Woonsocket: No Bid Vroom-Vrooms Go Bye-Bye
Two weeks ago, an ethics complaint was filed against Mayor Susan Menard for her role in the city’s no-bid lease of four motorcycles from her son-in-law’s dealership. She announced soon thereafter that she would be retiring in June.
Fast forward to Monday night’s City Council meeting at which Mayor Menard was a surprise show. This Providence Journal article, devoted exclusively to the pleasantry of her “good-bye” comments, missed a couple of other developments during the meeting which the Valley Breeze picked up. The first was the presentation of an audit revealing that 1.) contrary to prior representations, the city is operating in the red and 2.) the amount of the deficit is not known due to poor record keeping and accounting practices by certain city officials and departments. (They “borrowed” $503,000 from the pension fund …?)
The second item of business that failed to make the ProJo article was a request by a Council member for a copy of the motorcycle lease and an inquiry by the Council President as to the present location of the motorcycles which are the subject of the ethics complaint. The city solicitor, replying to the former inquiry, stated that the lease could not be found in city records nor, perplexingly, did the leasing company have a copy of same.
No reply was apparently offered at the meeting to the Council President’s question. However, the Woonsocket Police Department informed me this morning that while the motorcycles are still in Woonsocket at the moment, they will shortly be on their way back to the leasing company as that company has been told to come and pick them up.
Still outstanding is the
$10,000 [Edit – commenter John has provided the correct figure] $40,000 paid to date by the City of Woonsocket towards the leasing of the motorcycles. If the $10,000 $40,000 is subsequently returned, the motorcycles go back and the lease mysteriously never surfaces, does the ethics bell, as Dave Kane phrased it, get unrung?
As to who authorized the return of the motorcycles to the leasing company, someone in attendance at the City Council meeting Monday night has advised that it was the Woonsocket Public Safety Director who did so – “that would mean the Mayor”.
Mayor Menard, “Ask not for whom the bell tolls,it tolls for thee.”
It will not account for the prior three $10,000 payments since 2002 paid to Paramount Harley Davidson for which there appears to be only one lease document.