Town Paid $104,518 For Extra Legal Services Last Fall

by | Feb 7, 2018








The Town of East Greenwich paid $104,518 to the law firm Whelan, Corrente, Flanders, Kinder and Siket for legal services through Nov. 30. This is in addition to the $11,500 a month ($135,000 annually) paid to Town Solicitor David D’Agostino. Tim Cavazza, a lawyer at Whelan, Corrente, has been working on labor-related issues for the town at least since Sept. 11, when he was seen entering the Town Council’s executive session after its regular meeting that night. However, the bill released by the town does not offer a start date. Nor does it include the cost per hour for services.

The invoice breaks down the $104,555 this way:

$72,547 for labor

$6,666 for grievances

$2,675 for injured on duty claims

$5,800 for school department matters

$16,830 for J. Perry litigation

It is unclear what is included in the $72,547 for labor services but certain town expenses not yet otherwise accounted for may be part of that number. Town Manager Gayle Corrigan presented a consultant, Michael Walker of Berkshire Advisors, at the Town Council’s Aug. 28 meeting. That consultant also did work for North Kingstown when Whelan, Corrente was representing that town on firefighter labor issues.

Additionally, private investigator Dennis Aiken was hired in September to interview former Fire Chief Russ McGillivray. Aiken, in his previous job with the FBI, worked with Cavazza colleague Robert Corrente in his previous job as U.S. Attorney.

On the $6,666 for grievances, according to EG firefighter union officials, Cavazza took part in one meeting over grievances before Nov. 30.

School officials said they did not know anything about the $5,800 line item for school department matters. Presumably, the town had the law firm researching school department issues.

It’s also unclear what the nearly $17,000 spent on James Perry litigation went toward. The town’s defense in that lawsuit – which was fast-tracked, taking less than two months in total – was conducted by Town Solicitor D’Agostino.

According to public records, the City of Providence paid Cavazza’s law firm $230 an hour for similar legal services (Providence Letter of Engagement). East Greenwich declined to provide a letter of engagement, saying it did not need to under Rhode Island law. Alternatively, the City of Providence did release the entire four-page letter with only a single redaction.

Providence also released more detailed Whelan, Corrente invoices (see sample here: Providence–Corrente, Whelan invoice). North Kingstown also released more detailed invoices (NK–Whelan, Corrente invoice).

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Renu Englehart
Renu Englehart
February 7, 2018 9:41 am

At one point in her career Ms. Corrigan considered herself a “whistleblower” over corruption and waste, I guess no longer. Now I suspect we know why the Social Media Policy was needed – to prevent anyone from within the town hall to alert taxpayers of the amount of money going to cronies.

The town is claiming that RIGL 38-2-2 is allowing them not to have to release any contracts between David D’Agostino and the town and Whelan, Corrente, Flanders, Kinder & Siket and the town:

(4) “Public record” or “public records” shall mean all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings, magnetic or other tapes, electronic data processing records, computer stored data (including electronic mail messages, except specifically for any electronic mail messages of or to elected officials with or relating to those they represent and correspondence of or to elected officials in their official capacities), or other material regardless of physical form or characteristics made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any agency. For the purposes of this chapter, the following records shall not be deemed public:

(A)(I)(a) All records relating to a client/attorney relationship and to a doctor/patient relationship, including all medical information relating to an individual in any files.


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