Former Cranston police chief Marco Polombo Jr. wants the city to pay for his own legal representation to defend against two pending lawsuits.
A lawyer for Polombo said the ex-chief plans to rebut the 182-page State Police report that has roiled Cranston, and will take action against anyone who harms him or violates his rights.
In a letter dated Tuesday, Polombo's lawyer, John Tarantino of Adler Pollock & Sheehan, informs Cranston City Council lawyer Patrick J. Quinlan, that Polombo wants the city for pay for his own legal representation due to comments made by Mayor Allan Fung during a news conference last Wednesday. Fung used the occasion to apologize for findings outlined in the State Police report on problems related to the Cranston Police Department.
In his letter, Tarantino writes, "It was become apparent that the interests of the City, and in particular, the Mayor, and my client are now adverse with respect to the statements made by the Mayor during his press conference on August 5, 2015. At that time, the Mayor made certain statements regarding Marco Polombo and my client issued a statement specifically disputing them. My client will now take appropriate action to have his own counsel defend those cases and to have his legal fees for the defense paid for the city."
The two cases cited by Tarantino are pending lawsuits by Karen Guilbeault, who suing Cranston in state court over sexual harassment and gender discrimination, and Todd Patalano, who has a $5 million claim against Cranston in federal court over claims of being harassed and falsely charged with internal violations.
According to Tarantino's letter, Polombo had complied with "joint defense obligations" while being represented by defense counsel in "his capacity as the former Chief of Police," on the two cases prior to Fung's comments on August 5.
Issues in the Cranston Police Department during Fung's tenure have spawned a series of lawsuits. The State Police report said city officials' actions have increased the city's liability, rather than decreasing it.
The report traces how Fung's rise as mayor coincided with the turning over of the command staff in the Cranston Police Department. Polombo became chief in 2009 and left the department in 2014.
Quinlan briefly outlined Tarantino's letter when asked about it during a nearly four-hour City Council meeting Tuesday night.
In his letter, Tarantino said Polombo "desires an opportunity to fully and fairly address the State Police Assessment and the characterizations therein," as well as its conclusions. Tarantino said this will happen once Polombo has been given access to the underlying materials for the report and an opportunity to review them.
Tarantino adds: "My client also intends to take appropriate legal action to not only challenge the allegations made against him, but also to hold accountable any person or entity that has harmed him and/or violated his rights."