Coughlin’s attorney named lawyer of year by Lawyers Weekly

Former Cohasset town manager Mike Coughlin’s Whistleblower suit is over wrongful termination, open meeting law infractions, tortious interference of contract by DeCaprio. Several callers to Tinytown Unleashed ask us to refresh their memories. All of this is on various posts under numerous catagories, but the main catagories are Mike Coughlin, Cohasset Water, Cohasset Selectmen. 

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Coughlin has an excellent attorney and this case is being tried as a Whistleblower, which means if a jury should award Coughlin $1 million for his troubles, his stroke, and his inability to ever work again thanks to all the bad press that followed him out of Cohasset, that award could be tripled under the Whistleblower Protection Act.

In May 2014 Harold Lichten (Harold L. Lichten of Lichten & Liss-Riordan, P.C.) attorney for former Lynn finance official John Pace (and Mike Coughlin) asked and got  Superior Court Judge Timothy Feeley to triple the damage award of $1M (to $3M) under the Whistleblower Protection Act. Just a note: Litchen was named 2016 Massachusetts Lawyer of the year by Mass Lawyers Weekly.

The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, Pub.L. 101-12 as amended, is a United States federal law that protects federal whistleblowers who work for the government and report agency misconduct. A federal agency violates the Whistleblower Protection Act if agency authorities take (or threaten to take) retaliatory personnel action against any employee or applicant because of disclosure of information by that employee or applicant. Whistleblowers[1] may file complaints that they believe reasonably evidences a violation of a law, rule or regulation; gross mismanagement; gross waste of funds; an abuse of authority; or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.

TinytownUnleashed.com in May 2014 reported:

What happened to John Pace closely mirrors much of what happened in Cohasset when in 2011 a five-member board of selectmen and their appointed committees totally turned on its newly appointed town manager, the police chief, and many other town employees. For many months, Mariner cartoonist Jim Hamilton would run a cartoon tallying the newest football jersey number to be retired, a turn on the myriad town employees being sacked because they were friends of Coughlin, and then perp walked to the back door at town Hall by then acting town manager Mike Milanoski. When former police chief Mark DeLuca got fired, Milanoski tried to take his gun.

In 2011-2012 former water commissioner Peter DeCaprio was planning to give Cohasset Water to give Aquarian via a 20-year concession contract; concurrently, Hingham town officials were trying to chew off their arms and legs to get out of its Aquarian trap with spiraling water fees and little and no attention being paid to the infrastructure and dried up streams. Was DeCaprio in conflict of interest, with his company Crow Point Partners being involved with water utilities and Aquarian up the ying yang?

From leaked e-mails we learned that town counsel’s firm had allegedly advised selectmen that DeCaprio had actionable conflict interests given the investment portfolio of his hedge fund.

Further, DeCaprio hired his personal lawyer as the new counsel to the water company. Selectmen obliged him every step of the way.  And then DeCaprio’s attorney doubling as water counsel writes a legal opinion opining there is no joint management of the water department (town meeting had given the town manager the power to co-manage the department after the previous $5M water f-up for which we are all still paying).

In the background…simmering away in a money pot…an interesting study of Aquarian water in the Hingham, Cohasset, Hull region on the Tata Howard website. Tata Howard is a consulting engineer for Aquarian. This study demonstrated that in order for Aquarian water to survive (and make money) it needed Cohasset water and it needed to drill all over Cohasset for more water to supply growing Weymouth and Hingham communities, in particular the South Shore Naval Air Base.

What did the illustrious 2012 board of selectmen do about this? It fired Coughlin, the town’s only watchdog.

On February 15, 2012 before voting 5-0 to suspend Coughlin with pay the Board of Selectmen said the board and the town manager do not share in the common the same views as to how important matters should be communicated. We would say so.

One thing’s clear, Coughlin had a ton of emotional distress. He was fighting an uphill battle with a bunch of very wealthy men who treated the water department like it was part of their investment portfolio. And for some, it was.

 

 

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