After a display of boorish behavior, Wayne Matewsky, Everett’s newly elected state representative, owes an apology to Kevin Bartel and his 7-year-old daughter, Bella.
According to Bartel and several witnesses, Matewsky mocked the special needs child during an incident that occurred at a Texas Roadhouse restaurant on the night of March 6.
In an interview with Fox 25 News, Bartel said that his daughter had suffered a stroke as a baby, and is now blind, unable to walk, and non-verbal. However, she can make sounds, which she was doing during a night out celebrating her seventh birthday at the restaurant located at the Gateway shopping Center on Route 16.
“Bella made some noises . . . some clicking noises,” Bartel told Fox 25. At that point, according to Bartel, Matewsky, who is also a member of the Everett Common Council, began mimicking the child’s noises. A friend who was celebrating Bella’s birthday with the father and daughter confronted Matewsky: “I said to him, ‘She’s a disabled little girl, why are you carrying on like
this?’ ” Ed McAloney told the television station.
A spokesman for Texas Roadhouse, a Kentucky-based restaurant chain, confirmed the incident for the Globe and said Matewsky asked to be moved away from Bella’s table. According to the restaurant staff, Matewsky, 54, used an expletive to describe the child. He also threatened to call the Board of Health on the restaurant and left without paying his $60 bill.
The incident occurred the day after Matewsky won the Democratic nomination for state representative. He went on to win a special election to fill the unexpired term of Stephen Smith, who was sentenced to four months in federal prison and fined $20,000 after pleading guilty to two counts of absentee ballot fraud.
Matewsky, who worked as Smith’s legislative aide, went back to the restaurant and apologized to the staff. However, he continues to deny the incident involving Bella took place, despite corroborating witness accounts. Michael Toto, a Revere resident who said he witnessed the incident, brought it up during the March 11 meeting of the Everett Common Council. “I saw him berating the child and her father,” Toto told the Globe. “I didn’t think that was right. I wanted him to step up and take responsibility for it.”
After taking testimony at a private meeting, the Everett Common Council’s ethics committee determined that Matewsky “had committed misconduct, to wit, abuse of his official position for the purpose outside of his official duties.” The committee voted to issue a reprimand, the most severe action that can be taken. Last week, the full council approved the recommendation, which was taken strictly for the way Matewsky treated restaurant employees.
During the course of the exchange at the Texas Roadhouse, Matewsky reportedly asked the restaurant’s assistant manager, “Do you know who I am?” Now, more people do know who he is, and what they know is far from flattering.