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City of Providence and Solomon Release Blocked Permit Files

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


The City of Providence has released City Council President Michael Solomon's Wes' Rib House building permit file, after refusing to release just the building permits last week upon request, citing privacy concerns.

Mayoral Candidate Solomon's camp sent GoLocal the 70 page Wes' building permit file obtained from the city on Monday.

"We're not sure why they could not have released the bulk of this information to you on day one," wrote Bill Fischer with the Solomon campaign.

See File HERE

Last Thursday, GoLocal went to the city's Department of Inspections and Planning to inquire as to the status -- and existence -- of building permits for the renovations on the restaurant, before being denied access to the file due to privacy concerns, according to the city. 

On Monday, Kathryn Sabatini with the City authorized release of the files, after originally saying it would take ten days.

"The Department of Inspection and Standards file pertaining to Wes’ Rib House has been reviewed and redacted in accordance with the Access to Public Records Act and is available for your inspection. Kindly note that documents in the file have been redacted to prevent the disclosure of commercial or financial information of a privileged or confidential nature. See R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-2(4)(B). Specifically, bank account numbers have been redacted," wrote Sabitini. 

Smiley's Push for Records

On Monday, Democratic candidate Bretty Smiley issued a statement urging Solomon to turn his own documents over himself.  (Solomon released the file that had been made public by the City on Monday.)

"Recently, questions have arisen about whether Michael Solomon acquired the necessary building permits for construction on Wes' Rib House, and a reported cover up of these documents by city officials has only led to increased speculation. There is a clear and simple way to resolve this issue without any bureaucratic red tape: Mr. Solomon should release the records himself," Smiley had wrote. 

Smiley added, "If Michael Solomon did act within the boundaries of the law as he claims, then he should have no reservations about releasing records of permitting that are meant to be publicly available in the first place. Everybody - and particularly elected officials - should be subject to the same degree of transparency."

In his "Jobs and Economic Development Plan" released in March, Smiley committed to automating permitting and licensing services and ensuring that all records are immediately available to the public. 


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