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Fox Scandal: Winners and Losers

Monday, March 24, 2014


The resignation of Speaker of the House Gordon Fox has created a power vacuum and redefined the political landscape in Rhode Island.

The events trigger one of the most dramatic power shifts in Rhode Island's history. The explanation of why Fox resigned has yet to be fully disclosed, but the implications are already profound.

For Rhode Island, a state plagued by 9% unemployment and no clear strategy for job creation, the resignation will cause a stagnation legislatively. Few pieces of bold legislation will be adopted.

Fox was tied to two of the most controversial financial/political issues: both the probe of Providence Economic Development Partnership and the 38 Studios collapse.

A year ago, the power structure in Rhode Island was dominated by Fox. He was the single most powerful political force followed by Governor Lincoln Chafee who was gearing up for re-election. 

The Fox resignation triggers a number of events - see who the winners and losers are below.


Related Slideshow: Fox Scandal: Winners and Losers

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Peter F, Neronha, U.S. Attorney

The bold action by the Federal Bureau of Investigation coupled with Internal Revenue Service investigators raiding the Speaker of the House's office was a major statement by federal authorities.

The investigation tied to now-former Speaker Fox sets expectations of a far broader probe.

Neronha has also indicted developer Richard Baccari and was key to the http://www.golocalprov.com/news/9949/">Google Settlement that brought $230 million to Rhode Island. 

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Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed


Generally, the Senate President plays second fiddle to the Speaker of the House, but with a new Speaker to be voted on as early as Tuesday, Paiva Weed's influence will shoot up in the transition.


She will be more influential in the budget process.


Look for Paiva Weed to make a move on controlling the Joint Committee on Legislative Services - the proverbial legislative grab bag for jobs and grants.

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Majority Leader Nick Mattiello


As GoLocal Tweeted on Friday, the Cranston Representative and Majority Leader has the edge to take control of the House.


Mattiello (as of Sunday Night) has approximately 40 votes and the momentum necessary to replace Fox.


Mattiello has strong support from former Speaker and lobbyist Bill Murphy. A Mattiello Speakership may cause a big shake up in Committee Chairs and senior staffing.

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Former Speaker Bill Murphy


Murphy and Fox worked together for more than a decade and their relationship had both ups and downs. Nick Mattiello, if elected Speaker, is a close ally to former Speaker Bill Murphy.


Murphy had served as Speaker from 2003 to 2010. The former legislator has a successful criminal defense practice and is a lobbyist for notable clients (2013) for UTGR (Twin River), Advance America Cash Advance, and the Brotherhood of Correction Officers.


Murphy will emerge as an ever greater influencer with Mattiello as Speaker.

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Gina Raimondo


The resignation by Gordon Fox is a political hit to the General Treasurer who went big for Fox in his surprisingly tough re-election against story teller Mark Binder.


Binder hit Fox both for his role in 38 Studios and his legal work for PEDP applicants.


Raimondo decided to publicly support Fox and walk his district with the embattled Speaker.


It should be noted that Providence Mayor Angel Taveras also supported Fox, but Raimondo claims to be the reformer in this race.

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Fox's Committee Chairs (if Mattiello wins)


Fox loyalists who have pledged their support to Michael Marcello will be in trouble as will their agendas if Mattiello is in fact elected Speaker on Tuesday. 


Committee Chairs like Helio Mello, Edith Ajello, and Arthur "Doc" Corvese might all be replaced as they backed Marcello. 

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Providence's Budget


For the past decade, Providence could always count of Gordon Fox to help bail the Providence Budget out of trouble.


From Finance Committee Chair, then-Majority Leader and ultimately-Speaker, Providence Mayors knew that Fox -- the Mount Hope section of Providence Representative -- would increase aid to Providence in one way or another. 


Providence always found an extra few millions from Fox. That access is likely to end in 2014 further impacting the City of Providence's budget issues.

