A Hummel Report Investigation
In the meantime Manzi has hired an attorney, who sent Conley a letter taking issue with his memorandum to Mayor Polisena. We asked Manzi whether she planned to go to court to appeal the removal of the homestead exemption. She did not respond to us directly, but her attorney said his client cannot make a decision until she’s received a formal decision from the town. The town provided her with the same document a week ago that the mayor provided us on Tuesday.
Polsena: ``If you, obviously, break the law, it doesn’t matter if you’re an elected official, a council member, state senator, state rep, we don’t tolerate that.’’
Meanwhile, the superintendent in Narragansett, Katherine Sipala, said her legal counsel advised that any appeal of an adverse residency ruling against the Manzis to the Department of Education would focus on their living arrangements now and going forward - and not any evidence we uncovered leading up to our report in March. Right after our report aired Paul Manzi changed his voter registration from Johnston to Narragansett.
Supt. Sipala told us that documents provided by the Manzis show that Mr. Manzi is living in the cottage with his three children, although they acknowledged the children had been in Johnston because Councilwoman Manzi has had some health issues and Paul Manzi, who is a police officer at Rhode Island College, had a work schedule that didn’t allow him to get to Narragansett some nights, so the children stayed in Johnston. And sometimes we saw the councilwoman staying in Narragansett.
She also said the bus driver confirmed seeing the students taking the bus and that Mr. Manzi said he planned to put an addition on the cottage.
That means the triplets, who are finishing their sophomore year will continue to be allowed to attend Narragansett High School at a cost to local taxpayers at just shy of $60,000 a year. But the school department will continue to monitor the situation.
After our story ran in March, The Hummel Report was contacted by some faculty members at Roger Williams University, where Manzi is the Dean of the Justice Studies Department. The faculty we spoke with wanted to know if the university planned to take any action, given our findings.
President Donald Farish told The Hummel Report this week that quote: ``the allegations are pretty serious.’’ He added that the university plans to do its own investigation concerning Dean Manzi.
Back in Johnston the mayor said he believes removing the homestead exemption is an adequate penalty.
Hummel: ``I had some people approach me and say, they have handled cases where if somebody signs a form in front of a public official and it’s notarized, and it’s false information, why aren’t they being prosecuted criminally?’’
Polisena: ``That’s a good question, you know once again, even if it was Jim Smith or Mary Jones, I don’t want to put people in jail - you don’t want to do that. That’s something where…I don’t get any satisfaction out of trying to prosecute someone criminally. As long as they pay back to what they owe, and adhere to the rules, and they lose the homestead, I’m satisfied.’’
In Johnston, Jim Hummel for The Hummel Report.