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Arthur Schaper: Grand Theft Auto Cicilline

Friday, April 18, 2014


Providence’s fiscal mismanagement falls squarely on Cicilline, believes Arthur Schaper.

Last night my car broken into Christmas gifts, my briefcase, I-pad and my wallet. Really sucks! Family very understanding about gifts. Rep. David Cicilline, via Twitter

From East Side of Providence representative to Mayor to Congress, Rep. David Cicilline is unremarkably “ The Prince of Providence”. GoLocal MINDSETTER™ Don Roach uncharitably depicted the former mayor as an absentee landlord type, who blamed unions, the economy, or anyone else rather than taking charge and enlarging Providence’s fortunes. Roach then repeated the $110 million shortfall reproach of Legacy Cicilline, which outgoing (or rather fleeing) Mayor Taveras had announced (not so much addressed) on his first year in office.

Despite his royal status, Christmas 2013 was not so merry for Cicilline, who tweeted that someone had broken into his car, a symbol of sorts for the city’s crime rates, which continued upwards after his tenure as mayor. City-data.org reported a sharp increase in murders from 2008-2009, along with robberies, assaults, and rapes. Violent crime was roaring, even as property were crimes were going down. Then again, even auto thefts rose toward the end of Cicilline’s mayoral tenure.

The former mayor’s holiday tragedy represents another fallout: Providence’s dire financial problems, which came to light after Cicilline’s 2010 Congressional win. Of course, one could blame such bleak statistics (crime and money) on the 2008 Housing Crisis, followed by the Great Recession, but the larger car-jacking remains in the drivers’ seat: the fiscal state of the city of Providence, which Cicilline was responsible for from 2003-2011.

Still mayor of Providence when he got elected to Congress with a bare 51% of the vote in 2010, Cicilline had assured votes that his city would see a surplus. Despite Republican National Committee efforts in 2012 blasting the Providence pol as one of the ten most corrupt representatives in Washington, he won again.

What role did Prince David play in leaving Providence a negative legacy, a city which lawmakers claim needs a massive dose of its namesake to stay fiscal solvent?

Shortly after the disturbing revelations that Providence financial straits had increased from a Category 3 Hurricane to a Category 5 (per fellow Dem Angel Taveras), Congressman-elected Cicilline refused to see reporters or discuss anything about the matter. The hollow talking points followed: recession, state aid cuts, end of Obama stimulus, and failure to adequately fund the city’s pension funds.

Right from Cicilline’s lips, that last part was de jure Prince David’s responsibility, yet he duffed it off as just another item justifying his silence on Providence’s improvident fortunes. About the pension issues, however, and even more interesting, Politifact reported that Cicilline adequately funded the city’s pension, even though the early years never passed 90%.

What’s going on, then? The pensions were adequately funded, but not really? And how does that exonerate Cicilline?

Even during his 2010 campaign against John Loughlin, Cicilline turfed blame to state aid cuts:

“With Governor Carcieri trying to balance Rhode Island’s budget on the backs of our cities and towns, the City of Providence faced deep cuts in state aid.”

Leadership includes responding to crises, not lamenting the lack of leadership higher up.

Confirming this tenet of executive authority, The Providence, Rhode Island Internal Auditor’s Report from April 2011 issued a damning summation leveled at Cicilline, not Carcieri’s administration:

[T]he prior Administration did not recommend the necessary decisions to avert a fiscal crisis. . .

The report blasted Cicilline for not having any long-term plan in place to preserve the city from the incoming fiscal problems facing the city. Indicting the dysfunctional relationship between the city council and the Administration, the report outlined some disturbing and perhaps illegal trends which took place from 2009-2011, including the following:

1. The Cicilline Administration transferred funds from the Undesignated Surplus without City Council approval. Was David robbing Roger to keep the city books balanced?

2. Cicilline and company frequently missed deadlines to provide information or respond to requests from the Independent auditor about the city’s financial status. Was Cicilline too busy running for Congress to make sure that his city was still afloat?

3. The city council did not receive outlined, scheduled monthly updates regarding whether the city was headed toward surpluses or deficits the following year. Every working family assesses current income to determine future sending on a weekly basis, but the prior Cicilline Administration didn’t even bother?

