A Hummel Report Investigation
This week we mark the first anniversary of the Hummel Report, a year of uncovering government waste, corruption - and of giving a voice to those who don't have one in the media. Join Jim Hummel for a highlight reel of investigations and the impact our reporting has had over the past 12 months.
Hummel: ``This week we mark the first anniversary of the Hummel Report, a year of uncovering government waste and corruption. But it goes far beyond that as our stories many times have given a voice to those who don't have one in the media.''
``Hi, how are you, Jim Hummel...Can I talk to you?''
Coogan: ``And I don't know why you felt it was appropriate to come here.''
Hummel: ``You're running for office, are you not?''
Coogan: ``I am.''
Hummel: ``Are you coming back? Alright.''
Hummel: ``So how about the city just make up whatever the difference is?''
Menard: ``I don't think we should make up anything.''
Hummel: ``Yeah, but you're paying a lot more right now.''
Menard: ``I know that but I don't think the disability is real. I never did.''
Hummel: ``I'm the first one to ask you that question?''
Aubin: ``Actually, you're the second one to ask me that question.''
Hummel: `` Who else has asked you that?''
Aubin: ``The state police asked me that question.''
Hummel: ``And when was that?''
Aubin: ``Day before yesterday.''
Hummel: ``I'm asking you, do you live in the caretaker's house?''
Spadoni: ``I'm saying I'm not talking to you.''
Hummel: ``Is that yes or no?''
Hummel: ``What it's been like these last couple of months just getting to where you are now?''
Gordon: ``I still think about it every day.''
Hummel: ``So you don't feel you owe the taxpayers of North Kingstown an apology for being on the hook for a quarter of a million dollars?''
Hayes: ``You know I got over there at night and see people still sleeping on mats on the floor and I think : `God, how do we ever end this?'''
Davis: ``Then you got these handicapped...you got four handicapped people. You think there are only four handicapped people in the state? I don't think so.''
Hummel: ``Is that fair to the unemployment system that you have a business going, but you're still drawing from your old company, unemployment every week?''
Arruda: ``Well, I don't....I don't...take a salary out of here.''
Hummel: ``This year we repeatedly went after those responsible for your tax dollars to try and get answers about questionable spending - or conduct.''
Moreau: ``I paid him cash.''
Hummel: ``You paid him cash. Do you usually pay people in cash, $4,000?''
Moreau: ``Well....whatever. The guy did the job, that's what I paid him.''
Hummel: ``What kind of message does that send. Why did you contribute to his campaign?
Lynch: ``I believe in his leadership and I made a donation.''
Hummel: ``Is it a matter of transportation or security in your mind?''
Cicilline: ``I think if you ask the chief of the department or public safety officials I think they would say security.''
Hummel: ``I'm asking you.''
Cicilline: ``The police officers are security, there's no question about it.''
Hummel: ``When you walk over that bridge it looks horrible.’’
Carrao: ``Yes. We...’’
Hummel: ``Would you agree with that assessment?’’
Carrao: ``We are not pleased with the way it looks right now.''
Wall: ``Bear in mind most of that money was federal money and $5 million in taxpayer’s money for a secure prison – that’s a bargain.''
Hummel: ``Well, last I checked when I looked at my paycheck, federal money is also tax money. Did they take federal money out of your paycheck?''
Rocchio: ``It's on the high side, but it's not way outside the limits of other bids.''
Hummel: ``I understand that. And this is why I want to get to the heart of this. You live in D.O.T-land.''
Hummel: ``A lot of other people live in Real Dollar-land.''
Hummel: ``Do you take a lot of Vitamin C? How do you not be sick in 15 years.
Moran: ``Knock on wood.
Hummel: ``What does that say to the guy who may be unemployed or struggling to pay that car tax, what message does that send?’’ Avedisian: ``Well, obviously it sends a bad message, when you look at the fact many people should just be thankful they continue to have employment here. ‘’
Hummel: ``And we hit the road, when we needed to, to track down the story.''
* ``We're on Block Island this week where we find that allegations of...''
* ``City Manager Mike O'Brien is the equivalent of the mayor here in Worcester...''
* ``Half an hour to the south is Connecticut's capitol city of Hartford...''
* ``Mayor John DeStefano, who was first elected in 1993...''
* ``And finally Bridgeport, Connecticut's largest city, located just 60 miles north of New York City ...''
Hummel: ``We also brought you the concerns of people who had been trying to get the attention of the government with little, or no luck.''
People like Tony Demings, who wanted to know from the mayor of Providence why so much *unused* property in the city remains tax exempt. So we went there, for him.
Cicilline: ``I do think there's a legislative remedy. If property that is entitiled to a tax exemption for being a hospital or college or university is used for a for-profit business, then it's subject to taxation. That would solve this problem.''
Or Block Island resident Steve Miller who had complained repeatedly about a conflict of interest involving the town's harbormaster. So we took it to the town manager for answers. The harbormaster was forced out less than six months later.
Feathersone: ``These lights have been on 15 years, they don’t shut off.’’
Then there was Tim Featherstone who has been complaining to Providence City Hall for more than a decade about conditions outside the downtown Amtrak station - to no avail. Just recently the city council has decided to put some money into a short-term fix up.
Hummel: ``We had a number of stories where people had absolutely nowhere else to turn, so they came to us.''
People like Russell Yates, whose property was contaminated by an adjacent gas station, cancelling the sale to a prospective developer.
```I've done nothing. All I've done is own a piece of property next to a gas station and my whole life is going upside down.'''
Or Edna Poulin, a longtime critic of Central Falls mayor Charles Moreau - now the subject of a state and federal investigations.
Poulin: ``The mayor runs the city and does, as far as I'm concerned, whatever he pleases to do. If someone gets in his way, he rolls right over them.'
Angelo: ``He took advantage of the trust I put in him.''
And John Angelo, a Barrington man who hired Mike Coogan, a candidate for the state Senate in Fall River, to do a major home renovation job, only to find out he was unregistered to do the work, a violation of state law.
Finally, we had two officials step up to the plate and take full responsibility when we brought problems to their attention.
Sullivan: ``It's inappropriate. It's unprofessional. It's inadequate management and full restitution will be made.''
DEM Director Michael Sullivan, who took swift action when we told him one of his employees had been living rent-free in a state-owned house at Colt State Park.
And Central Falls Fire Chief Rene Coutu, who said the buck stopped with him for failing to have his engines inspected on time.
Coutu: ``Everybody has to have it done and we failed in that aspect. It's got to get taken care of.''
Hummel: ``Heading into our second year, we need two things: your tips and your financial support. The vast majority of stories we did came from our viewers and readers. And your contributions helped bring you these investigations week in and week out.
I'm Jim Hummel, join us back here next week for a brand new investigation.