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Muksian: Forced to Resign in Providence for Self-Dealing, Tapped by Fung to Head Administration

Saturday, July 01, 2017

 

Muksian, forced to resign in Providence

Robin Muksian, who will serve as Director of Administration. Ms. Muksian has extensive experience in municipal government, having served as Cranston’s Deputy Director of Administration from 2003 to 2006, Director of Administration 2009 to 2011 and Director of Administration in South Kingstown from 2007 to 2009. Most recently, she served as Director of Administration in Providence.

As GoLocal unveiled in March, the Elorza Administration submitted Tashi Hamilton, a Massachusetts resident, as their candidate to replace outgoing license administrator Serena Conley, but the Providence City Council rejected the nomination, questioning why the city would support a candidate who didn't meet the minimum qualifications, including having a bachelor's degree, which Hamilton does not have.  

A GoLocal investigation found that Muksian's Facebook page shows both an extensive social media relationship with Stephen Hamilton, father of Tashi Hamilton, and acknowledgement that Muksian bought a horse from Stephen Hamilton. Muksian did not respond to request for comment as to her relationship with Hamilton on Monday. 

After she was forced to resign the Council and the Elorza administration wrestled over the Muksians' severance package. In April GoLocal reported that City Treasurer Jim Lombardi blasted the city's finance and legal departments for pushing for a $34,000 severance package for Muksian -- who had been making $127,000 -- without approval by the City Council.

Cranston Mayor Fung

Fung Excited

“Robin Muksian has dedicated a great deal of her career to public administration and served both the Providence Public School District and the City of Providence well over her tenure. I commend the work that she has done for the students and residents of Providence," said Mayor Jorge Elorza in an email statement. 

“I’m excited to welcome Robin Muksian back to oversee day-to-day operations of the City of Cranston and bring her wealth of experience, institutional knowledge, and management skills as we continue to move Cranston forward,” commented Mayor Fung. “Robin will hit the ground running and serve our city with passion and dedication backed up by her outstanding credentials and accomplishments.”

In addition to her experience in municipal administration, Muksian has extensive administrative experience in academia, having served as Executive Director of Operations for the Providence School Department, chair of the Humanities/Social Sciences Department and Assistant Provost at the New England Institute of Technology, said Fung's office press release.

Muksian holds bachelor and master’s degrees from the University of Rhode Island as well as a Ph.D. in rhetoric and composition.  When she’s not working, Muksian is a dedicated Penguin Plunger in support of the Rhode Island Special Olympics.

 

Related Slideshow: Rhode Island’s History of Political Corruption

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Buddy Cianci

Vincent A. "Buddy" Cianci resigned as Providence Mayor in 1984 after pleading nolo contendere to charges of assaulting a Bristol man with a lit cigarette, ashtray, and fireplace log. Cianci believed the man to be involved in an affair with his wife. 

Cianci did not serve time in prison, but received a 5-year suspended sentence. He was replaced by Joseph R. Paolino, Jr. in a special election. 

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Joseph Bevilacqua

Joseph Bevilacqua was RI Speaker of the House from 1969 to 1975, and was appointed as Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court in 1976.  It was alleged that Bevilacqua had connections to organized crime throughout his political career.  

According to a 1989 article that appeared in The New York Times at the time of his death:

The series of events that finally brought Mr. Bevilacqua down began at the end of 1984... stating that reporters and state police officers had observed Mr. Bevilacqua repeatedly visiting the homes of underworld figures.

The state police alleged that Mr. Bevilacqua had also visited a Smithfield motel, owned by men linked to gambling and drugs...

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Thomas Fay

Thomas Fay, the successor to Bevilacqua as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, resigned in 1993, and was later found guilty on three misdemeanor counts of directing arbitration work to a partner in his real estate firm, Lincoln Center Properties.  

Fay was also alleged to use court employees, offices, and other resources for the purposes of the real estate firm.  Fay, along with court administrator and former Speaker of the House, Matthew "Mattie" Smith were alleged to have used court secretaries to conduct business for Lincoln, for which Fay and Smith were business partners. 

Fay was fined $3,000 and placed on one year probation. He could have been sentenced for up to three years in prison. 

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Brian J. Sarault

Former Pawtucket Mayor Brian J. Sarault was sentenced in 1992 to more than 5 years in prison, after pleading guilty to a charge of racketeering.  

Sarault was arrested by state police and FBI agents at Pawtucket City Hall in 1991, who alleged that the mayor had attempted to extort $3,000 from former RI State Rep. Robert Weygand as a kickback from awarding city contracts.

Weygand, after alerting federal authorities to the extortion attempt, wore a concealed recording device to a meeting where he delivered $1,750 to Sarault.

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Edward DiPrete

Edward DiPrete became the first Rhode Island Governor to be serve time in prison after pleading guilty in 1998 to multiple charges of corruption.

He admitted to accepting bribes and extorting money from contractors, and accepted a plea bargain which included a one-year prison sentence.

DiPrete served as Governor from 1985-1991, losing his 1990 re-election campaign to Bruce Sundlun.

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Plunder Dome

Cianci was forced to resign from the Mayor’s office a second time in 2002 after being convicted on one several charges levied against him in the scandal popularly known as “Operation Plunder Dome.” 

The one guilty charge—racketeering conspiracy--led to a five-year sentence in federal prison. Cianci was acquitted on all other charges, which included bribery, extortion, and mail fraud.

While it was alleged that City Hall had been soliciting bribes since Cianci’s 1991 return to office, much of the case revolved around a video showing a Cianci aide, Frank Corrente, accepting a $1,000 bribe from businessman Antonio Freitas. Freitas had also recorded more than 100 conversations with city officials.

Operation Plunder Dome began in 1998, and became public when the FBI executed a search warrant of City Hall in April 1999. 

Cianci Aide Frank Corrente, Tax Board Chairman Joseph Pannone, Tax Board Vice Chairman David C. Ead, Deputy tax assessor Rosemary Glancy were among the nine individuals convicted in the scandal. 

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N. Providence Councilmen

Three North Providence City Councilmen were convicted in 2011 on charges relating to a scheme to extort bribes in exchange for favorable council votes. In all, the councilmen sought more than $100,000 in bribes.

Councilmen Raimond A. Zambarano, Joseph Burchfield, and Raymond L. Douglas III were sentenced to prison terms of 71 months, 64 months, and 78 months, respectively. 

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Charles Moreau

Central Falls Mayor Charles Moreau resigned in 2012 before pleading guilty to federal corruption charges. 

Moreau admitted that he had give contractor Michael Bouthillette a no-bid contract to board up vacant homes in exchange for having a boiler installed in his home. 

He was freed from prison in February 2014, less than one year into a 24 month prison term, after his original sentence was vacated in exchange for a guilty plea on a bribery charge.  He was credited with tim served, placed on three years probation, and given 300 hours of community service.

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Joe Almeida

State Representative Joseph S. Almeida was arrested and charged on February 10, 2015 for allegedly misappropriating $6,122.03 in campaign contributions for his personal use. Following his arrest, he resigned his position as House Democratic Whip, but remains a member of the Rhode Island General Assembly.

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Gordon Fox

The Rhode Island State Police and FBI raided and sealed off the State House office of Speaker of the House Gordon Fox on March 21--marking the first time an office in the building has ever been raided. 

Fox pled guilty to 3 criminal counts on March 3, 2015 - accepting a bribe, wire fraud, and filing a false tax return. The plea deal reached with the US Attorney's office calls for 3 years in federal prison, but Fox will be officially sentenced on June 11.

 
 

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