Raimondo, Elorza Refuse Comment on Donations from Construction Co. Hit by Feds

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

 

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Two of the top recipients of campaign contributions from Rosciti Construction -- who improperly sought reimbursement of funding for minority-owned and women-owned businesses, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office -- have refused to say whether or not they will return the donations.

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, and Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, who each received thousands in contributions from Rosciti, were silent on the issue of whether or not they would keep the money from employees of Rosciti construction.  

Read: RI Construction Co. Hit by Feds in $1M Settlement is Big Campaign Donor

Rosciti is responsible now for paying part of a $1 million dollar settlement with the Feds to resolve civil allegations that they violated the Federal False Claims Act, by submitting, or causing the submission of, claims for reimbursement for funding earmarked for minority, women-owned, or small business that they were not entitled to receive.

Responses to Action 
Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, who trailed Raimondo and Elorza in Rosciti contributions at $1500, had the following to say on Tuesday. 

" needed to speak with the United States Attorney to make sure that I have all of the appropriate background information.  The US Attorney told me this is a civil issue and not criminal," said Avedisian. 

"Then I needed to check to see if either company has any existing contracts with the city.  They do not. There was apparently some sewer work many years ago," continued Avedisian, whose Rosciti contributions were made in 2013 and 2014.  "Given those facts and never having met the donor, I do think any further action is warranted."

U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha had strong words to say about the case, however:

“Disadvantaged business enterprise requirements exist to make sure that small companies owned by women and by minorities have a fair shot to compete for, and benefit from, the economic opportunities provided by federal grants and contract dollars,” said Neronha on Monday.  “That opportunity is lost when companies manipulate the process to secure federally funded work in place of those that are legitimately deserving. This Office will continue to use all means at our disposal to ensure that contractors who receive federal dollars play by the rules."

 
 

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