By: Tom Duggan – June 2013
The DiAdamo and DiAdamo Law Firm has been paid millions of dollars over the last ten years representing the City of Lawrence on worker’s compensation claims, rental payments made to the DiAdamos for the Lawrence School Department Central Offices on Essex Street, payments made for their representation of the Greater Lawrence Sanitary District and the city’s Workforce Investment Board.
CONCEALING DIADAMO’S PUBLIC RECORDS
Valley Patriot publisher Tom Duggan initially filed the public records request for the DiAdamo’s public payments from the City of Lawrence in February of 2012.
Mayor Lantigua’s office claimed they never received that request. The Valley Patriot refiled in July of 2012.
Under Massachusetts’ Public Records Law, (MGL. CH 66), public records must be turned over within ten days of request by any member of the public.
Mayor Lantigua refused to turn over the DiAdamo payment records, first claiming the documents were not public (despite Boddy’s letter claiming the contrary, below) then, after being ordered to turn them over by a judge and the Secretary of State’s Office, he sent payment slips that had the dollar amounts blacked out.
In court, Lantigua claimed (through Jeremy Evans of Foley and Hoag) that the amount of money paid to Carmine and William DiAdamo for work they do for the City of Lawrence was “privileged”.
Essex County Superior Court Judges Thomas Murtaugh (last October) and Robert Cornetta (last month) both rejected those claims at separate hearings, and ordered the City of Lawrence to comply with The Valley Patriot’s records request in full.
Judge Cornetta said that the public has the right to know how their government is spending taxpayer dollars, citing “transparency in government”.
“It would seem to me, your client should understand by now that Mr. Duggan is not going away. This matter is not going away,” Judge Cornetta told Attorney Evans.
Cornetta said that the city had until May 31, 2013 to turn over the complete information sought by The Valley Patriot on DiAdamo payments.
LANTIGUA RELEASES MONEY PAID TO OTHER LAWYERS WHILE CONCEALING DIADAMO PAYMENTS
As of the publication of this story, (June 11, 2013), Mayor Lantigua still refuses to release public records on payments made to DiAdamo, but has no problem complying with records requests by others concerning other law firms representing the city.
The letter to the bottom right on this page shows that the Lantigua Administration answered a records request by a Richard Russell from Lawrence. Russell asked for and received the total amount of money paid ($32, 178.51) to the Law Firm of Foley and Hoag.
That’s the law firm Lantigua hired to fight The Valley Patriot’s request for public records concerning the millions of dollars the DiAdamos have made off the City of Lawrence.
Lantigua released the amount paid to Foley and Hoag in less than 24 hours and at no cost to Mr. Russell in stark contrast to the amount of money charged for DiAdamo’s payments and the amount of time The Valley Patriot has been waiting for those public documents.
WHY IS LANTIGUA CONCELAING DIADAMO’S PUBLIC PAYMENTS?
“The fact is, City Attorney Charles Boddy sent us a letter last year stating that the information we requested were indeed public records,” Valley Patriot publisher Tom Duggan said. “This should never have gone to court.”
“Lantigua is purposely concealing how much money he paid to the DiAdamo Law Firm, and the taxpayers ought to be asking why? Why is Lantigua spending so much money to stop public record from coming to light?”
“The City Attorney’s letter said he would turn over the documents if we paid the city $61.81, claiming it would take merely two hours to produce these public bills. He took our check; he cashed our check, and then refused to turn over the records. Now think about this… ” Duggan continued.
“… What Mayor Lantigua and City Attorney Charlie Boddy are doing is, they are using your public money to hire a law firm out of Boston, to prevent you, the public from getting access to documents you already paid for. It’s like something out of the Twilight Zone.”
“On top of all that, we have incurred thousands of dollars in legal bills to fight for these DiAdamo documents, documents that their letter said should have only cost us $61.81. We will be looking to recover those costs.”
“Lantigua doesn’t care because it’s not his money, so at the end of the day, he gets to use unlimited amounts of money to actively protect Carmine and William DiAdamo’s public payments from coming to light. No wonder he is always smiling. He gets to screw the taxpayers and make them pay for it.”
“So now, here we are. More than a year after our state mandated ten-day public records request. Here we are more than a year after Lantigua took my check for $61.81. More than a year after Mayor Lantigua cashed my check for $61.81. Then he not only refuses to give us the DiAdamo records, but also slapped everyone in the face along the way and got away with it.”
“He slapped Secretary of State Bill Galvin’s Office in the face. He has slapped Judge Murtaugh and Judge Cornetta, indeed the entire court system, in the face. He continues to slap the taxpayers in the face. And yet, no judge has imposed any fines, sanctions, or granted us legal fees. No government agency has stepped in to put a stop to this. No newspaper has filed a brief to stand with us in our court battle. Furthermore, we still do not have the complete information we requested about how much money William and Carmine DiAdamo are making on the state taxpayers who, by the way, are paying all the bills in Lawrence.”
