RI Favorites - Johnston Pension Investigations

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


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Our investigative report into a sweetheart pension deal in Johnston defined the mayor’s race in the town and sparked a movement to reform public pensions across Rhode Island.

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Victor Cipriano was a retired fire chief who had gone out on a tax-free disability pension and received special bump-ups to his pay, including an instant 3 percent raise, a longevity benefit, a special monthly stipend for being on a disability, and plenty of other goodies and giveaways. Adding insult to injury, Cipriano was running for Johnston mayor on a platform of fiscal responsibility. As GoLocalProv continued to dig, we uncovered the fact that Cipriano was making more in retirement than he ever did while on the job and had claimed residency in Florida—calling into question his very eligibility to run for mayor.

The series helped bring pension reform back to the forefront of public debate and remains one of the most-talked about GoLocalProv stories.

It also led to a whole series of other investigative articles, including a series on corruption at the state landfill, a Johnston pensioner who was collecting his retirement benefit and working for the town at the same time, and an expose on the state pension fraud investigator, who is himself on a disability pension.


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