Councilor Butler Expresses Frustration Over Criticism

By Chris Paul

Directly following Public Comment at the Monday, May 15, Town Council meeting, Councilor, Jim Butler, interjected some thoughts he had on the public scrutiny he and his fellow board members have been experiencing in recent months.
Most of his comments were directed at resident, Jonathan Esposito, and some were focused on former councilor and Londonderry Times Publisher, Deb Paul.
Esposito was in the audience that evening and two of Butler’s sons, Jake and Tom, stationed themselves on each side of him.
He began by saying that the public has every right to make 91-A requests, and asked when does it become abusive.
Butler said, “When you’re constantly badgered, there comes a time when you just have to let it out.”
He then referred to a number of emails he’s received saying that this is what he’s had to deal with.
The first email from Esposito stated that he would be acting as the town’s watch dog.
It read “It is not enough to avoid overt bad faith actions. As someone who used to advise clinicians on the ethicality of their decisions, let me tell you; one must avoid “even the appearance thereunto” of poor ethical conduct, something this most recent session of the council has not done.
This pressure on the council over bad faith decisions isn’t going away. There is a shadow over Town Council, one that hopefully some new blood will serve to dispel.
Regardless of the outcome of the election, there will be a new level of scrutiny and a new era of accountability.
And you will have the benevolent hand of Jonathan Esposito to guide you along the way.”
Butler added, “These are the kind of emails we get constantly.”
Esposito then tried to clarify something in the email, but was quickly gaveled down by Chairman, John Farrell.
Another email he referred to was on the subject of how Butler addresses citizens. It stated, “Jim [Joe] Green doubling down on his rudeness tonight and the Council Chair not addressing it is yet again shameful behavior from this council. He is an out of control animal with the way he addresses citizens. Interesting watching Michael Malaguti stumble thru the presentation on the Mack’s lease. Judging from public comment, you people have been making backroom deals again.”
Butler also defended himself from allegations that there were alleged “back room deals” on the recent Mack’s farm land deal. Butler said he had talked to Dan Hicks years ago, but had no idea he would be leasing the town-owned property in the center of town.
Butler also made the assertion that the Londonderry Times editor supports his point of view because the paper ran his letter claiming he was an animal.
The letter he was referring to was searched for, but never found in any recent issues of the Londonderry Times.
Butler then defended the Chairman after a comment made on his use of his cell phone during Town Council meetings, to which Esposito once again tried to comment, but was gaveled down and told there wouldn’t be a third warning.
Butler also commented on Esposito’s “ethics,” and read from an email sent to Farrell from former Lions Club President and recently deceased volunteer, David Steinhauer.
In part, it said that Esposito’s Lions membership was terminated in September of 2022 due to numerous violations of the Lions Club’s Code of Ethics.
Butler then went into Esposito’s position as President of the Londonderry Republicans Committee, to which councilor, Ron Dunn, called for a Point of Order, but was refused.
Butler also made an allegation that Esposito is part of a small “group” of citizens working against the Council, referring to another email he had possession of. The email was sent to Deb Paul, Glenn Douglas, and Kristine Hughes (Perez).
He also made reference to a letter he received from a Londonderry Times reporter, “asking questions” and stated he was aggravated by it.
In response to allegations made about the Londonderry Times involvement with Esposito, Deb Paul said, “As the local newspaper, we are contacted by hundreds of citizens on a regular basis and to suggest I am part of some ‘group’ because I was sent an email is just ludicrous. Butler also referred to my reporter asking him questions. I’m not sure who he was referring to, but that’s what reporters do. Ask questions.”
In response to his comments on Esposito, Esposito said, “I do thank councilor Butler for effectively restating many of the concerns I have sought redress on. To be absolutely clear, I stand by each and every remark entered into the written record that he read off at that evening’s meeting.”
In reference to the Lions termination, Eposito said, “I did get kicked out of the Londonderry Lions for divisive actions, I would not cooperate with their Club ethics by lying to the community about the hall rental revenue. If refusing to lie to the Londonderry taxpayer makes me unethical by Lions International standards, that is a badge I will wear with pride.”
On Butler’s sons sitting next to him at the meeting, he said, “I am greatly amused that the Butler sons both sat with me at the meeting, but neither took the time to introduce themselves. Surely they knew who I am by now, although I confess I did not know either of them. They seem to have no shortage of words when addressing other citizens outside in the hallway, causing a disruption to the meeting in progress.”
Of note, Tom Butler, 38, went out of his way after his father’s comments to accost Deb Paul, 63, outside in the parking lot and threatened her. “I’m coming for you,” also adding a number of expletives.
Paul immediately reported the incident to the police.