NEW: Harrop Claims Mismanagement of Cianci Scholarship Fund

Monday, September 22, 2014


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Dan Harrop

Following last week's Providence Mayoral debate at Laurelmead, where Republican Dan Harrop attacked former Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci on his scholarship fund, Harrop released the following on Monday.  

Harrop said, “Mr. Cianci has continued with one public trust over the last few years, that of being a trustee for the “Vincent A Cianci Jr. Scholarship Fund,” which is a public foundation owned by the people.  Yet, there are disturbing trends in the public records of this Foundation. We know that Michelle Smith, of the Associated Press, has already detailed that the “Mayor’s Own Marinara Sauce,” which promises that sales are “Benefiting Providence School Children,” from 2009 to 2012, made a total of $3 in income. It is not clear even where that $3 went, as it is not listed under revenue and contributions in recent years."

“Worse still,” Dr. Harrop notes, “is the mismanagement evident in this public foundation, which parallels Mr. Cianci’s mismanagement of the city during his terms in office.  Even putting aside that because of bad management the corpus of this Foundation provides little income (and actually a loss in principal during the years examined), expenses of this Foundation typically run well above what is distributed to students.  Such expenses include employee salaries averaging $3500 per year, phone expenses averaging about $2000 per year, “outside” expenses averaging about $2600 per year, and total expenses averaging above $15,000 a year to give out an average of $10,000 in scholarships."

“Who these days spends $2000 a year on a telephone?  What are the “outside” expenses? Who is the $3500 a year employee kept around to give out $10,000 in scholarships?  And what are the “other” expenses (meals? travel?)…  Mr Cianci continues to say we should not discuss the past although he is constantly saying he moved the rivers, which were actually moved during Mayor Paolino’s term.  His failure to properly fund the pensions during his terms, and instead artificially running up city “surpluses” in the budget, has left the city near bankruptcy.  His current participation in the failing “Vincent A Cianci Jr Scholarship Fund” is further evidence, from right now, of his incompetency in managing, or understanding, financial issues, and failing to even surround himself with competent financial advisors,” continued Harrop. “He takes $25,000 in revenue, and turns it into $10,000 in scholarships.”

“The people of Providence need to realize that, over and above Mr. Cianci’s past indiscretions, he continues to mismanage funds in the public trust.  This alone speaks to his being rejected by the voters in November,” Dr. Harrop concluded.


Related Slideshow: Questions Daniel Harrop Must Answer to be Providence’s Next Mayor

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Party Politics?

Providence hasn't seen a Republican Mayor for thirty years.  The last, of course, was Vincent "Buddy" Cianci's first tenure at the post from 1975 through 1984.  But when Buddy came back in 1990, he saw his path to victory as an independent. 

Harrop's Republican credentials certainly are unwavering.  The former candidate garnered nearly 17% of the voted in 2006 against David Cicilline.  Can Harrop convince enough predominantly Democratic and independent Providence voters that a GOP Mayor is the way to go? 


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Big Issues?

Privatization.  Receivership.  Education reform.  Harrop has bold ideas in the traditional Republican vein to turn things in the state's capital city around.  The question is, are Providence voters open to bold ideas?  One such proposal -- having free parking for an hour at meters around the city -- seems to be a pro-business no-brainer. 

By contrast, other candidates are talking about spending more on programs.  Can Harrop's vision of spending less resonate in a city with high crime and struggling schools? 

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The erudite Dr. Harrop is just that -- a highly educated East Side white male.  While GoLocal asked the same question of Brett Smiley -- i.e. can the city's diverse voting base relate to the wonkish East Side liberal, the same can be asked of the conservative Harrop.  Smiley for his part has been a stalwart at community events around the city. 

While Harrop backs the "swim empowerment" effort to allow for recreational opportunities throughout the city following the close -- and opening -- of the Davey Lopes poll, has he actually had enough boots on the ground in the ciy's urban communities to convince voters he's their guy?

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Buddy Factor?

Harrop has been at the forefront of pointing out former Mayor Cianci is a two-time felon.  When Buddy entered the face at the end of June, Harrop told GoLocal,  "I am more concerned with with his attempt to re-write history and downplay his part in the scandals surrounding Providence pensions which are going to throw the city into bankruptcy."

The doctor will undoubtedly hammer Cianci hard once the primary season is through and the field is set to three.  The question is, can Harrop stand up to criticism lobbed at him by Cianci should the time come?  For better or for worse, Cianci has name recognition.  Harrop does not. 


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Can he win?

How much is Harrop willing to bankroll on his own in an attempt to take the city's highest post?  He loaned himself $100,000 back in 2013 for the effort.  While he's currently in good shape on paper, at least -- he's got $130,000 cash on hand -- the question is whether he's got the resources, and resolve to go the distance in a sure to be bruising three-way general election against the winner of the Democratic primary and Buddy Cianci.


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