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May 3, 2013

Records: Solicitor emailed questions aimed at candidate

McQuillan also contacted reference who pulled his recommendation

METHUEN — City Solicitor Peter McQuillan possessed a list of seven questions apparently directed at one of the two candidates to succeed him more than a week before the candidates’ public interview took place, according to city records obtained by The Eagle-Tribune.

McQuillan sent seven questions referencing details of solicitor candidate Richard D’Agostino’s recent past from his city email account to himself on March 15 at 9 p.m., according to the records. That list included questions about employment with the City of Lawrence, an ongoing lawsuit and claims of being fired.

“I have no recollection — other than that I have no comment,” McQuillan said about the list of questions when reached in his office at City Hall yesterday morning.

Records of McQuillan’s office phone, provided with the emails by the city in response to an April 1 public records request, also show McQuillan twice contacted district court assistant clerk Andrew Gradzewicz, who provided a reference for D’Agostino. The calls came just before Gradzewicz rescinded his recommendation.

“At no time did I contact a reference for the purpose of requesting or suggesting he or she withdraw or retract a reference or letter of recommendation to any candidate,” McQuillan said.

Gradzewicz, a criminal clerk in Lawrence District Court, declined to comment when reached at his office at the Fenton Judicial Center in Lawrence yesterday afternoon.

In response to the city’s release of the emails and phone records, D’Agostino again called on McQuillan to resign, saying it was “apparent he interjected himself into this entire process.

“As a lawyer I’m reluctant to leap from one appearance to a conclusion without all the evidence, but it’s almost inexplicable there’s another reason these (questions) appear on his email,” D’Agostino said. “The fact the questions regarding my specific candidacy appear on his email or he was involved in contacting anyone supporting my candidacy or giving references shows to me his corrupt conduct, and the fact that his intention has been to derail the selection process so he could remain there to enrich himself by continuing to collect his pay and other employment benefits.”

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