4. While the former mayor could blame the state government for cutting off funding in response to the Housing Crisis, his administration insisted on projecting unrealistic revenue streams, like $2.8 million from Interests-Investments, which in fact brought in barely a tenth of the anticipated amount.

Then this statement stood out in the preliminary report:

Financial reports submitted to the State were inaccurate.

So, loose accounting led to lost accountability, with scrubbed balanced sheets. The whole debacle sounds like a fiscal Benghazi in New England. Later Bloomberg News reported in 2012 that Providence may seek bankruptcy protection, i.e. no resting under the wings of the Most High (not Buddy Cianci!)

Providence’s fiscal mismanagement falls squarely on Cicilline, who for all his royal pretensions and self-defense pleas, more likely played his city like a video game from hell.


Arthur Christopher Schaper is a teacher-turned-writer on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance. Follow him on Twitter@ArthurCSchaper, reach him at [email protected], and read more atSchaper's Corner and As He Is, So Are We Ministries.


Related Slideshow: Providence Pension Liability

A new report shows that Providence’s pension fund—even after the recent reform—is still in trouble. The below slides break out the key numbers for the pension fund, including the unfunded liability, the assumed and actual rates of return, the current level of benefits, and how long it will take the city to pay off the unfunded liability. Figures are current as of July 1, 2013 and are taken from the new Jan. 31 actuarial report from Segal Consulting.

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Unfunded Liability in 2013

Total Liability: $1.2 billion

Actuarial Assets: $380.4 million

Unfunded Liability: $831.5 million

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Unfunded Liability in 2011

Total Liability: $1.2 billion

Actuarial Assets: $380.4 million

Unfunded Liability: $831.5 million

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Percent Funded in 2013

Funding Ratio: The ratio of the amount of actuarial assets to the amount owed.

Funding ratio in 2013: 31.39%

Percent unfunded in 2013: 68.61%

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Percent Funded in 2011

Funding Ratio: The ratio of the amount of actuarial assets to the amount owed.

Funding ratio in 2011: 31.94%

Percent unfunded in 2011: 68.06%

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Rate of Return

Former Assumed Rate of Return: 8.5%

New Assumed Rate of Return: 8.25%

What the state’s assumed rate of return is: 7.5%

What Moody’s Investors Service says the assumed rate of return should be: 5.5%

What investor Warren Buffet says the assumed rate of return should be: 6%

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Actual Return on Investment

Actual Market Return in FY 2012: 1.49%

Actual Market Return in FY 2013: 11.35%

Current Assumed Rate of Return: 6.42%

Average Market Rate of Return for FY 12 and FY 13: 8.25%

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Impact of Lower Rates of Return

$72 million:The city unfunded liability increased by this amount when the city lowered its assumed rate of return by a quarter of a percentage point, from 8.5% to 8.25%

$506.2 million: The estimated increase in the unfunded liability were the city to use the 6% assumed rate of return recommended by Moody’s Investors Service.

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Retiree Pay – Fire and Police

Number on Active Duty: 834

Average Annual Pay: $61,325

Number of Retirees: 587

Average Retiree Age: 65.3

Average Retiree Annual Pay: $40,512

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Disability Pensions – Fire and Police

Number on Disability: 418

Average Age: 64.8

Average Annual Pay: $59,028

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Retiree Pay – Other City Workers

Number of City Workers: 2,164

Average Annual Pay: $38,687

Number of Retirees: 1,453

Average Retiree Age: 72

Average Retiree Annual Pay: $18,252

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Disability Pensions – Other City Workers

Number on Disability: 88

Average Age: 66.8

Average Annual Pay: $18,684

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Current Cost of Pension Fund

For 2013

City Contribution: $58.1 million

Employees Contribution: $10.9 million

Net Investment Return: $18.1 million

Cost of Retiree Benefits: $95.4 million

Note: Net investment return is the return on investments after investment and administrative fees have been paid.

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Cost of Pension Fund in 10 Years

Normal Cost: $9.8 million

Additional Cost Because

of Unfunded Liability: $84 million

Total Annual Cost: $94.3 million

Note: Total figure for the year includes a small second payment for the deferred liability.

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Cost of Pension Fund in 20 Years

Normal Cost: $13.9 million

Additional Cost Because

of Unfunded Liability: $118.5 million

Total Cost: $132.4 million

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Paying Off Unfunded Liability

Average annual increase: 3.5%

Number of additional years to pay off: 27

Fiscal year unfunded liability to be paid off by: 2040


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And the truly fantastic result of all Sissyline's screwing the City of Providence and it's people will be (drum roll please) reelection in 2014 ! The voters have never met a dem they didn't like no matter how many times they have to bend over.

Comment #1 by Roger Watson on 2014 04 18

TAVERASS IS DOING THE SAME EXACT THING. After all he learned it from FOX where he worked in FOX'S law office (who else would have hired the idiot). TAVERASS is and was a Cicilline suck up. He got his 1st make believe job in the Municipal court from Cicilline. When Cicilline was running for Mayor he had TAVERASS and FOX handle his campaign $ from the city of Prov workers the same ones he said he would not take donations from. Cash donations only. Check it out golocal it's a fact I know 10 people who contributed this was the way it was done to hide donations. You had to bring cash to his campaign headquaters on Elmwood ave meet TAVERASS and FOX in the back room and fork over the cash. This is the same guy that thinks he has a shot at being governor. I don't think so. GOLOCAL you should hire a good investigator to dig into things TAVERASS has more skeletons in his closet than you could ever imagine. How come you have not checked into TAVERASS family I gave you the info on his brother. Run his record. Check it out please. Head Start to PRISON. Check into the felons TAVERASS has hired and has them working at water supply. Pare tried to cover it up when he did background check. Check it out. Do you see my point of the pattern of CORRUPTION. Ken Block spoke out on these scumbags report on it golocal.

Comment #2 by Jackson Teller on 2014 04 18

Check into the cover up of CRIME STATISTICS in PROV. TAVERASS doesn't want the real numbers out there WHY NOT? Get with it GOLOCAL do some digging report FACTS.

Comment #3 by Jackson Teller on 2014 04 18

"Fiscal Benghazi." More right wing conspiracies.

Comment #4 by Jonathan Flynn on 2014 04 18

the roads are a mess, the schools are falling apart, procap was investigated, providence loan fund was investigated, had 8 years to cut a deal with brown and other non profits and did nothing, pension was a mess, left a $100 million deficit, no public safety commissioner, no fire dept contract, no economic growth in the city,
crime and gangs grew under his administration.

you have to wonder what this guy was doing for 8 years. everything in the city got worse under his administration. everything.

how could anyone possible vote for him unless you are voting yourself money.

Comment #5 by john paycheck on 2014 04 18

almost forgot a few things....property tax scandal with his brother, held up the audit until after the election to hide the deficit, was warned 2 years ahead of time that state funds to providence and everyone else would be cut and did nothing about it.

how could anyone defend this guy based on these facts.

and who knows what has been covered up and will surface in the future.

Comment #6 by john paycheck on 2014 04 18

"Grand Theft Auto"? No--that's car thief Darrell "Witch Hunter" Issa.

Comment #7 by Lewis Charleston on 2014 04 18

Leave it the reliably stupid Art Chris Schaper to slip in a hair-on-fire, fake scandal "BENGHAAAAAAAZI!" Art Chris: boundless ignorance.

Comment #8 by Lewis Charleston on 2014 04 18

Exactly my thought Lewis Charleston, when I first read the headline
"Grand Theft Auto" I immediately thought that the investigative genius Mr Schaper had found a link between Rep Cicilline and Rep Darrell. Mr Issa was arrested FIVE TIMES, twice on illegal weapons charges, twice for CAR THEFT, a third time for faking a car theft. Then there are the allegations of arson. Issa quadrupled his building insurance from $100,000 to $460,000 .Flammable liquid had been poured on ONLY the areas WITHOUT sprinklers. The police suspected the totally corrupt Darrell Issa was guilty of many more crimes
Sammy in Arizona

Roger Watson ""Sissyline's"" how imaginative .. LOL

Comment #9 by Sammy Arizona on 2014 04 18

Aw, come on... "David's a sweetheart" to quote one of the elderly lady fans in one of his last campaign commercials.

