Cohasset Selectmen confer on Coughlin case

A pretrial conference at Dedham Superior Court on the Mike Coughlin vs. The Town of Cohasset lawsuit is scheduled for Wednesday, January 11th.

Tuesday evening (Jan. 10th) Cohasset Selectmen met with insurance counsels for 1 ½ hours in executive session regarding the former town manager’s lawsuit against the Town and Peter DeCaprio.

This now 5th estate reporter, one of the subpoenaed witnesses served by a sheriff last Friday, left the Cohasset Town Hall Parking lot at 10:45, right after insurance attorneys drove away.

At 10:45 pm selectmen were still contemplating…whatever it was Attorney Leonard Kesten presented to them. At this point in time, selectmen should be rightfully worried about the town’s exposure (cost of trial, awards, etc.).

Two selectmen, Steve Gaumer and Jack Keniley, have long ties to Peter DeCaprio, a former water commissioner, who is the luminary of the whistleblower suit filed by Mike Coughlin against the Town of Cohasset.

Peter DeCaprio (now a resident of Milton) Gaumer, and Keniley were all were members of the Capital Budget committee. And all three were heavily involved with the Cohasset Water RFP for a 20 year-concession contract, a contract with which Coughlin disagreed, telling them early on that the state would not support it.  Neighboring Hingham was at the same time trying to get rid of Aquarion while Cohasset town officials were attempting to enter into a concession contract that would not be beneficial to the town.

Coughlin’s whistleblower suit is over wrongful termination, open meeting law infractions, tortious interference of contract by DeCaprio, etc. Coughlin’s attorney is Harold L. Lichten of Lichten & Liss-Riordan, P.C.,

If Coughlin should win a major judgment, the town’s insurance company would pay only a capped amount towards the judgment; the rest of the money would have to be paid via a vote of town meeting through borrowing; if voted down, the money would be taken directly from the tax cap. If the Town had millions of hidden dollars in some strange-sounding account, it is possible citizens would never know what was paid to Coughin.

On December 5, 2012 we reported in our blog ( that Coughlin had filed a whistleblower suite against the Town of Cohasset and Peter DeCaprio, chairman of the town’s water commission. In his suit he said he wanted his job back.

Coughlin named the Town of Cohasset, Board of Selectmen at the time he served (Ted Carr, Paul Carlson, Diane Kennedy, Fred Koed and Leland Jenkins and water commssioner Peter DeCaprio, both individually and in his capacity as a water commissioner.

In brief, the then chairman of the Cohasset water commission, Peter DeCaprio, who is a partner at Crow Point Partners, may have been in conflict of interest in discussing an RFP and proposed contract for the Cohasset Water Department with Aquarion Water – that is owned by Sass-Macquaire.  Mass GL c 268A bars public officials with a financial interest in a matter from voting on the matter.  Further, it requires those financially associated to remove themselves from all debate, as participating would make it appear that person would be using his position to influence the outcome.

Many odd-duck things occurred during 2012. DeCaprio demanded that he be permitted to use his personal attorney, and not the town’s attorney, in regard to water department issues. DeCaprio claimed that Cohasset water was a private company that was owned by the water commissioners, not the Town. It took town counsel a few months to unravel that claim.

Should Coughlin be successful in his whistleblower suit, any award by a jury would be tripled.

© Copyright 2017 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed