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Arthur Schaper: Avedisian-McKay Drama? Wilkinson Speaks

Friday, March 28, 2014

 

Warwick City Councilmember Camille Vella-Wilkinson.

While US Senator Jack Reed has remained mum about Warwick network and telecommunications administrator Raymond T. McKay’s proposed run for US Senate, other reports are still suggesting that a political play behind the scenes has aggravated this controversy.

Avedisian-Reed alliance?

Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian was aware of McKay’s intentions to run in November 2013, according to one source, and is doing everything in his power to prevent McKay's prospective campaign against Jack Reed, who has brought a great deal of federal money to the city.

An undisclosed source further suggested that the city’s resistance to McKay’s run is an active attempt to discourage a viable candidate from challenging Reed because since November 2013, the Warwick city council convened eight times, and in that period of time the sitting council could have repealed the ordinance which bars classified employees from running, Section 48-107. Three meetings would have provided enough time for review and yet Mayor Avedisian and the city council did nothing. Even McKay’s Ward representative, Charles Donovan, offered no help.

Another source submitted that the Warwick Statute is so arbitrary, often politically motivated in nature, and has assured McKay that he will testify in court against the statute.

The legal ramifications of this municipal disagreement have now reached federal court, where a judge and the attorneys for McKay and the City of Warwick met to discuss the next step on Monday. So far, the judge has decided to uphold the ordinance, but will grant a full hearing on Tuesday (3-25) to determine whether to support McKay’s petition for a temporary restraining order against the city, which will prevent the personnel director from terminating his employment while McKay runs for office.

Following the Tuesday hearing, the federal court sided with the City of Warwick. McKay and supporters are reviewing their next legal options.

In light of these allegations, I contacted the city councilmembers, along with Avedisian’s Chief of Staff Mark Carruolo, who responded in an email that because the matter has gone to court, he could receive questions, but may not be able to answer anything specifically.

Councilmember Wilkinson’s take

However, one Warwick councilmember, Camille Vella-Wilkinson, responded to questions, presenting a different view on this controversy.

“I was not aware of this ordinance,” Wilkinson shared in a telephone interview.

“He [McKay] had mentioned that there was a problem with the city ordinance. He believed he was being discriminated against.”

Wilkinson affirmed: “He spoke to me, I took it on to research it, as I have with other pieces of legislation.”

The councilwoman then remarked that other legislative matters have been taking up her time, as well, including noise ordinances and regulations relating to the city sewer system.

Still, she had concerns about the statute at the outset:

“When I read it [Ordinance Section 48-107) on its face, I thought it was unfair. I was in the process of looking at it, what would be the impact, what would it be. It’s not because of Raymond McKay, mind you. I look at the broader picture.”

Despite one comment which suggested that three council hearings would have decided this issue and mandated repeal, the Warwick Councilmember countered that such is not the case. Taking her role as councilmember with great regard, Wilkinson outlined that any city ordinance changes have long-range implications, and she sought to take into account all questions which residents might press on her and the city.

When asked about her view on the constitutionality of the ordinance, Wilkinson countered:

“I am not a constitutional scholar. I cannot say for sure one way or the other.”

Questions about the ordinance

Ms. Wilkinson’s account serves a reminder that any city legislation, regardless of its origins or impact, requires a democratic solution, one which honors the best interests of all citizens in a municipality, including Warwick, and including telecommunications administrator Raymond McKay.

Still, residents are wondering about the time and consequences of this obscure rule, trying to figure out why the mayor of Warwick and his fellow councilmembers did nothing in response to legislation which restricts a select group’s freedom of petition, i.e. running for office.

Radio hosts and individual residents have already commented that any law which would prevent someone from seeking office needs to be questioned, if not repealed outright. Because the federal court has intervened to review the case, Wilkinson acknowledged that she was not conducting any further research on the law at this time.

Ulterior motives?

Aside from questions about the ordinance, the councilwoman related that she had no friendship or significant relationship with Mayor Avedisian beyond their working association on the city council:

“I don’t socialize with Avedisian. I consider him to be an associate. If I have an event, he will come as a courtesy. I would not venture to say that we have a special relationship. No ‘friendship’.”

Dispelling any ulterior motives or political machinations in Warwick, Wilkinson highlighted that the difficulties in getting city hall, or one’s statehouse, to change anything requires more than a will and a way. Regardless of one’s reactions to the city ordinance which requires McKay’s resignation should he officially announce a US Senate run, critics of the law should take comfort in knowing that city leaders were investigating the city ordinance.

 

Arthur Christopher Schaper is a teacher-turned-writer on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance. Follow him on Twitter @ArthurCSchaper, reach him at arthurschaper@hotmail.com, and read more at Schaper's Corner and As He Is, So Are We Ministries.

