working at the school dept., O’Connor reports on a conversation he had with Forestiere, where he tells Resnek the school committee is “owned by the mayor” after former school committee member Bernie D’Onofrio is elected chairman over former school committee member Lester MacLaughlin. O’Connor tells Resnek that Forestiere had controlled the school committee for most of his tenure.
O’Connor informs Resnek that Forestiere wants to expose and go after certain people – and wants to meet with Philbin and Resnek.
Atty. Robbins asked the witness if he thought it inappropriate for the mayor to be a voting member of the school committee, to which O’Connor replied he did not.
“There is nothing discriminatory about Mr. DeMaria wanting the mayor of the City of Everett to be a voting member of the school committee, is there?”
“No,” replied O’Connor following his attorney’s objection.
In response to an O’Connor email disclosing the school situation as disastrous, Robbins asked O’Connor whether it wasn’t entirely appropriate for the mayor to want to improve the situation.
“It would make sense for the mayor of the City of Everett to want to be a voting member of the school committee to help get control over this fiasco, correct?” asked Robbins.
“Yes,” stated O’Connor.
O’Connor admitted that he was doing his best in relaying information that Philbin was interested in as Philbin’s capacity as a newspaper owner.
In emails between O’Connor and Resnek, O’Connor would remark that the mayor probably wished he would be doing something else given he would have to endure what Resnek had written about him.
O’Connor stated that he believed based on his observations, that what Resnek was writing in the Leader Herald was inflicting serious pain upon the mayor.
In the email, Resnek brags to O’Connor, writing, “What a week coming up for his honor. He wants to (expletive) with you – I’ll show him what he gets in return.”
When asked if he thought the mayor was ever inappropriate to him, O’Connor said he had heard that the mayor wasn’t very fond of him, but knew he had no authority over his position.
“So apart from hearing you say that the mayor wasn’t very fond of you, had the mayor done anything to you?” asked the attorney.
“No,” he replied.
“Mr. Resnek repeatedly said to you orally and in e-mails that he was going to get the mayor, right?” asked Robbins.
“Yes,” replied O’Connor.
Resnek and O’Connor have been close for many years, beginning with O’Connor working at the Independent Newspaper Group, which publishes the Everett Independent, where Resnek was a former co-owner until he was forced out due to his own corruption – compromising the newspaper’s integrity through his personal monetary gain.
After being hired by the Everett Public Schools and working for the Leader Herald, O’Connor would meet Resnek almost daily for lunch. Sources close to the case claimed O’Connor could be seen waiting outside the Vine St. administration office at the Chelsea St. bus stop waiting for Resnek to pick him up for lunch.
Atty. Robbins asked O’Connor about the damaging impact Resnek’s articles were having on the mayor through interactions from others.
O’Connor stated that he would speak to people around Everett who claimed to have read the articles and heard both sides – some who were persuaded and some who just hated the newspaper.
“And as a matter of fact, you even referred to the effect of what Resnek and Philbin were doing as a kind of Holocaust, didn’t you?” asked the attorney.
“I may have used that term. I don’t remember using that term,” said O’Connor.
Robbins stated to O’Connor that he did use that term in an email with Resnek when he described the impact of what Resnek and Philbin was having on the mayor’s reputation.
The attorney offers an exhibit showing a Jan. 24, 2019 email between he and Resnek, at a time when he was working on the taxpayer’s dime.
In the email, O’Connor is describing comments made to the mayor to a former Independent Newspaper reporter, where O’Connor states to Resnek, “It tells us, obviously, that what you’re doing is, as you like to say, the Holocaust.”
“Do you see that?” asks the attorney to O’Connor.
“Yes,” replies the witness.
“What you were saying is that what Philbin and Resnek were doing to DeMaria was doing him damage akin to the Holocaust, correct?
“Because that’s what you believed, correct?” asked the attorney.
“Yes,” he replied.
