Nomination papers for mayor aren’t due out for at least six more months, but this week the mayoral campaign got down and dirty in a way that hasn’t been seen around here for a number of years.
Rumors concerning Councillors Dan Rizzo and George Rotondo – and an alleged conspiracy – have turned the inner political circle on its ear, and prompted a police inquiry with the Attorney General.
Late last week, it was alleged by someone who came forward to Police Chief Terence Reardon but whose name has not been revealed by the police that Councillor Rotondo tried to pay a local bartender to take photographs of Councillor Rizzo as he dined and drank at the bar. A second part of the allegation indicates that Rotondo allegedly called on a local police officer to wait for Rizzo and then to stop him for a potential Operating While Intoxicated (OUI) charge when he got in his automobile and tried to drive away.
That rumor originated from an allegation that was presented to Revere Police.
Police Spokesman Michael Murphy indicated that a complaint about the alleged conspiracy has been lodged with Chief Reardon. There was one person who wanted to go on record about the allegations. Though there was no official police investigation, Reardon consulted with the state Attorney General’s office.
That consultation resulted in the recommendation that – were the allegation even true, which is hotly disputed – it is perfectly legal. It was likened, Murphy said, to what paparazzi photographers do, and there is nothing illegal about that.
Councillor Rotondo grew upset when informed about the allegations, and attributed it to nothing more than character assassination by Rizzo and Ward 6 Councillor Charlie Patch.
He said such antics had been going on ever since he announced that he planned to run against Rizzo for mayor.
“First of all, it’s untrue,” he said. “I expect that the next rumor to come around is that I killed a baby seal…Are they saying they drink and drive? It sounds like they’re being defensive about it. To be honest, that is a police matter and something I can’t do anything about. What’s more important to me is dealing with city issues. This is so below the office of mayor. It boggles me that at every juncture they’re trying to tear me down. It’s not going to work. The people see through it.”
Meanwhile, Rizzo had a very different view of the situation.
He said that he was apprised of the situation – a situation, which everyone agrees never actually transpired – by a third party.
“As far as I’m concerned now, it’s a police matter and a State Ethics Commission matter,” he said. “I just know what people have told me and I guess people have been approached. I don’t have all the details. I know the police are investigating and I don’t know where that will go…Quite honestly, it doesn’t shock me. It doesn’t worry me either. He goes to his drum and I go to mine. I’ve heard him say conspiracy theory stuff about people in the past.”
Patch, for his part, said he had nothing to do with any of it.
He said that while he and Rizzo are friends, he is not involved with Rizzo’s campaign and had nothing to do with the allegations.
“I work for the people of Ward Six, not for Dan Rizzo,” he said. “I don’t know why I’m even being brought into all this.”
Patch was recently accused by Rotondo of being a ‘lieutenant’ for Rizzo, and Patch said his name in the rumor mill is just a result of Rotondo trying to re-assert that claim.
Meanwhile, Rotondo said he is only concentrating on going door-to-door through the neighborhoods, and not concentrating on conspiracies.
“My job as mayor is not to focus on innuendo or rumor, which is what they’re doing,” he alleged. “My job is to work with banks, neighborhood groups, and development groups to re-build Revere. I want to put people back into abandoned homes. They can focus on gutter politics. I’m going door-to-door and talking about issues.”
As for Rizzo, he remains the perceived leader in the race for mayor about to unfold in the months to come.
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