 

Related Slideshow: Rhode Island’s History of Political Corruption

Prev Next

Buddy Cianci

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. 

Prev Next

Joseph Bevilacqua

Joseph Bevilacqua was RI Speaker of the House from 1969 to 1975, and was appointed as Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court in 1976.  It was alleged that Bevilacqua had connections to organized crime throughout his political career.  

According to a 1989 article that appeared in The New York Times at the time of his death:

The series of events that finally brought Mr. Bevilacqua down began at the end of 1984... stating that reporters and state police officers had observed Mr. Bevilacqua repeatedly visiting the homes of underworld figures.

The state police alleged that Mr. Bevilacqua had also visited a Smithfield motel, owned by men linked to gambling and drugs...

Prev Next

Thomas Fay

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. 

Prev Next

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.

Prev Next

Edward DiPrete

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.

Prev Next

Plunder Dome

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. 

Prev Next

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. 

Prev Next

Charles Moreau

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.

Prev Next

Gordon Fox

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. 

The details are still emerging, but the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Rhode Island has confirmed the IRS is involved in an ongoing investigation in Rhode Island.

 
 

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Comments:

Ray is making a fool of himself. Not only does he lack the intelligence to grasp the legal basis for the United States District Court Judge ruling, he is going around making the claim that the only reason the judge ruled against him is because Jack Reed was responsible for getting the judge (a Democrat donor--big surprise there) on the bench.

Running for office is not a "right." It is a decision between an employer and an employee. If I, as an employee of any businesswalked into my manager's office and told her or him I was running for the United States Senate and I expected to keep my full time job, that my work performance would not suffer and I expected to receive my pay while doing so, I would be courteously asked to take an unpaid leave of absence or resign. What Ray is asking is ludicrous and ridiculous. He has absolutely not one cent of his own money to put in to his race, he will not raise one dime, and he cannot mount a serious challenge to Sen. Reed. There really is no Republican party in this state; just a bunch of misguided idiots who have puffed up self-importance thinking they are making any difference. Has this man, Mr. McKay, whoever he is, received any guidance from the Republicans at a national level? He is an embarrassment to decent Republicans candidates and will hurt Block, Fung and Hodgson... in a serious and meaingful way. Please, someone ring the bell and tell this guy to get out of the ring... NOW.

Comment #1 by John Santini on 2014 03 28

Ray is making a fool of himself. Not only does he lack the intelligence to grasp the legal basis for the United States District Court Judge ruling, he is going around making the claim that the only reason the judge ruled against him is because Jack Reed was responsible for getting the judge (a Democrat donor--big surprise there) on the bench.

Running for office is not a "right." It is a decision between an employer and an employee. If I, as an employee of any businesswalked into my manager's office and told her or him I was running for the United States Senate and I expected to keep my full time job, that my work performance would not suffer and I expected to receive my pay while doing so, I would be courteously asked to take an unpaid leave of absence or resign. What Ray is asking is ludicrous and ridiculous. He has absolutely not one cent of his own money to put in to his race, he will not raise one dime, and he cannot mount a serious challenge to Sen. Reed. There really is no Republican party in this state; just a bunch of misguided idiots who have puffed up self-importance thinking they are making any difference. Has this man, Mr. McKay, whoever he is, received any guidance from the Republicans at a national level? He is an embarrassment to decent Republicans candidates and will hurt Block, Fung and Hodgson... in a serious and meaingful way. Please, someone ring the bell and tell this guy to get out of the ring... NOW.

Comment #2 by John Santini on 2014 03 28

Fighting the democrat machine, that includes a RINO like Avedisian is like David fighting Goliath. In real life David never wins.

Comment #3 by David Beagle on 2014 03 28

"...just a bunch of misguided idiots who have puffed up self-importance thinking they are making any difference." And you say Ray is making a fool of himself... interesting.

Comment #4 by Ben Algeo on 2014 03 28

I would like to know if Averdisian and Jack Reed are strange bedfellows? Does Averdisian court Reed in order for the federal bacon to be delivered to Warwick? How close is the relationship and what can it lead to? Does the 8-1 D-R makeup of City of Warwick City Council lend itself to enforcing a "found to be unconstitutional in other cities" ordinance. Why the the police, firemen, teachers not also included in this 43 yr old archaic ordinance? Could it be union influence? So many questions. NO answers as usual. Where's Jack Reed? Hiding as usual, unless he has a photo op or a taxpayer funded check in hand?

Comment #5 by Stephen Lemois on 2014 03 28

Question for Arthur. Have you ever been to Rhode Island?

Comment #6 by Jonathan Flynn on 2014 03 28

And for another commenter, the Constitution has set the requirements for U.S. Senator.