O’Connor goes on to pump up Resnek’s writings of falsehoods and lies, saying the “dumb call to arms” claiming that the mayor was attempting to use “veiled threats” to curtail advertisers in the Leader Herald, and telling Resnek that the mayor used his “claim-without-proof” that Resnek’s articles were fake or false.
O’Connor continued his rant to the corrupt publisher, stating that the mayor must be getting a lot of feedback that the Leader Herald has “a lot of balls” to be publishing his articles.
“Did you have any evidence that the mayor was doing anything to curtail the Leader Herald’s advertising?,” asked Atty. Robbins.
“No,” replied O’Connor.
“But you just said here, you told the guy who was paying you money that he had made — that he, the mayor, had made veiled threats to your advertisers because that’s what Resnek had told you; right?”
“Yes,” he replied.
Robbins asked O’Connor if he was aware that his good friend Resnek had admitted to fabricating articles and accusations; manufacturing phony notes; admitted to concocting purported quotes that were never said by anybody; and had admitted to lying under oath, O’Connor replied he was.
“And so I guess that when the mayor said that what Resnek was saying was fake or false, it was the mayor who was correct, wasn’t he?” asked Atty. Robbins.
“Yes,” replied Resnek’s best buddy.
Time to lawyer up, buddy
The mayor’s attorney offered another exhibit, a March 21, 2019 email exchange between O’Connor and Resnek, where O’Connor expresses his concern over Forestiere’s resignation and the possible shake-up at the school administration building, and facing being laid off.
Resnek tells O’Connor that Philbin has suggested that he write up everything that he and Resnek have discussed, go to the post office, and mail the write-ups to himself by certified mail.
O’Connor stated that he found the request to be very strange and said he didn’t follow his directive.
Resnek then states, “We will take care of a lawyer when the time comes.”
O’Connor states that he didn’t know what Resnek meant by taking care of a lawyer, or for what purpose he would need one.
When asked if he believed that the mayor ever threatened his job in any way, shape or form, O’Connor stated the mayor did not.
But then, in the email, Resnek tells O’Connor to be aware that the mayor is making an effort to have him removed.
“You never know what can happen. What you do know is that the mayor is making a concerted, illegal, unethical effort to have you removed from your position,” states Resnek in the email.
Robbins asks O’Connor if there was any truth or evidence that the mayor was doing anything to have him removed from his job, O’Connor stated, “No.”
O’Connor would continue to praise Resnek’s accusations, never asking for proof but instead, exclaiming, “I love your passion!”
Hot off the presses
The subject turned to O’Connor relaying information from Resnek to Supt. Tahiliani, who he met with as her communications coordinator.
Asked about Tahiliani’s lawsuit charging the mayor with installing surveillance cameras to spy on her as being unfounded, O’Connor stated that he actually believed her charges to be unfounded.
And as far as he knew, the claim that she made that the mayor wanted to be a voting member of the school committee out of discrimination against her was also unfounded, O’Connor agreed.
“As far as you know, the claim that she has made that the mayor wanted to become a voting member of the school committee out of discrimination against her is unfounded; correct?” asked Robbins.
“Correct,” he replied.
O’Connor stated previously in his testimony that he believed that under the previous supt., it was important for the mayor to be a voting member of the school committee as he felt in his opinion, that there were serious issues taking place, including gross overspending.
In another email exhibit with Resnek from Jan. 24, 2019, O’Connor writes that “FFF’s (Forestiere) run is over, and regardless of what good things you might say, it was characterized by gross overspending and an immoral lack of oversight.”
O’Connor stated that the immoral lack of oversight was attributed to the school committee and that the mayor would remedy the situation by becoming a voting member.
“And you knew that the reason had nothing to do with a discriminatory motive, correct?” asked the attorney, referring to Tahiliani’s lawsuit.
“Yes,” replied O’Connor.
With you all the way, Josh
O’Connor was asked about Rensek’s Blue Suit articles, in which he would accuse the mayor of criminal activity, and if he, O’Connor ever asked Resnek if he was crossing any lines.
