Senator Bell and Representative Sanchez Decry McKee Administration Retribution

Senator Bell and Representative Sanchez today decried the McKee Administration’s decision to cancel the contract with the Cranston Street Armory vendor, Scout, after Scout had reported extortion and sexual harassment by McKee Administration officials.  They also separately report that the McKee Administration has broken their commitment for a community meeting with the neighborhood around the Armory.  Representative Sanchez and Senator Bell represent the Cranston Street Armory in the General Assembly.

“Retribution on this scale makes my stomach churn,” said Senator Bell.  “The culture where state contractors got extorted for kickbacks and would lose the contract if they even dared to speak up about it was one of our state’s greatest shames.  That it continues to this day embarasses not just Governor McKee but the state as a whole.”

“McKee’s retribution blows me away,” said Representative Sanchez.  “I constantly hear from my constituents how important this project is to them.  To be so close to a great redevelopment and then to have Governor McKee try to stop it is such a slap in the face to the whole community.  That it was for retribution for reporting extortion and sexual harassment makes it so much worse.”

“There was a time not so long ago when the even the appearance of retaliating against victims who had reported sexual harassment was seen as unacceptable behavior.  Have we lost that in the McKee Administration?” asked Senator Bell.

“If pressed, I’m sure Governor McKee would pretend retaliation is not his motive,” continued Representative Sanchez, “but McKee cannot hide from his decision to make such a public spectacle of his retaliation, to so clearly send the message that this is what happens if you speak out about extortion or sexual harassment in his administration.  He could have simply continued to block funding for the project.  Canceling the contract was unnecessary.  It sends a clear message.  He cannot run from the decision to send this message.  Unfortunately, all of Rhode Island will pay the consequences.”

In an email on June 2 from Interim Director Daniels delayed a promised community meeting until after the JLL report was released.  Back in March, Director Thorsen had promised, both in public and in private, to talk to the community in May.  Today, McKee Administration officials informed Representative Sanchez and Senator Bell that the promised meeting will not be happening.

“Now that the report has been released, that excuse has passed.  It was time to finally schedule this long-delayed community meeting,” said Representative Sanchez.  “Canceling it is yet another insult to every Rhode Islander who cares so deeply about this project.”

 “The commitment of a May community meeting mattered,” emphasized Senator Bell. “Canceling it only deepens our concerns about the appearance of impropriety.  If you don’t have anything to hide, why run and hide?”

Statement from Council President Rachel Miller on the Future of the Cranston Street Armory

“As the city councilor representing the Armory property, I am committed to helping repurpose this historic building for the betterment of our residents and city in a manner that respects the many years of neighborhood input. There is a future for the Armory, and I look forward to working with Mayor Smiley and the State on exploring a transition that makes financial sense for Providence taxpayers.”

Declaración de la presidenta del consejo, Rachel Miller, sobre el futuro de Cranston Street Armory

“Como concejal de la ciudad que representa la propiedad de Armory, estoy comprometido a ayudar a reutilizar este edificio histórico para el mejoramiento de nuestros residentes y la ciudad de una manera que respete los muchos años de aportes del vecindario. Hay un futuro para Armory, y espero trabajar con el alcalde Smiley y el Estado para explorar una transición que tenga sentido financiero para los contribuyentes de Providence.”


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