U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 3, clause 3:
"No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the age of thirty years, and been nine years a citizen of the United States and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that state for which he shall be chosen."

Raymond T McKay meets the requirements. He has stated candidacy, if declared, would not interfere with his city job.

Comment #7 by Stephen Lemois on 2014 03 28

I don't care who he is, nobody should be prohibited from running for office as long as it does not interfere with their job.

jack "man of the people" reed should be advocating for this participation as a "democrat".

this goes to show you the democratic party of today is completely off focus. it is only about unions, teachers, and minorities and those on the dole.

if you aren't one of those, you would have to be an idiot to vote democrat. you don't even know what you are voting for.

Comment #8 by john paycheck on 2014 03 29

What's the bf deal..change the ordinance and let the poor guy run!..stop holding this state back!

Comment #9 by LENNY BRUCE on 2014 03 29

Typical democrat one party thuggery. Feeding time at the Smith Hill zoo includes hand wringing at the declaration deadline ... "Oh my God, I HAVE an opponent.... what will it TAKE to get him/her OUT" Yup, the GOP is "nothing" accoding to Santini, but the "War Hero" without a CIB is afraid even of THIS guy. WHY I wonder. This is shaping up to be a bad year for the handout experts, and even in the old Soviet Union, thay didn't temerity enough to win by 100 percent.
BTW, union hack municipal contracts as a matter of course include "elected" union "officers" carried on the employment roles while doing union "business". Need I remind the dear readers of the mumber of TEACHERS, still on the payroll while they "do the people's business". What's the "war hero" afraid of?

Comment #10 by G Godot on 2014 03 29

Unjust ordinance that obstructs the person's right to run for office. McKay certainly qualifies according to the requirments set forth by the United States Constitution. Let the man run!

Comment #11 by Dexter Liu on 2014 03 30

Could Reed be afraid of the Obamacare backlash?

Lots of Democrats in other states are going to feel the wrath of people hurt by this total POS law. It certainly would be interesting and telling if Sen. Reed, a man who dutifully follows the Party Leadership and hands out lots of other people's money, suddenly feels threatened by competition from a virtual unknown...

Comment #12 by Art West on 2014 03 30

Ray McKay couldn't beat Jack Reed if Jack were in a coma and under indictment. Please. I'm glad the GoLoCo Allstars have something to talk about.

Comment #13 by Jonathan Flynn on 2014 03 30

How long does it take to find one's way out of Reed's colon? Hmmm? For Reed it's all about the money and hand feeding to his base at election time. Then they become Pavlov's dog for the radical progressive dems, until the money runs out. Then what will Reed's solution be for unemployment? He hasn't sponsored bills of any substance for alleviating that problem or the myriad of others the country faces now. We have serious problems and need serious people in place of those just collecting a paycheck in the Senate.

Comment #14 by Stephen Lemois on 2014 03 31

Reed is an empty shirt that never delivered!..It's time for him to resign,take the pension and go home.

Comment #15 by LENNY BRUCE on 2014 03 31

Senator Reed has championed aiding the Bush Unemployed almost single handedly. Ray McKay, if he were a "serious" guy would quit his job if he had to in order to take on someone "just collecting a paycheck." This is a phony issue for a ridiculous candidate. I've met Mr. McKay and I can't believe anyone would consider a "serious" candidate for any position except a Tea Party office. He makes Ed Beard look like Roosevelt.

Comment #16 by Jonathan Flynn on 2014 03 31

Yup, the war hero without a CIB has championed them, all right, and that's why we are at the very TOP of the percent unemployed list. With friends like that......

Comment #17 by G Godot on 2014 03 31

Whining elite political SNOBS want to dictate who dares THINK about running for office. ANYBODY who runs deserves respect for putting in the time. Whinning, elite political SNOBS think their favorite HACK shouldn't even HAVE an opponent. THEY want to control BOTH sides of the ticket.

Comment #18 by G Godot on 2014 03 31

And even the New Yprk TIMES has opined that it's time for Obama and his
koolaid drinking yes men to take some responsibility for things like unemployment... after SIX years.

Comment #19 by G Godot on 2014 03 31

It's not six years, it's barely five and the economy shrank 10% under Bush. That means the economy has to grow 10% just to get back to where it was, not where it needs to be. The GoLoCo Allstars really are ignorant. Fools. I am glad their keyboards have a Caps lock key. It must make them feel very important.

Comment #20 by Jonathan Flynn on 2014 04 01

What I have read so far about Jack Reed:

"Fighting the democrat machine"

Rhode Islanders deserve to be represented by a man, not a machine, especially a political machine owned by public sector unions, trivial interests, and progressives in name only.

