Hodgson Rips Kilmartin Over $45,000 in Office Renovations
Friday, October 17, 2014
"This expense illustrates Peter's priorities. Instead of taking action on the issues he campaigned on, like fixing the crime lab, he spent his limited resources on office renovations," said Hodgson. "Alongside his patronage hires and excessive PR costs, this is part of a troubling pattern."
Hodgson, an attorney who currently serves a State Senator for District 35 representing East Greenwich, North Kingstown, South Kingstown, and Narragansett, was first elected to General Assembly in 2008. Kilmartin was elected as Attorney General in 2010, after serving as a State Representative since 1990.
Costs Outlined, Questioned
In an Access to Public Records Act (APRA) request sent on October 1, Hodgson asked for information on the 'costs and expenses’ for interior renovation [and] construction on the Department of Attorney General building at 150 South Main Street in Providence – 3rd Floor -- during calendar year 2011.”
Hodgson received the response on Thursday.
"Attached please find a spreadsheet responsive to your request for “costs and expenses” relating to interior renovations to the entire third floor at the Department of Attorney General during calendar year 2011. No requested information was exempted or redacted. You should be advised that the attached spreadsheet not only includes “renovation[s],” but also includes the costs of “repairs” and that the description of “renovations” also includes in some cases “repairs” that cannot be segregated from “renovations.”
The line items listed include charges for renovations to conference rooms, bathrooms, carpeting, as well as capital projects.
"Over the past twelve years prior to 2011, there had been leaks into both the Attorney General's office and the conference room. The transition between administrations was the most logical time to address those issues," said Amy Kempe, Public Information Officer in the Attorney General's office. "Among the issues to be repaired were several wall panels that had warped due to wetness. When those were removed, additional damage was discovered."
"It is the Attorney General's responsibility to ensure a safe and professional work environment for all of the dedicated and hard working employees of the Office. Further, The Attorney General has an obligation to the State and bond holders to maintain the building," said Kempe. "The Attorney General has come in under budget each year of his term."
"With totals just over $45,000, there's no way for me to delineate necessary maintenance and repair," said Hodgson. "As you know, we've spent some time this week examining Peter's misplaced focus on perks, patronage, and public relations."
While none of the vendors appeared to have made political donations directly to Kilmartin, records show that Lynn Kent with Robert Audet Inc, who did electrical and lighting work, has given over $4,700 in contributions to candidates and officials since 2006, including over $2,000 to the Associated Builders and Contractors of Rhode Island; Alfred Kelley with Kelly Floor Covering has donated over $1,700 to candidates since 2002, and Mario Lagoa with Legacy General Contracting made just one contribution -- $400 to Jorge Elorza's campaign.
In particular, Hodgson pointed out PR expenses in Kilmartin's office. "[Kilmartin's] Public Information Officer is paid $128-thousand per year. The fifth highest paid employee of the Office of Attorney General, the PIO earns more than 66 of the 68 attorneys in the office’s Criminal Division."
Related Slideshow: Rhode Island Biggest Political Scandals
Buddy Cianci, 1984
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.
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.
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.
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.
Buddy Cianci, 2002
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.
In 2003 Operation Dollar Bill, a codename for an undercover investigation by the FBI, looked into corruption in the state of Rhode Island. State Senator John Celona was investigated for accepting money and gifts from CVS, Blue Cross & Blue Shield, and Roger Williams Hospital.
In 2005, charges were filed against Celona for accepting gifts and money from CVS, Roger Williams and Blue Cross & Blue Shield. These companies all had interest in legislation that Celona was involved in as the Chairman of the Senate Corporation Committee.
Celona did his best to receive a lenient sentece by cooperating with the governemt and proved to be a key witness in the conviction of two former Roger Williams Medical Center Executives. Celona was later sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
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.
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.
38 Studios was a video game company founded in 2006 by former Major Leaguer Curt Schilling. First based in Massachusetts, the company moved to Rhode Island to secure a $75 Million loan guarantee from the state’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC).
In 2012, 38 Studios released its first game, “Kingdoms of Amalur”. In May of 2012, 38 Studios missed a payment of $1.125 million to the RIEDC. Later that month 38 studios paid a check for that amount, but it was later returned by the state for inefficient funds. On that same day 38 Studios did not make the payroll for its employees.
At the end of May, 38 Studio laid off all of their employees. In June, 38 Studios filed for bankruptcy. At the same time Federal and State officials begin a probe of the company. That year the state sued 38 Studios as well as Schilling.
In May of 2014, a report came out that the video game company knew that the money they had received was not going to be enough to cover the development of their first project.
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.
Following the raid, Fox resigned as Speaker of the House. Days after the resignation from Fox, Nicholas Mattiello was chosen to replace him.
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