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Sinking Fast: The Implosion of Matthew Philbin; Leader Herald Owner Admits to Actual Malice

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Carlo DeMaria, Jr. vs. Everett Leader Herald, Sergio Cornelio, Joshua Resnek, Matthew Philbin and Andrew Philbin, Sr.

(Editor’s Note: This article ran in the January 27, 2023 edition of the Everett Advocate)

Yup, that’s a question

  After months of delaying the inevitable, Everett Leader Herald owner Matthew Philbin met with attorneys for Mayor Carlo DeMaria on January 18, 2023, at the Boston law offices of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP to provide his long-awaited testimony in the ongoing lawsuit. Philbin, accompanied by his attorney Kevin Polansky, answered questions provided by Atty. Jeffrey Robbins, the lead attorney in the lawsuit, which began back in 2022.

  Philbin’s combative demeanor presented itself immediately when he was asked about his ownership of Dorchester Publications, the corporate owner of the Everett Leader Herald newspaper. “You have been the sole owner of Dorchester Publications since 2017?” asked Robbins.

  “Is that a question?” replied Philbin.

  “It is,” stated the attorney.

  “Yes.” said Philbin.

  Philbin stated he purchased the newspaper for approximately “$100-150,000” and testified that his Publisher, Joshua Resnek, controlled the day-to-day operations of the corporation.

  Asked to clarify if he controlled the corporate affairs – the finances of the company – Philbin asked if the attorney could be more specific. “No, I can’t,” replied Atty. Robbins, asking Philbin if he understood the meaning of “financial affairs.”

  “No, that’s why I’m asking you to be more specific, please,” snapped Philbin.

  Philbin claimed that Resnek and Mary Schovanec, the office manager, were the ones who signed the checks, saying he didn’t know if he was the signatory to the bank account for Dorchester Publications.

Now You Tell Me

  Robbins then asked if he was the sole authority in the hiring and firing of Resnek, saying the corrupt reporter was never an employee of the company, but an independent contractor who was paid through Resnek’s company, Chelsea Press, LLC. “And you compensate Mr. Resnek not via payroll, but by making a payment to an entity that he owns; correct?”

  “Yes, replied Philbin. “That’s the way he wanted it.”

  Robbins asked if he [Philbin] no longer wanted Resnek to be the editor and publisher, could he make that happen; Philbin stated that the statement “was fair to say.”

Now I Remember

  Robbins’ attention turned to the frequency of emails and texts between Philbin and his publisher, asking him about the drafts and articles he receives from Resnek each week prior to the newspaper’s publication. When asked to confirm his role as the final approval to the articles and complete draft of the weekly editions, Philbin stated that it was incorrect – until he was asked about the evidence that had been presented in previous witness testimony. “Have you reviewed any of the e-mails that have been produced in this case, sir?” asked Atty. Robbins. “Yes,” replied Philbin.

  Philbin then testified that he did indeed receive drafts of articles before they were published every week as well as the newspaper before it was published – a procedure he agrees he’s had in place with Resnek for years.

  The questions then turned to his employees: the office manager and part-timer Mary Schovanec, Jim Mahoney, the former layout person and photographer, and sports reporter Lorenzo Recupero. Philbin stated that he could not identify any reporter who worked for the newspaper from 2018 to 2020.

What’s the Truth Got To Do With It?

  Robbins asked him if he ever reprimanded or disciplined Resnek, or ever instructed him to issue an apology, a clarification or retraction of any kind – Philbin said he did not. Philbin also claimed that he never spoke to Resnek about the case nor read any deposition transcript that Resnek gave under oath. Philbin claimed he had not – only what he read in this newspaper.

  “You’ve seen in the local newspapers that Mr. Resnek has stated that he fabricated articles about Mr. DeMaria; correct?” asked the attorney.

  “I think that’s what was put in the paper. He fabricated the Blue Suit, yes.”

  “You’ve seen that Mr. Resnek has admitted that he attributed quotes to people that were not actually real quotes; correct?”

  “Yes. That was in the newspaper,” replied Philbin.

  “You’ve seen that Mr. Resnek has stated that he manufactured notes; correct?”

  “I saw that too,” he replied.

  “You’ve seen that Mr. Resnek has admitted that he altered notes; correct?” asked Robbins.

  “Yes. I think that was in the paper as well.”

