2014-07-31 / Front Page

Farley Departure Sought

Mayor Henry F. Winthrop has vigorously renewed his call for at-large City Councilor Michael T. Farley to resign from the council and not run for re-election in the wake of being charged with simple assault on a contractor working next door to his home at 26 Hunter Ave., on June 9.

“I believe the residents of the city of Newport deserve better,” Winthrop told Newport This Week in an interview on Wednesday, July 30. “His is not the behavior you’d expect from an elected official. In the best interests of the city and of the council, he should step down.”

On July 23, Farley was arraigned in Second District Court on a charge of simple assault in connection with the incident. Farley pleaded nolo contendre to the charge before Associate Judge Colleen M. Hastings, who sentenced him to a “one-year filing” and ordered him to have no contact with the victim and to provide restitution for the victim's medical expenses.

According to the State Police, Newport Police Chief Gary T. Silva requested that they investigate the June 9 incident. As a result of the State Police investigation conducted by its Major Crimes Unit, an arrest warrant was issued alleging that:

• On June 9 Newport Police re- ceived a call for “service” from Farley and responded to 24/26 Hunter Ave.

• The Newport Police conducted an initial investigation into an incident between Farley and a contractor who was working at 24 Hunter Ave., which abuts Farley’s property. A State Police affidavit identifies the contractor as Kevin A. Schiavone, 41, 86 Cedar Ave., Portsmouth.

• The contractor was using a ladder, which he believed belonged to the owner of the home he was working at.

• Farley confronted the contractor and accused him of stealing his ladder.

• The confrontation led to a “physical altercation, in which it is alleged that Farley assaulted the contractor.”

According to the affidavit, Schiavone told them in an interview that he “never grabbed or struck Mr. Farley throughout the altercation. Mr. Schiavone further advised that as a result of the assault, his lip got split open, his jaw was sore, he sprained his right wrist, and had bruises on his upper left shoulder, knee and elbow.”

Further, Maya Auchincloss, who lives at 24 Hunter Ave., told State Police that “she had authorized Mr. Schiavone to utilize any tools or equipment that were around her property,” the affidavit says. She also told State Police “Mr. Schiavone appeared to be shaken and in shock” when he went into her house after the confrontation.

Farley told State Police that Schiavone “did not grab him or strike him.”

According to the affidavit, State Police asked Farley, “As an elected official, do you think you should have maybe acted differently?” Farley replied, “You know, you get caught up in the moment, he’s lucky I didn’t do what I wanted to do to him.”

Despite his strong statements on the matter when the issue first surfaced and again on July 30, Winthrop said he did not expect Farley to step aside voluntarily.

“The only way he can be removed is by the voters in November,” said Winthrop, who also chairs the City Council. “He is an embarrassment to the council and to the city.” Winthrop said he had not spoken with Farley since the State Police charge was made. A simple assault is a misdemeanor.

The mayor did say that the Newport Charter provides that an official convicted of a felony automatically forfeits his or her municipal office.

Winthrop maintained that city voters have been embarrassed by Farley’s behavior, adding that more than two dozen city residents have told him that. “They’re very disappointed,” Winthrop said. “That’s the primary reaction I get from them.”

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