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?
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…
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?