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Taxpayers on the hook for thousands after mayor's loss in court

Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena (WJAR)

Mayor Joseph Polisena lost a civil lawsuit last week, but it won’t cost him a penny. The bill is being paid by taxpayers.

There was no comment from the mayor on this revelation. The Town Council voted in January 2015 to exempt the mayor from paying any fees on the case, which was brought by former town councilwoman Eileen Fuoco.

The case was decided in her favor by jurors last week. Polisena’s lawyer is filing motions and ultimately will appeal if he can’t get the verdict overturned, he told NBC 10 News.

Johnston Finance Director Joseph Chiodo told NBC 10 News that so far, the town has paid legal fees of $31,619. That doesn’t include the $34,000 in awards the jury gave to Fuoco. It doesn’t account for the time of town employees who were deposed in the case, nor does the amount include any of the time put in by the town solicitor.

"Why is he doing this? Why does he want to put everything on the taxpayers? Whether it’s a dollar or a hundred-million dollars, I didn’t sue the town of Johnston. I sued him personally," Fuoco said.

The mayor was indemnified from paying any bills in this case by the Town Council in 2015. In an executive session, the Town Council voted to free the mayor from paying anything in this case.

"They have no dog in this fight. I’m suing him personally. He was indemnified so the taxpayers will pay it," Fuoco said.


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