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Legalization of Marijuana


The pieces were falling together for the effort to pass legislation to legalize marijuana in Rhode Island. Speaker Fox was a social progressive. Judiciary Committee Chair Edith Ajello, who may lose her post in the power shift, was the legislation's sponsor and in command of the key committee.


In addition, Governor Lincoln Chafee has voiced support for the idea.


But, a shift to a more conservative Mattiello would throw a barrier in the way to a 2014 passage.


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Congrats to FBI Peter F, Nehrona, U.S. Attorney, looks like he has had a full time job that will have no end of investigations with the GA and associates.
The rest of the snakes just makes one feel like RI is in the hands of the the evil empire.
I mean is there anyone in office or running from the Democrat party that will represent the people not just the special interest groups and themselves? NO

Comment #1 by Gary Arnold on 2014 03 24

You left out the biggest winner--the people of RI. And the biggest loser--our ghost of an Attorney General whose job it is to enforce the law.

Comment #2 by Jimmy LaRouche on 2014 03 24

Winners, people of R.I., losers, people of R.I., as the Speaker's office will STILL be held by a democrat.

Comment #3 by David Beagle on 2014 03 24

I forgot we have AG in this state, must be an honorary position

what a great year for RI we will lose chaffee and fox in the same year!!! what an incredible chance for us to rise from the ashes of idiocy and losers and elect fresh blood into that pandoras box we call a house, and if paiva weed can step down or by some miracle not get reelected. I can see RI easily moving from 50th to at least 45th worst, and if we didn't reelect the same reps time after time maybe even see 35 or 40.
like chaffee likes to say "we are just on the cusp of greatness" well now we really are, but it all depends on you on election day

Comment #4 by steven richard on 2014 03 24

The AG must have been in FLA.

Comment #5 by Lorraine Botts on 2014 03 24

I agree with Gary. Thank God for the FBI. This state is so corrupt the only way we get any justice is if it comes from outside. That’s what we get from a one-party system—corruption, high taxes and a lousy economy.

Our AG does the job he was elected to do—look the other way while the Democrats and Labor Unions rape the taxpayers.

Mr. Nehrona, could you please investigate our corrupt Congressman Ciccilline next? I believe voter fraud is against the law as well?

Comment #6 by James Berling on 2014 03 24

ah yes I forgot about sissylini lets have him go after *hithouse while hes at it

Comment #7 by steven richard on 2014 03 24


The AG is fortunate that he has the Feds to "backstop" integrity in this state, so he doesn't have to get too close to the mess he was part of in the GA. By not having to investigate public corruption - his silent acquiescence has delegated that job to the Feds - that makes AG Kilmartin a winner in this too!

Comment #8 by David Allen on 2014 03 24

ANGEL is MIA no where to be found connect the dots golocal Taveras worked for FOX in his law firm involved with cases Fox is being investigated for. NEW SLOGAN TAVERAS from HEADSTART to FEDPEN at least you can spend time with the other criminals in your family who are convicted felons that you don't want the voters to know about. GOLOCAL investigate Taveras brothers criminal record. Don't you want to know should'nt the voters know this.

Comment #9 by Jackson Teller on 2014 03 24

Both Taveras and Cicilline have had extensive dealings with PEDP. Both Taveras and Cicilline have purposely misled bond investors about Providence financial health as well. Maybe they will receive "invitations" soon.

Comment #10 by michael riley on 2014 03 24

M eet the new boss, same as the old boss. SSDD.

Comment #11 by G Godot on 2014 03 25

Another hard left union hack progressive democrat is going to replace Fox..MEET THE NEW BOSS..SAME AS THE OLD BOSS, RHODE ISLAND STILL AT A LOSS.

Comment #12 by LENNY BRUCE on 2014 03 25

did you expect different house majority leader is just the next (CIT) criminal in training

Comment #13 by steven richard on 2014 03 25

RI voters keep getting exactly what they deserve. Can expect this to go on and on and on.

Comment #14 by Katy Sloop on 2014 03 25

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