"Where's Jack Reed? Hiding as usual, unless he has a photo op or a taxpayer funded check in hand?"

Time to give him another photo op then, at the unemployment line.

"jack "man of the people" reed should be advocating for this participation as a "democrat"."

Jack can prove he's a man of the people but letting another man run and end the stonewalling against his potential candidate's campaign.

"Typical democrat one party thuggery. Feeding time at the Smith Hill zoo includes hand wringing at the declaration deadline ... "Oh my God, I HAVE an opponent.... what will it TAKE to get him/her OUT" Yup, the GOP is "nothing" accoding to Santini, but the "War Hero" without a CIB is afraid even of THIS guy."

So, Reed's silence is typical? Then perhaps it's time to send someone to US Senate who will not be silent.

Comment #21 by Arthur Schaper on 2014 04 01

John Paycheck:

"jack "man of the people" reed should be advocating for this participation as a "democrat"."

He should, and yet he has not. And who defines the Democratic Party today?

"this goes to show you the democratic party of today is completely off focus. it is only about unions, teachers, and minorities and those on the dole."

I would take exception to minorities: Chinese-Americans in CA are getting disillusioned with Dems, since the Dems tried to reintroduce racist racial quotas. One of the city council candidates in Torrance, CA, is a Chinese-American (Alex See) and so is another lady, who works with eldery people (Leilani D’Agostino) – and an African-American Pastor and Colonel (ret.) is also running for city council.

And of course, do not forget Don Roach, Allan Fung, Paul Tanaka (Gardena, CA mayor), Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, Clarence Thomas, Tim Scott, Marco Rubio, Raul Labrador, etc.

Frankly, the more that I look at the Democratic Party, the less diversity that I see.

Comment #22 by Arthur Schaper on 2014 04 01

Arthur, have you ever been to Rhode Island? It's a serious question. I would appreciate an answer.

Comment #23 by Jonathan Flynn on 2014 04 01

More serious question:

What difference does it make? (with no due respect to Hillary Clinton)

You answer mine, and I will answer yours.

Comment #24 by Arthur Schaper on 2014 04 01

I find it interesting, if not profoundly odd that someone from 3000 miles away regularly opines about the political landscape of Rhode Island and the figures that inhabit it without any seeming connection, direct or otherwise, to the state. It's odder still that a purported news outlet would regularly publish the the opinions of someone who has little or no standing or involvement in the political process in Rhode Island. Does that answer your question? Now, please answer mine.

Comment #25 by Jonathan Flynn on 2014 04 01

John, I actually have answered this question already:

http://www.golocalprov.com/politics/arthur-schaper-rhode-island-ca-two-states-in-a-bad-state/

"Why does a California Conservative insist on dishing on politics in Rhode Island? He has not yet set foot in the state, but he would love to visit and share a cup of cocoa with Rhode Island crowds, if they let him. Some think that I am a “crazy evangelical in a cult”, that I should mind my own business in my own state."

I have not yet visited Rhode Island, yet -- but I would very much like to come, perhaps later this month or in May (I hear the summers are so humid.)

At any rate, freedom of speech does not stop at the border of one's home state.

Or does freedom of speech rattle your cage? I also notice that you do not complain about the comments of other people, who do not live in this state.

There is nothing unusual about commenting on the politics outside of one's state. National columnists do it all the time, of which (how about that!) I am one.

Thanks, Go Local Prov!

But back to "CA and R: Two States in a Bad State"

Russ Conway sounded off on your "concern":


Russ C

11:13am on Friday, July 26, 2013

"Why does a California Conservative insist on dishing on politics in Rhode Island?"

Good question. A better one, why would anyone care what a CA "C"onservative thinks?

But here was the better answer:

"Kendall Svengalis

"11:18am on Friday, July 26, 2013

"Because CANCER spreads."

Also here are some comments from conservative friends of mine in New England, on my blog, which you are more than free to comment on, John:

http://aschaper1.blogspot.com/2014/02/frank-addivinola-runs-for-us-senate-in.html?showComment=1392946509367#c2729279028364033064


WorcGOPFebruary 20, 2014 at 2:06 PM

So at some point the First Amendment was changed to limit you to speaking out about issues in your state only? I guess that I missed that change to the Bill of Rights.


ReplyDelete

IRON WILLFebruary 20, 2014 at 5:35 PM

CA is VERY MUCH like the politics of New England: labor-heavy, over-spending, over-taxing, all with single-party dominance. I'm glad to see coverage on a New England-area race from such an astute commentator !
ReplyDelete

I hope that freedom of speech does not rattle your cage, John! If I am Loco, I am a proud "Loco"!

Stay Loco, my liberal friend!

Comment #26 by Arthur Schaper on 2014 04 01




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