Mattiello’s New Appointee Had Confrontation With Providence City Councilman

Wednesday, March 21, 2018


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Speaker of the House Mattiello

Speaker of the House Nick Mattiello’s newest staff appointment is the controversial Michael Cotugno who was involved in an altercation with a Providence City Councilman at his previous position in the Providence City Council office last year.

Cotugno is the son of long-time political operative Ed Cotugno who has jumped from campaign to campaign — Republican to Democrat — and now has a political consulting firm which works for Mattiello’s campaign. Cotugno worked for both former Governor Ed DiPrete and the late Providence Mayor Vincent “Buddy” Cianci.

The senior Cotugno and political operative Jeff Britt are widely credited with developing and implementing the mail-ballot strategy that helped Mattiello win re-election. Mattiello lost to GOP candidate Steve Frias on the machine count, but edged Frias by less than 100 votes due to the mail-ballot count.

“Speaker Mattiello was not aware of any information that would disqualify from employment,” Larry Berman, spokesman for Mattiello.

According to sources, Cotugno will be paid approximately $70,000 in his new position in the State House.

Confrontation with Councilman Who Would Not Support a Raise

In June of 2017, it was a relatively quiet afternoon in Providence City Hall until about 4:00 PM when [junior Providence city council staffer] Cotugno blew up and started screaming at Providence Councilman Michael Correia. In his role,  Cotugno "managed constituent requests, [and] organized community meetings and events for councilors."

Sources told GoLocal that Cotugno was angered because Correia who represents the 6th Ward had asked and questioned other council members about a proposed raise for Cotugno. 

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Cotugno - confrontation with Council member

That day, Cotugno called Correia earlier in the day and screamed on the phone at him and then challenged the Councilman when he arrived in the City Council office.

The argument started initially in the office and then spilled out into the hallway outside the Council office where both city employees and visitors to City Hall heard the shouting.

Ultimately, Councilman Nick Narducci had to defuse the argument. He represents the 4th Ward — primarily the north end of the city.

“It was a misunderstanding. It was unfortunate,” Councilman Correia told GoLocal...when he confirmed the incident.

“It is over .. we are moving forward,” added Correia.

Correia represents the Mount Pleasant, Manton, Olneyville, and Fruit Hill neighborhoods and he is recognized as a champion for fighting against crime and graffiti in the city.

“The staff should not involve themselves in the City’s politics,” said former Council President Luis Aponte. "This episode is disappointing."

Cotugno reached at home said, "Well if you got the story, you got the story, but I have no comment."

No disciplinary actions were taken against Cotugno, according to members of the Council.


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