Follow-Up to GoLocalProv Investigation: AG Candidates Call for Action
Monday, September 06, 2010
Candidates for Attorney General are demanding action after GoLocalProv reported that four lawsuits had been filed in connection with the mismanagement of the state landfill in Johnston.
Republican Erik Wallin and Moderate Party candidate Chris Little called for re-opening the investigation into corruption at the landfill while Democrat Stephen Archambault said he wants to convene a special grand jury. The other candidates stopped short of calling for reopening the investigation but suggested other steps that can be taken to clean up corruption at the landfill.
A state audit last fall found that mismanagement and widespread wrongdoing wasted as much as $75 million in taxpayer money at the landfill. State Police investigated—but decided against filing charges.
Instead, the state agency that manages the landfill, the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation has filed a series of lawsuits to try to recover the lost money. Most recently, Resource Recovery sued two of its auditors and a money manager, first reported in a GoLocalProv investigation last week. The agency also is taking one of its insurers, Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America, to court, seeking at least $16.6 million, according to a GoLocalProv investigative report.
Resource Recovery already won a $5 million settlement earlier this summer against another one of its insurers, the RSUI Indemnity Company—although $1.5 million of that went directly to attorney fees.
Attorney General candidate Joe Fernandez, a Democrat, said the State Police had completed an “exhaustive investigation.” He said he would ask them to launch a new investigation only if new information came to light.
Peter Kilmartin, also a candidate for the Democratic nomination, would explore “any and all legal remedies” to deal with the mismanagement of the landfill. “He will also use the Attorney General’s Office to coordinate efforts between the Attorney General’s Office, Resource Recovery, the State Police, Bureau of Audits, and any other entity that can help ensure justice is served,” said campaign spokesman Brett Broesder.
Broesder said that Kilmartin would take on the role of an Inspector General—which Rhode Island does not have—to root out “malfeasance and mismanagement” in state government.
Some AG Candidates Would Reopen Investigation
But other candidates said they would go further than that. “For almost a year now, I have repeatedly called upon Attorney General Lynch to explain what review he conducted and what charges were considered before he shockingly announced that he will not prosecute anyone,” Wallin said.
Little told GoLocalProv he agreed with Wallin’s position. “I will reopen the landfill investigation,” Little said. “As Attorney General, I will aggressively pursue and investigate corruption cases, such as that involving the Resource Recovery facility.”
Archambault promised to convene a special grand jury on the landfill. Plus, he said he would push to add an attorney from the Attorney General’s office to the board of directors for Resource Recovery. That attorney would review documents in “real time” and serve as a safeguard against “future corruption,” according to spokesman Rob Horowitz.
Independent Accuses Others of Scoring ‘Political Points’
Independent candidate Rob Rainville accused Wallin and the other candidates of trying to take strong position on the landfill case for political gain. “[W]hat Mr. Wallin and other candidates seeking to gain political points need to know is that there are issues of statute of limitations for some of the actions that took place years ago. I will not say one thing to gain points knowing that it is not possible to accomplish when in office,” Rainville told GoLocalProv.
He said he would reopen the criminal investigation only if he had the legal authority to do so—and evidence to make a case.
- Landfill: State Sues Three Firms
- Something Rotten in Landfill Deal?
- State Sues Travelers Insurance for $16 Million Tied to Landfill
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