Councilor calls cop for help with tenant - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Councilor calls cop for help with tenant

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A Waltham City Councilor asked a police officer to help him settle a private dispute with a tenant living in one of his properties then initially denied the account to police internal affairs investigators.

Waltham Council President Paul Brasco now admits that he asked his friend and neighbor, Waltham police Officer Paul Tracey, to accompany him to a multi-family property he owns on Vernon Street in Waltham, where he believed a tenant was wrongfully occupying a unit.

"There was never any intent to intimidate, harass. It was to identify and determine the situation and that was it,"he told FOX Undercover's Mike Beaudet.

But Brasco denies explosive allegations levied by the tenant, Edgar Gonzalez. Gonzales tells FOX Undercover that the visitors threatened to have him deported if he didn't leave within 24 hours.
Gonzalez recalled being awoken at around 10 p.m. in mid-February by a hard knock at the door, then seeing a flashlight being shone into his window.

"They say you're not supposed to be here. You are trespassing. Get out of this apartment. I say no. I'm not trespassing. I'm living here. I'm renting here," said Gonzalez, who had been living in the apartment with three other people for about a year.

"And they said that I have 24 hours to move out. And I said I cannot move in 24 hours. They say yeah, yeah, you have to go because you are trespassing. And the officer said to me if you don't have papers get your bags ready, because you're going to be deported," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez went to the police department that night to complain, but there was no record of any officer going to his apartment. He ended up filing a complaint with Waltham's mayor, which triggered a police internal affairs investigation.

Gonzalez says it was two uniformed police officers who showed up at his door, but Brasco says it was he and Tracey who were at the apartment. Until that night, he says he didn't even know that Gonzalez and his roommates were living there because they had been renting the apartment from the upstairs tenant without Brasco's knowledge. Problems arose when they stopped paying rent, which Gonzalez says was because the heat didn't work.

The fallout from that visit has been, Brasco said, "the most difficult thing I've ever had to experience in my life."

"Why bring a police officer there?" asked FOX Undercover's Beaudet.

"Only because I actually believed at some point this could become confrontational. That somehow someway he could be angered by me questioning him and I could get jumped," Brasco replied.
Brasco says he tried getting three other people to go with him to the apartment before calling Tracey, but said the accusation that he threatened to have Gonzalez deported "100 percent false." "Why do you think this man would say that?" Beaudet asked.

"I think Mr. Gonzalez has made several false statements in an attempt to stay where he is and use this situation to his benefit," Brasco said.

But after that interview, FOX Undercover learned that Brasco had been less than truthful when the police internal investigator first approached him. Brasco did not initially tell to the investigator that he called Officer Tracey to his apartment building.

"You said the tenant made several false statements. Didn't you make several false statements?" Beaudet asked.

"Did I make several false statements myself? No I did not," Brasco said.

"Did you try to cover this up?" Beaudet asked.

"Absolutely not. Absolutely not," Brasco replied.
But Brasco changed his tune after we asked him about his own phone records, obtained by police, which showed he had called Officer Tracey.

"The first initial meeting, I did not tell him everything that I knew as he approached me with further information, as you said, the phone records. After that I did tell him everything that was going on," Brasco said.

"People hearing this now, hearing you acknowledge that you weren't completely up front with the police about this initially, it does raise questions about the veracity of your version of events," Beaudet asked.

"I can understand how people would think that, but again, absolutely in no way shape or form did I ever lie to them when I gave them the entire story of what took place," Brasco replied.

Gonzalez has hired an attorney, Tyler Fox, who is calling for the US Attorney's office and the Massachusetts Attorney General's office to investigate, even the Middlesex District Attorney's office has already looked at the case and declined to press charges.

"This kind of thing should not be happening in Massachusetts and we shouldn't allow it," he said. "I believe a crime was committed."

Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy says she wants to get to the bottom of it and is now bringing in an investigator from outside the city.

"What I say to the voters is this process will be impartially as well as fully followed through. It's going to be fully investigated and it's going to proceed to the next step," she said.

Waltham's police chief won't have anything to do with the investigation going forward, presumably because he knows Councilor Brasco so well.

Officer Tracey's attorney denies any wrongdoing, even though his client did not notify the police department he was going to Brasco's apartment building.

As for Brasco, he dropped out of the race for mayor earlier this month but he insists that decision had nothing to do with this investigation. He has to decide by next week if he'll run for re-election, and says he most likely will run for another term.

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