slides: Frank Corrente Corruption and Pension Case - See the Timeline
Thursday, April 02, 2015
Related Slideshow: Frank Corrente: A Timeline
Below is a timeline of key events in the case involving Frank Corrente, a former top city official convicted on corruption charges in the Operation Plunder Dome scandal who is now battling for a smaller pension based upon two decades of employment in which no illegal behavior was alleged. Sources for the timeline include court records and media reports.
City Hall Insider
1967 to 1987
Frank Corrente was a city employee well before Buddy Cianci arrived in City Hall. Corrente began working for the city on June 26, 1967 as a financial specialist. He would go on to work two decades in City Hall, finishing as City Controller under Cianci. Corrente retired in 1987 and began receiving an annual $22,231 pension.
Return to City Hall
1990 to 1990
Corrente returned to City Hall on December 31, 1990 as Director of Administration under Cianci, fresh off a successful comeback campaign for Mayor. When he returned to work, his pension payments were halted. Corrente would go on to spend most of Cianci’s second run in office with him as his top deputy.
Corrente retired on July 4, 1999. His pension kicked back in—this time at a much higher level: $70,575. His pension benefit was calculated on the basis of a salary of $91,656 and 33 years of employment with the city, according to a synopsis of the facts in the case contained a recent state Supreme Court opinion.
Corrente was convicted on six corruption-related charges as part of the Plunder Dome trial. Those charges were: racketeering conspiracy, racketeering, bribery conspiracy, extortion conspiracy, two counts of attempted extortion. The convictions came with a four-and-a-half-year sentence in prison. He was also fined $75,000 and, in addition to his incarceration, faced a dozen years of supervised release.
Within months of the conviction, the Providence Retirement Board voted to temporarily suspend Corrente’s full pension, postponing a full decision on the future of his pension.
Corrente was released from prison after serving a sentence of about four and a half years. A little over a year later, a hearing was held to assess his eligibility for a pension, in keeping with the city Honorable Service Ordinance.
Based on the recommendation of the independent hearing officer, the retirement board voted to reinstate a smaller pension of $22,231. The benefit corresponded to his first period of employment, during which the hearing officer determined that Corrente’s service had been free of any of the behavior that led to his corruptions charges. The city also returned Corrente’s pension contributions made during the second period of employment.
Case Goes to Court
2008 and 2009
The decision about Corrente’s pension almost immediately went to the courts. After voting, the retirement board submitted a petition to the Providence County Superior Court, seeking a confirmation of its decision, which Corrente, court records show, supported. In January 2009, then-Mayor David Cicilline filed a motion to allow his administration to fight the retirement board’s decision.
Honorable Service Ordinance Amended
As the case dragged through the courts, the Providence City Council voted to amend the ordinance excluding those who served dishonorably from receiving pension benefits. Previously a criminal conviction was required for revocation of pension benefits. Under the new version of the law it is not, allowing for a broader definition of dishonorable service.
Corrente Court Win
In a series of court rulings, the retirement board’s decision to grant a partial pension was upheld. The most recent ruling came down in September 2011, from Superior Court Justice Michael Silverstein.
The state Supreme Court finally weighed in on the Corrente case earlier this month, only to remand it back to Superior Court. That court has the option to continue proceedings, or simply re-enter its original judgment in the case, granting Corrente his partial pension.