During the first 2024 Helper City Council meeting, former councilwoman Malarie DeVincent wished to speak during the public comment period. She began by expressing her gratitude to those that were there that evening for stepping forward and serving the community, as it is a challenging role.
She then wanted to emphasize that her goal that evening was not to simply air grievances, but to highlight a concerning pattern of behavior, particularly a hurtful incident that took place at the council meeting hosted in December.
During this meeting, fellow and former Councilwoman Michelle Goldsmith labeled DeVincent as antisemitic. DeVincent stated that this allegation was not grounded in reality and was deeply hurtful. She marked this as one example of the maliciousness she had to distance herself from and was one of the reasons she stepped away from the council.
Following the meeting, DeVincent worked to obtain further information regarding the allegations made about her by Goldsmith. In the request, she received several emails, one of which was sent on Nov. 3 to Helper City Mayor Lenise Peterman and City Attorney Dominique Kiahtipes.
The email from Goldsmith initially addressed the issue, in which she claimed she was told that DeVincent had made pro-Hamas and anti-Israel statements, which Goldsmith viewed as antisemitic. Goldsmith continued, stating that she wished for DeVincent to be censored.
DeVincent noted that she reached out to Goldsmith after the statement at the December meeting to ask what post she was referring to and did not receive a response. DeVincent credited the non-response to there being no post to begin with and having the entire situation be based on hearsay.
It was upsetting for DeVincent to think that anyone would believe she supported a terrorist organization or was antisemitic. Following the December meeting and hearing about the statement, she contacted the mayor and asked why she allowed Goldsmith to make such harmful, personal attacks.
The mayor emphasized that Goldsmith spoke as a citizen, not as a council member, and the mayor is not able to limit public statements. One issue that DeVincent had in the matter was that there was plenty of time for Goldsmith or Mayor Peterman to contact her and ask if she held these beliefs, though they did not.
DeVincent also stated that she found it repulsive for it to be reported on and making it seem as if it had anything to do with her resignation, as she did not know about the allegations until after the December meeting.
To DeVincent, it is blatantly obvious that the issue is simply retaliation, as she believed that Mayor Peterman and Goldsmith had acquired an illegal conditional use permit that planning and zoning had permitted at their shared investment property. DeVincent stated that when it was attempted a second time, it was tabled after city code was cited.
Once the permit issuance was denied, DeVincent claimed that the mayor moved to intimidate planning and coning and she believed it was clear that retaliation was made to hurt her. She also said that this was not the first time that Goldsmith had attempted to get her in trouble, as she would “often hide behind fake community concern, when in reality she was being mean or vindictive.”
DeVincent continued by saying that Goldsmith was delusional in believing that the work done on her husband’s buildings made Main Street not seem historic anymore. She stated that if Goldsmith or Jean Boyack of planning and zoning had their way, none of that work would have been completed.
According to DeVincent, there is a large amount of unnecessary obstacles that they had to navigate that no one knows, though she shared that they will in time. DeVincent said she has called Goldsmith a hypocrite at a meeting before and believed that her own writing illuminates her real grievance with DeVincent, which is that her husband owns several properties in town and Goldsmith does not like that fact.
DeVincent said she will return to future council meetings, as she has a lot more to expose and there are damages that have not been absolved. Following her statement, Mayor Peterman asked the community to keep in mind that there are two sides to every story and asked all to understand that.
The mayor said she was sorry that the DeVincents have had struggles, though she said the city has never targeted them and is glad that they brought so many buildings back to life. Mayor Peterman said she looks forward to seeing them continue that work.