Hummel Report Quarterly Update

Editor’s note: As we head into the final three months of 2014, and the heart of another election season, Jim Hummel has significant updates on a handful of his investigations.

FBI Focus: The feds are now asking questions after The Hummel Report profiled Andrew Winters, a veteran URI employee working with the Lesbian Gay Transgender community on campus. Winters quickly fell out of favor with then-new University President David Dooley in 2010. Within a year, Winters found himself out of a job, after URI’s head of human resources forced him into what Winters called a coerced agreement. And the university spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to get rid of him.

President Dooley has refused to discuss the case with us or anyone else. But he may have no choice as we learned the FBI opened an investigation after our story ran. Board of Education chairwoman Eva Marie Mancuso, who also would not discuss the case on camera with us, did respond to our recent email saying she has not been contacted by the feds. Dooley did not respond to us — again.

Poor Decision: In June we reported on a charitable trust designed specifically to help “poor and unfortunate” residents in Barrington. Our story helped free up several thousand dollars for a woman who seemed to fit that description but had been denied funding, despite the trust’s millions sitting in the bank.

The Spencer Trust operated largely out of public view until recently, when the town council came under fire for using large chunks of the multi-million-dollar fund on affordable housing projects. The town, which oversees the money, denied a woman who needed money for an emergency hookup to the Bristol County Water Authority, even though her well was dry. The town planner — the point person for the fund — told her at the time there were “more pressing needs,” even though hundreds of thousands of dollars were available.

After our story ran, the town manager and planner met with Gary Morse, a vocal critic who advocated for her, and reversed course, giving her $3,500 from the trust to pay for the hookup.

He’s Back … Former Rehoboth Police Chief Stephen Enos,  who lost his job three years ago, was back last month in East Providence, where he had spent 20 years in the police department before going to Rehoboth. Enos was asking the council for a private detective’s license.

Enos was forced out of his job in 2011 after a series of our reports, beginning with an incident in late 2010. Enos was at a party at a restaurant in East Providence and had admitted to mixing alcohol and prescription drugs. The chief was later found lying in a nearby driveway screaming, “Kill me.”

The selectmen at first brushed it off, calling it an error in judgment, and did not discipline Enos. But public pressure after our series of followup stories forced their hand and an election in April cost Head of the Selectmen Ken Foley, a strong Enos backer, the race.

Enos, who now lists his mother’s home in Riverside as his residence, told the council he had been doing some work for a private investigator and wanted to formalize it with a license. The council, without discussion, unanimously rejected his request.

Right of Way?: Just down the road in Riverside a homeowner continues to defy the city’s order to stop blocking a right of way to the water next to her house. That defiance has earned her a date in court this month. Tabitha Glavin insists a strip of land adjacent to her property and leading to the water is hers and put up a fence blocking it for years until our story ran two years ago. The city says there is no proof of her assertions and Glavin was unsuccessful proving her case in Superior Court. Since then the city has repeatedly told her not to obstruct the right of way and took down the wooden fence.

Over the summer Glavin planted flowers and put in a small removable dog fence. City workers took that down and she repeatedly put them back up. Now she’ll have to answer to a municipal court judge on October 9.

Damaging Debt: Providence City Council President Michael Solomon was the front runner in the mayor’s race for months until our story about a business loan he still owed the city 27 years after it was first issued.

When we interviewed him, Solomon insisted he was continuing to pay off the $500,000 loan from the city of Providence which he and several partners took out in 1987 for a condominium project on Westminster Street. Twenty-seven years later they still owe $400,000 even though Solomon poured more than $300,000 of his own money into his campaign to succeed Angel Taveras as mayor. That bid came to an abrupt end on primary day, when Solomon lost to Democratic challenger Jorge Elorza.

The Hummel Report is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that relies, in part, on your donations. If you have a story idea or want make a donation go to www.HummelReport.org, where you can also see the video version of this story. You can mail Jim directly at Jim@HummelReport.org.

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