Witman’s Fundraising Comes from East Side, Outside of Providence and Out of State

Thursday, October 18, 2018


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Dee Dee Witman, candidate for Mayor

Independent Providence mayoral candidate Dee Dee Witman has raised and loaned her campaign more than $570,000, but nearly all of the donations come from either the East Side of Providence, outside of Providence, or from out-of-state.

Through the October 9 filling, Witman has over $546,000 cash on hand which derives from $70,000 in fundraising and $500,000 in the form of a personal loan to the campaign.

Of the $70,000 raised, only a handful of the donations come from non-East Side Providence neighborhoods — mostly from addresses of upscale downtown apartment buildings like The Promenade Apartments or the Regency.

Witman defends her fundraising. “I have spent little time fundraising. It's not a matter of support vs. no support from local residents. I have spent my time walking, going to events from dawn to dusk and not on fundraising. As for support, everywhere I go I am greeted with such warmth and assurances that they will vote for me,” said Witman in an email to GoLocal.

“I’m very lucky that my friends and family are behind me. Simple as that!” added Witman, who spent much of her career as a professional fundraiser.

Witman faces incumbent Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza -- a GoLocal investigation in 2017 found that law firms that have received millions in legal work have donated hundreds of thousands to Elorza's campaign.

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Paolino family are big donors to Witman

Witman’s donor list is littered with prominent Rhode Islanders and former Rhode Islanders.

The list includes multiple members of the Paolino and Dulgarian families — both mega-developers in Providence. Collectively, Dulgarians comprise $4,500 of the total donations. Also, listed on the campaign finance report is Alan Hassenfeld, the former CEO of Hasbro and former Rhode Islander and Union boss Arthur Coia of the Laborers International union.

Hassenfeld has also poured $50,000 into an independent expenditure account titled “It’s Time Coalition.”  The campaign fund is run out of East Providence, Rhode Island.

Hassenfeld's campaign finance report is notarized by former Mayor Joe Paolino’s secretary.

The number of donations from Florida represent 12.5 percent of the total number of donations.


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