The AG's Perspective
As the state police continue to investigate potential corruption at Central Falls City Hall, we sit down with Attorney General Patrick Lynch, a friend and political ally of Mayor Charles Moreau. The AG gives us his take on our series of stories, the investigation into Moreau's administration, Lynch's own public support in the past for the mayor and much more. Jim Hummel reports.
Click HERE to watch the original report, click HERE for Part 2, and click HERE for an Update Report.
Hummel: This week , as the state police investigation continues at Central Falls City hall, we come to the Attorney General's office, where Patrick Lynch is facing questions about his relationship with Mayor Charles Moreau.
Officially, it's seven miles from Central Falls City Hall to the Attorney General's office in Providence. But many who live here think the two are a whole lot closer.
That's because AG Patrick Lynch has been very public about his relationship with Mayor Charles Moreau, who is now facing questions from the state police. Moreau has contributed $2,600 to the AG's campaign over the last six years and Lynch gave the mayor $600 last May.
So we sat down to get Lynch's response to our stories alleging potential corruption in City Hall.
``It's a little bit of shock when you look at it, but something that certainly merits further review,'' he said.
In a wide-ranging interview Lynch told us he has put up a firewall between him and any investigation by his office or the state police into Moreau's administration. So what about those campaign contributions?
Hummel: Why did you contribute to his campaign? Lynch: I believe in his leadership and I made a donation. Hummel: You're the attorney general, you're not just Patrick Lynch, You're Patrick Lynch, the AG. Lynch: Yes, I'm the attorney general. I also have the right to give endorsements. endorsements are a natural part of the process, whether people agree with them or disagree with them is part of our democracy.
Nearly two dozen people contacted The Hummel Report after our investigation showed that a close friend of - and campaign contributor to - the mayor was getting lucrative board-up work on foreclosed homes. They all said because of the AG's public alliance with the mayor they didn't feel they would get any traction filing a complaint with the attorney general's office.
Hummel: The fact that you've been a very public figure in your support for the mayor financially, publically and everything else for Mayor Moreau, in effect there's a chilling effect on the people of central falls. Lynch: I don't know that it did. Hummel: They're telling me that it did. Lynch: I don't know who `they' are.
We also wanted to know if Lynch draws a line between political endorsement and public office.
(Hummel shows him a copy of the Nov. 4th 2009 Pawtucket Times, the day after Mayor Moreau was re-elected to a fourth term).
Hummel: Take a look at that. What do you see? Lynch. Smiling faces after an election victory. There's you, there's the secretary of state, there's Rep. Kilmartin, who is potentially running for AG; there's your friend, Mayor Moreau, and do you know who that woman is? Lynch: Councilwoman DelaHoz. Hummel: But you don't know her personally? Lynch: No not really. I met her at gatherings like that. Hummel: Did you know she was charged with drunk driving with her kid in the back seat? And that was while the charges were still pending. Lynch I did know that. I didn't know the charges were still pending. Hummel: What kind of message does that send to the people of Central Falls - when you're standing there not only with the mayor - who's now under investigation. Does the subliminal message go out, `Hey' I've got these people's back.'? That's the perception in Central Falls. Why would you even pose for a picture like that? Because I'm celebrating the win of a friend who I've publically stated I'm supporting. I don't condemn people just because they have an issue. Cast somebody off. Hummel: She's got drunk driving charges pending against her. A case that's working its way through the court. You like to describe yourself as the chief law enforcement officer in the state. Ultimately, you're standing there with a defendant. Lynch: Correct. Hummel: You don't see that as problematic? Lynch: I'll leave that for people to make a determination.
Hummel: Meanwhile state police detectives, who have been at City Hall the better part of the last two weeks will ultimately decide if there's enough evidence to present to the attorney general's office. In Providence, Jim Hummel, for the Hummel Report.