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DA hopeful Ricardo Arroyo still attorney on brother Felix’s harassment case as heads toward trial

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District Attorney candidate Ricardo Arroyo is still listed as an attorney in his brother Felix’s sexual-harassment suit that’s chugging its way toward trial — though he says he’ll drop off of the case if he becomes DA.

Ricardo Arroyo, a current Boston city councilor, is one of three lawyers listed for his older brother, Felix G. Arroyo, as that case heads toward its final pre-trial conference scheduled for Aug. 8.

Felix G. Arroyo, the former city health and human services chief, is being sued by Hilani Morales, a former employee in that department who claims he sexually harassed her and then retaliated against her for ending their relationship. Felix G. Arroyo has maintained that he did nothing wrong, and has filed a counter claim alleging she defamed him.

Asked about Ricardo Arroyo being listed as his brother’s attorney, the Arroyo campaign correctly points out that the younger Arroyo has made no filings in his brother’s case, as Anthony Ellison and Isaac Peres are the ones signing their names to the various motions since the case began in March 2018.

“He is listed as an Attorney on the case because legally that allowed him and his brother to speak with one another about the case in its entirety,” the Arroyo DA campaign said. “It’s a civil matter, not a criminal matter so in no way is it impacted by the DA, past, present, or future — he will not continue to be listed as counsel on this case or any case moving forward if he becomes District Attorney.”

Ricardo Arroyo, as an attorney for his brother since July 2019, is notified to attend the various hearings, including the one coming up Aug. 8. There have been a few new filings this month as the case — in which Morales also lists the City of Boston as a defendant — rumbles toward trial in the slow-moving manner normal for civil actions.

The latest entries largely center on disclosing information from the proceedings to the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers, as Felix G. Arroyo recently graduated from law school and is trying to get his license to practice.

The allegations in this suit go back to former city councilor and mayoral candidate Felix G. Arroyo’s time as then-Mayor Marty Walsh’s health chief, which he served from 2014 through 2017, when Walsh fired him as Morales sued and filed a discrimination complaint with the state. She claimed that Felix G. Arroyo made suggestive comments to her at work, groped her and pressured her to have a sexual relationship with him.

In Felix G. Arroyo’s defamation counterclaim, he says she made untrue accusations about him to people at work.

Current Suffolk DA Kevin Hayden, who was appointed to the job in January and is running against Ricardo Arroyo, said in a statement, “Ricardo Arroyo has a clear conflict of interest acting as his brother’s defense attorney while a sitting city councilor and while a candidate for district attorney.

“It completely undercuts his campaign rhetoric about the importance of believing female victims,” a Hayden campaign spokesman added. “All women, and anyone who supports harassment victims, should be appalled at the hypocrisy between his words and his deeds. They should also ask whether this man can credibly lead an office that prosecutes harassment cases.”

The Arroyo brothers come from a political family, with Felix using his middle initial to differentiate himself from his father, Felix D. Arroyo, the former city councilor and current Register of Probate.

Morales’ attorneys didn’t respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. Both sides are barred from speaking publicly about the specifics of the case.

Anthony Ellison, one of the attorneys for Felix G. Arroyo and brother of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, dismissed the whole Ricardo Arroyo story here as the product of a “slow news day.”

“So Ricardo has an appearance in the case – big whoop-dee-do,” he told the Herald. “I’m the lawyer. I’m the lead attorney.”

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