August 18, 2006

DuPont Explains Its Side, Sort Of

Carroll Andrew Morse

I know there's no way to explain anything comprehensively in the "letter to the editor" format. Still, Thomas Sager's letter in today's Projo concerning the questionable charitable contributions made by DuPont as part of the Rhode Island lead paint case leaves a significant gap in the story.

Mr. Sager, the chief litigation counsel for DuPont, begins by saying that DuPont's dismissal from the lead-paint suit was on the basis of merit...

DuPont was dismissed with prejudice, on the basis of the facts produced in discovery. The dismissal was not pursuant to a settlement. There was no settlement agreement between Attorney General Lynch and DuPont, and DuPont paid no money to either the state or the attorney general's outside contingency-fee lawyers.
He then goes on to discuss DuPont's charitable contributions...
DuPont agreed to make contributions to three charities: the Children's Health Forum, Brown University Medical Center, and Brigham and Women's Hospital, in Boston. We will honor each of these commitments. Suggestions to the contrary are just wrong.
Here's the missing step: DuPont doesn't need the Rhode Island Attorney General's permission to make charitable contributions; they are free to give their available money to charities whenever they so choose. So, if there is no connection between DuPont's dismissal from the lead paint suit and the charitable contributions the corporation made, as Mr. Sager implies, then how did the Office of the Rhode Island Attorney General become entangled in DuPont's charitable giving in the first place?

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Yes. And why weren't the other defendants offered similar "plea bargain" arrangements?

It looks like the AG was hedging his bets. He wasn't assured a guilty verdict - far from it; the last case had ended in a hung jury. So he decided to do a settlement so he could claim a victory whatever happened. "I lost the case but look, I got this settlement money for Rhode Island and for the victims." Except it wasn't a settlement and it didn't come to Rhode Island and it won't go to the victims.

Posted by: SusanD at August 18, 2006 11:29 PM

dupont learned rule # 1 of trying to get something done on ri

"its not what you know, its who you know"

and you can take that to the bank!!!

Posted by: johnpaycheck at August 20, 2006 10:03 AM

Political hacks like Patrick Lynch getting elected to Attorney General of all offices is why Rhode Island is such a national laughingstock. Read the ProJo story from today's paper, the story where Lynch admits to wining and dining with lead paint companies over lunch in the back room at Capriccio.
Patrick Lynch isn't Spider-man he's the Joker.
"With great power comes great corruption!"
Better than 50/50 odds the judge will see the Joker's "documentless arrangement" with DuPont as the settlement it is and will give all other defendants in the lead paint case the same deal.

Posted by: Tim at August 20, 2006 11:50 AM

Both parties should take a political pledge not to engage in any more of the public's business at Capriccio's (and/or the Capital Grille). More screwing (of the taxpayers) goes on in those two places than in all the drive-ins of America.
Any other places we should put off-limits to politicians on state business? (For Carcieri's benefit, we can add corporate boxes at Patriots games, and for legislators, primo seats at Fenway).

Posted by: rhody at August 20, 2006 1:53 PM