O’Connor stated that he had some trepidation about Resnek’s articles but only spoke to him briefly about his approach.
Resnek told O’Connor that he was being sued by the mayor and that there was an article in Boston Magazine about him of which he said Resnek wouldn’t comment.
“Well your one of the people that encouraged him to keep writing these articles, right?” asked the attorney.
“Yeah. I think probably, you know, his friends and people he knew, yeah, probably did — did encourage him,” replied O’Connor.
“Actually, you told him that what he was doing was righteous; right?” asked Robbins.
“I may have used that word, yes.”
The wonder of it all
The questioning turned to the articles Resnek wrote about the mayor and Wynn casino license, which involved Sterling Suffolk owner Joseph O’Donnell, a millionaire developer who sought the same casino license for Revere and Suffolk Downs.
Following the awarding of the license to Wynn Resorts, Resnek wrote a series of articles calling the mayor, Kickback Carlo” as well as boasting how his “pieces” were taking their toll on the mayor’s reputation.
In a May 10, 2019 email to O’Connor, Resnek boasts, “What you fail to note is the sinking feeling Kickback Carlo got today hearing this news – which he certainly must have known about but wasn’t smart enough to get ahead of. On the other hand, his silence reveals that the upper
echelon at Wynn Resorts wants nothing whatsoever to do with him. My pieces have taken a toll. The FBI stuff. The wire taps. The boldness of it all” is what Mr. Resnek writes to you; correct?” asks Atty. Robbins.
“Correct,” replies O’Connor.
Resnek, once again, reaches down to the bottom of the barrel, writing to O’Connor, “Didn’t call Kickback to tell him ‘We’ll probably be opening a week or two late, Carlo. And by the way, we may be going to court to challenge the ruling – and this could complicate things. Thanks, Carlo for everything you’ve done in the past. We’ll let you know what’s going on when we feel like it. Please don’t bother us. Go eat another bowl of pasta.'”
The attorney asks O’Connor if he noted the anti-Italian ethnic slur by Resnek.
“Yes. It’s an insensitive comment, absolutely,” replies O’Connor.
“And you’ve heard Mr. Resnek make comments about Mr. DeMaria’s ethnicity before, haven’t you,” asked Robbins.
“Yes,” said O’Connor.
O’Connor agreed that the articles written by Resnek were humiliating DeMaria not just in Everett but elsewhere.
“And did you have any regard, by the way, to the impact that these humiliating articles were having on Mr. DeMaria’s family?” asked the attorney.
“Yes, I like to think about people’s families. Yes,” he replied.
O’Connor admitted that he recalled making any objection to Resnek about the impact his articles to the mayor’s family or if he could recall any response from Resnek.
But another email exhibit would offset O’Connor’s claim of sympathy when he writes gushing his approval to Resnek in a May 20, 2019 email, stating, “Sounds a bit outlandish as I write it, but the mayor is clearly a little desperate. The beating you dish out to him is so profoundly exquisite, on-target, and humiliating.”
O’Connor admitted that he understood that the articles Resnek and Philbin were publishing were humiliating to the mayor, but said he didn’t love what he wrote to Resnek despite calling the “beating” of the mayor “profoundly exquisite.”
O’Connor stated that he didn’t think that way about the articles all the time.
When asked if he believed everything written by Resnek about the mayor to be true and accurate, O’Connor replied that he didn’t know – and that he couldn’t speak to their veracity despite telling Resnek that his articles were true.
In a June 11, 2019 email exhibit, Resnek claims to O’Connor his true purpose of publishing the newspaper.
“The rest of the paper almost doesn’t matter except for getting rid of Carlo – and then what?” is consistent with the other times that he said to you that the purpose of the newspaper from Philbin’s and his perspective was to destroy Carlo DeMaria, correct?”
“Correct,” replies O’Connor.