May 15, 2008

Sinking Rhode Island Like a Lead Anchor

Justin Katz

Maureen Martin's got it right:

If the [lead-paint] verdict is upheld, every dwelling in Rhode Island constructed before 1978 (about 240,000 total) will have to be inspected for lead-based paint, regardless of whether the owners agree to that inspection. Residents will be forcibly relocated if their homes need an "extreme makeover" to remove and replace everything with lead paint on it — siding, walls, stairs, even kitchen cabinets — all at the paint companies' expense.

This scenario is fraught with unintended consequences. First, because Rhode Island law already requires landlords to abate lead hazards in rental units at their own expense, those who neglected to do so would get a free renovation, paid for by the paint companies. Second, real-estate values, already in decline, would further plummet while repairs are under way. This will depress the real-estate resale market and impair the value of assets held by lenders.

Read the op-ed for a reminder of the details, but the sound one hears while reading such summaries is of a nation eating itself — no doubt with a toxic aftertaste for which somebody else will have to bear the consequences.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

While the RI Supreme Court should recognize the validity of the current law requiring landlords to maintain safe housing for their tenants and themselves and not put the burden on, what were,legitmately operating companies, I doubt seriously that the justices will consider the welfare of RI citizens above the thought of $$$$.

Posted by: Janis at May 15, 2008 10:12 AM

Yeah, but all for the greater good. The greater Democrat good, that is.

Then gubernatorial aspirant Sheldon Whitehouse got lots of money from Ness Motley (now Motley Rice) and its partners / employees, in return for giving those class action ambulance chasers the no-bid contract to pursue the RI lead paint case, as a “trial run” to see if they could reproduce their nationwide tobacco company shakedown against the paint companies (there are fortunes to be made in “social justice”)!

“When asked about his business philosophy, lawyer Ronald L. Motley often quoted Dolly Levi from the musical Hello, Dolly! ‘Money is like manure,’ the Charleston (S.C.) litigator would declare in a theatrical voice. ‘It should be spread around to help young things grow.’ Motley, 57, practiced what he preached. The small law firm he led, Ness, Motley, Loadholt, Richardson & Poole (NMLR&P), parlayed the asbestos millions it won in the early 1990s into tobacco billions a few years later--and then invested the cigarette money to take on drugmakers, lead paint manufacturers, and car companies. Motley's personal rewards included annual pay in excess of $10 million, multiple homes, a yacht, and a flattering portrayal in the 1999 movie The Insider.

“Motley lives in a gated home with security guards on James Island off the South Carolina coast and has a 9,800-square-foot vacation palace on nearby Kiawah Island. He owns a 120-foot ocean yacht christened Themis, after the Greek goddess of justice. Like many other top plaintiffs' attorneys, he's also a major contributor to the Democratic Party. ‘Motley likes to live rich and fancy,’ says Richard Harpootlian, chairman of the South Carolina State Democratic Party. ‘He enjoys being a celebrity.’

Motley Rice Providence operative, uh, I mean Partner (and reportedly now multi-millionaire himself) John MConnell is the RI Democratic Party’s Treasurer.

Yeah, no kidding!

The unions aren’t the only ones who recycle money into Democrat coffers in return for “favors” – the ambulance chasers, uh, I mean trial lawyers, are right in there with them – and RI’s Democrats are always happy to oblige them ... at very reasonable rates.

Posted by: Ragin' Rhode Islander at May 15, 2008 10:39 AM

So what happens when I tell the state to 'piss off' when they come to my door to remove the lead paint in my house? Will they bring a SWAT team in to forcibly drag me from my residence?

Posted by: Greg at May 15, 2008 10:44 AM

Greg, we don't know how far they'll go to "save" people. Just let them in! Please, no Branch Davidian or stand-off incidents in Rhode Island.

Posted by: Monique at May 15, 2008 2:05 PM

No chance. The interloper who crosses the threshold without permission will be chewing the end of my GP-100.

Posted by: Greg at May 15, 2008 2:12 PM
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