Felix Arroyo sues Walsh, city over his '17 firing

Felix Arroyo, who once served as Mayor Walsh’s chief of health and human services, is now suing Walsh and the city for his termination in 2017 over sexual-harassment allegations that he says are completely false.

In a lawsuit filed last Friday in Suffolk Superior Court, Arroyo, who served two terms as an at-large city councillor before running for mayor in 2013, says Walsh and his administration denied him of his due-process rights by not letting him or his lawyer access City Hall workers and records in a “sham” investigation that ruined his professional and personal life.

At issue is a complaint by Hilani Morales alleging that Arroyo sexually harassed her at work. Arroyo was placed on paid, administrative leave on July 27, 2017. Then, three weeks later, he says, he was given the choice of resigning or being fired, first by city attorney Eugene O’Flaherty, then by Walsh himself. The day after that, Aug. 24, he was terminated.

Morales has her own Suffolk Superior suit against the city, alleging officials harassed and demoted her after she complained about Arroyo. She filed her suit after dropping her request for action by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

Arroyo says that, among other things, he provided a lawyer hired by the city to investigate the allegations with the names of 25 City Hall employees, many of them women, who would have refuted what Morales’s charges. He quotes a column by Joan Vennochi in the Globe about an allegation that Arroyo grabbed Morales by the throat , which was disputed in an affidavit by a City Hall worker whose desk placement allowed him a look into Arroyo’s office and who swore that Arroyo never got from out behind his desk during a meeting with the woman, let alone grabbed her by the throat.

Arroyo, one of several 2013 mayoral candidates that Walsh brought into his administration after his election that year, is seeking back wages plus compensatory and punitive damages. He is the son of former current Suffolk County Probate Register Felix Arroyo and brother of District 5 Councillor Ricardo Arroyo.