Comment #10 by Art West on 2014 04 18

Sammy, Art Chris isn't bright enough to catch the unintended irony of an Issa cheerleading tool such as himself using "Grand Theft Auto" in a blog post title. Such a lack of self-awareness is part of what makes Art Chris such a hysterically funny doofus.

Comment #11 by Lewis Charleston on 2014 04 18

The pension liability spiraled out of control during Cicilline's administration because the ARC was miscalculated, so the 90% payment into the pension fund by the City was inadequate.
The City employees continued their 8-9% of salary payments though,which Cicilline did not always immediately transfer to the Fund.
Further,Cicilline increased the bonded indebitness of the City to an unprecidented level.

During his tenure,the quality of life in the City decreased dramatically,partially because Prov.became a hub for heroin and cocaine dealing.

Finally,Cicilline's lack of character remains a permanent taint on the Mayor's office during his administration.

Go to youtube.Type :congressman cicilline dr fadul in the search line and watch the 2 videos,one in Spanish,one w/English translation.

Comment #12 by mark malachi on 2014 04 19

I am running against Congressman Cicilline because of many things written about in this article.

My website can be fund here: MattforRI.com

Comment #13 by Matthew Fecteau on 2014 04 21


Comment #14 by Matthew Fecteau on 2014 04 21

The village idiots have been mustered to defend "The Chick". Rouge's Island, with the HIGHEST unemployment rate in the country sends WHO back to Congress?? ROFLMAO.

Comment #15 by G Godot on 2014 04 22

Note that about the long list of Cicilline's acknowledged "shortcomings" the useful idiots say nothing, and attack "some other guy" instead, as if THAT were a defense. Apparently it's a common debate style among the unsful tool set.

Comment #16 by G Godot on 2014 04 22

Just a side note to add. This is different, though.. I had owned property in North Burial Ground, on Branch Ave. I laid Mom to rest in Jan. 0f 2003.. Shortly thereafter, I learned that the cemetery was not maintained properly. Grass hardly cut, vandalism.. I repeatedly made calls to the Parks Dept. Even had Channels 6, 10, & 12 in the cemetery for news stories.. Only then , were there any workers in there for camera purposes.
I repeatedly called the "Prince's" Office and got the runaround.."He's In..But Busy..He just stepped out.. He'll Call you back.. I even made an appointment for my late Dad and I to Meet with him.. He cancelled an hour before it was to take place...Citing" Prior Commitments." I exhumed her on 2005 after 3 YEARS of Fighting the Parks Dept. and "His Royal Never Around Ness"..This created hardships for Dad and me as we had to rebury here in our Native NY. Come to find out that The Trust fund for the Cemetery, handled by "Private investors", did not exist..There was supposed to be a 3,000,000.00 Trust Fund on Acct. In a Providence Bank. I had someone investigate it, and Account does not exist. Apparently it was depleted some time ago. The cemetery gets a yearly cut before Memorial Day, and that's It.. Directors of Operations (Former), Carol Grant, Bob McMahon, Alixe Ogden.. all gave us the runaround.. and all this happened Partly on "Davie Boys watch".. Just wanted to toss my hat in the ring, as a Citizen That Cares.. Beware North Burial Ground, People. I don't know if things have changed.. My family's headstone still is up in the cemetery.. and I refuse to remove it even though the Graves are empty.. Kind of a reminder to anyone that knew me who has people buried in there near my former plot(Section 28, Lot 8009 Heed- Bennett on Headstone..Section is located on Crescent Ave.
I have a Good Memory, and I never forget when someone refuses my Family respect and dignity..."Dave.. I remember.."
Inclosing: Why are RI politicians so Dishonest?

Comment #17 by Benjamin Heed on 2014 04 24

Just an example of Mismanagement on Dave's and City of Providence's Part. I am able to sound off like this Due To Freedom of Speech.

Comment #18 by Benjamin Heed on 2014 04 24

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