Family matters have spilled into politics in Bristol.
A scathing report about Bristol’s mayor was released to the public by the Bristol City Council on Thursday.
At the forefront are allegations that he shared sexually compromising photos of a city council member, who is also his cousin.
The city of Bristol hired attorney Michael Rose to look into the allegations made against Mayor Ken Cockayne that he had “published personal and compromising pictures of Councilwoman Jodi Zils Gagne to Councilman Dave Preleski on May 9, 2017."
After city council saw the report for themselves, they made the allegations public as their highest form of punishment available.
Councilwoman Gagne is the mayor's cousin, and the pictures of her, partially clothed, were taken from a profile on an online dating site that included she and her husband Stephen Gagne.
Councilman Preleski said the mayor had told him in council chambers "these are the people you are defending. This is who they are” when showing him the pictures.
Preleski said the conversation was after a meeting about allowing an online political talk show "The Bristol Beat" to broadcast council meetings.
The Beat is owned by Gagne's husband.
The report stated that the family had a falling out after Stephen Gagne's show booked a former political opponent of Cockayne.
The relationship went downhill and text messages eventually read "you and Jodi will pay so don’t threaten.”
When interviewed by the investigator through his attorney, Mayor Cockayne admitted that he showed the pictures of his cousin, but said it was an altruistic effort to caution Gagne about potential gossip.
The Rose report said based on factual findings and evidence "he retaliated against Gagne by showing compromising photographs, in retaliation for Gagne’s editorial decisions and seeking the council's assistance in obtaining broadcast access."
The report concluded that city policy had been violated.
Mayor Cockayne’s attorney sent a statement that said he disputes the findings of an inaccurate report and cited that the information shared with Councilman Preleski was public. And he said in part “he did so to protect the city of Bristol and its people from the poor judgment of a self-interested action of certain involved parties.”
Jodi Zils Gagne is currently in a lawsuit, accused of lending over $100,000 from a 91-year-old man's estate she had been a conservator for, to her husband's online startup radio station "The Bristol Beat."
Councilman Tony D’Amato is the acting deputy mayor and said he does not condone any of the behavior and believes the right action was taken.
To read the report, click here.
To read the statement from Mayor Cockayne's attorney, click here.
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