Royal Palm mayor makes first statement to public since his arrest

At the first village council meeting since he was arrested on domestic battery charges Monday, Royal Palm Beach Mayor Fred Pinto apologized to his fellow council members and residents for the incident.

“My sincerest apologies for causing any embarrassment or concerns,” Pinto said. He noted that he and his wife “are fully reconciled together and moving forward together.”

READ MORE: Royal Palm mayor says he and wife working to move forward after domestic battery arrest

Pinto told The Palm Beach Post on Wednesday that he and his wife had a “heated argument” Monday when she slipped and fell outside the front door of their home. According to the arrest report, the victim — the report is redacted to remove anything that identifies her as Pinto’s wife — told a deputy the two were arguing when she did something “to allow the neighbors to hear how verbally abusive Frederick was to her.” Pinto said she had opened the front door, and that she fell as he tried to close it.

Thursday night’s meeting also was the first opportunity residents had to make public comments about the incident. With about two dozen people in the Village Meeting Hall, six stood to speak before the council and village attorney, manager and clerk seated on the dais.

Several residents addressed Pinto’s comments to The Post on Wednesday that any public comments about his arrest at the meeting would be “totally inappropriate” because it is a “personal issue.”

“Fred, telling the public they cannot comment or ask questions about this incident is clearly not the right way to go,” said former Royal Palm Beach councilman David Swift.

Martha Webster, a former councilwoman and Pinto’s opponent in the 2016 Royal Palm Beach mayoral race, said the arrest is not separate from his position on the council.

“He is the face of the village,” she said. “His actions reflect on the people of this village.”

Two of those who commented Thursday — Gary Webster (Martha’s husband) and Lenore White — called for Pinto’s resignation.

But resident Lori Cabrera said she does not think residents should ask for Pinto’s removal from office because it is not “the public’s responsibility to be judge and jury for anyone here.”

“When an individual is undergoing some personal issues and they also hold a public position, I understand that many people wonder and question their worthiness to maintain that position,” Cabrera said. “But I firmly believe … that this is a personal issue.”

A lawsuit from last year detailed an incident involving Pinto and his wife.

Pinto’s wife sued WPTV NewsChannel 5, her former employer, and their insurer, Travelers, in 2016 to force the company to cover her treatment for the lingering effects of an on-the-job injury to her upper arms in November 2014.

According to court records, one of her doctors reported that in October 2014, about a month before Pinto’s wife was injured by a falling tent while working for WPTV, he treated Pinto’s wife for injuries to her face and neck “after domestic abuse incident where she was hit in the face with a book.”

Pinto’s wife told the court “she did not give this history” to the doctor, and that she did not know why the doctor documented the injury that way, records show. Instead, she “testified she was inadvertently hit on the left side of her face and throat with a book thrown by her husband,” the court record states, adding that Pinto’s wife “denied the incident was a domestic abuse case.” Monday’s arrest was Pinto’s first, indicating no charges were filed related to the 2014 injury.

Florida Division of Administrative Hearings Judge Thomas A. Hedler ultimately found in favor of Pinto’s wife, saying the insurance company should pay for physical therapy for her left shoulder and reimburse Pinto’s wife for attorney’s fees and costs.

Pinto said before Thursday night’s council meeting that he was not aware of the doctor’s notes or the lawsuit. “I don’t know why the doctor would say that,” he said. Pinto and his wife married in 2013.

Pinto was first elected to Royal Palm Beach’s council in 2003. He won his seat as mayor in March 2016, following behind former mayor Matty Mattioli, who served more than 20 years on the council. Previously, Pinto worked for more than 20 years as a technology executive for Wall Street investment firms.

His two-year term as mayor ends in March 2018. He said he will continue his run for re-election.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

After losing court battle to 2 charters, school board wants another go
After losing court battle to 2 charters, school board wants another go

After years of fighting in court to stop two charter schools from opening, the Palm Beach County School Board wants to go another round. More than a year after losing their first appeal, board members voted unanimously Wednesday to file a second appeal of the state government’s decision that two charter schools should be allowed to open within...
NEW: Wellington warns of discolored water as valves are flushed
NEW: Wellington warns of discolored water as valves are flushed

Notice a strange color in your water? You’re not alone. Wellington recently began a maintenance program to find and flush all water main valves. What does that mean? Utilities Department crews will open, close and make repairs as needed to make sure every valve remains in top shape. WELLINGTON READERS: Sign up for The Post’s weekly newsletter...
JUST IN: Woman pleads guilty in connection to 2015 West Palm homicide
JUST IN: Woman pleads guilty in connection to 2015 West Palm homicide

A 23-year-old woman pleaded guilty Thursday to charges surrounding the 2015 fatal shooting of a father of five in West Palm Beach. City police say she and her brother set fire to the car in which the man was shot. Desiree Platas pleaded guilty to one count of being an accessory after the fact and one count of second-degree arson. She will spend...
Cerabino: Palm Beach runs the marathon out of town, naturally
Cerabino: Palm Beach runs the marathon out of town, naturally

It’s understandable why Palm Beach is banning the area’s annual marathon from including a 1.2-mile stretch of the race within town limits. “It’s not in the interest, I think, of our residents,” Town Council member Bobbie Lindsay explained at meeting this week. “It’s a small town. It’s quiet. They&rsquo...
UPS finds Santaluces High’s wayward college credit exams in Canada

Score a victory for the United Parcel Service. After causing no small amount of angst in nearly 300 Santaluces students who learned this week that the folks in brown had lost their college credit exams, the UPS rallied Thursday morning. The box of tests was found in Canada. Montreal, to be exact — some 3,200 miles and several weeks off course...
More Stories