The Scoop: Woonsocket’s Fontaine Hid Campaign Spending, and More
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Mayor Fontaine Hid Campaign Expenditures
GoLocal has learned that Woonsocket Mayor Leo Fontaine failed to disclosed numerous campaign contributions and expenditures in his latest campaign finance report filed on Monday.
Although Fontaine, a Republican, claims to have had no activity over the three-week period, sources tell GoLocal that the Mayor held a fundraiser and spent money on print ads and radio appearances.
According to the report, Fontaine finished the period (Oct. 1 through Oct. 21) with $6,206.15 cash on hand, which is the exact amount he started with. Aside from receiving not a single dollar in donations, the report also asserts that the Mayor did not have a single campaign expense.
Failure to Disclose
Sources tell GoLocal that the Mayor failed to mention three radio appearances he had on WNRI—two on Firing Line with Jeff Gamache and one with Roger Bouchard on UPFRONT. Since there is no free time on the radio for candidates, time needs to be purchased and accounted for. Fontaine's three appearances—which occurred on Oct. 3, 7 and 10—are not included on his financial filings.
Two of the appearances were paid for by Leo Fontaine for Mayor, while the other was paid for by Christopher Bouley, Vice President of Merrill Lynch. According to campaign finance law, Fontaine would still have to report radio time bought by Bouley. This type of purchase is known as an "in-kind contribution."
Additionally, sources tell GoLocal that the the Mayor failed to disclose any contributions or expenditures from a fundraiser held at The Burrito Company on 104 Cass Ave in Woonsocket on Oct. 6. In fact, the Mayor's campaign finance report does not even acknowledge that the event ever took place. According to campaign finance law, every single donation made at the event would have to be accounted for, as well the cost of the event itself.
Lastly, the Mayor failed to disclose an advertisement that he took out in a pamphlet promoting the documentary film entitled My Old School, which tells the story of New England's largest abandoned school, in Woonsocket RI.
Fontaine's opponent Democratic State Representative Lisa Baldelli-Hunt filed her latest campaign finance report yesterday showing that she finished the period with $1,418.67 cash on hand. Baldelli-Hunt reports receiving $650.00 in donations and spending $4,148.89 on campaign activities.
Fontaine will square off against Baldelli-Hunt on Nov. 5 to determine who will be the next mayor of Woonsocket. Baldelli-Hunt won a decisive victory over Fontaine in a primary election held earlier this month— beating him by a 3 to 1 margin.
Lack of Transparency in Woonsocket
Interestingly, Fontaine's apparent lack of transparency comes just days after Attorney General Peter Kilmartin announced that he is suing the city of Woonsocket citing that the city knowingly and willfully violated the Rhode Island Access to Public Record Acts (APRA).
According to Kilmartin, who filed the complaint in Rhode Island Superior Court last Thursday, the city failed to provide Attorney Michael Kelley with documents he requested related to the project for building a new water treatment plant.
"We recognize that many cities and towns are struggling financially, but that cannot be held out as an excuse for failing to comply with the law," said Kilmartin. "Government has an obligation to its citizenry to be transparent and responsive. In this instance, as in the past, the City of Woonsocket failed to be both."
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Block Criticizes Raimondo
Candidate Block Questions Treasurer Raimondo's gun divestment proposal.
Rhode Island gubernatorial candidate Ken Block released a statement today in response to Treasurer Gina Raimondo's plan to divest the pension fund from investments with stakes in gun companies:
"This is an irresponsible and misguided decision by the Treasurer, who is now politicizing the investment decisions of our retirement system. She is using pension assets to score political points and pander to certain constituencies.
"Whatever you think about gun control, this is the wrong approach. The Rhode Island Treasurer's office is getting involved in a public policy decision for which it has absolutely no responsibility."
Block also requested that prior to any new divestment policies being adopted, the S.I.C. should review the existing divestment policies on the books, including Rhode Island's Sudan divestment law enacted in 2007.
"Before the Treasurer starts punishing law-abiding American companies, she should verify that the retirement system is in compliance with existing requirements to divest from foreign companies involved in the conflict in Sudan," Block said.