  Atty. Robbins continued his line of questioning, asking Philbin if he was aware that Resnek had admitted that he made false statements about having “confidential sources” about DeMaria; admitted that he gave false testimony in his deposition; admitted to fabricating articles about the mayor; and manufactured quotes, manufactured notes and altered notes. Philbin could only say it’s what he read in the paper.

  Philbin then stated that he had indeed spoken to Resnek about his testimony, asking him, “What the hell was that?” Resnek told him that “They took it all out of context.”

  When asked if he had taken any disciplinary action against Resnek about his conduct against Mayor DeMaria, Philbin stated that he did not – never considering replacing him. Philbin was again asked if he asked Resnek to consider publishing a retraction or issue an apology, or a clarification of any kind, Philbin stated he did not.

  “Fundamentally, you’re sufficiently content with the work product to keep Mr. Resnek on as the editor and the publisher; correct?” asked Robbins.

  “Yes. Right now, yeah,” Philbin replied.

  Atty. Robbins then asked Philbin if he knew that his newspaper asserted that the mayor committed extortion and solicited kickbacks. Philbin said he did. When asked if he was aware that his newspaper asserted that the mayor stole money and engaged in criminal activity, Philbin replied, “I don’t know that I know that.”

  Philbin claimed that he preferred that the mayor wasn’t called “Kickback Carlo” in the many articles; Robbins replied that he [Philbin] was the one who could have prevented it as it was published in his newspaper.

  “Do you have any evidence at all that Mr. DeMaria ever took a kickback?” asked Robbins.

  “Kickback? No, I don’t. No,” replied Philbin.

  When asked if he had any proof that the mayor had committed extortion, Philbin replied that he did based only on what Sergio Cornelio had told him, despite never having any texts, taken any notes in two meetings with Cornelio – no evidence whatsoever. Cornelio also refuted claims in his own deposition, testifying that Resnek made up the story and quotes that the mayor extorted him into paying him for his partnership in a real estate deal. In fact, Philbin could not recall what year, month or day when he had the conversations about the real estate deal with Cornelio.

Back Up The Bus

  Philbin stated that he believed that Resnek had performed all the background and collected all the evidence in order to publish his articles on the DeMaria-Cornelio land deal that accused the mayor of extortion, among other things.

  Asked if he knew that Resnek had gone to the City Clerk’s Office to look at the disclosure forms that the mayor had filed about the Corey Street deal, Philbin stated he did. Philbin claimed Resnek told him that he had – including the filings of a conflict of interest with the State Ethics Commission – claiming Resnek told him that they were not there at the City Clerk’s Office. Philbin claimed that Cornelio told him that the mayor never filed.

  “And there’s no record of any kind, no writing, no e-mail, no text of any communication between you and Mr. Resnek informing Mr. Resnek what Mr. Cornelio had supposedly said; correct?” asked Robbins.

  “No. I called him on the phone,” was Philbin’s reply.

Enough Said

  “There’s no writing, no record, no e-mail, no text, no notes, no nothing of any kind in writing that reflects what you told Mr. Resnek Mr. Cornelio had supposedly said; am I right?”

  “No. Not that I recall,” replied Philbin.

  “What I’ve said is correct? asked the attorney.

  “Yes,” stated Philbin.

  “Do you have any evidence of any kind that Mr. DeMaria ever committed a crime?”

  “No. I have no evidence,” stated Philbin.

Cold-Hearted To Say The Least

  Philbin was asked if he was aware that the articles being printed by his newspaper laced with false accusations of the mayor committing crimes week after week had any effect on the mayor, his wife, children and his elderly parents, who all reside in Everett. “Did you ever consider the effect of these articles that your newspaper published about Mr. DeMaria would have on his wife, his children, and his parents?” asked Robbins.

  “No. I did not,” replied Philbin.

  Philbin was then asked about the private investigator who was hired to follow the mayor, which was mentioned by Resnek during his deposition where he claimed he would provide information on the mayor’s daily activities. Philbin claimed he had no knowledge. But when he was presented with his answer to the amended complaint against Philbin filed by the mayor’s attorney, Philbin agreed that it was his signature following his review.

  The paragraph in the legal documented – signed by Philbin – states: “Philbin admits that he

knew that Resnek subjected Plaintiff to surveillance.”

  “And this is the answer that you reviewed before it was filed; right?” asked the attorney.

  “That’s correct,” replied Philbin.

  Next week: Philbin’s business plan was not about making money.

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