Letter to the Editor: Check Your Own Pockets, GOP

by | Oct 27, 2018

By Ray Alfano

The Town Council race in East Greenwich has officially turned ugly, as Republicans claim that Democratic candidate Caryn Corenthal lied when she said in the first candidate forum that she has not taken one penny of union money.

This is troublesome for two reasons. First, it completely misrepresents reality. Neither Corenthal nor any candidate has taken any PAC money – that much is true. Any and all PAC donations were made to the Democratic Town Committee, not the individual candidates. In addition, the donations were hardly scandalous. The firefighters union and the police union each gave $1,000 in 2018 to the committee, who then used that money to support their entire slate of candidates: Town Council, School Committee, State Senate and State Representative. Even if each candidate got a share of those donations, the amount would be laughably small and certainly not influential. Republican misrepresentations to the contrary are a blatant falsehood, and they are being spread like wildfire.

Plus, the Democratic Town Committee didn’t “take” the money; the firefighters gave them that money. Did they give it to them to influence the upcoming contract negotiations? Or perhaps they gave the money because they are upset at the way the Republicans have demonized the firefighters their entire time in office. We can’t know.

Second, the discussion is even more troubling because of the Pandora’s box it has opened. Now we must look at the Republican donors. In doing so it’s plain to see that neither the Republican Town Committee nor the candidates have taken PAC money. They have, however, taken money from real estate developers. Should we therefore assume, for instance that when Allen Gammons of Prudential Gammons Realty gave $2,150 to the Republican Town Committee in 2016, that it had any influence on the Republican Town Council members when he had business before them? Or how about when developer Paul Mihallides gave the Committee $1,500 in in-kind donations that same year? We have no reason to think they’re giving the money because they want favors; so why do we automatically jump to that conclusion when it’s a union donation?

Then there’s the Bob Flanders connection. We all know that it was Flanders who recommended Gayle Corrigan’s firm Providence Analytics to impose her classic Central Falls-style restructuring here in East Greenwich. Once she got in, both she and Linda Dykeman gave Flanders the maximum donation allowable per year: $5,400 each, while Sue Cienki gave him $1,000. That’s over $12,000 in donations to one candidate – definitely not an insignificant amount of money.

Flanders keeps benefiting from his East Greenwich connections, as his law firm represents the town in its numerous lawsuits against the Fire Department; so far none of which have been successful. How much money has his law firm made off the taxpayers of East Greenwich? Over $300,000 and counting (we don’t know the full amount at this point as the town has not released any legal bills beyond July).

My point is this: if you’re going to attack your opponents for being “in the pockets” of the union, better take a look in your own pockets and make sure they’re perfectly clean. Or better yet, stick to the issues, since that is what truly concerns voters.

Ray Alfano, a retired EG teacher, is a longtime resident. 

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7 Comments

  1. Jody Stone

    This is too funny!

    Any decisions about development go through the Planning and Zoning boards! THEY make these decisions and not the EG Town Council. FWIW – The Current Chair of the Planning Board is running on the Democratic ticket.

    If we open the “Pandora’s box” as Ray suggested, we would need to look at the Individual donations to the Democratic Town Committee as well as the PAC donations (Republicans DID NOT open that box, Mr. Alfano did with this LTE).

    Aside from what is mentioned, how many individuals who contributed to the GOP came before the council for vote? 0.

    ZERO.

    How many labor contracts will be coming directly before the new TC in 2019 – including NEARI (who happen to represents Mr. Alfano – who receives an EG pension)? 5.

    FIVE.

    Reply
  2. Renu E

    Actually for clarification Mr Mihailides project Frenchtown Commons was not recommended by the Planning Board and then was brought before the Council in hopes of overturning. The council questioning was led by a member who has a clear relationship with Mr Mihailides and is a clear violation of RI Code of Ethics. That member should not have participated in any discussion on that project. For questions regarding conflicts of interest please call RI Ethics Commission 222-3790.

    Reply
    • ST

      Renu- I called your cell today to discuss and left you a voicemail, but you didn’t answer, and didnt call me back. One of my friends told me about this blog post, and that you commented about me. I have no business relationship with Paul, my wife and I modeled at The Preserve (www.thepreserveri.com check it out it’s gorgeous) *for free*, and we are members of the club that Paul owns. So we pay him, he doesn’t pay us… And we didn’t vote on anything anyway, so not sure what your telling people to call the ethics line, but to keep civility alive , why don’t you call me back and explain you position. (401)644-7093

      Reply
  3. Jody Stone

    For even further clarification, that was a conversation that was brought to the TC (as any citizen is allowed to do) and it was never voted on. Your ethics comments are based in inuiendo, and they are completely inappropriate.

    Reply
  4. Jody Stone

    So, to clarify, I can ask again…How many individuals who contributed to the GOP came before the council for vote?
    ZERO.
    How many labor contracts will be coming directly before the new TC in 2019 – including NEARI (who happen to represents Mr. Alfano – with his EG pension)?
    FIVE.

    Reply
    • CM

      No one earned their pension more than Ray Alfano. I hope he enjoys a long, long retirement. Seeing his name on a class list, a student knew they would be challenged. To this day, some 30 years later, I rely on skills taught in his speech class. If some of my colleagues had sat in his class, I would not have to give as many presentations as I do. I hope that pension provides an enjoyable retirement that pays for many, many years. Ray Alfano EARNED it.

      Reply
    • Carla Swanson

      Anyone that is concerned about a total of $2545 donated by PACs to the EGTDC to indirectly support Democratic candidates (not to individual candidates, none have accepted any PAC donations) must also wonder about the $5400 Gayle Corrigan has donated to the Flanders’ campaign and the $5400 Linda Dykeman donated has donated (www.fec.gov). That’s small potatoes compared to the money the town of East Greenwich has paid DIRECTLY to Flanders’ firm by way of ill-advised law suits, courtesy of Corrigan and the R Council members.

      Reply

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