Newport councilman pleads no contest to assaulting contractor

Michael Farley

On the same day he was in court pleading to an assault charge, Newport City Councilman Michael Farley was present for the City Council meeting Wednesday night.

At the meeting, the mayor called on Farley to resign.

Farley left the meeting early.

"I really don't have much to say, Brian, but thank you very much," Farley said.

Farley is accused of assaulting a contractor last month. He did not want to talk about the incident.

"I've accepted responsibility for it. That's what today was about," Farley said.

Kevin Schiavone is the contractor.

"Mike Farley lost it, lost his temper and attacked me," Schiavone said.

Schiavone was working on the house next to Farley's. He said Farley accused him of stealing his ladder.

Schiavone said the homeowner he was working for said he could use the ladder and he assumed it was hers.

Farley apparently did not accept that explanation.

"He just kept getting more and more angry. I kept trying to calm the situation down. But then he pretty much snapped and went crazy," Schiavone said.

Schiavone said Farley repeatedly hit him in the face. Schiavone said he suffered a split lip and sprained wrist.

Because the case involved a city official, Newport police asked the Rhode Island State Police to handle the case. State police brought the simple assault charge.

Farley pleaded no contest in court Wednesday.

The judge sentenced him to a one-year filing, meaning if he stays out of trouble for a year his record could be cleared. Farley was also ordered to pay Schiavone's medical bills.

Schiavone was not impressed with the punishment.

"Got slapped on the wrist. If it was me who defended myself, I'd probably be in jail right now," Schiavone said.

No jail, but Mayor Henry Winthrop said he wants Farley to step down from the council.

"The citizens deserve a lot better than a councilor who assaults a contractor and essentially admits it," Winthrop said.

Farley said he does not intend to resign.