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Marbleheader being sued by former MassGOP chair

Marblehead resident and MassGOP State Committee Chair Amy Carnevale is being sued for wrongfully dismissing a separate lawsuit within the party Photo by Amy Carnevale

Massachusetts Republican State Committee Chair Amy Carnevale is being sued, along with the party itself, by former Chair Jim Lyons, who is accusing the party of wrongfully dismissing a lawsuit filed against its treasurer.

Carnevale, the former chair of the Marblehead Republican Town Committee and a state committee member for a decade, is at the center of a lawsuit, which was filed by Lyons with 20 other party members. It stems from a separate suit Lyons brought against Treasurer Patrick Crowley last year, who he accused of a “breach of his fiduciary duties.”

The state party has been stricken by internal divide since the last midterm election, when Republicans underperformed across the country. Carnevale, of Marblehead, believes that the lawsuit aims to further divide a party that she is trying to hold together.

“It really seems to be a lawsuit trying to settle old scores and not filed to solve any real problem,” Carnevale said. “Again, just like before, it’s extremely harmful for bringing us together as Republicans and getting Republicans elected.”

Lyons claims that Crowley put a freeze on the party’s bank account during a debate regarding the passing of the party’s budget at its first meeting of the year in 2022.

According to Carnevale, Lyons, who was chair at the time of the meeting, was refusing to seat a state committee member from Boston despite a court order that she was to be properly seated.

A number of state committee members objected during a roll call and refused to meet until the member from Boston was recognized, walking out of the meeting.

As a result, Crowley objected to approving expenses as a budget needed to be enacted at the beginning of the year, per state-committee bylaws, according to Carnevale.

Carnevale said that finances for the party were “in doubt” for roughly a week, and Lyons had the assistant treasurer added to the party’s accounts so that the state committee could properly operate.

According to Carnevale, she was not involved in the situation. She said that she had no problems with Crowley’s actions, thus calling Lyons’ suit against Crowley a “moot point.”

Carnevale has been outspoken about trying to reunite the party since she announced her candidacy for party chair in November 2022. In an interview, she called the litigations against the party a “distraction” that hinders the party’s ability to move forward. She added that she believes that the lawsuit does not address any real issues at hand.

“That also seems to be, at this point, a motivation by the former chair, is to file actions designed to drain party resources,” she said.

After the lawsuit hung over the party for months, Carnevale, who unseated Lyons as the committee chair in January, put the lawsuit’s dismissal up for a vote, and the committee decided to drop it. Lyons then filed a motion to intervene in Middlesex Superior Court, seeking to continue the suit against Crowley. The complaint was dismissed, and he refiled the litigation against Crowley, amending it to include Carnevale and the state party.

Though she called the situation “frustrating”, Carnevale said as party chair, she needs to continue to work on the future of the Massachusetts Republican Party.

“I have no choice but to move forward and focus on what I want to be focused on,” Carnevale said.