March 20, 2011

From "Excellent Financial Condition" to Receivership-Ready in Three Short Months: Mayor Cicilline, Is it Possible that you Lied About and Covered Up the Financial Condition of Providence?

Monique Chartier

In predictable fashion, PolitiFarce has jumped into the matter of David Cicilline's self-serving, gross misstatements about Providence's financial condition by examining the former mayor's statement about a minor, tangential matter. (With this approach to current events coverage, if a dragon were laying waste to a town, the news team would rush in and provide extensive coverage of the iguana that was messing around in a local's garden.)

Providence's bonds have been downgraded, by Moodys a couple of days ago, and now by Fitch (accompanied by some pretty serious comments). The city's fiscal condition is such that it qualifies for receivership under Rhode Island law.

Representations made by then-Mayor Cicilline as to the city's financial condition, however, painted a markedly different picture - quite a rosy one, in fact. For the sake of PolitiFarce, we present his characterizations on October 29 during the Channel 10 debate with John Loughlin (emphasis added).

Loughlin: ...and I think that you need to come clean you need to level with us and let us know what the condition of your city is…

Cicilline: Representative Loughlin….

Loughlin: Before you start thinking about going to Washington and spending more taxpayers money.

Cicilline: Representative Loughlin, you have made the reckless claim repeatedly…

Loughlin: No, your own internal auditor made that claim.

Cicilline: Let me be very clear…

Rappleye: (Interrupting)

Loughlin: The City of Providence is broke and you know it …

Cicilline: The City of Providence has earned an ‘A’ rating from its agencies which are not, you know political campaigns, but are done by professionals externally on the city’s financial condition. I’m very proud of that. The city is in excellent financial condition and the suggestion by the city council auditor that was condemned by the President of the City Council as reckless and false. Representative Loughlin knows that.

Loughlin: Then why won’t you give him the data? Why? He had to file a freedom of information act!

Here's the point that PolitiFarce seems determined to miss and the former mayor is hoping will be overlooked. The SEC is currently reviewing Rhode Island's bond offering statements

to determine whether the state adequately disclosed the precarious condition of its pension system.

Statements by the former mayor, in fact, go beyond inadequate disclosure (i.e., the level that attracts SEC scrutiny) and enter the realm of deliberate misrepresentation. Doesn't this get dangerously close to a breach of fiduciary responsibility and, therefore, to criminality?

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Don't get me wrong, I dislike Cicciline on many levels, and even got a bunch of folks to change their minds about voting for him. Isn't the SEC investigating state-offered bonds, not city ones?

Posted by: mangeek at March 20, 2011 1:04 PM

"Providence's bonds have been downgraded, by Moodys a couple of days ago, and now by Fitch (accompanied by some pretty serious comments)."

I wonder now if Russ understands what it does mean to raid the reserve funds. He didn't a few months ago...

Russ: "Umm, exactly what is a rainy day fund for if not the deepest recession since the Great Depression?"

Me: "Russ, ask Moody's what the rainy day fund is for, and I bet the answer will be seen loud and clear in the city's bond ratings."


Posted by: Patrick at March 20, 2011 5:07 PM

Patrick-Russ is a Cicilline loyalist,period.The truth doesn't have any currency in that kind of relationship.
Cicilline's breathy little rants won't get it next time.
He will be done for,and none too soon.

Posted by: joe bernstein at March 20, 2011 5:21 PM

I can't help but wonder why Politi-Fact hasn't looked into this statement by the Providence Journal's news department.

"Cicilline, in the final weeks of his campaign for Congress, at the time vehemently denied tapping the reserve account. He insisted then that about $30 million remained in the account, and accused Lombardi of playing politics."

Now, clearly someone is not telling the truth here, either the ProJo's news department or the Congressman? I guess Politi-Fact missed that because its doesn't fit within their agenda.

Posted by: Rep John Loughlin at March 20, 2011 7:06 PM

John-just because you had it right and told it straight apparently means nothing in this sewer.
I actually think this situation will finish him.

Posted by: joe bernstein at March 20, 2011 7:12 PM

"I actually think this situation will finish him."

Joe, are you serious? The Providence and RI electorate's intelligence level is somewhere between a tomato and a gnat. The election is still 19 months away. Something else will come up to make the voters forget all about it, like Taveras will start spinning lies to make it look like he fixed the situation so, "maybe it wasn't so bad after all".

John, I don't know why you haven't announced your candidacy in the middle of all this. Start pounding on this guy for the next year and a half.

Posted by: Patrick at March 20, 2011 7:54 PM

Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3, verses 1-8

To everything there is a season...

The electorate, by and large, are extremely forgiving people and will overlook and forgive a great deal in their elected officials - lying however is something the electorate never quite gets over. Just ask George Bush 41 - "read my lips.."

A Congressional race is a serious undertaking and I will approach the task with the professionalism it demands - in its season.

Posted by: Rep. John Loughlin at March 20, 2011 8:20 PM

Monique is nothing but a vicious Homer-phobe. All of us are very very very very very very very proud of the job Gayvid did in cleaning up the city, instituting pension and labor reforms and putting it on a sustainable track to the future.

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at March 21, 2011 7:41 AM

Tommy don't you think you could make your point without sinking to the level of an immature fifth grader.

Posted by: triplerichard at March 21, 2011 12:08 PM

As opposed to a mature seventh-grader like 3R.

More evidence that libs have neither a sense of humor nor of irony.

Posted by: BobN at March 21, 2011 2:03 PM

Bobn always jumping up to defend the simple minded. I know funny and making infantile homo jokes is really just dumb and very much like the humor of right wing idol Rush Limbaugh.

Posted by: triplerichard at March 21, 2011 2:20 PM

A person's orientation is boring and irrelevant.

Bad politicians are not.

David Cicilline is not just a bad politician, he is a mendacious and highly deceitful one.

Accordingly, as Tommy asked, is Mr. Cicilline still "very very very very very very very very very proud" of the job that he did as mayor of Providence? If not, why did he say at the time that he was? While all of these fiscal developments are new to the public, they are not news to him - that, of course, is why he is beyond a bad politician.

Posted by: Monique at March 21, 2011 4:10 PM

Of course, you misunderstand. I'm not defending anyone. But I am calling a spade a spade - or in this case, a sophomoric, leftist tool a sophomoric, leftist tool.

Posted by: BobN at March 21, 2011 8:03 PM

Bobn you can say all you want about me but until people call out fools on this site like Mike Caplleli and Tommy Cranston it will remain a place for right wing turds like yourself to pat each other on the back while having your heads buried up each other fart lockers between calls to talk radio. Clearly you are just another internet warrior with little else to do except rant and rave against anything that looks different from your world view. A world view that must be very limited with your head always being so deep in your ass.

Posted by: triplerichard at March 21, 2011 9:02 PM

I think the Leftist tool has expressed himself eloquently. Together with the language and threats hurled at blogger Ann Althouse in Wisconsin over the last week, Richard's outburst should be seen by every voter as an example of what the Left looks like under their disguises.

Posted by: BobN at March 22, 2011 8:14 AM

Haven't heard the terms turds and fart lockers since the days of hotly contested kickball games on the playground. We thought they were pretty funny and we were pretty cool saying them back then. Not so funny and kind of gross in writing decades later.

Posted by: riborn at March 22, 2011 5:56 PM
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