Kevin Cullen

Disorder in the court thanks to Patty Campatelli

A couple of weeks after she pulled off the biggest political upset around here in years, Patty Campatelli was at an East Boston restaurant called Ecco when she spied some people who supported Councilor Sal LaMattina, the guy she beat in the Democratic primary for Suffolk County register of probate.

Patty gave them a piece of her mind, straight out of the Eastie playbook, which means I can’t print it.

Voices were raised. A table was knocked over. Glasses shattered. Diners were frightened. It was, unlike the gorgeous pappardelle bolognese, pretty ugly.


When she got called on it, Patty denied she did anything wrong. A bunch of people eating dinner and sitting at the bar said otherwise.

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The last time the Republicans had a candidate in Suffolk County, dinosaurs walked the earth, so Patty waltzed through the final unopposed and was elected and went to great lengths to have her swearing-in at . . . the bar at Ecco!

She assumed office at a bar, in a place where she had been involved in something you would think she would regret and want to forget.

In the Lower East Side of Manhattan, they refer to doing something like that as having chutzpah.

In East Boston, they refer to doing something like that as having parts of the anatomy that, again, I’m not allowed to print.


So here we are today, and the Trial Court of Massachusetts is trying to figure out what to do with the train wreck that is the Suffolk County register of probate office.

Ronald Corbett, the former commissioner of probation tasked to assess the damage, has produced a report that paints Patty Campatelli as a cross between Captain Queeg, Leona Helmsley, and Snooki.

According to employees quoted by Corbett, Campatelli smokes too much, swears too much, and works too little.

And that doesn’t even cover her post-work hijinks.

The good news for Patty is that Corbett said he could not corroborate the story by Tim Perry, a case coordinator, who says she beat him up after they got loaded at the office Christmas party. The bad news is that Corbett said he couldn’t reach any conclusions because she denied it and all the witnesses said she and Perry were hammered.


Corbett’s report is devastating. It suggests Patty Campatelli shows up at the office about three days a week, swears like a sailor, and when she isn’t outside the courthouse smoking with her posse, she’s sitting at her desk, using a coin on scratch tickets.

Patty told Corbett it’s all lies.

She did cop to the scratch tickets, but said everybody in the office is doing them.

Swell. The next time I try to file something in probate, I’ll bring along a bunch of Platinum Millions tickets so I can get some service.

Corbett said that when Patty convenes her smoking coven, she refers to them as her homegirls-who-rhyme-with-stitches, which he said is highly inappropriate in a public office.

Hmmm. Perhaps the register has watched too much “Breaking Bad.”

But, then, maybe this is just a case of the Trial Court, embarrassed by the reports of the register engaged in everything but doing her job, trying to break Patty.

I wanted to ask Patty Campatelli about that and many other things, but she wouldn’t talk to me. Instead, she designated her lawyer, Phil Boncore.

Boncore said his client does not smoke or swear too much at work. In fact, he insisted she has never, ever used a swear word at work. He said Campatelli is being targeted by a small group of disgruntled employees who can’t believe she won the office and wish they ran themselves.

As for Corbett’s admonition about her getting hammered in public, Boncore said it wasn’t true. And not for nothin’, Boncore asked, but why is she being singled out?

“You know,” he said, referring to that infamous Christmas shindig, “there were a lot of judges at that party.”

Whoa. That should make Patty Campatelli even more popular with the judiciary.

Kevin Cullen is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at