The wife of Mayor Carlo DeMaria of Everett dismissed allegations that her husband sexually harassed at least four women over the last decade, posting on Facebook that if he had ever been unfaithful, “his belongings would have been thrown onto Hancock Street by now,” referring to a street near their home.
But members of the Everett City Council were divided over the allegations contained in an article in the Boston Sunday Globe as one longtime city councilor called for a formal investigation of DeMaria’s conduct with women. Two others on the 11-member council said they, too, would support action against DeMaria.
“It’s our responsibility . . . to provide a safe environment at City Hall,” said Peter Napolitano, who challenged DeMaria for mayor in 2011. “We can’t have city employees being fearful when they work.”
The Globe article detailed accusations by four women who alleged that DeMaria harassed them over the past decade, including allegations from two former employees at doughnut shops owned by DeMaria. Another was a soldier’s mother who was allegedly groped by DeMaria after asking for his help on a project to assist soldiers serving overseas.
The fourth was a former city worker who said the mayor made lewd comments and once told her, after a heated dispute with a co-worker left her fearing for her job, “You can do no wrong in my eyes if you [provide oral sex],” she recalled.
Three of the women asked not to be identified, and the Globe did not name them since they were alleged victims of sexual harassment.
Stacy DeMaria, who has been married to Carlo DeMaria for 18 years, bluntly rejected all of the allegations, which her husband has suggested are driven by opponents of a $1.6 billion casino project he has championed for Everett.
“I usually do not respond openly with regards to politics but the recent article written about my husband deems it necessary,” DeMaria wrote on her Facebook page. “I will be brief. Those who know me well would tell you that if there were any truths to the article or if Carlo were ever unfaithful to me in any way that his belongings would have been thrown onto Hancock Street by now. I would not or could not be with a man so falsely described.”
Meanwhile, Napolitano and at least two other councilors said they would welcome a chance to investigate the women’s allegations and take appropriate action, if warranted.
Napolitano said he would bring the matter up at the next City Council meeting, scheduled for Sept. 9. He said the council has no authority to force any of the accusers to bring forward their accounts, even in private executive sessions.
“They have to be willing to come forward, and we will take the information, and act on it, if it’s justified,” he said.
Michael Marchese, the City Council president, said Monday that he would support holding a special meeting to discuss the allegations and to determine what action, if any, the council should take, even possibly placing DeMaria on a leave of absence pending an investigation.
Marchese said he would not make such a motion because it would appear self-serving since as council president he would succeed DeMaria if he were removed.
“I’ve talked to a few members,’’ he said. “They don’t know what to do because nothing like this has happened before.”
Another councilor, who declined to be identified because he feared retaliation, said he would support removing DeMaria, noting that allegations about DeMaria’s alleged mistreatment of women have circulated for years. “I knew most of it already,” said the councilor, referring to the allegations of sexual harassment.
But several councilors either didn’t return calls seeking comment, or defended DeMaria.
“Those are only allegations,” said Stephen Simonelli, “I don’t see what the problem is. You hear stories about every mayor. That’s just my opinion.”
Rosa DiFlorio hung up the phone quickly after she was asked for her reaction to the story. “I have no comment and will be taking no action,” she said. But DiFlorio posted a pithy comment on Stacy DeMaria’s Facebook page. “God will get them. Keep the faith,” she wrote.