Senator Alves’ Stout Denial

State Senator Stephen Alves has broken two days of silence to firmly deny charges that he blocked a tax incentive out of political revenge. Describing the allegations as “ridiculous and baseless”, he called his main accuser, lobbyist Jeffrey Britt, a liar and affirmed that he had never been opposed in principle to the tax incentive for trucking company A. Duie Pyle:

“I never had an objection to Duie Pyle,” said Alves. “It was just never high on our priority list to spend $330,000 on it when we were cutting children off of RIte Care. It was a tough budget year. There were lots of winners and losers, lots of people who were disappointed.

In his appearance on Turn to 10, the Senator denied even soliciting the pension account in question from either the Town of Johnston or Mayor Polisena.
And WPRO’s Dan Yorke interviewed him yesterday, though no calls were taken during that hour.

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Greg
Greg
13 years ago

I’m looking forward to hearing from the half-dozen witnesses to Alves admission to Britt in the pub.

brassband
brassband
13 years ago

Assume that Britt is telling the truth . . . what crime would the FBI be charging?
The theory seems to be that the Town is being punished after the fact for not having given the pension business to the Senator. Is that a crime?

Greg
Greg
13 years ago

Yeah, Brass. It’s called ‘Influence Peddling’. People have gone to jail for it. Duke Cunningham for example.

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
13 years ago

“I am not a crook!” – Richard Nixon circa 1973
“I hereby resign the office of President …” – Richard Nixon, August 1974

brassband
brassband
13 years ago

Cunningham admitted to accepting cars, cash, and jewelry from defense contractors in exchange for favors to the contractors. He was convicted of bribery, tax fraud, and conspiracy.
That’s not what has been publicly alleged against Alves, at least not in the trucking company/tax break case.
I’m not defending Alves’ ethics; my question is when a public official fails to advance legislation after the fact because he is “displeased” with the town’s unwillingness to direct business to him, what federal crime is that?

Monique
13 years ago

One person disagrees with your analysis, Brassband: Senator Alves himself. Either he panicked and did not think it through as you did or he came to the same conclusion but decided that he didn’t want the public to think there was yet another (alleged) item on him in the FBI’s (hypothetical, alleged) hopper. In any case, he is denying any connection.

brassband
brassband
13 years ago

Well, it’s interesting what position Alves takes now. But especially significant is what the FBI/US Atty think they can prove to a jury. If all that they can prove is that Alves “punished” Johnston for failing to give him their pension business — absent some showing that he tied the two together when soliciting the pension business — I don’t think they’ve got a federal crime.
That might well explain, by the way, why someone inside the investigation is leaking to Stanton. By making their investigation public, it might be an effort to shake some info out of the trees that would give them the elements of a federal offense (something I think they might be missing, at this point).

Aldo
Aldo
13 years ago

This is only ONE segment of Dollar Bill involving Alves!
The FBI has also subpoenaed documents from West Warwick relative to his tenure there as Chair of the WW Pension Board as well as the Pension Board’s Secretary.
File your own APRA request with the town to verify this…
Stanton notes in another story on 5 October that “Alves, who has refused calls from Governor Carcieri and others to step aside as Finance chairman, yesterday received the public support of Senate President Joseph A. Montalbano, himself a subject of the investigation for his title work with banks. “
Alves is going to clean up the Senate for the taxpayers of this State… How ironic!

Andrew
13 years ago

I think Brassband is on target. If all the FBI can prove is that Alves told someone about his decision to kill the tax-break after not getting the Johnston pension business, I don’t think there’s a crime there. In most legislative bribery cases, the crime is soliciting or accepting the bribe, not carrying out the act that was paid for.
However, the flip side of that principle is that if the Senator told someone something along the lines of “you know, you wouldn’t want what happened to Johnston to happen to your community”, that could, depending upon the context, be construed as a crime with regards to a future legislative action, even if it wasn’t tied to a specific bill before the legislature.
In my experience observing politics, when politicians start making legalistic but politically unpopular arguments — in Alves’ case, saying I kill bills in secret meetings all the time, so what’s the big deal — instead of just saying “I didn’t do it”, it’s generally a sign they’re worried that investigators have more stuff they’re preparing to bring out.

rhody
rhody
13 years ago

Whether Alves’ actions rise to the level of federal crime or not, the larger point is, we need to get the guy the hell out of our legislature. Unfortunately, only the citizens of his district can do that.

George
George
13 years ago

Isn’t Britt one of those Carcieri insiders who took money from the State GOP for “consulting”. Money that should have gone to candidates?
The guy’s dripping with that Christian Winthrop sleezy ick. We all know Alves is crooked. Its the sneaky low-lives like Britt that make it so hard to change anything in this state.

Greg
Greg
13 years ago

The scum has begun the smear campaign, I see.

brassband
brassband
13 years ago

I don’t know what the feds have, and frankly I’m sick of the tendency to want to use the U.S. Attorney to accomplish by prosecution what the Republican State Committee cannot accomplish at the ballot box.
Let’s find someone to run against Alves, let’s get that person the money and support that he or she needs to defeat him, and let’s let the law enforcement side do what it does in its own time.
And let’s do the same with other members of the Dem. leadership in both houses. Put them in contested races and they’d have much less of a tendency to engage in the kind of arrogant conduct for which Alves is well known (whether it’s a crime or not).

Greg
Greg
13 years ago

Sorry, Brass. Gio is far too busy coming up with the next moronic way to get his name in the paper to waste his time building a party and raising any money. I’ve said it before, we went from a do-nothing head of the Republican Party to a do-nothing-smart leader.

aldo
aldo
13 years ago

Read this in detail… Anyone see a pattern? Sen. Alves no stranger to controversy But the West Warwick Democrat points to his successes in the Senate as proof that he is serving the public’s interest. 01:00 AM EST on Tuesday, January 6, 2004 BY ZACHARY R. MIDER Journal Staff Writer Sen. Stephen D. Alves, who seeks to become the next Senate majority leader, is a visible presence at groundbreakings, football games and senior brunches in his native West Warwick. Less visible to the general public, he has, since 2001, been pursuing a defamation suit against two political opponents who criticized him through letters to the editors of local newspapers, and statements at public meetings. A Superior Court judge threw out part of the suit in 2002, terming it “Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation” — under state law, an illegal attempt to silence critics. The judge, Netti C. Vogel, ordered Alves to pay more than $17,000 in his opponents’ legal fees. Alves has appealed that ruling to the state Supreme Court. He has not yet paid anything. The critics named in the suit, brothers Alan and William Palazzo, had questioned, among other things, Alves’ role in pension deals with the Cities of Warwick and Pawtucket in 1991. (Alan Palazzo, a Republican, ran unsuccessfully against Alves for his Senate seat in 2000.) In 1991, outgoing Warwick Mayor Francis X. Flaherty, now a state Supreme Court justice, approved the investment of $1.2 million in city pension money through Alves’ firm. Alves had supported Flaherty’s campaign. The city’s investment adviser had warned against the move, and the matter later became an issue during Flaherty’s unsuccessful bid for governor. That same year, Pawtucket Mayor Brian J. Sarault invested $1 million of his city’s pension funds through Alves’ firm, over the objections of the city finance… Read more »

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