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A Hummel Report Investigation

Mid-Year Update

This week we have four important updates on investigations we’ve produced in the first six months of 2016: A councilwoman pledging her allegiance to Johnston does an about-face; the Rhode Island Department of Transportation makes good on a promise to replace defective mailboxes in Smithfield;  the Apponaug Circulator project is still drawing complaints from one Warwick resident and Rhode Island’s largest wind power project is about to go online. Jim Hummel has all of the details.

To watch the original report on Councilwoman Manzi click here.
Click here for the report on the Smithfield mailboxes.
Click here for the original Apponaug Circulator report.
And click here for the report on wind turbines.

SCRIPT

This week we have four important updates on investigations we’ve done so far in 2016. Many of you have asked about the Johnston Town Councilwoman who has been sending her triplets to Narragansett High School for the past two years. This week we find: there are big changes in store for her - and her family.
Hummel: ``Then why don’t you just move to Narragansett?”
Manzi: ``Because I love Johnston.’’
That was the answer Town Council Vice President Stephanie Manzi gave us in March when we wanted to know why she continued to live in Johnston, much of the time with her 16-year-old triplets, and make the 45-minute trip to Narragansett High School many of the weekday mornings we saw her over the course of a two-month investigation.
Our story prompted investigations in both Narragansett and Johnston, where Manzi and her husband were getting a 20 percent yearly homestead tax exemption on this house. Johnston determined Manzi was violating the conditions of the homestead because her husband claimed residency in Narragansett, allowing the children to go to school there. And it ordered her to repay nearly $1,750 in back homestead and penalties.
Her lawyer told us last month she might appeal - but we found out Manzi has done just the opposite, cutting a check to the town, then putting the couple’s Johnston home on the market last week, listed by Century 21 for $319,000. Neither she nor her lawyer responded to multiple emails we sent, but sources tell us she decided not to run for her council seat and instead the family will be moving to Narragansett, where they already own this 784-square foot cottage - that Paul Manzi claims was his full-time residency already.
No word on whether they will expand the cottage or buy another property.
After years of being ignored, dozens of residents people along a stretch of Route 116 in Smithfield are finally will be getting new mailboxes this summer, after our investigation showed that the Rhode Island Department of Transportation had dropped the ball when it came to customer service.
Tony Polseno articulated the frustration of his neighbors when he described his dealings with the D.O.T., which had insisted on installing its own mailboxes when Route 116 was repaved five years ago. When his mailbox was knocked down, ironically by state plows, every winter, he called a woman at D.O.T. for help
Polseno: ``Called her, she never called me back. It’s aggravating, and you can’t get through to  nobody and they laugh at you. Ahhh.’’

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