Block pointed to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg who opposed gun divestment earlier this year. Bloomberg, leader of Mayors Against Illegal Guns and one of the nation's leading gun control advocates, publicly opposed the New York City Employees' Retirement System's decision to divest from the gun industry. Bloomberg's aides were quoted as saying this about the Mayor's stance on gun divestment: " The mayor believes pension-fund decisions should be based on protecting the financial interests of taxpayers and pensioners - not on politics."
Block called on the S.I.C. to reject the Treasurer's proposal.
"Investment decisions should be based on what is in the financial interest of the retirement system," Block said. "Treasurer Raimondo should stopping using the pension fund as a political football."
The State Investment Commission voted unanimously today to begin the process of divesting from a gun distributor (United Sporting Companies) that it is invested in through its private equity portfolio.
Smiley on Divestment
RI GOP Chairman Smiley comments on Treasurer Raimondo's Investment decision.
Republican Chairman Mark Smiley commented today on Rhode Island General Treasurer Gina Raimonodo’s decision to divest of companies based on what particular industry they are in.
Said Smiley, “Treasurer Raimondo clearly has her priorities all wrong. She should be working to maximize the return on investment for all funds under her supervision as long as she is following the letter of the law and the policies already set in place.”
Gina Raimondo recently made a decision to ask the State Investment Commission to sell the Rhode Island pension fund’s investment in Wellspring Capital Partners IV, a private equity fund with a stake in a distributor of firearms and hunting supplies.
Smiley added: “What will she decide to divest of next, companies that manufacture and distribute soda and potato chips because of obesity? Perhaps she will divest of fertilizer manufacturers because she sees them as harming the environment. Given Rhode Island is ranked at the bottom for business do we really want to banish certain industries that we should be working to attract to our state in order to provide jobs?”
“Treasurer Raimondo is pandering to a constituency in order to garner votes for the upcoming Governor’s race. Clearly the pension fund should not be used in this manner,” concluded Smiley.
Meet the Mayor
Mayor Taveras continues My Time with the Mayor this evening at City Hall.
Mayor Angel Taveras will continue My Time with the Mayor, a monthly opportunity for the Mayor and members of his administration to meet with citizens from every neighborhood in the City, today from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Providence City Hall.
At each My Time with the Mayor event, which is held at different locations throughout Providence, Mayor Taveras and representatives from city departments will be available to meet one-on-one with residents, answer their questions and seek to resolve any concerns.
Like past events, today's meeting will be two hours long, and residents are invited to meet with Mayor Taveras or members of his administration on a first-come, first-served basis.
For more information contact the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services at 401-421-2489.
Commerce Committee seeks Route 195 redevelopment update.
The Senate Commerce Committee will meet Thursday for updates on the redevelopment of land formerly occupied by Route 195 in Providence.
The committee will get a status update on the Rhode Island 195 Development Commission from the commission’s chairman, Colin Kane, and its executive director, Jan A. Brodie.
It will also receive an update from Department of Transportation Director Michael Lewis on infrastructure improvements in the 195 redevelopment district.
No public testimony will be taken at this time. The meeting will be aired live on Capitol Television, which can be seen on Channel 15 by Cox and Full Channel subscribers, and Channel 34 by Verizon viewers. It will also be live streamed at www.rilin.state.ri.us/CapTV.
Defense Econ. Commission
RI Defense Economy Commission to meet Thursday.
The Rhode Island Defense Economy Planning Commission will meet Thursday to discuss several areas of development of the local defense sector.
The commission, led by Co-chairmen Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton) and Rep. Raymond E. Gallison Jr. (D-Dist. 69, Bristol, Portsmouth), will review its 2013 work plan with Keith Stokes of the Mayforth Group. It will then discuss workforce development initiatives within the defense sector with Richard McAuliffe of the Mayforth Group and Jason Vlaun of Electric Boat; the Cybersecurity Center of Excellence with Molly Donahue Magee and Tim DelGuidice, both of the Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance (SENEDIA); and the National Security Infrastructure Support Fund with John Riendeau of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation and Stokes.
The meeting will be aired live on Capitol Television, which can be seen on Channel 15 by Cox and Full Channel subscribers, and Channel 34 by Verizon viewers. It will also be live streamed at www.rilin.state.ri.us/CapTV.
Pictured: Sen. Louis DiPalma
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