“This is such a waste,” Duggan concluded in frustration. “That $32,000 dollars spent to fight our $61 records request could have hired a police officer. It could have hired a firefighter. Lawrence has a City Attorney they are already paying more than $120,000 a year to handle these issues. His name is Charles Boddy, the very same guy who said in writing (above) that these documents were public and would only cost us $61.81. What does that tell you about what is really going on in Lawrence?”
FIRED BY SULLIVAN AFTER LOSING TRAFICANTI CASE, REHIRED BY LANTIGUA UPON ARRIVAL
The DiAdamo Law Firm was representing the City of Lawrence in worker’s compensation claims made by city workers under the Sullivan administration. But Sullivan refused to renew their contract after they lost the Andrea Traficanti case.
Andrea Traficanti was a city worker who claimed that she was permanently and totally disabled, and cannot ever work again because of the stress she endured at Lawrence City Hall when Mayor Sullivan yelled at her.
Her attorney, Michael Torrisi on December 10, 2008, filed the disability claim.
Traficanti, who is now married to DPW director Frank McCann, (who was her boyfriend and immediate supervisor at the time), won her stress-related workers’ compensation claim, filing for said benefits shortly after Mayor Michael J. Sullivan stated that he was about to lay her off due to Lawrence’s severe budgetary constraints.
Traficanti was making $53,000 a year as the Projects Planner for the city, and answered directly to her (then) live-in boyfriend, DPW Director, Frank McCann, who was under fire for allegedly misspending city money on construction projects.
Traficanti’s award amounted to $612.06 per week, tax-free. The award was retroactive from the date of alleged loss (January 4, 2007). Traficanti was also awarded continuing medical costs, attorney fees and expenses. The award was won at a conference before a judge.
The weekly compensation of $612.06 was based upon her average weekly wage of $1,020.10.
While Traficanti’s claim (that she was too stressed to ever work again) was working its way through the worker’s compensation process, she applied for the Highway Commissioner’s job in Haverhill.
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST NOT DISCLOSED
While the DiAdamo Law Office was representing the City of Lawrence against Traficanti’s workers’ compensation claim, they continued to serve as special counsel for Greater Lawrence Sanitary District (GLSD), where Frank McCann (Traficanti’s husband) had been a Board Member since the year 2000.
In a letter dated August 26, 2008 from the DiAdamo Law Office about their pay from the GLSD, it states:
“We are special counsel for the GLSD for litigation matters. We bill hourly. It appears to me that roughly $25,000 to $30,000 would have been due and owing work performed in 2007.”
Documents from GLSD, however, show payments of $47,731 was paid to DiAdamo Law Office in 2007. Documents also show that in 2006, the DiAdamo Law Office made $108,733 for legal services.
According to a letter by Richard Hogan, Executive Director for GLSD; “Frank McCann is a member of the GLSD Board of Commissioners. The Board of Commissioners approve all bills and contracts and there are no outstanding bills of DiAdamo Law Office.”
Also, according to Hogan, no conflict of interest documents (called a 268A) were submitted to GLSD or the City Attorney’s office between January 1, 2001 to present.
In short, DiAdamo never properly disclosed in writing the potential conflict of interest representing the city against Traficanti while working for her husband, Frank McCann, on the GLSD Board at the same time. DiAdamo also never disclosed the fact that their law office had previously represented the Lawrence DPW in worker’s compensation claims, as McCann was the DPW director for the City of Lawrence.
Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua rehired the DiAdamo Law Firm after succeeding Mayor Sullivan in 2010.
Since that time, Lantigua was also represented in court by the DiAdamo Law firm in a personal matter involving a restraining order filed against Lantigua for something that happened in a local nightclub.
William DiAdamo told the Eagle Tribune that he had no idea who was paying his bill when he represented Lantigua and Patrick Blanchette, (Lantigua’s Economic Development Director) in the restraining order hearing.
“Did the Lantigua Administration bill the tax payers for his personal matter in court? Did anyone ever pay that bill? Did DiAdamo represent Lantigua and Blanchette for free because Lantigua signs his contract with the city?” asked Tom Duggan.
“We don’t know what the taxpayers actually paid for because Lantigua refuses to turn over the documents showing the DiAdamo payments. Its time the public start asking Lawrence City Councilors, candidates for office, and law enforcement officials: what does Lantigua have to hide, and how many laws does he have to break before someone actually puts a stop to it?”
Senator Eldridge Champions Public Accountability in Records Law (February 2013)